Monthly Archives: January 2011

Lola

This whole weekend has been under the cloud of the heartbreaking news I learned of yesterday: fellow ALI blogger Wiseguy lost her dear, newly born Lola After years of struggling with infertility, Wiseguy is no stranger to pain and loss.  This one was a punch in the gut to me, someone who has never met Wiseguy in person, has never heard her voice, and knows her “only” on the internet.  I was so excited for her about this pregnancy and was eagerly awaiting the birth to see if little one would be Lola or Kaiser.  I can’t stop thinking about my friend, who has been a strong voice of support to me through my last couple of years of struggle.  I wish there were words.

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ICLW January (aka better late than never)

I am venturing back into the ICLW waters this month.  (If you’re unfamiliar with ICLW, follow the link to find an explanation.)  I return to ICLW, somewhat chastened by my own procrastination.  The last time I participated was in September and I asked readers for questions that I planned to answer that same week.  Ahem.  Well, it is now four months later, and I am finally getting around to answering your questions.

My most sincere apologies.  Here’s to forgiveness!

Jendeis asked:  What are some of your favorite foods? Along those lines, what is your favorite Jewish food?

Favorite Jewish food is pretty easy:  matzoh ball soup.  Mmmmmm, I love me some matzoh balls.

Favorite foods in general:  most rice dishes (I think I could live on rice), fried chicken (though it doesn’t always like me), the list is really too long.

Both Beautiful Mess and My Sky Times asked:  Is it ever difficult for you to separate your emotions with your job [as a social worker]?

Yes.

I’d like to answer this more fully in a post of its own, but in short, yes, sometimes I have a really hard time with the emotions that my job brings up in me.

Haidee asked:  As a newcomer to your blog I’d like to know a little more about your background and infertility journey (in brief!)

In brief, back when I was married, we struggled with my PCOS a bit, and hit a brick wall with his extremely bad sperm morphology (size and shape).  We started looking into IVF and discovered I had a fibroid that would have to be removed surgically.  While fighting with the insurance company over the surgery, Mr. X made a career decision (that he would not renew his contract the following year), so we decided to put off treatments until we had moved.  This all occurred during the spiraling down of our marriage, and we split up about a year after the IVF consultation.  The story of the breakup is not very brief (involves my taking off the blinders and realizing that he was emotionally abusive) but if you’re interested you can read more about it in the tab above  (The Great Escape).

Tarah asked:  What smell always brings you back to your childhood?
What is your favorite feature about yourself?
When did you meet your best friend?

The smell one is hard to put into words.  It’s the smell of the air outside my parents’ house, particularly in the morning.  They live a bit out in the country and the air smells very fresh there.  There are cedars and live oak trees, but I couldn’t put my finger on what the elements of the smell are.

My favorite feature about myself…it probably says a lot that this is very difficult for me to answer.  I like how I see things in a deep way, that I see the patterns beneath the surface.

When I hear the phrase “my best friend” I think of my oldest friend, whom I met in fourth grade at school.  I have a few who would probably share the status of “best” these days, though.  There’s my oldest friend, in a state far away, the Domestic Wonder Woman, who lives here in my city—we met in grad school, and “Cherry” who also lives in a state far away—she was a classmate of Mr. X.

And, well, no ICLW introduction post would be complete without a pic of Miss Famous to brighten your day.

looks like the niece was helping Miss Famous hide

still here

I have been quiet lately, but all is well.  I have been pretty tired exhausted lately due to recovering from the gallbladder surgery in December.  I have been going to bed as early as possible and napping when I can.  This doesn’t leave much time for blogging, or commenting (though I’m trying on the commenting).

This was pretty much how I felt last summer after my appendectomy, so I’m not worried.  I think it’s pretty likely that in a couple more weeks my energy level will be back to normal.  In the meantime, I’m dragging through the day and feeling jealous of Miss Famous and her decadent napping schedule.

the cakes of birthdays past

In my family, there may not be a lot of birthday presents, but there is always cake.  Note the evidence:

The famous doll cake...

...and there she is again.

After my niece was born, we started celebrating together.

And sometimes, I even got to eat it. 🙂

give and take

Lately in my Alexander Technique lessons, my teacher has been asking me about what I feel like when I move or sit or stand a certain way.  Alexander deals a lot with posture and a recent homework assignment was to look up when I walk.  Look up, as in not at the ground, which is what I do most of the time, apparently.

