Saturday, August 26, 2006

I Can Hardly Wait to Be Old

Part of me just looks forward to the day when I've seen enough that I can just be like Gram -- like someone who's lived on an island in the Caribbean, and there's just a "Don't worry. Be happy." vibe to everything I do.

Something surprised me today. Not "shocked out of my mind surprised", but it just sort of took me off guard. I was part of a conversation that I thought was funny. I was flip about something, and before I knew it, I was told I was being "presumptuous."

Now I don't really care about what was said. It was a small blip. But what surprised me was how one little tiny conversation could be blown out of proportion, and how quickly I got sucked into having to defend my words. We all presume. Any time we tell someone they're being presumptuous, we'll find that we are in fact, guilty of the same thing. I haven't found an exception to that rule yet.

I love writing. I love the fact that I have a wit, even if I'm not always witty. By that I enjoy using my words, and if I can be funny at the same time, that's a bonus. I blog because it's better than keeping a journal. My mind works faster than my hands, and my bad penmanship doesn't come into play. Plus, the computer has spellcheck.

But sometimes my smart mouth comes out through my fingers, and people misunderstand me. The downside of the written word is that you have to be good enough at it to try and capture nuances that would normally be picked up in the spoken word as "tone."

I remember one of my grandmas -- Grandma P. -- who more than once said "oh honey, that's nothing to get excited about."

Gram had been around the block a few times. That happens, even if you live a relatively sheltered life, if you live to be 93 like she did. Sooner or later you have to leave the house to go to the grocery store, and there's always an adventure if you leave the house.

I find as I get older I get less worked up about things. I don't care so much about whether I'm right, so much as I care about being able to express my thoughts -- and I'm more than happy to hear others'. I'm genuinely interested in asking people about their opinions, but the most important part isn't the opinion -- it's the reasoning behind it. Sometimes people's views are skewed by their geography, upbringing, or simple personality. I know I have my set of bizarre circumstances that all knit together to become my life and my personality, what are yours?

I don't really think I want to get old. There's a part of me that looks forward to the next conversation that challenges me, or the next opinion that makes me wonder and really think "how did they get to the point where they think THAT is ok/normal/moral?".

No, I don't really mean that I want to get old and say I've seen it all. I suppose the day I've seen it all will be the day I die. But it would be cool to be so knowing, so experienced, that I can wave something off and not look like a snob, but like an old lady who like my Gram, had seen it before, and just wasn't going to get that worked up about it.

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Dreams of Fred

Last night I started doing research for a project I'm doing to honor the victims of 9/11.

I was assigned Fred Cox, an investment banker who worked on the 104th floor of one of the towers of the World Trade Center.

I chose Fred because he's a friend of a friend of mine, and she knows one of his former girlfriends, so I e-mailed her last night to ask if she wouldn't mind sharing whatever she wants to with me about her friend and her loss.

After that, I started researching Fred on the Internet. I found a lot of information about him (I'll share it later, as it won't get published until 9/11 of this year) in various memorials, and found some info on his girlfriend at the time of his death.

I went to bed with Fred's life and his family's loss heavy on my mind and in my heart. I only knew one person in real life who lost a sister in the Trade Center, and I didn't know her very well and had never met her sister. The thoughts and feelings surrounding his loss swirled around me as I thought of the profound hole he's left in the hearts and minds of those who loved him.

I ended up dreaming about Fred last night. We were in Heaven, and it looked a lot like Greenwich Village in New York City. Fred was going door to door while I waited on the street, as he encouraged all the people to come out and talk to me. I realized at some point that I wasn't here on Earth -- that each door he was knocking on belonged to different victims of 9/11.

I tried to tell Fred that they wouldn't be able to call me or e-mail me since they were dead, but it didn't seem to bother Fred. I was there visiting, and he figured he could get some people out to talk to me.

It's hard to know what to make of the dream, except that the few things I picked up on from Fred was that he was a good guy who was just trying to help me out with my project.

I only hope I'm up to the task of honoring him as he so richly deserves.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Where Do You Stand?

If you click on the title, "Where Do You Stand?", you'll find a fun little test to see where you stand on a few issues, and once you're done, it'll tell you if you're a Centrist, Left, Right, Libertarian (little government) or Statist (lots of government.

