hard!!

And Still, I Gestate

Joe and I went to the baby’s first ultrasound yesterday. Because I’ve been on bed rest (and going insane) the bleeding had subsided by Wednesday evening, which meant we could have the ultrasound on Thursday afternoon.

Everyone was very nice. I tend to read too much into things so I think they were treating me with the uber-nice set of bedside manner skills. And I jump from there to the conclusion that they think I’m going to lose this baby so they treat me with more smiles, arm squeezes and shoulder pats. Either that, or I really am just so incredibly charming and don’t know it.

Here is Exhibit A:

uterus

Here are the two scenarios they gave me.

1) My uterus is reabsorbing the fetus. I will continue to bleed until I manifest a full miscarriage in the next two weeks. No amount of bed rest, Wikka, prayer or hocus-pocus will do anything to stop it from happening.

or

2) I really DID have the flu for 3 weeks, took the first home pregnancy test the very same day that the egg implanted and by some stroke of luck my hCG was high enough to show positive along with the next five tests. This would put me at only 5 weeks pregnant, which could account for not being able to see anything in the gestational sack. Which, as you can see by the blue arrow in the above illustration of my uterus, is mostly empty save for a few ribbons of something near the bottom. Which would be wrong for 8 weeks.

So, either we lose the baby over the next 2 weeks or we go back for an ultrasound in 3 to see if anything has changed in there. You can guess which one we are hoping for.

Thank you so much for all your comments, emails, letters and packages of encouragement. Your support means so much to us. If I don’t answer you, it’s just because I don’t know what to say right at the moment. My mental health seems to be a bit teetering on the edge and I’m really concentrating on keeping it together. Thanks for understanding.

Much love,
lpc

Bed Restlessness

Because I have been stuck in bed for the past few days, I have been absorbing way more than any person should know about Goldie (actually very smart!) and Kate (as sweet as she appears!), J-Lo (actually has a legitimate music career!), Cameron Diaz (i would like my ass to look like hers in roos!), the right way to fold a t-shirt courtesy of Martha Stewart (i don’t care! i roll mine!), who incidentally, licked jam off of David Letterman’s finger last night (it looked like blood!), watching Kelly Ripa pick a splinter out of Regis’s foot, (I AM NOT A FOOT PERSON!!) and watching episodes of Project Runway that I’ve seen probably five times but still enjoy way too much (yay! vincent is finally out!).

A very thoughtful person sent me a box of books, music and even a game to help my mind not turn into a bowl of oatmeal. Thank you, Amy. And, my husband thanks you since it keeps me from being quite as crabby.

Two Things

Meg linked to an article that has me a little upset. I’ve been drinking soymilk for the past 3 years pretty much exclusively and I thought I was doing my body good. Now I’m not only confused, I’m a little ticked off. I can only imagine what the soya has been doing to my hormone levels in regards to my PCOS issues. The article states that their research shows that babies drinking soy formula have the equivalent of 5 birth control pills worth of estrogen running around in their blood. Because I don’t want this to be true, as two of my kids drank soy formula for about 9 months a piece, and I don’t like the taste of cows milk and I also enjoy eating edamame at least 4 times a week, I sure hope someone can shed some light on this issue and tell me the article is a bunch of bunk.

Tom Coates recently wrote about ethical weblogging and it sure has me thinking lately about having ads on my sidebar. On the one hand, I like the $80 I average a month to help pay for hosting. On the other hand, I don’t really have any idea what the ads or the people who place the ads are about. I mean, I click on the submission and make sure it’s not pornographic or anything but beyond that, I’m blind. I think if I had to support my family and blogging was my job, it would be different. It would be the way I earned my money and since it was my job, I would accept that and be grateful for it and do everything I could to make the most money as integritously as I could. And I would make sure I knew about the person/company behind my ads and that I felt good about supporting them.

But its not my job. I blog for fun and for my mental health. And while I appreciate the ads I’ve received and the subsequent money deposited into my account, I don’t know if it’s enough. And when I say ‘enough’, it looks like I would have a price that would be ‘enough’ and that makes me wonder about my own integrity. Do any of you have any thoughts about this?

