The More About Me Meme!

Allison at Allison Says was kind enough to hit me with a pretty flattering meme — two weeks ago. I’m finally getting around to it.

The Honest Scrap award is given by other bloggers who consider a blog’s content or design to be brilliant (geez, can you feel me blushing?). The awardee must then post ten honest things about him-/herself and pass the award on to other bloggers who fit the bill — in other words, whose blog is brilliant.

1. I have never, ever watched an episode of American Idol. I eschew “reality” television in general; I watched a season of The Apprentice (the original one with Omarosa on it), and I watched a couple of seasons of Last Comic Standing — I even voted for one of them once (John H… something). Otherwise: nada.

2. Actually, when it comes to television, I watch exactly one network show (“Lost”), Steelers football, and Penguins hockey. That may change now that we have cable. If I were to pick up one show (or maybe two), what would you suggest?

3. I still do not own an iPod. I would like to own an iPod, if for no other reason than because then I wouldn’t have to get the CD player in my car fixed. Although I suppose I should get those stuck CDs out of there, eh?

4. I am oddly intrigued by Lady Gaga. I blame this Slate article. Wanting to add a Lady Gaga station to my Pandora put me on a slippery slope. I did it anyway. As a result, I voluntarily listened to a whole Brittany Spears song — “Womanizer” — my first one ever (unless you count Fountain of Wayne’s version of “…Baby, One More Time”).

5. I am still smoking my daily cigarette. I’ve missed a day or two since quitting for 47 days at the beginning of this year. But haven’t really tried to give it up again. Yet.

6. Pursuant to the hair discussion: I had long, straight, auburn hair as a child. I wore it with bangs (occasionally feathered, of course) until 8th grade. Then, reading a YM (Young Miss, at the time) magazine, I stumbled across a photo of a girl with a very short hairstyle that I realized would look great on me. When I brought it to my mom and asked to cut all my hair off, I could see her heart break a little bit. But she let me do it. It was oddly liberating — that and getting contact lenses at the same time. I felt freed from the four-eyed, braces-wearing geek I had been until then. (Which doesn’t/didn’t make me less of a geek. Just less self-conscious about being one.)

7. I love sharing my bed with Bun (on occasion). I love to wake up and study her sleeping face. My Bun is never still — she runs, she jumps, she hops, she runs. In repose, her beauty — the smooth baby-cheeks, pink mouth, long lashes — is fascinating to me. (I love the way Monkey sleeps, but I don’t like bed-sharing so much with her — she steals the covers, and sleeps with her hair in her face. So, hard to study at rest.)

8. I don’t have anything to say about Michael Jackson. I was never a fan. I didn’t watch or listen to any coverage of his circus. I mean, funeral. This isn’t bragging — hell, I just admitted to being intrigued by someone who counts him as an influence. The two best things I did read about him — and the media coverage — are here and here. I feel both ways at the same time.

9. The mess in my house is starting to wear me out. And piss me off. And I don’t know what to do about it. It is too cluttered; we have too much stuff; mice keeping coming to visit, which means the stuff that usually lives in our bottom kitchen cupboards lives on our dining room table instead; DearDR suspects mold is lurking somewhere (basement or upstairs bathroom, in the wall); and the office… Don’t let’s start on the damn office. Short of taking time off work to clean and/or shipping my children out for a weekend, I’m not sure what my options are, really.

10. I am currently considering — seriously considering — going to see ABBA in Chatauqua in New York. It would be for the purpose of seeing my two best friends in the world, of course. But let’s face it: ABBA. And I would probably dance. And sing “Dancing Queen”.

Where do I turn in my punk rock card?

My nominees for Honest Scrap awards are:
Gina at My Very Last Nerve: Brilliantly funny. Gina already did these — twice! 10 Honest Things and 10 Horrible Secret Confessions.
Uncle Crappy: Brilliantly matter-of-fact.
Ethel at Mom’s Brain: A brilliant glimpse of being a caretaker for a parent. This is like a glimpse into my mother’s life with her mother.
Looky, Daddy!: Just brilliant.

