Friday, June 27, 2008

Follow up to Chairing a Meeting

A friend was asking me about my prison experience and I thought I would share some of the details I shared with her.

The prison is the county lockup, so everyone there is serving a year or less. When we drove up, the gigantic fence with huge rolls of barbed wire on top was kind of surreal to me. We checked in, left our licenses and signed the book. You can't take your purse or phone or anything with you. You go through a machine that normally blows air on you to detect if you're carrying any narcotics (it would blow particles off and detect them somehow) but it wasn't working. The guard did the wand thing and then let us through. Oh, and we brought Big Books which had to go through the x-ray machine.

There are both men and women, though they are kept separate of course. If there's a line of each and they're going to intersect, they stop the one line until the other passes, so they don't get anywhere near each other. At one point when we were leaving, we were walking behind the line of women from the meeting, and a door to a glassed-in side room opened - this guy stuck his head out and was saying I love you to one of our girls. She said it back and the guard snagged the door and shut it hard as he went past.

It was weird, I wasn't the least bit intimidated by the inmates, either men or women, but the guards... they were scary to me. Which I guess is the whole point - but they are just very serious, business like, most are really big guys, and call you ma'am and they watch EVERYTHING, like you know they don't miss a single detail. The only guard who didn't come off that way was the one at the front who checked us in. He was more laid back and friendly.... and unfortunately smelled either of booze or very bad cologne. We couldn't quite tell which.

I'm still really happy with how it went, and looking forward to taking the commitment again. When I told my girlfriend that went with me that I would do it again, she said, 'Welcome to the prison commitment. There are only about ten of us who do this.' I think that's a shame, but I'm glad to be a part of it.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

This & That

Ayiesha Woods - Have you heard of this girl? I just ran across her and her 'Love Like This' song is totally stuck in my head!

We Love The Iraqi Information Minister - I have no good explanation for why I like this site, but it just kills me.

Bike by Pink Floyd - I have a lot of Floyd songs that I enjoy, but this lesser known one is hands down my favorite. It's from the Piper at the Gates of Dawn album, which I happen to own on cassette. Don't be jealous. This little video is ridiculous and stupid and of course I love it because I really am that lame. But check out the fast paced borrowing action! There's something not quite right about the gingerbread men though...

Monday, June 23, 2008

Clean & Simple

Well, Trish gets the prize because that Beauty for Ashes name really stuck in my wee brain all weekend, and I had to have it, even if others have used it too. It should be stitched onto a pillow on my couch or something, because it is the shortest way to describe my journey.

So I picked out a cleaner and simpler look for my page and I'm happy with it for now. Not to say that I won't change it yet again later, but it looks good today. I've also changed my comments so that you don't have to register to leave one. I would still appreciate your name when you comment though. I'm just really a feedback hog, and not knowing if anyone reads bugs me. It's a character defect. I'll work on it.

So if you were kind enough to list my blog on your blog list, I'd appreciate you updating the name change when you can. I'm keeping the original link because I don't want to be any more annoying about this than I have to. ;)

Oh, and one more little thing... I'm working on a new top banner -- I got stuck trying to decide on color or B/W so I'll get back to it later.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Motorcycle Motorcycle

When I was growing up my family took a lot of road trips. My Dad was a teacher and my Mom was a homemaker, so our summers were wide open. We camped across the States and back a few times, so I've been to more national monuments & parks than probably anyone else my age. (Grand Canyon twice!) This is back in the days of manual windows and the walkman, where you prayed that your batteries would last a few more days in the car, and that it wouldn't eat your Miami Vice soundtrack cassette. Don't get me wrong, I loved my family, and we saw a lot of amazing things.... but when you are 12 and on a road trip for two months with your parents and siblings, you can kind of lose your mind a little.

At any rate, one of the things that we did to pass the time was to play Horsey Horsey. Now, for you city kids who are unfamiliar with this diverse and complex game, let me explain. You see a horse, you yell 'horsey horsey!' and whoever has the most horses at the end of the trip wins. That's it. The most excitement comes if someone sees a cemetery and yells out 'bury your horses!' and you have to start from zero. I know what you're thinking, that this game is a sad little way to amuse small children and that a 12 year old would not think this was cool. Sadly, I was that lame, and I guess my 16 year old brother was equally lame, because we all played it with vigor. And when you are traveling the great plains of America, you are bound to see a lot of horses, so the count could get up into the hundreds, with the carnage of the cemetery ever looming in your mind.

