Solid Ground

When they carried Goose out of the exam room where she had taken her last breath, I started to panic.

The past few weeks (months?) have been so overwhelming and intense. The heart palpitations and anxiety were getting worse along with my feelings of depression. I saw a doctor early last week for a referral to mental health services, which was both terrifying and a relief. Terrifying because it reached the point where I knew I needed to talk to a professional, but I did feel a sense of relief that I was taking steps that would (hopefully) start helping me feel better.

Then, my period started on Friday and it was sort of strange. The fog started to lift. I had a bit more energy. For lack of any better way of explaining it, all of a sudden I started to feel a bit more like myself.

We were on our way home from a really lovely faux anniversary brunch on Sunday when my mom called to tell me that she thinks she needs to take Goose to the vet. In an instant, my delightful champagne buzz melted away, and I switched into dutiful daughter mode. When we got home, I changed quickly and headed straight to my mom’s house to help her with Goose.

I stayed pretty focused on my mom and our Goosie all afternoon—until it was over. As the door closed behind Goose and our tears intensified, I wondered what this was going to do to me. Would it push me back toward that edge I’ve been teetering on since June?

We stepped quietly out into the dark evening without our big red dog and drove home to my mom’s house in silence. Inside of me, a voice was screaming that this year, the fall season was supposed to be about life, not death. Almost everyone Catch and I have ever loved and lost has been lost in the fall—and it’s not a short list. Would the progress I’ve been noticing the past few days disappear into a pumpkin spice black hole?

As it turns out, no—it won’t. Don’t get me wrong—I am still grieving for that goofy oaf of a dog. Even though I no longer lived with her, she was a huge part of our lives and I feel her loss tremendously. What’s different is how I’m coping with those feelings. I am sad, but I am okay. I am functioning better than I have in weeks. The heart palpitations have lessened along with the anxiety. I am getting work done. I am slowly emerging from the shell I’ve been hiding in. There is no black hole in sight. Even with this new grief, I feel better than I did two weeks ago.

This really solidifies my belief that my depression and anxiety were closely linked to my hormones. I don’t think it’s a coincidence that I started to feel better on day 1 of my cycle, nor do I think it’s a coincidence that all of this started with those birth control pills in July and worsened throughout the IVF drugs and the subsequent polyp removal.

I am grateful that I was able to force myself to reach out for professional help. I am grateful that as I cried on the couch a few weeks ago while seriously considering all of the ways it would be better if I didn’t exist, I recognized that what I was feeling was both wrong and scary. I am also grateful for whatever CD 1 did to bring my life back into focus.

I would love to change this season from something we mourn to something we cherish. I would love to see some life come from all of this death. October 30th, we’re more ready for you than I thought. Let’s plant those seeds Reese’s Pieces.

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Work

We’re having a friend, her husband, and her tween daughter over for bunch on Sunday. It’s supposed to be over 90 degrees. I have no idea what to make. It’s been so hot. Just the thought of turning on the oven makes me sweat. So far, I have fruit salad. Mimosas or sangria? My favorite sangria recipe is a bit too potent for brunch, so I’d need to tone it down a bit. Thoughts?

Catch used to have a friend who called me Molly Stewart. I was the queen of entertaining. I don’t know what happened, but we rarely entertain anymore. My hostess skills are rusty. It really sank in last night for the first time that I will have to clean and pretty the house AND prepare food this weekend. For people who are not my wife and who may actually care whether the napkins are clean and the silverware all matches. (WHERE DO ALL OF THE TEASPOONS DISAPPEAR TO? Did they get cold and run off to a house that eats less ice cream? Are they resentful over the lack of dish sauna—aka dishwasher—in our household?)

Anyway, it all sounds so exhausting. Do you suppose Amazon will deliver a prepared brunch—still warm and in appropriate serving dishes?

Brunch was not supposed to be the point of this post. I sat down to tell you about how hard the past few weeks have been. How depressed I am. How as I sobbed into our couch cushions on Tuesday evening, I considered how much easier it would be if I could just cease to exist.

Life goes on, though, doesn’t it? There is work to be done. Housework. Marriage work. Health work. Job work. It’s endless, really. All I can do is hope that if I continue to go through the motions, at some point—if I just keep working—I will stop noticing how hard it all is.

