Thursday, September 30, 2004


So, did I disappear off the earth for a while? Why no, thank you for asking. But it would seem that way when you spend a day in the ER. Good times.

It started the night before last, Tuesday, after we got home from our nine-hour drive back from Cincinnati. I'll spare you the gory details but aside from other things I was having cramps and a backache from hell. If I wasn't using birth control, I'd have said I was pregnant and having a miscarriage. Yesterday, it wasn't better. Actually, it was worse. After a lovely conversation with my lovely friend Ashley (conversation having absolutely nothing to do with what's going on with me physically) I break down crying cause I feel like dookie and she says that "Yes" I should call the doctor.

I hate calling the doctor. I'm afraid they'll tell me I'm a whiner. Which is probably why I tend to get really sick then they tell me how stupid I was for waiting so long to call the doctor. But I digress... I called the doctor. Or I tried anyway. Apparently, in the metro DC area there are quite a few women needing to visit the GYN because my new doctor was booked solid until December. They gave me the number for "Ask a Nurse". The nurse was so nice, she made me cry. She essentially said go to the doctor or go to the ER. Well, my doctor's office couldn't help out on that one (Come on! They have five offices for pete sake... they couldn't give anyone the boot for a semi-emergency?) Anyway, Rusty came home from work, Ashley watched Sean and we headed off to the ER.

Funny thing, if you're under the age of 40 and having the symptoms I was having, even with birth control they assume you're pregnant. I didn't want to hear that. But not for the reasons you might think. Yes, it's true that Rusty and I have decided that we're good to go with two kids. We don't feel the need to "try for a girl". We're happy. Being pregnant would be a surprise, even a shock. But not "bad". No, I didn't want to hear that I was pregnant because the symptoms I was having indicated a miscarriage, not a healthy pregnancy. And if it were a miscarriage, it wasn't random. It would be caused by the fact that my birth control of choice is a hormonal IUD. In theory, you can't get pregnant. But if you do, the IUD prevents the pregnancy from progressing past a certain point. My GYN stressed that it never gets to that point, etc. when I had it put in but you know... if they tell you, then someone has gotten that far with it, right?

Anyway, I didn't want to hear that I was pregnant because I didn't want to hear that I was miscarrying because of the birth control method I had chosen. I felt selfish and evil. I don't necessarily feel like every woman who has an abortion is selfish and evil... but I felt selfish and evil. Right up until the time that my blood test came back and said big ol' "No" on the pregnancy. Then I just felt annoyed to have sit in the ER for so long feeling like crap.

The rest of the story ends with me still feeling like dookie but coming home with a prescription for the biggest pills I've ever seen for some unknown infection (they'll call me in 3 days when the test results are finished to make sure one of my kidneys isn't sleeping on the job). I have the most heinous backache ever. But I'm just sick and not a horribly, selfish person like I thought. But I'm rethinking my decisions. I don't want to go through this again.

Monday, September 20, 2004

Who am I?

I've been trading email with my friend Jodi, a fabulous person from Cincinnati and a fellow Vineyardian. She's had an emotional weekend. Not one of those obviously hard emotional periods -- she didn't lose a loved one, or a pet or a job, etc. It's one of those stealth emotional things, one that makes you feel silly for being upset and yet you're fighting with everything you have to keep your composure. I hate those.

Jodi has an interesting question posted over on her blogsite - Jodi's blog. "Am I who I want to be?". I started to post a reply to her question. But my three sentences turned into three paragraphs and I didn't want to hijack her space so I brought it over here instead.