What I Am: Reading On-line

A lot of loss and sorrow are traveling around on the Internet this week, and a lot of hard questions are being asked. I don’t have any of the big answers. But in the course of things, I found some questions at Glow in the Woods that I felt I could handle.

Pray if you pray. Think good thoughts if you cannot pray — send good vibes. Walk if you can. Donate if you can. Just be a good friend if nothing else is left to you. Sit in silence for awhile. Hug your children. Hold someone.

1 | Give us a few words you would have used to describe your body, your health or your sense of physical vitality before the experience of babyloss—and a few that you’d use to describe it now.

I used to live through my skin, through my body. I felt very present in my physicality; I trusted my body. I was alive through the tips of my fingers. Losing a baby means losing, especially, the trust, the simple wonder of what a body — a woman’s body, my body — can do. Having other children can help recapture that, but it is not for everyone. My relationship now is different, whether because of age or loss or the need to accede to the demands of other bodies. I’m not entirely sure. I feel as if I live less through my skin, more through my thoughts. Maybe that’s maturity.

2 | What do you do to take care of yourself? Has this changed?

The biggest thing I try to make sure I do is get enough sleep. At times, this is challenging. I eat well. I used to exercise — and I want to start exercising again. I read, and I write, and I try to be by myself for a little bit. None of this has changed. Well, the sleep thing, probably. I used to be able to get by on much less.

3 | Give us one or two words to describe sex or physical intimacy before, and then after the loss of your baby.

Sex with my husband before Gabriel was carefree.
Sex with my husband after Gabriel was fraught. Did I want to be pregnant again? Did my husband want me to be pregnant again? What if our answers are different? Sometimes we cried.
Sex with my husband now is a pleasure, is our own intimacy, doesn’t happen enough. It’s still a little fraught. Will we try one more time?

4 | Has loss and/or grief left a physical mark on you (a scar, a chronic condition, insomnia, a tattoo)?

No. Nothing physical. Not yet. I have a tattoo in mind that I want to get, a series of glyphs to represent the members of my family. Gabriel will be an angel with a trumpet.

5 | Do you medicate or control your emotions with food, wine, altered states, prescriptions? Without judgement, what have you gravitated towards in an effort to heal, and how do you feel about it?

When I feel stressed, I want to smoke cigarettes. I haven’t quite managed to break this addiction, although I do go for long times without cigarettes. In an effort to heal, though, I don’t think I’ve “used” anything. In an effort to heal, I’ve tried to use my words and my voice.

6 | Was physical healing important for you in the first year after your loss? What did/does physical healing entail and how did/do you work towards it? If physicality hasn’t been a priority for you, what do you do that makes you feel stronger or more able to cope?

Is it odd to feel that I didn’t have to physically heal after Gabriel’s birth? Except for stopping my milk. That period after his death was summed up perfectly by the phrase “insult to injury”. But I had a low-trauma — physiologically — vaginal delivery.

Sleeping well and eating well (both challenging as a mother to young children) make me feel stronger and able to cope. The Internet community helps me examine my feelings about Gabriel, and about my girls. Having time to myself for myself gives me strength. Being both physically and emotionally intimate with my husband helps me.

7 | If you could change anything about your body and/or health, what would it be? What would it feel like to be either at peace with your body, or at peace with this babylost state.

I need to get back into shape. That would bring me more into peace with my body, which I still regard very fondly. I think I am at peace with my babylost state. Which is not to say I don’t grieve. I’ve come to accept Gabriel’s loss and the gifts that he brought us. Which is not to say that I’m not still sad, that I don’t cry. That I don’t miss him.

Because I do. I do.

******

Cradle

the eggs our children
our womb their cradle
we hold them from our own
womb time
every potential life

a child lives there
for many of us for some time
if not the whole time
children die there too
our hearts die there

then the body goes on without us
forgets injury
forgets childbirth
bones settle home & we who have lost
wonder
did we have the baby?
did we hold life?

could this faithful body
have betrayed us, our hearts?
no. no.
we do not believe
unless we are sad

Doing Our Part

After two rounds with two banks, we got a car loan. Economic stimulus, here we come.