One Lovely Blog

First, thank you to both Julieann081 and Samantha (The Boy Who Never Lived) for nominating me for the One Lovely Blog award. You ladies are so sweet. If you don’t know these two ladies, I have linked you to a specific recent post that will give you a good idea of what’s going on with them at the moment.

one-blog-lovely-award

The criteria for accepting a One Lovely Blog Award are:

  1. Thank the person who has nominated you. Provide a link to his/her blog.
  2. List the rules.
  3. Include 7 facts about yourself.
  4. Nominate 15 other bloggers and let them know that they have been nominated.
  5. Display the award logo and follow the blogger who nominated you.

I know you are all anxious to learn 7 things about me, so here we go:

  1. crossed-eyesI was born with crossed eyes. They were surgically corrected when I was a year old, which basically means that I look like a clown in every single one of my baby pictures. Even worse, the surgery resulted in a lazy eye, so I was the kid with the eye patch for several years. I am still ALMOST legally blind in my left eye and glasses don’t help it because the optic nerve just never properly developed.
  2. I once (BRIEFLY) dated a Starbucks Barista who was twenty years older than me. She had a teenaged son who thought his mother brought me home to fix me up with HIM. One night, the three of us were playing Yahtzee and he went to grab us a couple of Coronas. As he handed mine to me, he said, “Are you even old enough to drink?” He also tried to kiss me once while she was changing out a load of laundry in another room. It was about then that I realized all of the free coffee in the world wasn’t worth this.
  3. I absolutely HATE talking on the phone with anyone but my mom and Catch. SO MUCH ANXIETY. I won’t even call to order a pizza.
  4. ALL of my closest friends are Scorpios. It’s very bizarre.
  5. I have an embarrassingly large collection of lesbian romance novels. Really large. Really embarrassing.
  6. I resisted Harry Potter mania for YEARS. I saw all of the movies, but never read the books until two years ago when my mother finally convinced me to give it a shot. Now? I freaking LOVE Harry Potter. I am actually sad that I missed out on Harry Potter when it was a big THING because I totally would have dressed up as Hermione and gone to midnight book releases. I may have dressed up as Hermione for Halloween last year and served butterbeer from my office.
  7. I was a vegetarian for several years until I moved in with Catch—the great-granddaughter of a butcher. It is SO hard to cook for a meat and potatoes girl when you are a vegetarian. One night, I lost my vegetarian virginity to a Dodger Dog. (The hot dogs served at Dodgers Stadium are Dodger Dogs.) OF ALL THE THINGS, I ate a freaking hot dog. NOW, Dodgers Stadium serves veggie dogs. Go figure.

The “rules” for this nomination say that I now have to nominate 15 other bloggers. There is no possible way that I can nominate 15 of you. It’s all or nothing. Some of you have already done this, but if you have not, and if you would like to share 7 facts about yourself and encourage some others to do the same, HAVE AT IT. Consider yourself nominated by HoundMamas. I love you all, and I don’t want to make anyone feel excluded or obligated by putting names on a list.

If you take just one thing away from this post, let it be this: Never invite me to game night, because I refuse to follow the rules.

Return to Sender

I got an email from an old friend the other day on Facebook. It’s probably been 7 years since we last spoke, so the message caught me totally by surprise.

It actually feels strange to call her an old friend. She was my best friend. The kind of best friend who could anticipate my moves before I could. The kind I was comfortable spooning in the middle of the night on a camping trip because we were both freezing. She even went with Catch to pick out my engagement ring. She was a trouble maker, too—always managing to get us into the best kind of trouble.

We had a falling out years ago. I think partially we just grew apart. Our lives were taking very different directions. I was trying to settle down, and she was recently divorced and doing the exact opposite. I was likely judgmental and impatient—we all have our faults, and those tend to be mine. I don’t even remember exactly why it was that we stopped speaking to each other. It just sort of happened one day, and neither of us ever looked back.

Fast forward to the present. I am clearly not in the greatest place right now. My world basically consists of, “do everything you possibly can to get pregnant while not letting on that you are thinking about getting pregnant every second of every day.” Also, hide the hurt. Ain’t nobody got time for that.

Over the past six months especially, I have been carefully winding myself into a cocoon. I am safe in here. I am allowed to be sad and hurt and hopeful. I am not forced to shrug my shoulders at a well-meaning friend who softly inquires about the results of my latest pregnancy test. I don’t have to hold myself together and pretend that I am not devastated and terrified. I don’t have to brace myself against baby photos on Facebook. This is my safe place, and I’m rather fond of it.

Probably, right now is not the best time to be forging new relationships—even if they are actually old relationships. I cannot possibly be a good friend right now. I have a hard enough time being a marginal wife and daughter. Friends, I’m afraid, have been getting the shortest possible end of the stick, lately. If you can even call it a stick. It’s more like a splinter.