Fast forward to road trips with my own children. We don't see so many horses around these parts, given that we live in the burbs and our only road trips are 75 minutes to the campground every weekend. It may be in Lancaster County, but it's still a pretty dry game when you're traveling the turnpike. So instead, we play Motorcycle Motorcycle. This works well, but they seem to need to play a form of this game at all times now, and the competition ramps up more and more each time. On a hike this morning they changed it to Bikey Bikey and then Persony Persony. At that point we reined them in a bit and asked that we please stick to one ridiculous game at a time. On the drive home earlier tonight, the Princess gleefully suggested that we play Signy Signy. I thought that maybe we could instead just have a quiet ride home. The Man thought that maybe we could play Roadkill Roadkill instead. Not too many miles down the road however, they settled for poking each other with their feet and giggling while the Man and I turned Travis Tritt up loud enough to drown them out. The Barnacle, who clearly found all of this behavior beneath him, sat quietly in his seat with his bee (pacifier) and blankey, with only an occasional noise to request his cup.

And not to brag, but I won the day with 27 motorcycles, because no matter what the Man says you are not allowed to count the ones inside the motorcycle store.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Chairing a Meeting

Tonight I did something I've never done before - I chaired a meeting for the first time. Thank God I had another gal with me who knew what she was doing, ahaha, because I am such an OCD person who needs structure, and this meeting was totally informal and we could run it however we wanted.
Now, I'm not sure why I thought this was a good place to stretch my wings, but I had just made up my mind to make the decision without overthinking it... The meeting was in a prison. I knew it would be a good thing to do, I wanted to do it, so I just said yes when the commitment was offered up. I did have a moment of utter inner shrieking and wanting to run for the hills when we entered the main hallway and stood before a giant steel barred door, but I managed to remain calm (yay God) and not run from the building. I did wonder though, if you run screaming from a prison, do they tackle you first and ask who you are second?
The meeting was uneventful and small and seemed to go pretty well. The hardest part was that the girls all just looked so young to me, it really broke my heart. I can't be judgmental towards any of them, because I could so easily have ended up there myself. I did my fair share of stupid and illegal things when I was drinking, and it's only by the grace of God that I never got caught. I certainly deserved prison time.
Maybe it's the mom side of me; I just wanted to hug them and convince them to stay sober, as if somehow my own will could do it for them. I don't know what any of their chances are, or what the statistics may be for alcoholics in prison. I don't think I would want to know, because I'm sure it would tear me up to think of them going back out once they are released. I can't stop thinking about their faces, and thinking how it didn't even seem real that they were incarcerated - it felt like we were just all sitting around having coffee in someone's living room, talking about our problems.
Seeing people in situations like theirs brings me back to something that I have been thinking a lot about lately. Why not me? Why am I the one who made it out without losing my marriage, my kids, my house, my freedom? I feel guilty in some ways about this, because I don't deserve what I have. If I couldn't talk to other alcoholics and share my experience, I think that guilt would just eat at me. It somehow always comes back around to gratitude, and living a life that shows how grateful I am.

Titles and Stuff

So I'm braving it and putting my name on my signature here. I like my privacy, which is why I have been 'anonymous' so to speak, and why I keep my husband's and kids' names off of here as well. But one of my goals with blogging is to eventually become a published writer, and it won't help much to stay hidden.
And because I enjoy change so much, (and since no one answered me when I mentioned it before, *ahem*, I'm thinking of some changes in my format and title too. Pepperpottery is a fun word to say, but doesn't really mean anything, which is slightly embarrassing to explain when anyone asks.
My friend Trish had suggested Beauty for Ashes based on one of my previous posts, which I really love but I think has been taken by many others before me. I'm not ruling it out yet, but it's my back-up at this point.
We're leaving for the campground first thing tomorrow, and the rest of today will probably get away from me like it usually does, so for now I'll be pondering and hopefully will come back in a few days with a spectacular and inspirational title. Or at the very least, I'll come home with dirty laundry and a happy family and that will do nicely too.

Losing Lily: Part IV

It was a strange and difficult recovery. The physical pain faded for the most part after a week. But the emotional pain was undefinable. At first, I didn't cry. I began to think that maybe something was wrong with me, that I wasn't sad. One day, about 3 weeks later, I was on the internet, and I found an article that talked about the grief associated with miscarriage. It said that sometimes women go through shock and denial, and it doesn't seem real. Their minds protect them from the shock of the event. I was stunned to realize that this was me. There wasn't anything wrong with me. My mind simply could not allow me to try to process all that had happened in that Nevada hospital. It was too big. The fact that it had happened 2500 miles from home only made it more surreal, as if it hadn't happened.