End of the Fauxcation

Ah, Internet. Have you missed me? Thank you for your nice notes. I have so much to tell. I’ll have to break it into parts.

I dropped the kids off just moments ago and already The Sad has infected my heart. Yes, I’ll see Devon tomorrow and Alexandra in a few days and Tyler and Tony in a little over a week, but WOW it is so great when they are here 24/7.

We had fun. It was hard some days. We didn’t Go anywhere or Do anything but we did spend lots of time together hanging out. As Tyler said out of the blue, ‘It’s not what we do, Mom, it’s who we do it with.’ And then my heart exploded and I died. The end.

We went to Universal Studios one day and City Walk a few times. The kids have a season pass which includes discounts on anything you buy, including food. Score! I find most of the ‘Rides’ and ‘Adventures’ to be lame, but what can be better than walking through Van Helsing with your daughter who is so spooked that she insists on having your arms wrapped around her waist the entire time? When we walked out she tried to act all cool and smooth her hair back, but dude, she and I both know she wanted me to hold her hand, so she does still need her mommy.

Speaking of my daughter, she has just gone through one of those major growth spurts. The kind that leave you, the mother, a little breathless and off center. Dizzy, even. She has had her learners permit for a few months, so I’ve known that she is moving towards being a Real Driver. I know this, and yet I persist in ignoring it. But late Friday night, her father drove her to Phoenix to pick up a car he got her in an auction. They got back Saturday evening and she is now the proud owner of the cutest, yellow, ’71, automatic, convertible VW Bug you have ever seen. She even took me for a ride. She was a little nervous but she did great. And she looked so OOOOOOld. And I want to throw up my hands and whine, ‘When did this happen??’ but I actually know when it happened. It’s been happening.

She has her first real crush. He lives a few towns away and she is all giggly and cute and so liking him, like totally. I told her she better change the phone plan to unlimited texting because her hand is now permanently attached to her cell phone. I asked her one day to turn her @#$%@!!* phone off for a few hours because @#$&!@#! it is just unreasonable to text every 3 minutes the entire live long day and she will die from carpal tunnel. She acquiesced and actually tried to take part in what the rest of us were doing but sadness descended upon her and my heart couldn’t take it! I looked at her sad puppy eyes and her itching fingers and her spasms and ticks from withdrawal and I gave the phone back to her for resumed texting. Her smile cleared the skies and the sun came out. You can blame her for this heat wave we are having. Thanks a lot, Alex. Thanks a. lot.

But I look at her manner and her speech and the way she carries herself and she is Older. Sigh. Here she is right before she went to see her BF.

7smile

And here we are in our maiden voyage.

7car

But, back to Universal Studios. I sat for about 45 minutes in front of one of the stores near the entrance waiting for a couple of the kids to meet up. During that time span I realized that I was listening to the Jurassic Park soundtrack and that I had been listening to it all day. I could hear the rousing refrains of music meant to inspire me to trek across wild and prehistoric terrain in search of T-Rex but all I wanted to do was sit in the shade away from the 150 degree heat. After I noticed it, I couldn’t stop being annoyed by it. Why? Why are you trying to make me jump up and march? Stop it! See me? I am sitting!! Also, there were very, very, Very annoying people that try to highjack you upon entering the park to ‘Give you a free bag! Waterproof! For the Waterworld Adventure!’ when what they really want to do is ‘Have you fill out a form’ which is really an application for a MasterCard. The Douchebags! It was good fun to watch people shoot them down. It was strange to watch one of the guy’s eyes as he tried to Make Eye Contact and draw fellow park-goers in. And it was sad to watch them demean themselves. But then sometimes I started feeling really bad for them because surely, they must have no other options because, Dude! who would want THAT job? No one, is the answer to that question. No one wants it. And I bet no one keeps it for very long because your soul dies the death similar to the telemarketer and then you get a job at Geico.