I don’t want or need another person in my life to play pretend with. I am not in the mood to dole out the upbeat three paragraph summary of the last seven years of my life. Married! Happy! Lalala! If I were being honest, which I’m not, I would say that I am a giant ball of hormone-riddled anxiety, fear and frustration, and in a couple of weeks, all that is going to intensify times what? A gazillion? Let’s face it–life right now is a bit short on sunshine and rainbows.

Her seven year summary is fantastic. Tween daughter, happy marriage, and she’s a freaking doctor now. I am really, truly so happy for her.  She deserves every ounce of that happiness.  My seven year summary? Well, I got married, adopted another dog, took up running, and the only thing I have to show for the gamble we took with my life savings is the sharps container in my living room. Living the dream, I tell you.

I wish this was easier.

I’m going to have lunch with another friend right now, and I’m going to try to force myself to be a bit more real with her.  Gotta start somewhere, I guess.  All I know is that I really can’t handle the fake anymore.  I’m not okay right now… and everyone is going to have to be okay with that for a little while.  This too shall pass.

11 Things

I’m forcing myself to take an actual lunch BREAK today.  My door is closed, my lights are out, my phone is on Do Not Disturb, and Pandora is set to Norah Jones.  The result of this forced mid-day peace is my participation in this 11 things thing that’s making its way around the blogosphere.

  1. I lived less than a mile from the epicenter of the ’94 Northridge Earthquake, and yet we do not have an earthquake preparedness kit assembled at home.  (This is the apartment building that my bedroom window overlooked.) We skirt the issue by telling each other that hopefully we’ll be able to get to the camping gear that’s stored in the very front of the garage.
  2. My mom was a single mother who worked her ass off to put me through 12 years of private school.  I wish I had appreciated it then, but she knows I appreciate it now. 
  3. In high school, I once played the part of a singing, dancing, pregnant chicken in a school play. I was always the quiet shy girl who was teased mercilessly, but I LOVED being on stage.  It was a totally liberating experience.  After that play, I was more inclined to speak up for myself.
  4. Being gay came as a complete shock to me.  I had never even considered it.  Likewise, it was a total shock to pretty much everyone who knew me.  This past Valentine’s Day was the 16th anniversary of the day I came out to my mother. 
  5. I don’t dance.  I just don’t.  We took lessons before our wedding, and I was high enough on wedding excitement that I did dance that night, but heck if you can get me to dance any other day.
  6. I have a tattoo of the Gemini symbol between my shoulders.  I got it with my (now ex) best friend the day I got the last of my belongings from my ex-girlfriend after we broke up.  It suits me just as much today as the day I got it.  I love it.  No regrets. Tattoo
  7. As desperately as I want a baby, I am also aware that I adore this time right now with my wife.  The relationship we have is more than I ever even knew to hope for.
  8. If I could live anywhere (and take my parents and in-laws with me), I’d want to live in the Pacific Northwest or in Colorado.
  9. Catch and I have taken some amazing trips together—the Alaska cruise was amazing, as was our honeymoon cruise to Mexico—but my absolute favorite trip with her was a camping trip to the Sequoias.  I could have stayed there with her forever. Sequoias
  10. The first time I met Catch’s parents, her father was wearing a confederate flag t-shirt.  I’m glad I didn’t let him scare me off.
  11. I have never colored my hair.  Ever.  You don’t mess with red like this. HPIM1219

1-800-Flowers is the Devil

My wonderful wife broke our Valentine's Day agreement and sent me flowers to work today.  Here's a side by side of what they were supposed to look like, versus what my poor crushed calla lilies actually lok like.  The roses don't look much better.

Photo(1)

But that's not the worst part!

The worst part is that they gave me someone else's card.  Karina Byrd, if you're out there, your boyfriend (husband? girlfriend? wife?) wrote you an incredibly sweet note.  Too bad you didn't get it. 

Card

It's a good thing I trust my wife, because at a glance, getting flowers with another woman's name on them really looks bad.

My poor wife–I feel like she got totally ripped off.  $80 for crappy, crushed, half-dead flowers to be sent with a card for someone else.  Never again, 1-800-Flowers.

Let it Go

Here’s where I confess that I listed to that song from the Frozen soundtrack about a half dozen times on my way to work this morning. (What can I say? Idina Menzel? I have a weakness for women of Broadway with lungs like hers.)

There is so much about this week that I need to let go of. 