The next day I went to a funeral for a church friend, and I began to cry, missing her. I cried my heart out. As Trisha Yearwood says, "It was like a dam had broken in my heart." I cried after that for days; it felt like I would never stop. But it did. Moment by moment, day by day, the Lord began easing the agony in my heart. I don't recall any time that I was angry at God for what had happened. He gave me peace about not having answers to the why's. I knew that there must be something good that could come from losing Lily. There had to be. I could not go on like she had never existed, with nothing in my hands to show for her short life.

But something else happened, something that I could not have foreseen coming from the loss of my daughter. Sobriety. Two months and one day after losing Lily, God brought me to my knees. I had been drinking all day at a barbecue, to the point that the Man took our daughter and went home without me when I refused to leave. I don't know how I got home. But that night, standing in my kitchen, God knocked the wind out of me, showing me what I had become through the years. I was heartbroken and laid at His feet, knowing that things would never be the same. I stood at the sink, pouring bottle after bottle after bottle down the drain, crying brokenly as I said goodbye to my past. I knew it had to end. I could not begin to fathom how I would go on without alcohol, any more than I could fathom how I could go on without Lily. But I knew that God would be with me, giving me the strength that I was incapable of summoning on my own. I told the Man about it the next morning. He was quiet but accepting, and has remained so to this day.

A few weeks later I became pregnant again, this time with our first son. The months crept timidly by, as I waited for the other shoe to drop. I held my breath at every twinge, unable to stop the fear. But as my belly grew, my fears slowly subsided, and I began to finally believe that I would have a new baby in my arms in a few months. I still thought about Lily every day, longing for her. What had she thought when she arrived in Heaven? Who had come out to welcome her? Could she see me? Did she know how much I desperately wanted her? How much I would always desperately want her? I had no closure, no goodbyes. I couldn't be at total peace because it was wrong, it was WRONG that I had not been able to say goodbye. I could not accept this, I would not accept this. I don't know that others can understand how I could continue to feel that way, even as I carried my son. But children are not interchangeable or replaceable. I needed to say goodbye to my child.

I began imagining what it would be like to have a funeral for Lily. Would anyone come? Would everyone think I was crazy? I needed to do something. It couldn't end like this. I began seeking out pregnancy loss resources, reading books, and talking to others online who had also lost a baby. And one day I found what I was looking for. A remembrance service for lost babies, held on October 15th, the day President Reagan had set aside for pregnancy & infant loss awareness. I knew I had to do it.

Six months after losing Lily, I spoke at the first annual Pregnancy & Infant Loss Remembrance Service at my church. I told Lily's story. Not many people came, but we shared our tears, and wrote little notes in a book, and lit candles in memory of our children. I finally had my closure. The service has continued year after year, growing from a tiny evening event with a dozen people, to a Sunday morning event where people flood the aisle coming forward to light candles at the end. Others have been willing to come speak and share their stories as well. Hearts are being opened so that they can finally heal. God is so good, and my heart overflows with all that He has done.

I don't think that there will ever come a time that I won't be sad for Lily. It's been seven years but there are still tears on my keyboard as I write this, and when I write in the journal that I still keep for her, filled with my memories and tiny keepsakes. But I have moved on with my life, and I can't say that I would change any of what has happened to me. I learned so much about myself, my husband, and God through this experience. It was hard, so gut-wrenchingly hard some days, but I knew at every moment, that the Lord was with me, watching over me. I could have died, but I didn't. I lost some of my fertility, but was still able to have two healthy sons. My husband and I grew even closer, bonded through shared loss. We have grown in our marriage, and in our Faith. And I have discovered the grace and mercy of God through pain that I can't even describe. My life was spared, and I have a beautiful family. I am grateful. My child is in the arms of the Almighty God, and someday I will meet her. That is enough for today.

Follow Up: God Bless the Broken Road

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Losing Lily: Part III

It took a long time to wake up. The Man told me later that it was about two hours. I would start to wake up, but my eyes were so heavy, I just couldn't. I felt heavy and emotionless. I finally was able to force myself to keep my eyes open. I could see my husband and friend standing over me, in the distance. I realized that she must have come back from the hotel. It's very blurry, but eventually I know that my husband told me what I was waiting to hear.

Our baby was gone.

She had been growing in my fallopian tube. The tube had ruptured, and I had been bleeding internally. They told my husband that if we hadn't gone to the ER, that I would have collapsed by the time we got to the wedding, and that they wouldn't have known what was wrong with me. I would have continued to bleed internally until I died. They removed the baby and my entire tube.

