#MicroblogMondays: Artsy

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Last Friday I joined a group of ladies at a local Wine and Design to mingle, chat, snack and somehow create an Autumnal painting that had at least a passing resemblance to the original painting. It was this last part I was concerned about. I admire greatly those who can draw, chiefly since I cannot. I hadn’t been to Wine and Design before, so I was skeptical about the process, especially given that there would be wine.

But I’ll be damned: it worked! We started with a mostly blank canvas (when I texted this picture to Jimmy, he praised my work; the instructor had drawn these for everyone.)

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Over the next two hours, the instructor took us through each step, and by the end we all had really nice paintings.

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It was neat to see how different each person’s painting was.  And voila! Here’s mine! Don’t know if I’ll frame it, but it was gratifying to produce something that didn’t look like a hot mess!

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Help for a Friend

Beautiful Janel and her fight against cancer

I have fair skin and after years of being made fun of for my complete lack of melanin in my legs and sad, painful attempts at a tan, I finally gave up and embraced my paleness. Yes, I joke that my untanned legs are similar to the color of plucked, dead chickens but honestly, I don’t care.  I’ve endured sunburn so bad that it gave me egg-sized blisters as a child and sent me to the doctor to have the blisters drained. I’ve attempted to tan with predictable results. I’ve endured self-inflicted pain from sunburns and the weird, cool, jelly feeling that rising blisters give. I’m done. Finally, I slather myself (and my family) with the highest sunscreen. I use umbrellas and hats. I love the sun but recognize it is my enemy as someone with pale skin.

My friend Janel would not fit the definition of a sun worshipper. She used sunscreen, never went to tanning beds. Yet she finds herself battling back from Stage 3b Melanoma for 3 years. Besides her remarkable generosity and concern for others, she is no different than any one of us.

I know Janel thanks (ha) to infertility and our geographical proximity. My first incarnation as a blogger was an infertility one after our FET had failed in 2007. I was bitter and angry. I didn’t know where we were going. I had been following IF (infertility) blogs for a while, and Janel’s resonated because of her story but also because she lived in the same state and about 2 hours away. I followed along with her story as they pursued cycle after cycle, the wonderful pregnancy with O-Man and the bed rest.  Her attitude was upbeat throughout, and she was admirable.  O-Man was born healthy (and is now an energetic kindergartener), and we finally had our chance to cycle for surrogacy.  When we felt comfortable after our several betas and ultrasounds, Janel sent a gift.  She arranged many NC IF meet-ups, and I treasure the pictures I have from these gatherings.  Janel is a connector. Janel is GOOD people.

So it is devastating that she has been diagnosed with melanoma and suffering a terrible range of effects. She has had skin issues, liver issues, dental issues and now uterine issues. She’s had periods of “no evidence of disease”, followed by cancer reappearing in pockets of soft tissue around her body, requiring more surgery, more pain, more weight loss. Each day brings a new complication, a new worry. The fear is unending.

What I’m asking is this: we can’t take the cancer away. But we can help her family pay the bills that continue to mount as new cancers and new effects of chemotherapy make themselves known. We can relieve her heart and show her she IS LOVED as much as she is LOVE to others. We can set the debt account to zero so she and her family can begin the next fight to recover from these surgeries and strengthen her immune system to fight off cancer’s next punch.

And if your generosity exceeds her need, she’ll gladly give it away to another charity. After which she’ll spend the rest of her long and cancer-free life, continuing to be the friend and person she’s always been in the world by being kind, sharing light, and proving that love does indeed have the last word.

What we are asking for Wednesday is this: make a difference for her with your 5, 10, 15 contributions–remember on this day, no one can give more than $25. Share her story widely, with your friends, family, neighbors, at the bus stop, at the coffee shop, on the train and let everyone know that they can be a part of shining light and love into Janel’s fight.

Cancer sucks. Infertility sucks. Janel has had a rough several years but is full of grace.  Let’s help her. Here’s the link to the fundraising site. Again, no more than $25 required. Give what you can.

Donate here.

#MicroblogMondays: MC Daniel

Daniel and I listen to music on the way to school every morning because Daniel is not a fan of “the talk” as he refers to NPR, etc. My compromise is that we will listen to channels I like, so that means Lithium (90s alternative), the 80s and 90s channels.