So... AM I who I want to be? Hardly. And I don't mean I'm not the athletic, stylish, famous or rich person I wish I was. I mean that emotionally, spiritually I am not who I want to be. My inner life doesn't spill over into my daily life in a good way. Up until this past weekend, I would find myself too ashamed to pray as I look back and see that my selfishness, greed and unhappiness have caused me to miss so many opportunities to respond to the world around me rather than obsessing at the world within me. Then I got an email from Jodi about her stress and what was causing it. I shot off an email that sounded so unlike me lately -- it was actually selfless in that I didn't care that she may not like some of what I thought because I really felt like it was something I was being led to say. I didn't stop to think that she may hate me afterward or put the whole response off because my life was total chaos at that moment (it wasn't really chaos, but to my small selfish mind it was). This was the "me" that I wasn't sure existed much anymore.

Since we moved, I've had a hard time finding my identity again. For most of the last time I lived in Maryland I was an art student getting to exercise my creativity everyday, a volunteer YoungLife leader spending time with kids and focusing on them and their lives, and discovering who I was apart from family and friends back in Cincinnati I'd known literally almost all of my life. It was liberating. Even when Rusty and I first got married, we had a great time learning how to be married and being friends with each other and with other couples in the same places in their lives and their faith.

When I became pregnant, the hunt was on for a job and living space in Cincinnati so that I could be close to my family. After Liam was born, I didn't lose the weight I had gained and was very self conscious. Also, looking back, I think I was dealing with post-partum depression though I didn't recognize it at the time (I've had two friends here mention that they noticed it when we visited). My self image plunged to the very lowest it's ever been. What was worse than feeling fat and ugly? Knowing that even if I was fat and ugly, that wasn't what truly mattered. I had prided myself on not caring about that stuff then all of a sudden I couldn't shake it.

When Rusty was offered the job back here, we prayed about it and it was a hard decision to leave my family and our friends but we did it because we believed it was the right thing to do. I still believe that though I did doubt it for a few months last winter and spring. Things just weren't what I thought they'd be. I'd left with just myself, my husband and my expectations for my new life as a mother. I was returning with two children, an older and much wiser relationship with Rusty and a still damaged self image.

Rusty is now back at NASA, coaching a soccer team and spending time with Erik and Alwood and just being glad we're back. We're in a small group with the Hansen's, the Stuarts, Pete and Karen McLaren and Sherry and Bruce (oh crap, I can't remember their last name... actually, I remember it but can't beging to spell it). But personally, in the "just me" department, I'm not doing so great. Right now, I essentially stay home and take care of the boys. Things are looking up a bit because I get to ransack and totally redo another crapped out house. You know I live for tearing stuff up and redoing it. But there is this part of me saying "Isn't there more to me?". I totally believe that raising my kids to be good people is a big job. I'm the one doing it, I know how much energy it takes. But I'm talking about beyond that. Is there seriously not enough room for my kids and some sort of meaningful self expression for me, specifically some sort of expression that would bring in some cold hard cash in the process? (just teasing... sort of). We don't "need" the money as we're surviving without a second income right now. But I'd love to spend time away and feel like my family is benefiting from that time spent away as well.

I have no clue what I'm babbling about. See, Jodi. This is what happens when you make me think. GAH!!!!!

Thursday, September 09, 2004


Have you ever been up late while others are trying to sleep and either read or watched something so funny that you found yourself doing that silent, shaking kind of laugh? You're like kind of spitting and making a sputtering noise, and the more you watch/read, the more you laugh? Then you maybe hold your nose in a vain attempt to quiet yourself? And it never works? That's me.

I found this site called Snarkywood. It's one of the funniest things I've ever read. I'll tell you now, it's downright mean at times. But funny. My favorite post = We love Whitney Houston. Had me laughing so hard I had to give up the attempt at silence and I sounded like Dick Van Dyke in Mary Poppins ("I Love to Laugh" song). So why is it that I, who wouldn't consider making fun of someone, can get so much hysterical pleasure from reading other people doing it? Do I justify it because the targets are famous and overexposed and therefore somehow deserve it? Does their insane income/lifestyle cover below-the-belt hits? I don't know. I really wish I could justify myself here and come up with some great hypothesis for how I can live with myself for laughing at Snarkywood. But I got nothin. It's just so stinkin funny. And that probably makes me a big jerk. At least I'm an amused jerk.