I didn't cry. I guess that I just couldn't. I had literally cried all day, through it all, and now it was suddenly over. I had to get up, to get moving. I wanted to just lay there in the bed. I didn't want to move. They told me that if I didn't get up, that it would make me feel worse later. What could be worse than this? I wondered. The recovery nurse was mean, which she told me was her job. She said she had to make me get up and get moving, to get the gas out. No one had ever told me about the gas pain. When they do the surgery, they expand the belly with gas, so they can see everything. As they work, the gas is absorbed by the blood. The pain from this is unbearable. It was the worst up in my shoulders. She and the Man took me to the bathroom, but all I could do was moan and complain about the pain. They took me back to the bed I had been in. I tried to get up and get moving like I was told, but it was so hard. Evil Nurse told me that my insurance wouldn't pay for me to stay the night, so I had to get up. I eventually was able to move enough to be checked out, and we were able to get to the car. I was in a daze, feeling shoved out the door and unable to process anything beyond putting one foot in front of the other, with my husband holding my arm.

I managed to sit in the seat, with it put back a little, for the ride back to the hotel. We stopped at a drugstore to get my prescription for Percocet, and for Mylanta Gas to try to help with that pain. (Didn't help.) We got back to the hotel, and they had a wheelchair waiting for us. The ride up to the room was horrible, I felt so nauseous. We got to the room and the Man wheeled me inside. I immediately threw up. I threw up several more times before the night was through. They got me into bed.

My girlfriend left to go back to the hospital to pick up my husband's family. They had taken a taxi over there after the wedding, and none of us had known when I would be checked out, so they missed us.

They eventually made it back to the hotel. I was pretty hazy by then, since I had taken some painkiller. My sister-in-law came in, still in her wedding dress. She looked beautiful. My daughter was happy to see me, and I was so happy to see her. I held her as best as I could, so glad to be able to hold my child in my arms, stroke her hair. I knew I was happy to have her with me, but I felt nothing beyond that. There was no emotion. I felt vacant.

We spent the next day in the hotel room. The family took the Princess with them and went to see the sea life over at the Mandalay Bay. I don't remember much about the day. I tried to sleep some, but I don't know how well I did. We had to check out by 11am, but our flight wasn't until late that night. The Man called the front desk, and they agreed to let us stay in the room until 5pm. At that point, we had to move to my sister-in-law's room. She and her new husband were staying an extra day, so they still had their room. We were able to stay in their room until we had to leave for the airport.

I tried to eat, but didn't do too well. They had told my husband to give me soup or broth, but he couldn't find any. He got McDonald's for our daughter, and got me some too. I was able to keep down about half of a burger.

We eventually had to leave to go to the airport. Somehow we survived this trip. We got on the plane, and I took painkillers just before takeoff, so I would sleep. Our toddler was well-behaved, and we both slept most of the flight. We got to the Philadelphia Airport in the early morning hours. The airline had a wheelchair waiting for us, but it only took us to baggage claim. I had to sit and wait forever while my husband tried to find someone who could help us. Someone finally came with a chair, and took us outside to the shuttle. I was able to climb onto the shuttle, which would only take us to designated drop-off spots. The Man unloaded us, and I sat on a suitcase while he hiked to get the van. He was gone for a very long time, and I started to worry. The Princess was patient, thankfully. He finally arrived, and we packed up into the van. He said that he had taken a long time because the car wouldn't start, and he'd had to get a jump. I had left a light on in the van before we left, trying to amuse the Princess on the drive to the airport.

We got onto 95, and drove home. I told the Man that I never thought that I would be so happy to see that dirty old city. Even Philadelphia looked good at that point. We got to our house at 9am. We were finally home.

Part IV

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Losing Lily: Part II

We left the hotel with two sets of directions to two different hospitals. The front desk had given us one, but my father-in-law gave us another that he thought was closer. We found neither. We drove for what seemed like forever, but couldn't find any of the roads we were supposed to be on. We finally stopped at a red light, and a police car happened to be next to us. My girlfriend suggested that we ask him for directions, which we did. We kept driving, and eventually saw a building in the distance that looked promising. We noticed the big white cross on the front, and we were sure that that had to be a hospital.

We got inside; I was able to walk. They found a wheelchair for me to sit in in the triage. We were there for quite a while, and they asked me a bunch of questions. The nurse was very reassuring. She said that since I had only bled a little bit, and it had stopped, that I could still be pregnant, and not to worry too much. I still had pain however. It continued to get progressively worse, and now it was all on my right side. They took my blood pressure and temperature, and eventually someone came and took me to the ER curtain area. This was where I spent most of the time.