Surprisingly, mine says I'm a "Centrist" -- It says "CENTRISTS espouse a "middle ground" regarding government control of the economy and personal behavior. Depending on the issue, they sometimes favor government intervention and sometimes support individual freedom of choice. Centrists pride themselves on keeping an open mind, tend to oppose "political extremes," and emphasize what they describe as "practical" solutions to problems.

Now, I'm only surprised because I thought I was more liberal than that. I'm not much of a Libertarian, because I do believe Government by definition belongs in people's lives, because we should be part of the governance of a country, and that a civilized one takes care of its old, sick, poor and young.

I'm not a "Statist" because I also believe that if you're not in a vulnerable group, you should work your butt off and make money to help take care of the old, sick, poor and young.

One of the topics that came on a board I belong to relates to the politicization of issues, like environmentalism -- and why the Left has commandeered that issue to be their own. To me, that's a no-brainer, only because I've never met a Republican who worked for Greenpeace, and until I do, they just don't have the argument that they're "for the environment".

It's not to say that I agree with everything Greenpeace does, or that they own the environment, or that to work for that organization you have to be a Left-wing wacko. It's only to say that one of the biggest environmental lobbies is most likely 99.9% inhabited by liberal folks who believe the planet must come first, and I've never met a Republican who believes that the planet comes before the right to drive it into the ground.

As a result of this whole conversation, which of course has plenty of people like me who don't fit any particular mold (33% or more of us are considered "Centrist", which I take to mean a variety of views that could be considered a mish-mash of Left and Right views), I was pleased to see that many of us, even when we consider ourselves one thing, are actually middle of the roaders.

The other thing that got me thinking, was how with each generation in my family, a variety of philosophies on government have emerged.

My grandparents were conservative. Now, part of that is the fact that in the 1940s and 1950s as they were having their families and raising them, white middle-class folks like Blanche, Karl, Gwladys (no that's not a typo) and Walt didn't have much interaction with people of color, gay people, or pretty much anyone that wasn't "like them." They raised their Lutheran kids, went to work, and had larger family trees with more branches and leaves than one can imagine in this day and age.

They were never faced with "different" so they didn't have to really think about whether gay rights were important to them, because gay people stayed in the closet. They didn't think about black people unless they ran into them at a store. They didn't care much for them because they didn't see the injustice. Injustice and its residents were neatly packed on "the other side of the tracks".

My parents took their lives to a new level in a new time. As young adults in the early 1960s, they married and left the country to be missionaries in Brazil (a noble thing to do, go spreading the message of Martin Luther (not MLK Jr.) to the Catholic masses of Brazil). They largely missed the tumult of the 1960s, as they left for Brazil in 1962, just a year before JFK was shot, and didn't return home for anything but short furloughs until 1972.

Before they left, however, my folks knew a black couple in Minnesota near where my Dad was going to seminary. They had a picnic with them in the park, and my Mom said she remembered how people stared at them because my folks were having lunch with "colored folks". Minnesotans probably didn't get their knickers in a twist about it like they would in The South, but they sure noticed it.

But even for my parents, it was one thing to be friends with a black person -- it was quite another to marry someone who was black.

It became readily apparent to me as I was growing up, when a close black friend of my older brother's became interested in my sister. They dated briefly, and it didn't last. But I remember my parents voicing their concern over the racism my sister would face, and over how they would be received in anything but the larger cities that might be more accepting. I was also given a similar speech by my own father, who would later be much more liberal -- when I dated a Jewish guy in college. "How will you raise your kids if you get married?" my Dad asked me.

Well, I'd been on a few dates with him -- I had no plans for marriage anyway, but I told my Dad that that was the least of my concerns.

In the end, I know my parents were probably looking out for their kids, but there was an undercurrent of social pressure and dare I say racism.

The next generation is more liberal on the whole. Out of the five kids in my family, I suspect, though I won't say for certain, that one is a rather moderate Republican, three of us are moderate Democrats, and my Socialist brother leans ever-so-gently more to the left than the rest of us.

Despite my parents' Republican leanings, and most of that related to their views on social issues due to their Christianity and generation, all of us have become even more liberal than they ever were. Even my Republican sibling is more Centrist than my parents ever were.

As this discussion over politics and issues continued, I realized that there is no guarantee that any of us, no matter which way we lean politically, will produce children of like minds.