I made the kids take a photo with Frankenstein. Sorry, Mr. F. You prolly hate your job, too. But not as much as my kids hated me making them stand with you for this photo. Thanks for the Franken-hands!

franken

Possibilities

Where do I go from here? I can do anything I want. The possibilities are endless. This scares me the same way Super Wal-Mart scares me and (besides them being evil) why I don’t go there. I don’t want isles and isles of choices. I want 3 different kinds of blenders to choose from. I can handle that selection. But give me two isles of blenders from the itty, one cup version to the mongo, party sized one that also doubles as a cappuccino maker and Slip-n-Slide, I freeze. Too. Many. Choices. My brain shuts down and I stand there, drool slowly dripping out of the right corner of my mouth and a shhoooooooo noise emanating from my person.

If you could do anything you wanted, what would you do?

This is the question doing brain things inside my head.

Joe is very happy with his new employment situation. I think I was hoping in a very small and selfish way that he would go for a week to a place far, far away, commuting and hating the heat, working for much less money per hour and then tell me, ‘Gee, honey, I really miss working with you. I had no idea how good we had it. I’m going to come back and work with you again and really give it my all this time!’ This has not happened. In fact, he is flourishing. He is working harder than I’ve ever seen him work. He has so much determination to get things done that I forget I was upset. But then I remember. But that is just my own shit and has nothing to do with him. Him? He’s doing great.

So, what do I want to do? I’ve been a fulltime artist, photographer and writer. I’ve been a fulltime Project Manager and Project Director. (Those must be capitalized?) And then I was a fulltime Web Developer and partner. Now I’m doing lots of those things part-time and really missing the connection of Doing Something.

I realize that anyone at any time can decide to change their life and vocation. Anyone. Any time. However, this break and subsequent vocation change has been thrust at me. Have I mentioned I’m a planner? I did not plan for this. I plan when to change the lint screen and when to rotate the socks. I am unprepared! Maybe this is bordering on mid-life crisis. It must be time to get my nose repierced, get a new tattoo and chain smoke cloves while reciting bad prose I wrote people-watching at the Getty.

I’ve been working on other people’s projects for years. Now I would like to work on my own. But I feel like I need a person, a sounding board, a partner. Someone that listens to my ideas and tells me that it sounds like a bunch of crap. Or not. Someone that tells me their ideas and we work on them together. Someone that wants to work in online networking. Someone that has some design skills and programming skills to compliment my own. Someone that wants to work with me. I don’t feel qualified to do everything on my own and I miss working with other people. And Leah just sitting and stewing in her own juice all day does not make a sweet stew.

At some point, Joe and I said we would be all of those things for each other. We would be a Power Couple and work together and build something great. Really great. It’s hard to let go of all those ideas and feelings. I’m sad about that. But working together has not been good for Joe and I. I’m a perfectionist. He’s not. I have a driving need to get work done at a rapid pace. He does not. We even have different definitions of integrity. As it turns out, we aren’t the same person. Who knew? In short, we drove each other crazy. And even with not having a car all day, since we only have one and he uses it to commute to Far Far Away, I feel better. The energy in the house is clearer. When he comes home, he doesn’t have to feel like he’s still at work and I don’t feel like I need to ask him where he’s at with a million different projects. If he wasn’t so tired from getting up so early and coming home so late, I’m sure we’d have lots to commiserate about. We’d cuddle and laugh. He’d rub my feet. I’d tell him the funny thing our pet spider plant did and he’d use the anecdote with his colleagues the next day around the water cooler. It would be good times.

The kids are around for the next week or so and there really isn’t anything to be done in the Figuring Out The Future venue while we are ‘vacationing’ together. But the thought sits there, in the director’s chair with ‘Leahpeah’ written on the back, at the fore.

Random

I’m kind of a health-nut eater. I like organic, all natural etc. etc. But for some reason, Cap’n Crunch Berries makes me swoon in ecstasy. The cereal is particularly crunchy and cuts the crap out of the roof of my mouth and it hurts for a few days. I know before I eat it that when I finish the bowl, within minutes, my mouth will hurt. And still I eat. I gave up meth, but don’t ask me to give up my Crunch Berries.

~~

While staying in and doing my best to indulge in my own independence by not participating in Independence Day, I watch about an hour of Janice Dickinson that I can never get back. She would like to hire you because you move her with your great ethnic looks. But she would not like to hire your nose, so you’ll need to get that done. Also, she has two words for you: ‘Out!’