*Be warned, Snarkywood uses profanity (though it's just that much funnier... I really am going to hell)

Sunday, September 05, 2004

2:26 A.M.

It is wait...2:27 a.m. What am I doing awake? Well, a couple of things. On the surface, I'm sitting at the computer playing with every CD I can find and uploading them to itunes. In reality, I'm trying to tell myself that the news on the school attack in Russia isn't bothering me as much as it really is. My rational, American self is saying that it's half a world away and it could never happen here. But my emotional, spiritual side is saying screw that, who cares where it occurred and even if it never happens here, it still happened. I'm not one for seeing news stories and getting personally invested. Maybe this is bothering me more because Liam started kindergarten two weeks ago and we spent a morning in the cafeteria with all the other families taking part in the same beginning-of-school ritual. I'm finding myself more shaken by this story than I really care to admit.

Every time I see the photos or hear or read a news account, it's impossible to stop thinking that those women feel the same way about their children as I do about mine. That the crying woman waiting to see if her child is among the dead could easily be me, or Amy, or Ashley or Ailsa. We could be looking for our children, our sisters and brothers-in-law. I can't help but think that even those who did survive are not among the lucky. I can't imagine what that kind of violence does to a child. How they can possible see what they've seen and not lost their little minds altogether. My brain just can't get rid of the details - the woman who was released and brought her baby out then went back in to stay with her other three children who were not allowed to leave. And my brain knows how kids' minds work and I can't stop thinking "What if it had been Liam in there? If I hadn't been with him? Who would have comforted him and held him?". I'm not trying to be miserable over this. Somehow my "Mommy brain" just can't let go of it.

I just read a quote online regarding the new John Adams commission for the September 11th tribute. By all accounts it's almost paralyzing in it's power. Regarding the September 11th piece, someone wrote: "I guess for me, safe on the ground, I need to get as close to that kind of fear and suffering as I can, like I owe it to those people. Does that make sense?". I guess my anger tonight is my brains's way of paying my condolences to those involved in Russia. I want to be able to turn away from it, but that seems like it would diminish it in some way. I'm remembering back when Rusty and I saw "The Passion of the Christ" and thinking "maybe I don't want to see this". But seeing it seems to make more an impression to me than anything, my mind seems to take in and work on visuals more than any other medium. And I felt the same way about the movie. It was so uncomfortable to watch. But I felt I had to. If Christ went through it, I could at least make myself see what it may have really been like (as opposed to the totally clean, blond Christ-on-the-cross paintings I remember from the church nursery when I was little).

So here I am, uploading music and come across "What a Wonderful World" by Louis Armstrong. How I wonder how totally wrong can that song be? I'm angry. Not just because of the children and adults that died over the last two days. I'm angry about the whole mess.

I'm the first to admit that some of this anger would probably dissapate if I stopped listening to Alanis Morissette as I write this ("Jagged Little Pill" is a wonderful screaming album. Love it. If that makes me a heathen, so be it.). I tried switching to my "God music" play list but couldn't get into it. I told myself I didn't have to "feel" it, but still. I wanted to scream and seeing as how it's the middle of the night, I just switched back to Alanis and let her do it for me. Yay, Alanis. I mean, really, what does Alanis have to scream about? Her boyfriend jilting her or possibly her lack of understanding the meaning of the word "ironic"? Maybe she's just now realizing she dated Dave Coulier? I dunno. I'm all for yelling like a maniac when you're hurting inside, and I'm sure it's done her a world of good to get it out (and make some money for it). But it's been almost fun to sit and listen to her yell and pretend I'm mad about something as normal and sane as a break-up.

I'm sure I'll be fine tomorrow. But that bothers me. I don't want to get to a place where I'm able to distance myself from the pain that others feel. In this situation, empathy has been a motivator for me to pray - both the ones who've been lost and those they left behind.

We'll see if I still need Alanis in the morning.
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