Personally, I just plan on naming my next son "Alex P. Keaton" to get the shock of the Republican I'll have over with.

Just kidding of course.

Just remember -- no matter what you are -- plan on your kids being different than you. Personally, I think it's what keeps the world in balance.

And as a Centrist, that's a good thing.

Monday, August 21, 2006

My Ideas of God



Today I finished reading the book "Why Bad Things Happen To Good People" by Harold S. Kushner, a rabbi and author.

An easy read -- in that his writing is outstanding -- I find myself wanting to read the book a second time to try and grasp the meaning of everything he said in the book.

Being raised Lutheran as I was, I believed for much of my life that God was omnipotent, omnipresent, and perfect.

I was also raised to believe that while God doesn't make bad things happen to good people, he "allows" it to happen.

Well, 3 miscarriages and the loss of our Jacob at 5 months to Trisomy 18 made me reconsider this idea of God as being perfect. After all, it's one thing to "allow" something bad to happen to us once, or even twice -- but the loss of 4 babies -- now that's just bad God Management, in my view. I mean, it's one thing to not pay particular attention to our first or second pregnancy -- but you'd think that a God who was really all that concerned with me would spare me the loss of a third and fourth child, dontcha think?

I sure as heck do.

What amazes me yet is that the book I read helped me come closer to God because it explained to me the fact that we do live in a world of randomness, and one where God can't play favorites with "good people" (let's just assume I'm one of them). It went further to say that God can't intercede in what happens to us. He, like me, is furious and mournful over our losses, but the "why" remains elusive forever.

The amazing ending of the book really talks more about how we respond to tragedy. That it isn't our fault, God isn't testing us or punishing us -- it really is about making sense of what really is a random event that just happened to hit us by allowing God to comfort us in our loss and misery.

I still have a lot more from the book to digest and consider. I just think I'm in the midst of a shift in my thinking about God entirely. Thanking Him for my existence and for the good that comes from this life, that is what I'm taking from it so far.

I'm not just saying "well, I'll just see the good in Jacob's life, no matter how short," because I'm not even close to being able to say that without sounding and feeling like I'd be in denial of my pain and anger over his loss.

But I do know that there is a great deal to be learned from this experience -- now that it's happened. And maybe a shift in my perception of what life really means is just part of it, including the God Part.

You see, for many years of my adult life, I wandered far from God. Months passed without a prayer, years passed without me going to church. I do feel that my relationship with God hit an all-time low point after my second miscarriage, because I was SURE that God didn't care about me all that much if he let me go through this again.

But for my third loss, I felt that something had to be wrong for us to go through this yet again. So I started going to church and tried to make peace with God. I tried to focus on the goodness of my marriage and my life on this earth, and how it would be childless, but still meaningful.

Then came Jacob, and the renewed promise of parenthood. No one could have prepared me for the past 2 months of my life, as we faced his loss and ultimately had to bear it.

But again, instead of turning away from God, I turned toward Him for comfort, guidance and solace. And the odd thing is, there has been an amazing amount of peace in all this messiness of birth, death, and grief.

No one has to tell me that it isn't my fault. I know that. No one has to tell me that it serves some purpose. I doubt that. Sometimes things just happen.

But like Kushner's closing statements about reaching out, not feeling alone in our grief, and letting God and our community comfort us -- it's the beginning of healing so that we can honor our lost loved ones by the way we live our lives into the future, and to be a testament to others.

That's about all I can ask for.

Maybe someday, that's where we'll be.

Sunday, August 20, 2006

Cathedral Madness


Any question I had about my sanity was answered today: I am officially nuts.

This small portion of a quilt in the picture is one I started today -- it is called the Cathedral Window pattern. I've had this quilt idea for a long time -- one that I wasn't sure how to do, because the book I have had very bad instructions, so I delayed starting it. It's largely handsewn, which means my new Singer won't get much of a workout on it.

Today I started this with just the idea that I'd try it out, once I found a decent website with instructions that I could make sense of.

Before long, I realized I have to make this quilt -- and this one is for ME. So, online I went and I found a good deal on the red background (Kona cotton, the best on the market) on Hancock Fabrics.com, and I bought 27 more yards, since I have only 3.