  1. Work crap.  I hate having to put on my mean boss hat, but I wore it on Tuesday and it sucked.  The suckage has stayed with me all week.  I think this is what it must feel like to parent a teenager.  You see so much potential in them and they are so smart and capable, but you give them an inch and they take a mile and the next thing you know their internet history for a 3-day period is 63 pages long and filled with cat memes and hipster t-shirts and they have not spoken to you directly in 4 days.
  2. Baby baby baby SHUT UP ABOUT BABIES ALREADY, PLEASE. While attending a baby shower for a coworker complete with the word epidural used as a word scramble, another colleague announced that she’s pregnant.  There are a handful of pregnant friends in my facebook feed, and the pictures of my cousin’s 1-month old have started free flowing.  Most days, I can deal.  Most days, all I need is a friend to touch my shoulder knowingly and tell me that we’ll be next.  But sometimes—like this week—it’s just not enough.  
  3. The scale. I’ll admit that I’ve become a bit obsessed with it.  On top of Weight Watchers, I’ve been working out harder than I ever have before in my life for the past few weeks.  Monday’s loss of only .6 lbs felt like a slap in the face.  Ever since that, I’ve been finding opportunities to step on the scale at least once a day if not twice.  It’s gotta stop.  I have to get it in my head that as long as I’m staying on program, working out, and feeling good, the scale will catch up eventually. It’s just hard not to focus on the deadline. March is looming and I so desperately want to show our RE that I mean business. I know that PCOS can make it hard to lose weight—I’ve heard it loud and clear from two doctors and from the internet. I just so wanted to fall into the “exceptions” category. I should know by now that I am rarely the exception and mostly the rule.

I know for certain that holding on to all of this serves no purpose. It’s time to take a deep breath, a long sip of coffee, and let it all go.

The Princess and the Pea (Alternate title: We just spent a boatload of cash on a new mattress and I. HATE. IT.)

We woke up on Sunday morning, had some bacon and coffee and giddily skipped out the front door together in search of a new bed.  Not just any new bed, though—a KING bed.  Something we have only dared to dream about since Twix was a puppy and I discovered that having her in bed with me is soothing and helps me relax.  The thing is that adorable little 8 week old puppies grow into full-sized 50-lb dogs with legs that like to stretch out into my rib cage at night. I would find myself clinging to the edge of the bed thinking that falling out of bed sounded a heck of a lot better than being kicked in the gut AGAIN. 

As such, you can imagine how adding 18 inches of width to our mattress sounded HEAVENLY.  We’ve been talking about it for as long as I can remember.  Someday, we will move into a bigger place with a master bedroom larger than a postage stamp and we will be able to have a king bed.

We haven’t moved, though, and our bedroom is still the size of a postage stamp.  We just finally reached a point where we were so miserable on our 10 year old queen mattress that we broke out the measuring tape and realized it might just work. Maybe. If the delivery people hold their breath and close their eyes and wish really hard, they MIGHT just be able to squeeze a king bed in there.

So, we headed out and dropped quite a bit of cash on the new bed and new bedding.  We rushed home to get the bedroom ready for our new bed, which involved moving our old mattress out so that I could take apart all ten thousand pieces of our Ikea bed because it won’t turn the corner in the hallway otherwise.  By the time we were done, I was EXHAUSTED.  Falling asleep on the couch.  Could barely keep my eyes open.

Imagine my shock/despair/anxiety/disappointment/heart crushing sadness when I did not sleep a single wink on our new bed.  Maybe an hour, but that’s it.  I couldn’t get comfortable.  In fact, as the night went on, I grew increasingly less comfortable.  It was like sinking deeper into a pit every hour.  My shoulder fell asleep.  My neck was at a weird angle.  I couldn’t get comfy on my stomach even though I have been a stomach sleeper my whole life. I tried sleeping on my side, but it felt like my hip bone had sunken through a layer of fluff and landed on concrete.

Last night, in sheer exhausted desperation, I popped two Advil PM at 8:30, poured myself a cup of Sleepytime tea, and soaked in a hot lavender scented bubble bath.  I should have been dead to the world after that combination, but I tossed and turned wide awake for 3 hours, and never slept longer than a 30 minute stretch all night.  Today, my shoulders and neck are killing me.

I hate our new mattress.  I hate memory foam.  I hate that the store we bought it form has a no return policy and that I didn’t realize it until it was too late. 

I have no idea what to do now.  All I know is that I sure as hell can’t live like this.

Daily Confessions

I did not brush my hair this morning. 