~~

I watched the mama bird for weeks. She religiously stayed at the nest and every time I opened the sliding glass door to go in the yard, she flew out of the rafters right above my head to the tree at the edge of the fence. Sometimes she would call at me a little, not sure if I was a danger to her eggs or not, but making some noise to distract me all the same. She tried to be patient while I sat in the swing, having my nightly smoke, rocking back and forth, back and forth. I would try to soothe her while I soothed myself with the steady rhythm.

One evening, I heard small and insistent peeps coming from the nest. The mama bird flew to the fence as expected, but then came three feet in front of me on the ground, scolding. How large I must have looked to her; so threatening. And yet, she was unafraid and lectured me soundly.

A few weeks later, as I unwound in the swing, I noticed her absence. The familiar swoosh as I came out the door had been missing. In the dwindling light, I noticed two shapes on the cement slightly to the right. And there they were: her babies, still and quiet, legs stiff. I was startled. Then sad. Then outraged on their behalf. And then from the left, I saw the mama bird flying in, worm in her mouth. She walked to one and then the other, questioning them, asking them to wake up and take a bite. And then I saw the other bugs and worms around them in a cluster here and there. She had been at it for hours. There were ants coming in, marching from the crack in the cement, looking at the bugs, sure, because they were there, but more importantly, exploring the babies. I looked at their fully formed wings, their tiny beaks, and wondered allowed what had happened? She had been so diligent! So ferociously diligent!

We wrapped them in paper and set them in the rubbish bin, Joe helping out with the wrapping since I couldn’t bare it. And we kept our thoughts to ourselves. And I cried a little for the mama and her babies that would never fly.

Leaky Eyes

My eyes are leaking. Seriously. Leaking all over the place all week long. You know how after time passes you can talk about things with more perspective and it all makes sense? Well, that hasn’t happened yet. I’m still in the middle of it, I have no perspective, everything feels awful and that makes my eyes leaky.

If this were a movie, it would be the part where I shake my fist at the sky and scream, ‘Is that the best you can do? Bring it on!’ with my hair whipping in the wind, a wild look in my eye right before the earth opens up and I get swallowed whole. And then the chipmunks laugh uproariously, straighten their ties and go back to playing Yahtzee.

So, here’s the thing about codependent relationships = they suck, but they work. And you want them to change, but then when they do, you kind of freak out. I’ve been pleading with Joe to figure out what he wants out of his life since I met him. I am always the one with great ideas and I’m all up with the knowing what I want and everything. He has always just kind of gone along with my flow instead of knowing what his own was. And then he sits back and silently resents the hell out of me. And so I’m all, ‘Joe, just think really hard and figure out what you want out of your life. I will be so supportive!’ And in the meantime, I just keep doing what I need to do and taking care of myself, because you can’t change anyone else, anyway, all the while telling Joe that I will be SO supportive, just as soon as there is something to be supportive about.

Fast forward a couple of years, I’ve invested all of myself in ‘my great ideas’, he decides he needs something different and actually TAKES STEPS to change things. And the pain, ladies and gentlemen. The pain is excruciating. Joe is doing exactly the right thing, the thing I’ve even encouraged him to do, and it hurts so bad I want to rip my heart out.

You know that place where you know things are exactly how they should be and it hurts like hell? You would rather walk on cut glass than go through it but you know there is no other way? You feel all alone and you look around and wish someone was there with you, but when people try to help you tell them to shut up because there is no way they can understand how you feel? And you walk around with your eyes leaking everywhere for days? Yes, well, that’s me right now. Just call me Leaky Eyes.

I’m so proud of Joe. I can’t even tell you how proud I am of him. The proudness of him makes my eyes leak, too, just so you know. I’m watching him change and evolve and Become the person he wants to be. The decisions he’s making turn my world upside down. They make me have to reevaluate what I’m doing and figure out some things all over again. They make me angry. They make me uncertain. I have the strongest urges to say things to him that I never would have thought possible. I feel manipulation coming to the surface and in order to not give into those hurtful urges, I say nothing. I just leak out of my eyes. I can hardly believe it’s possible for anyone, ever, to change a codependent relationship because even though it’s what I’ve been asking him to do, I can’t stand it. I can’t even imagine if I was part of a couple where my partner started changing, I didn’t even realize there was a problem and I didn’t want him to. This sucks hard, but that would suck rockstar-style.