Brian loves it because it's not geometric, but has a round and varied pattern to it. I plan to use all the different colors of fabric I already have for the "window" portion, so it's going to be wild.

I LOVE this pattern. It's going to take 30 yards of material (most queen size quilts take in the neighborhood of 10-15), but boy, isn't it worth it?

I Love The Smell of Bug Spray


Friday was a great day. I went to work and did a presentation for a job interview I've been waiting for for some time. It went really well -- and then I was off at noon, and home to change and get my pack together. Brian and I were out of the house by 1:30 and on the road to The Holy Cross Wilderness south of Vail, Colorado.

We made it up a Jeep trail to the trailhead for Sopris & Brady Lakes, and found a good campsite near a smaller unnamed lake.



It started raining as we were putting up our tent, but by 5 p.m. I was sitting next to the fire under a tarp with bug spray stinking us both up, and I thought "Wow, it's 5 and I already smell like a camper." I do love the icky parts of camping -- it reminds me of the ease of life in the city with flushing toilets, electricity, and the protection from the elements. It continued to rain all night long. Fortunately in the morning we got up and it had stopped raining long enough for us to take a hike up towards the lakes.

To say the trail was terribly maintained is an understatement. I suspect NO ONE had done anything for trail maintenance since it had been built. The picture of me you see here is of the creek that we followed, mostly using deer trails after the human trail had long disappeared. We ended up hiking up to about 11,500 feet of elevation. Let me say this -- the sky is even bluer than it is down here at a Mile High, the sun is stronger, and the air is VERY thin, so every step requires more breaths to try to grab whatever oxygen is available.


We stopped for lunch at one point, realizing that we weren't going to find either Sopris Lake or Brady Lake -- we were a bit lost, but stayed by this creek, and found this beautiful waterfall.

As we headed back down, we had no idea where we had come from, as we had wandered around for some time looking for the trail that was long gone. So, we descended slowly, following the creek down the valley so we could find the trail again. Treacherous terrain -- very treacherous. I slipped several times because the woods were so wet, that every log we had to climb over was slick as snot.

But, we made it. We crossed the creek several times, and made it past a large rock cliff that if we hadn't stayed near the creek we would have had a tough time getting down. Several times the stories that play out with lost people in the woods went through my head. The #1 Hiker's credo is to STAY ON THE TRAIL. Well, we didn't do that.

The good news is we knew where we were, generally, and just heading downstream for almost an hour finally lead us to what looked to be the trail. I haven't been that psyched about something so seemingly small in a long time. We'd be ok.

Of course Brian never worried. I'm the worrier. But then that's the way it always in our lives together. I worry, Brian says "It'll be ok."

And it usually is.

Monday, August 14, 2006

Getting Through



This is a picture I took of Jacob. I edited it to make it more of a sketch.

Oh how we miss our son.

The thing that really gets me through this, and what I told Brian last night as we talked on the porch during the storm -- is that I know Jacob would not want us to quit living over his loss. I realized today that sometimes it's just going to be hard. Sometimes like these days, it's just going to suck. Period.

I think the hardest part about losing a baby is how people don't seem to know what to say, and sometimes they say nothing.

Silence is absolutely the hardest thing to take.

Just an "I'm sorry," is all it takes. Some people in our lives have gone missing and it's painful. It's hard because we don't feel we can just call up and say "Hey, where have you been?" because it would just make them feel bad, and that's not what we want to do. We just want the opportunity to share Jacob's life, and some of the pain of our loss of him.

He was a person. A person we met, loved, and cared for in the short time we had him in our arms. He was beautiful and perfect in his own way. He had a second toe that was longer than his first like me, and he looked like his Daddy, Grandpa M., and uncles in his face.

I'm not saying this just for the reader's benefit for us. But please know that anyone you know in the future just wants to hear that you're there for them. If you can be.

Sunday, August 13, 2006

The Love of My Life



This picture is of Brian and me in Paris last September. We're facing The Louvre, with the Place de la Concorde (the gold-tipped obelisk), and the Arc de Triomphe behind it. Behind that and out of view is La Defense.

The French are really good at making everything beautiful, orderly, and symmetrical. Their control over their environment with an eye for aesthetics is nothing short of amazing.