It’s led us to have some interesting conversations: “Mommy, what’s this song about?” when Digital Underground’s “The Humpty Dance” came on (alas I wasn’t quick enough to tell him it was about Humpty Dumpty, stuttering something about it being about dancing). And telling me he really likes Ben Folds Five’s “Brick,” which is a tad awkward given the subject matter of the song. Daniel seems to prefer the 80s channel, so my work is done.

A few days ago, an Eminem song came on and he asked about it. I told him how Eminem got his name and he giggled. Then he said, “You can call me Skittle!”

Touché.

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#MicroblogMondays: Fat

Last night as I was tucking Daniel into bed, he told me he wanted to see how fat I was. I stood up because I wasn’t really sure where he was going with this, and he giggled and said, “you’re fat” and started patting my stomach. I told him that wasn’t nice to say and left the room.

I was crushed. But even more than the hurt and embarrassment I felt was my curiosity about what prompted that exchange. We are diligent about not talking about weight or body issues around him but maybe we aren’t as diligent as we thought. Was it something from school? “Fat” was one of his spelling words a few weeks ago.

It’s likely that he doesn’t really understand what he said and why it was hurtful. Now to figure out how to talk about it. My mother laments that once your child starts school, “they’re never really yours again,” a statement that is actually kind of horrible, but maybe it contains a grain of truth: the more they experience of the world, the less control you have; from that point on you are fighting to fit in these new experiences with your family’s value system and world view. And ours definitely does not include calling people fat!

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#MicroblogMondays: sentimental

We are extremely sentimental in our house. The calendar is littered with the “first time since…” and “8th anniversary of XYZ.” Case in point: we just celebrated our 18th meeting anniversary :-)

September has been a special, significant month for us for many years, but its status was sealed when we cycled for our successful surrogacy cycle during it 6 years ago.

I always note the dates, but this year is the first time the calendar dates & days of the week align again, sort of like déjà vu.

I spent Saturday cleaning up the results of my little boy’s upset tummy. I blame it on an overly- sweet cupcake and don’t ask me why b/c you really, really don’t want to know.

Six years ago on that same Saturday, we received the almost unbelievable news that after years of infertility, we had our first positive beta ever. While cleaning up your child’s vomit is no one’s idea of a good time (I hope), there was an odd, messy rightness in it since nothing says “parent” like ungrudgingly cleaning up after your small person.

Thankfully, by noon Daniel was feeling better and begging to go outside. I often worry that I am not being the best mother I can be, but I’m forever grateful I have the chance, even if it means spending quality time with my favorite cleaning products.

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#MicroblogMondays: Soft Heart

Last night we carried a sobbing Daniel to bed. You see, he had just learned that the flowers and vegetables we planted last summer were dying and worse, there was nothing we could do to prevent it. We had planted zinnias, zucchini and peppers more as an experiment than anything else. He loved watering them, watching them sprout and grow and (sort of) bloom. Every night he said goodnight to them, bestowing kisses on them. The zucchini never bore fruit and the peppers never appeared. The zinnias grew tall, though.

A few weeks ago, I had started moving the summer plants to the side of the porch to make way for mums and pansies. This change confused Daniel and he tried to restore the plants to their former location but soon settled for telling the browning plants good night in their new location.

We had been telling him about growing seasons and how some plants are annuals while others are perennials, and it all clicked last night. He looked at us like we betrayed him, and it broke his heart that the plants he had cherished were dying. Cue tears.

We wiped his tears and reassured him that we would plant more flowers and vegetables next year. I think it helped a little.

Was this his first heartbreak? His first realization that time marches on and that life can be cruel and so often beyond our control? I know one thing: our little boy loves. He has a good heart and this first ache will make him and it stronger.

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#Microblog Mondays: No Pants

Since last spring, I have worn skirts and dresses exclusively, even on the weekends once I found the elusive super-casual skirt I’d been looking for. It’s primarily because I’ve gained weight and my pants are tight while skirts and dresses tend to be more forgiving. I also find them to be very comfortable. My coworkers tease me because even on “dress-down” occasions at work like retreats, I still wear a skirt or dress.

I promise I have not joined some Duggar-like cult :-)

We are having the first taste of fall in NC this week, and I panicked a bit yesterday when trying to figure out what to wear. I need to figure out how to transition my summer skirts and dresses into the Fall until it is cool enough to wear my other clothes. Or maybe I need to go shopping. I like the latter option!

The truth is that while I definitely need to lose weight and plan to , the thought of wearing pants feels so constricting and uncomfortable. Guess that places me firmly in the “no pants” camp for now.

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