So, there will be no Oregon vacation this year, which over the past two days has set a record in eye-leakage. But next year, I could bet that this situation wouldn’t happen again because of the changes Joe is making. And that is something to look forward to. Heck, just being able to pay the bills is something to look forward to. You have no idea how not being able to pay the gas bill makes my eyes leak. It’s crazy.

Things Stuck in My Head

“After much deep and profound brain things inside my head…”

From Madagascar, which I didn’t see when it came out because I thought it would be so dumb, and also, my kids are older and weren’t interested in seeing it and to go to an animated movie by yourself is making a bigger commitment to my inner child than I’m willing to make unless I really, really like it. And, as I said, I didn’t think I would. Oh, how wrong I was. It’s on HBO right now and I think I’ve seen it about 15 times partially and 3 times all the way through. Ali G is the voice of the Lemur King, who says the above quote. It drove me crazy trying to figure out who the voice was, since I couldn’t quite place it but I knew I knew it. Why didn’t I look it up right away, you might ask? It’s a dumb game Joe and I play – where we try to name the voices without needing Google. I feel so much pride in my victory when I recognize the voices all on my own, and most importantly, before Joe.

“I exuberate fantastic-isms.” “Mer-man! *cough* *cough* Mer-man!”

Zoolander. I do not like most of Ben Stiller’s work. But I do love this movie.

“I remember when, I remember, I remember when I lost my mind. There was something so pleasant about that phase. Even your emotions have an echo in so much space.” and “And I hope that you are having the time of your life. But think twice. That’s my only advice.”

Gnarls Barkley, Crazy Nelly Furtado’s live version is pretty nice, too.

By the way, it’s summer. Things in my life have been turned upside down in so many ways but the best way, is that the kids are around more. Yes, they tease more. Yes, it drives me crazy. Yes, I end up threatening to ground someone, after which, we all have a good laugh because the last time I actually grounded someone was about 8 years ago, and even then, they might not have deserved it. Now when I say it, it’s a way to introduce humor. My kids are so easy going and usually exhausted by whichever sport they are in and by the increasingly alarming amounts of homework they bring home. But right now, homework and sports-less, they use their energy for evil by teasing each other. Devon, age 17 is the worst one. I know exactly where he is in the house because of the screaming coming from that direction.

In a week, we should be in Oregon on a sandy beach enjoying the vacation we’ve had planned for a year with my sister and her family. But we won’t. Extenuating circumstances have created a world with no Oregon beach in it and the loss of a $500 deposit. When I get done sobbing, wailing and gnashing my teeth I might try to figure out an alternate vacation plan. And I better hurry because if I don’t figure out what to do with my 2 weeks of endlessly open vacation time with four teenaged and very adult-sized and hungry children with bottomless energy in a positive and creative direction, someone is going to get SO grounded.

Oh, Hello, Film. I'm Leah.

You may have heard that my camera broke. I finally got through to the right people and got the right clearance and have now sent the camera off to Sony, bless their little hearts, at their expense. I await its return in 3-5 weeks fully functional, or a check in the mail with an explanation that the CCD was so far gone, there was nothing they could do. Should that happen, the $179 from them is really going to go far in getting my new camera. Not. Why they gotta make crap?

In the interim, I have been reeducated in the ways of film, the likes of, I have not seen for years. And lo, I was rusty and unsure of myself. And I saw the images, and they were bad. Very bad. Aperture who? ISO what? Shutter speed where?

ty_outoffocus

alex_polkadotheadband

The camera I borrowed is lovely. It takes very nice photos when I actually set up the shot right.

ty_tony_tree

And the lomo 4-lens I played with was fun. I like looking at the rusty images.

4alex

Fun. Yes. But not fast. I am an instant girl in this instant world and waiting to see what the image looks like – whaaaaa? I want to point and click. I want the camera to read my mind. I had no idea I had become so lazy.