You go to Rome, and things are older and messier. Cobblestone streets wind around, ending at a piazza, cathedral or some ruins. Nothing is square, or linear. Forget round, unless you're at The Collisseum.

Our lives lately has been less Paris and more Rome. Less order, more chaos.
Less City of Light and more Eternal Frustration City.

Brian went out and played disc golf with his friends today, while I stayed home and worked on my quilt projects. When he got home, I wanted to go to dinner, but then realized the restaurant I wanted to go to -- LaFonda's -- I haven't been to since I was pregnant. While some days I'd feel like taking on the challenge, the mere thought of it reduced me to tears.

As the thunder & lightning storm started, I asked Brian if we could go out on the porch and just sit for a bit. We ended up cuddled up together watching the storm, as it started, then seemed to slow, and then started up again.

We talked about Jacob, and the holes in our hearts. We talked about how hard it's been, and how suddenly these past couple of days it feels harder instead of easier.

Through tears and hugs, we sat and just talked and comforted each other. We started talking about when we got married, and I said "Well, I think we've lived up to the whole "sickness & health, richer, poorer, through good times and bad part," to which he had to agree. Then I said "Thank God I didn't say "obey" because I would have failed that completely." Laughs.

There are few people on the planet who I have been friends with for a long time. Brian I've known for 25 years of my life. The day I met him I fell for him. Despite our early ins and outs, ups and downs, breakups and reunions, when we married 6 years 2 months 24 days ago, I married the one person I truly belong to, and who belongs to me.

Our lives aren't just our losses. But they've been true tests of our love, commitment and ability to lean on each other.

Lots of days, like lately, we're Rome...but someday I can't wait to get back to Paris.

Saturday, August 12, 2006

Running To Stand Still

That song title, "Running to Stand Still" by U2 (Joshua Tree album) kept playing in my head several times. It's amazing how a song that applies to your situation just starts playing in your head like it's on a continuous loop.

I was frustrated today. I got up early to start sewing and ran into some big snags.

I have a new machine, and I forgot exactly how to adjust the tension and get it just right before I topstitch a quilt -- last weekend I actually read the directions first, so I had better luck.

Well, today I topstitched almost a quarter of the quilt, then saw the mess underneath -- nothing but puckers, puckers and more puckers.

So, I tore it all out and started over. Three to four hours lost.

Then, I tried to fix it, but only managed to adjust the tension the wrong way. It was pulling too much on the bottom -- so again, puckers.

Now I was mad. Let's just say there were more puckers on me than the blanket by the time I got this far.

Finally, I broke out the even feed presser foot. You don't have to know what that is, only that it feeds the fabric layers through the machine with a special tool.

Voila!

I've been sewing a lot late this afternoon, and finally have quilt #2 almost top-stitched.

OK, I'm not standing still anymore.

Love, Actually

It's taken several weeks for me to get through the movie, "Love, Actually". Not for any reason other than I have been distracted by other projects or something to do, and suddenly I'd hit pause. Again.

This morning I saw down and watched the movie. It stars one of my favorite British actors, Colin Firth of "Bridget Jones' Diary" fame, and his co-star Hugh Grant, who never fails to do a good job of playing an irresistably cute Englishman.

Emma Thompson is in the movie, along with Kiera Knightly, and a host of other talented actors. It's a chick flick, I'll admit, but it was wonderful.

I loved the beginning of the movie as the scene starts in Heathrow Airport, with loved ones greeting each other, and Hugh Grant narrarates about how so many people see hate and badness in the world, but if you look around, you'll see a lot of "Love, Actually."

That alone had me, but the end of the movie also ends at Heathrow, and it's just beautiful. The closing scenes had me crying, for the joy of love, and the sadness of love lost.

So many people I know are paying attention to the war and strife in the world. It's hard to turn away from it, and perhaps we shouldn't. But it's ok to turn away for a while, and try to see the love that exists in the world, in our own families, among our friends.

And, if you haven't seen the movie, put it on your Netflix queue, and get "Love Actually."

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Susan

My friend Susan has been through what I've been through. Only later.

She called tonight to see how we're doing. She knows that after a month the rest of the world has returned to normal, and wanted to know how we were feeling.

Susan is pregnant -- due the week after we were. She's living moment to moment with her own angst over her pregnancy. She lost a baby at almost full term, so she's been in our shoes, and then some. I'll never forget the baby announcement of her Madeline -- "Born silently..."