DearDR officially bought the car yesterday: a 2003 Pontiac Bonneville — our little part to help keep GM afloat. It’s a very nice car, big and powerful and roomy.

DearDR and I are now driving cars from this century.

Someone please check the temperature in hell.

********
Also official: I went 47 days without a cigarette. Now I just have to start all over again from day 1. I kind of suck.

Quickies

It has been 16 days since my last cigarette. I still think about it a lot. It helps that the weather is bitter cold. I still haven’t settled on something to replace it, per se.

**

It has been six days since Bun has given up the binky. I still am quite surprised at how easy it was (knock wood). Nap time on the weekends is not going very smoothly (she’s napped one hour or two — down from three hours — or declined to nap at all), but bedtime is pretty easy. She cries a little extra as I’m putting her down in her crib, but she is usually sleeping by the time I’m singing Monkey lullabies.

**

The girls were noisy tonight. So.Frickin’.Loud. Happy loud: singing, laughing, banging maracas together. Unhappy loud: crying, screaming. From the time I picked ’em up at daycare until about 8:15 p.m., when I got them in bed.

Instead of the vacuum game (where I “chase” them around the room with the vacuum — it’s the only way I can get my rug vacuumed) we played the “march straight upstairs, I’m reading you three books” game. Monkey seemed to like it fine, but that Bun. She cannot sit still or stop babbling for anything.

I love her spirit, but, man, I wish she would give it a rest.

**

I know I have written a ton on Bun lately. She is, right now, my more challenging and changing child. Monkey is well, though, and proving to be whip smart. I hope to have more to say about her soon.

**

Remember how long it took me to get Christmas up around here? Well, it’s taking about that long to come down too.

Random Thoughts: Aftermath

Bun rang in year two in spectacular fashion. First, she stayed up all night long. I may have mentioned that. I don’t remember. So very tired.

I am pretty sure she is harboring another ear infection — either another one (her third) or the same one she had last time. Or maybe that was a sinus infection.

Either way: still sick.

And then, to top it all off, she took a craptastic dump in the tub. I’m telling you, that thing was a foot long. Monkey could not jump out of the water fast enough. Bun didn’t seem all that pleased with it, either. Which is good, negative reinforcement, n’at.

Oh well. She got a cake.



I’m pretty sure that look says, “Has anyone noticed this thing is on fire?”

And she opened a couple of presents.

See that face? The pale color, the bags under her eyes? That is not the face of a perfectly healthy 2-year-old.

Performance Goal for 2010: Stop getting ear infections.

****************

DearDR smoked a cigarette last night, hanging outside with a buddy from work.

And it’s all I could smell on him when he got home.

And it was driving me crazy. In a bad way.

DearDR doesn’t smoke. I mean, he’ll occasionally (very seldom) puff on a butt to be sociable. He doesn’t even inhale.

I asked him not to do that again. It’s not fair for him to have one if I’m not having them.

He agreed with me. He’s a good man. And smart!

Change I Can (Barely) Live With

It has been one week since I smoked a cigarette.

And I don’t like it. Not one little bit.

I don’t feel virtuous. Or triumphant.

I think about that cigarette — that once-a-night cigarette I used to have, that I haven’t had for one week — all the time.

I don’t want to quit smoking. I know I should quit smoking. But I don’t want to.

I’m not even going to say, “I quit smoking.”

I just haven’t smoked in one week. I haven’t bought a pack of cigarettes in one week. I haven’t huddled outside in the cold after the kids are in bed and my “chores” are done to have one cigarette. For one whole week. Seven days.

I am tense and irritable. Cranky as all get-out. I miss my cigarette. I crave it all the time. I think about it all the time. And I think about how I am not going to smoke it. Not tonight, at any rate. I think that every day.

It was my one treat, my one bad-for-me habit. And, to a certain extent, it was that one left-over thing about the single woman I used to be.

It was, ironically, the one thing I clung to in the time-for-me part of my night. The worst thing I could cling to, granted, but that monkey nicotine… Well, it was my monkey.

One week.

Let’s go for two. What do you say?