I have tried to get back into the feeling I used to have with my Nikon F70 back in the day, before I found digital. Truly tried. And I think if I had my digital to use whenever I wanted, the film part would be more fun, because Hey! maybe I want to shoot with Fun Film today. But if I have no choice and I MUST shoot with the sloooow and slooooooooooow film that I won’t get to see for days and will cost me money I don’t have to develop, then it is. not. fun. If I HAVE to pick up the Rollei and figure out the light reading and film speed and, heaven forefend, FOCUS the lens, then I am a sad, sad Leahpeah who has been put upon to no end. What a whiner, eh?

And yet, still I persist with the whining. I know what I like, and I like to see the image right away. And I want to take photos and photos and photos until I puke without worrying that I’m blowing $20 bucks down the drain of unusable pictures.

Now, I love the look of some of the images I took with those two film cameras. And I also like the look of Polaroids sometimes. But day-to-day, give me back my digital. I have no desire to go out and buy developer and create my own darkroom anymore. Does this make me less a photographer and more a user of newer technology? Maybe. Maybe not. But either way, it doesn’t matter. Because I’ll have my images right after I take them and shoot willy-nilly the entire time I’m on vacation or at the basketball game. And I won’t waste money on developing film I’ll never use or have to spend time scanning images in to get them in digital format and remove noise from the crappy scan. So, I’m ok with that.

Good Days

I wake up in the morning and before I even open my eyes, there it is: a weight resting squarely on my chest. I cautiously feel around my thoughts to see what this weight is before jumping to conclusions. It’s possible that I just had a bad dream.

Oh, right. I’m just not quite awake yet. Sometimes when I first wake up, I have left over thoughts flying around in my mind. And some of them could be left over from years and years ago. They are just shadows, tiny endings of experiences that hurt me or things that made me very sad. But they aren’t happening right now and that is what I need to focus on.

I imagine a light. Yellow and white but not too bright. It’s warm and healthy. It’s healing. It starts in my chest and expands until it fills my body.

Some of the remaindered and leftover thoughts try to stick around. They pop up and tell me, ‘You are such a failure’ and ‘Nothing you do matters’ and ‘Nothing will ever get any better.’ Some of them go far, far back and are more like, ‘No one cares about you so you better concentrate on surviving’ and ‘People want to hurt you and take advantage of you’ and ‘Everyone is a liar.’ But as soon as the thoughts come up, I look at them, evaluate them and see if they are true or not. They aren’t. What a relief. And I send them on their way.

I know that if I think too much about what I have to do today, it will feel too hard. I’ll start feeling overwhelmed and probably not get out of bed. Once I allow myself to go down that downward spiral, it’s very hard to climb back up and could take me days. The best defense is a good offense. Some days I do better than others.

There are days when catastrophic thinking is hard to shake off, but it doesn’t happen very often. I thank God for that. And The Universe. And Love. I know my meditation routine by heart and slip easily into a place where I feel only Love and a connection to everything and everyone. It’s beautiful. I stay as long as I need to and then climb out of bed.

I don’t think about getting up or showering or even what I’m going to wear. I don’t think about any of those things because I don’t really NEED to think about them. I know how to do them all without thinking. And if I make the mistake of thinking about it, I might not do it. So, I just do it.

As I finish up washing my hair and shaving my legs, I smell the soap. It smells clean and invigorating. I’m looking forward to the coffee. I grab an outfit from the two that I laid out last night: one is for slightly warmer weather and one for colder. That way, I don’t have to think about it when it feels too hard. Of course, I can always change my mind and get something else from the closet if I want. And sometimes I do. But mostly, I stick with what I prepared the night before.

A thought of work will come up and for a second my heart starts to race. I feel behind. I feel like I’ll never be safe and secure. I feel like everything I’ve worked so hard for could be taken away in a second. My breathing gets faster and faster. I start to sweat. I can’t breathe. I’m going to die. But then I catch myself. I tell my heart to slow down. I remind myself to take some deep breaths. And I tell myself that I’ll think about all of that in about an hour when I’m more awake and I’ve eaten some protein and had some coffee.

I go downstairs to begin my day and do stuff.

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