Susan is one of those people who makes a room feel better when she enters it. The world is OK because Susan is there. The day I met her, she came to my house to have us wives meet -- and I knew we would be friends forever.

We've both had our trials since then with our losses, and it's just brought us closer. Tonight as I talked with her about our experience, we swapped stories a lot, and it just felt good to have someone who's been there, and is willing to talk about it, pain and all...

Thanks to Susan, for being such a wonderful person. And pray for her little one, as I hope hers is healthy and born on time, with as little fanfare as possible, medically speaking. I just pray a few months from now we get a perfectly healthy, perfectly boring birth announcement. That's what I wish for her.

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

OK, Today SUCKED.

I made it til about noon, and for some reason I felt like crying. My phone was acting up, and I called DH just to test it out, since I needed a friendly voice. I just felt like bawling, going home...something. I guess there's nothing like going back to a thankless job to make me feel like "WHAT the heck am I on this planet for?!?"

Then, at 6, Rick, the night security guard came in the door behind me. "Hi Mama," he said. He's said that to me since he found out I was pregnant. He said it a second time (I ignored it hoping he would just go away), so I said "please don't say that." Well, of course, he said "Why?" And I said gently "I'm sorry Rick. I've been on leave. I lost the baby." Of course he felt terrible. He apologized and said no one told him. I said "That's ok, sweetie. You didn't know." He is SO NICE. I felt so bad.

I got home, and have just spent the last two hours in tears.

Also, last night we got a call late in the afternoon to say the Solace class for parents was starting LAST night instead of next week, and we just couldn't pull it together to go. DH just couldn't do it, and quite frankly, I just couldn't either after getting through my first day.

This just sucks. I just wish I knew what to do. How on earth do I move forward? I took out Jacob's heart-shaped urn tonight for the first time, and just held it and cried.

Thanks for reading. I know there isn't much anyone can do. I just feel so heartbroken tonight.

My First Day Back At Work

I went to work yesterday for the first time. It went amazingly well.

Most of the gals I worked with gave me hugs and said "Welcome back," and I appreciated that. I talked with a couple of them about Jacob too.

Aside from one person saying some stuff I didn't need to hear, like "There's a reason for these things even if we don't understand it...blah blah blah" it went well. That person, I just said "Well, thanks for stopping by." Then I went back to my computer.

I was glad to get work again, back among the bustling downtown, my Starbucks, and some semblance of normal.

The weird thing is having to get dressed in something other than shorts and flip-flops, put my contacts in, and wear makeup. But even that's a good thing.

This morning I woke up early and walked Lucy at the lake. She gets SO excited to go, and it's good for me.

I've lost 5 pounds in the past couple of weeks, and have about 15 more to go, but I'm starting to feel better physically as well.

Saturday, August 05, 2006

My New Toy


My Old 1960 Model 403 Singer Posted by Picasa

Yesterday was a VERY big day in my life.


One might even say "HUGE". You see, I've always been a seamstress since I was big enough to sew. My grandmother put me up to this 1960 Model 403 Singer that my Mom got for a wedding present years before I was born. When I was 7, Gram literally had me sitting on phonebooks so I could reach the sewing machine on Mom's dining room table.

Over the years, I have mended family's clothing, made my first and most recent quilt and all the others in between. I've sewn everything from boat seat cushions to power suits to dog clothes on this machine. I've made dozens of bridesmaids dresses, and even my first wedding dress. Suffice to say, it has been a very loyal friend and a very hard worker.

But my loyal friend has been showing signs of age in its 46 years. After making three quilt tops this past week, the groaning from the motor has gotten worse before it gets going. Finally, I said the words I keep waiting my husband to say about his van that doesn't really run. "Honey, I think it's time I buy a new one."


My New Toy Posted by Picasa

This is what I bought yesterday.

It's a Singer Quantum 9940. It's their top of the line quilting machine, and was a few hundred dollars more than the basic model, but does so much more.

I'm loyal to Singer, because the machine I've had has always been trustworthy. Aside from a couple of new belts and a rubber washer that winds the bobbin, I haven't had to replace a thing on it in the 32+ years I've sewn on it. I've taken it apart and oiled it myself countless times over the years.