I have noticed multiple times over the last few weeks that when I look up and not down when I walk, I feel different.  I feel different physically, of course, but I also feel different emotionally.  I realized the first time I tried this “homework” that when I look up as I walk I feel more confident.  I feel as if I am facing the world and not hiding from it.  I feel like I am a part of my surroundings and not lost somewhere inside my head.

The thing I am discovering is that body language flows two ways: it can be an expression of what I am feeling and it can also trigger feelings.  It can be the effect or the cause.

Some ways that I hold my body may have started out as a way to express what I was feeling but much of the way I move now is done out of habit.  The thing is, if I started hunching over when I sit because I felt insecure and wanted to hide, now when I do it out of habit, those old feelings come up in me.  Many, many times now, my posture contributes to how I feel more than it serves an expression of my feelings.  Now when I sit up straight and lean back, I feel exposed, unprotected.  I have gotten so used moving and holding myself in a self-protective way that it feels unnatural to lean back against a chair, to let myself be seen.

Other habits I have seem to work this same way — eating, for example.  I started eating to cope with my emotions, and now I have a habit of eating a certain way — it is my knee-jerk response, my routine, my way to hide.

Another habit I have is being alone.  It starts out as a response to feeling sad, or overwhelmed, or needing to recharge.  Before I know it, I have immersed myself in solitude so completely that the thought of breaking the pattern feels like exposing myself; it feels unnatural.

The good news, of course, is precisely the two-way nature of this mind-body communication.  I remember several months ago, I had gone out to dinner with a friend and a group of her friends.  As we were waiting to be seated I realized that I was constricting my shoulders (this was soon after I started my Alexander lessons).  Because I had been working on this body-awareness business, I consciously relaxed my shoulders.  Suddenly, I felt more relaxed, less anxious, and I hadn’t even realized I was stressed.

Sometimes it feels like a “chicken or the egg” question, particularly with habits like being alone or slumping when I sit.  The thing is, it doesn’t really matter.  I am learning how to change one part of the conversation.  The rest will come along soon enough.

thank you g-d for creating yoga pants

Today is my first day back at work after the big gallbladder surgery.  It just happens to be the first day after winter break, also, so there’s a lot of “How was your break?”  I’ve gotten to tell the story of the middle of the night trip to the ER quite a few times.

Speaking of recovery, can I just tell you how amazing yoga pants are?  Particularly these brand new ones I just bought myself that can pass as work pants as long as I have the band on top hidden.  I tried wearing “real” pants once last week, and was regretting it after two hours.  Because all my pants hit me right at my most painful surgical site, real pants + gallbladder surgery recovery = pain.  So I am so very pleased with the black yoga pants I found yesterday that allow me to look halfway professional, and at least don’t require that I unfasten the button and zipper while sitting for extended periods of time.

I was actually considering getting one of those pregnancy band things, but yoga pants have saved the day!  (Or the week, rather, as I’ll be wearing them everyday until I heal.)

It’s taking a little bit of effort to get my brain back into work mode, which is a big part of why I’m blogging right now and not calling clients.  Heh.  I’m sure I’ll get there, though, and with these fantastic pants I can at least think about something other than my belly button being in pain.

2011

Back around Rosh Hashanah (Jewish new year), I started a post about new years and new beginnings.  I never finished that post, but tonight I fished it out of the “drafts” folder.  I had already attempted two different posts this evening but neither took, and this one seemed appropriate for the season.  Ahem.

I started this post, way back when, in response, of sorts, to Mel’s post about Rosh Hashanah, in particular to how she tends to get overwhelmed by the starting over.  (Go ahead, read it, it’s likely much better than what this one will turn out to be.)  I thought about how I tend to get overwhelmed by the thought of all of the missed opportunities in the last year, all of the ways I didn’t do everything the way my neuroses would have be think it all should be done.  Of course, what I’m learning these days (and yes, I think I’m really learning it finally) is that there is no perfect, there’s just life in all its messiness.

There are, also, endless opportunities to start again.  We bring the past with us, but we are given so many chances to turn the page.  New Year’s day, every new season, new semesters, birthdays, anniversaries of significant events, every new week, new month, new day, new hour.

Last year I wrote:

It will be amazing to see where I am a year from now.  It will be incredible to see the positive changes that this next year will usher in.

Bring it on.

Indeed.