I rolled out of bed (late), ran my fingers through the tangles, and threw it up in a bun with a ton of hairspray that is clearly not working to contain the frizz and flyaways because it looks like I’ve sprouted wings from behind my ears. I am just the picture of professionalism.  Not.  (Related confession: When I was 11-ish, I had a GIANT pink t-shirt that said in huge block letters, "Whatever you say. NOT." There is a picture of me standing in hail with braces and a bad haircut wearing that awful shirt with white bicycle shorts. I was SO. NOT.  COOL.)

I had a croissant for breakfast.

I knew it was wrong, but I did it anyway and now I feel even more disgusting than I already did as a result of item 1.

My jeans are not as loose as they were 2 weeks ago when I was running around the house saying, “look how loose my jeans are!”

They are also not as tight as they were 6 weeks ago, but let’s not rationalize.

I am terrified of the seminar at the fertility clinic next week.

I have awful social anxiety, and I can already feel myself clinging to Catch’s arm like a frightened toddler while I imagine all of the perfect straight blonde couples judging the overweight lesbians and thinking that we shouldn’t be allowed to reproduce anyway.  Yes, I know this is INSANE, but it’s how my brain works.  It’s like I have a perfectly logical little angel on one shoulder reminding me that it’s okay and that I don’t care what anyone else thinks and a much bigger devil on my other shoulder overwhelming me with my biggest insecurities.  My brain is caught in the middle.  It’s fun to be me.

One of my credit card companies just increased my line of credit by 40% and I have a sudden desire to BUY ALL THE THINGS.

What’s crazy is that it’s easier to contain that desire than it was to contain the whole croissant issue above.  I’m going to run out at lunch and buy dog treats, which should satisfy my need for retail therapy. Plus, we actually need them, so it’s perfectly reasonable. And I won’t use my credit card.

I haven’t slept well in weeks.

Because I am a mess right now.  An absolute mess—inside and out.  But it’s okay.  I have Catch—and she’s a mess too.  At least I know we can be messy together.  And she’s better at cleaning up than I am, so it’s an extra win for me.

Wrapping It Up

Rolynewyear

Rolo isn't feeling very festive tonight.

 

I don’t want to pigeonhole 2013.  It’s had its moments—good and bad—and it’s not fair to hold all of the bad things against it.

I’ve been through the negatives here already, and I’d like to close the door on that right now and focus on some of the really great things that happened in 2013.

  1. Catch and I worked through our fears and are both thrilled at the prospect of adding a baby to our dynamic.  It’s nice to be on the same page.
  2. We helped our local basset rescue by fostering and re-homing Buttercup, Sammy, and Gidget. Gidget
  3. We took trips! Our longest took us to Nevada, Arizona, Utah, Colorado, Wyoming and South Dakota. We also enjoyed a few camping trips to El Capitan and Frazier Park.  There were weekend getaways, too—wine country near Santa Maria/Pismo Beach and the more recent trip to Cambria.  It was all amazing and I have so many great memories of our explorations this year.  I even took my first ever trip to Texas this year (without Catch.) Rushmore
  4. We celebrated our 5-year wedding anniversary (on our 8-year dating anniversary). Even at our absolute worst marital moments (not that there are many), I can’t imagine my life without my wonderful wife.  I love her more with every passing year. 
  5. I read/listened to some fantastic books! Some of my favorites were Silver Linings Playbook (way better than the movie), The Perks of Being a Wallflower (I’d read it before, but this time I listened to the audiobook and it was even better), Carry On, Warrior, and The Fault in Our Stars.  Other reads that weren’t necessarily favorites, but were still quite worthwhile:  Truth in Advertising, Where’d You Go, Bernadette, Bloom, and Gone Girl.
  6. I got to add another person to my team at work and was promoted. 
  7. I learned a ton about TTC and I feel confident going into 2014 that we will figure this out.
  8. I cooked and baked a ton.  Some of my favorite new recipes this year were Turkey & Spinach Meatballs (great with spaghetti squash & marinara sauce), Pioneer Woman’s chocolate sheet cake (, Smitten Kitchen’s Essential Raised Waffles, and the Lemon Almond Streamliner Cake from the book Vintage Cakes
  9. We grew a fantastic vegetable garden full of tomatoes, carrots, cucumber and herbs.  Carrots
  10. I got more comfortable with my camera and took some great photos. Cambria Flowers

Still, I'm glad to show 2013 the door–if only for the promise that 2014 brings.  I hope 2014 is good to all of us. 

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