But I resisted the new electronic machines because when they first came out, any disturbance or dust on the motherboard had caused them to break down, and technology hadn't come to the point of taking care of those problems. Bernina, White, and other brands I've tried in the stores recently have not only been overkill for what I need, but prohibitively expensive.

So, when I started looking, I thought I'd see what Singer was making. This Quantum series was specifically designed with quilters in mind, and that is mostly what I do these days. But it also does so much more.

When Brian and I went to the store together yesterday, I looked at a more basic model which had fewer bells & whistles, and the screen didn't show you exactly what stitch you were using. As we considered the extra money, I liked the more expensive one, but I didn't know if I wanted to spend the money. Brian was the deciding factor. He just said "I know which one I want you to have." And before we knew it, we were buying the best.

I spent most of yesterday on the machine. I haven't had a moment yet where I've been frustrated since the machine threads easily, and it's simple to understand. The familiarity of the Singer machine is still there, despite its LCD screen.

I quilted a whole lap quilt yesterday in one afternoon. No bunching, no tension problems (between the upper and lower threads), no removing stitches. No frustrations as I'd fought with my aging machine.

I keep comparing the old technology vs. new, and I feel like a caveman who's been given the gift of fire. Life as I know it has changed. For the better.

Thank you Progress. and thank you Brian.

Friday, August 04, 2006

Doctor Appointment -- 4 Weeks After Jacob's Birth

I had my post-delivery follow-up with the doctor today.

Geez, that sucked. Brian didn't come home until I got back. He went for a bike ride after work -- I called looking for him and he was already gone -- but he completely spaced it. He felt so bad when I told him I was waiting for him til the last minute thinking he was coming.

Well, I was fighting the tears by the time I hit the freeway. I just figured "Screw it -- I'll cry if I want to." Well, I wanted to. I got in the door, and the waiting room didn't have any pregnant women, but I asked Lea the receptionist to get me into a room quickly. She went back to find out what room to put me in, and a PG woman came out...she must have been close to my time, and the tears just started to fall. By the time Lea got back, she saw me in tears, put PG lady on hold where she stood, and got me into a back room with a box of Kleenex.

When Dr. P came in, I started crying again, but told her I haven't been like this all the time. LOL...We didn't do an exam, just talked about whether we can have sex (yes, thanks), what birth control to use, which brought us to whether we would try again. I told her I'd like to make sure Jacob's Trisomy 18 diagnosis isn't also the reason for all our losses -- since if we DO have a genetic translocation, that could explain everything, and at that point, Brian would be going in for a snip-snip.

If we DON'T have it, and we do decide to try again (God, the thought of it...right now, no..) she didn't want to do depo or anything else since I'm turning the big 4-0 and wouldn't want to delay trying again for very long if we decided to.

So, we have clearance for me to go to work. It sucks in some respects, but it's time.

On the way home I went to Linens N Things and bought some house stuff I've wanted...Nothing too exciting, just a new bath mat, new shower curtain and liner, and some bar glasses.

By the time I got home, I was ready for a nice glass of wine.

One more hurdle left -- and that's work on Monday.

Thursday, August 03, 2006

The Angels Are Bowling


Cracks of Thunder & Lightning Posted by Picasa

It's the second day in a row that we've had cracks of thunder overhead. Yesterday we had a tremendous rain storm that screwed up my phone line for most of last night and knocked out my Caller ID.

Today as I sat out on my porch, I hard the long rumble of thunder in the distance. I don't know why it struck me as funny, but I remember someone telling me when I was a kid and scared of thunderstorms that the reason the sky makes that noise is that "The angels are bowling."

I've been thinking about angels a lot lately, mostly because of my babes lost. I saw a book on Amazon.com for explaining miscarriage to children, and its title is "We Were Going To Have A Baby, But We Had An Angel Instead".

As I venture out into the world, I see pregnant women. I wonder if I'd be that big by now. I find myself quickly looking away, as if that's going to change anything.

Instead, I have another angel.

I can't help but wonder exactly what the purpose of all this loss in our lives is about. I know, I feel a different kind of love for a baby after losing Jacob. He was mine. Some days I just want to tell God that "That's not enough."

Well, it has to be because that's what it is.

I type those words, another crack of thunder comes closer & louder, and I wonder. Some angel just threw a strike. Or God's trying to tell me something, like "I have way more power than you." Or maybe just the weather's bad.

Anyway, I'm wandering around here I know. I just think sometimes that's what I need to do. Wander.

I better stop now and shut down the computer before God shows me just how little power I have -- as in electricity.

Bowl a strike for me, Jacob.

CRACK.

Happy Birthday Jeffers


Charming picture, huh?

It's my big brother's birthday today.

I remember being about 10 when Jeff was 15 when my best friend D said she wished she had a big brother, & I offered to give her mine.

I suppose it's no surprise since that's what 10-year-olds do.

But my goofball brother is now all grown up, a college professor and everything, and is still willing to be silly. In publick.

We give each other a hard time, and find birthday cards our families won't sign. Well, his won't because they're classy people. My husband will sign pretty much anything...

A few times my brother and I have ranked on each other so hard in front of strangers they've wondered if we like each other. And I can say he's a good friend of mine. One of my best friends, actually.

I love you big brother.

Happy birthday Jeffers.

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Mel, Mel, Mel, Mel, Mel, Mel, Mel!



The Rodney King quote (or shall I say plea) "Can't we all just get along?!?" has been running through my head a lot lately.

Thank you Mel Gibson.

I'm not sure what surprises me more: Mel Gibson making a tirade against an ethnic group, or that he was drunk driving...family man and practicing Catholic that he is.

I was telling my husband tonight how I read Mel Gibson's apology, and how he said he wasn't a bigot. I know plenty of bigots who don't think they're bigots. Heck, maybe I'm one on some level. I can only say "I try NOT to be," but I realize that we all have world views in which we might say things we shouldn't or have thoughts about a certain race or class or nation that we wouldn't if we spent the time to actually meet people from those groups.

Another thing that eats at me is the allegation that this is just another piece of proof of his anti-Semite sentiments.

Personally, I don't think Mel was anti-Semitic in his making of the movie, "The Passion of the Christ" (starred in by JC himself -- James Caviezel, who went to my high school). Perhaps through the lenses of the Christian goggles I wear, I don't see it. The story is, Jesus was himself was Jewish by birth, and was killed due to the pressure of Jewish religious leadership (and its incited mob) on the Roman government. I didn't see any facts of the traditional story being misrepresented, and believe me, 18 years of Sunday School and church upbringing would have rung some bells.

But they keep bringing up how Mel has already faced controversy over being anti-Semitic due to the making of the the movie, and NOW -- boy howdy -- look at what he's spewing now.

We'll probably never know what he actually said unless the Internet does its job and produces a audio clip, and we'll probably never get the benefit of knowing what the heck triggered such a diatribe, whatever it was. I would LOVE to know exactly what was said so I could at least understand how outraged to really be. I mean, people have the right to say whatever they want -- but they also have the right to remain silent...although, he apparently lacked the ability -- as Ron White has said in his comedy routines.

But I also have the right to rail against what people say when they say stuff that stupid, whatever it was. No matter what he said, he was way out of line, as even he and his publicist know. But the reality is, I'll never look at him the same way no matter how many Yom Kippur celebrations he invites himself too.

Ever have one of those days where you just do it all?

It's only 3 p.m. and I've done so much today.

I woke up this morning and in the past 6 hours have gotten tons of work done.

I:

1) Cleaned out the cat boxes
2) Took out the garbage
3) Thoroughly cleaned out the refrigerator & freezer
4) Swept the kitchen floor
5) Vacuumed the living and dining rooms
6) Cleaned out the vacuum filters
7) Touched up the paint on the front door where the dog scratched it
8) Touched up the green bedroom paint
9) Worked on a quilt
10) Washed out the recycling bins and brought them in

What should I do for #11? I probably need a shower, and I need to go to the grocery store.

I have needed to get some of this stuff done...much of it like cleaning the fridge and touching up the paint just doesn't get done when you're at work. So, I decided to make a list of stuff to do, and today I did much of it.

Sometimes it feels good to get a lot done like today. It's been so hot it's been hard to work on things just because the heat just kills my motivation.

But thankfully the worst of the heat wave is over for now, and we're only in the 80s.

Now, I have to go find a Corona or something...It's time to put my feet up and let the rest just wait til tomorrow.

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