They decided to take blood, which was surprisingly painless. They did this in a separate room from the curtain area, where they also did a pelvic exam. The ER doctor did this exam. It was very uncomfortable, and I really couldn't tell what he found. They eventually took me back to the curtain area. They decided to do an ultrasound. Instead of having me drink a lot of water, I guess they thought it would be quicker to insert a catheter and fill my bladder themselves. This would prove to be the most painful experience they had in store for me. The insertion of the Foley was excruciating, and I sobbed. The nurse did not seem to think this was unusual. They finally came and took me to do the ultrasound. The tech filled my bladder up, and spent a very long time staring at the screen. She didn't talk to me. I looked at the screen, but I couldn't really tell what I was seeing. She said that she needed to do an internal ultrasound. I was relieved, thinking that this meant that she would take the Foley out. She said that she had to leave it in. (I complained many times about how uncomfortable it was, but was told that if they had to do surgery, they would just have to put it in again, and then I would be really sore.) She drained my bladder and started the internal. Again, she just stared at the screen, not talking. She eventually muttered that she needed someone else to look too, and called another woman in. They both stared together at the screen for a long time, pointing and quietly talking, but neither of them spoke to me. I knew they had to do their jobs, but I couldn't help but think, "I'm a person! Treat me like a person! I'm right here!"

She eventually ended the ultrasound (after about 40 minutes) and wheeled me out into the hall. She left me there for about 10 minutes, then came back and took me to the curtain area, where my husband was waiting.

At some point, they had to put in an IV. I am a big baby about this kind of thing, and cried just at the thought that they were going to do it. Something about needles mentally freaks me out, and with my low blood pressure the person always seems to need to 'dig'. The woman who put it in was also unfortunately a student, and although she tried her best, it hurt like hell, and I was sobbing hysterically once again. She felt really bad, and it just made the whole thing even more pathetic and awful.

We were there for probably six hours, enduring test after test and being told nothing, before the OB doctor came down to the ER to examine me. We still weren't being told anything of course, but it felt as if we were starting all over again because the ER doctor had given up. By this point we were mentally drained, afraid, shaky. But she was calm and had a lovely manner about her. She explained to me that my HcG levels were only at about 300, and for six weeks pregnant, they should be closer to 3,000. She took me away to do another pelvic exam. She said she would feel my uterus and ovaries to try to determine what was causing the pain. After the exam, she told me that she wanted to do surgery. She said that they couldn't find the baby on the ultrasound, and they could only see something suspicious on my left fallopian tube. This also made no sense, since the pain was on my right side.

The doctor explained the surgery to me. She would go in through my belly button with a laparascope. I might have three or four incisions overall, depending on what they found when they went in. (I ended up with three incisions.) I was taken back to the ER, and they got me ready to go. I had never actually been admitted, so they had to do the paperwork for that before I could go to the OR. I think the Man signed everything for me, but I don't really remember. My girlfriend was gone at this point, she had returned to the hotel. She was supposed to check out of her room that morning at 11am, and was pretty late getting back. She checked her bags for the time being, and tried to reach my in-laws who were getting ready for the wedding.

The doctor came in and sat with me before they took me to surgery. I was really cold, and someone brought me a blanket. The doctor noticed then that the ultrasound tech had never cleaned me up after the procedure. I still had the gel and sticky towels all over me, underneath my blankets. She cleaned me up, and we talked a little bit. We talked about our daughters, and had a smile together. She was the only 'safe' and human part of that day.

They eventually got all the paperwork together, and an orderly came to wheel me upstairs to the OR. I was shivering cold by now. No matter how many blankets they put on me, I just couldn't get warm. I just thought that it was cold in there, I never really put two and two together. On the way up to the OR, the orderly stopped and got another blanket out of a warming cabinet for me. It felt great, so nice and warm.

They parked me in another curtained area, and the Man and I waited for a little bit. The anesthesiologist came and asked me some questions, then left. I said that maybe we should pray, so the Man did. It didn't seem real, that I was going in to have emergency surgery, and that we didn't know what would happen. We cried a little, and smiled a little, and pretty soon it was time to go. He kissed me goodbye, and they wheeled me away.

They wheeled me into the OR. It was icy cold. Everything was very bright and white. I looked around at all of the faces above me, and found it funny that they were all women. The doctor came in and said "Girl! It is freezing in here!", and went and got me another blanket. Soon I had to give up some of my blankets however, as they got me ready. They plugged things into my IV, and put an oxygen mask on me. The doctor took my hand. I was so grateful to her for the only moments of humanity I had in that hospital. They told me to breath deeply, and I did. I felt like I was suffocating, it was so hard to breathe in there. I felt panic rising up in me, as I wondered what was going to happen, would the baby be ok, would I be ok? The terror was too much, I wanted to scream. I squeezed tightly onto the doctor's hand, and suddenly... there was nothing.

Part III

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Losing Lily: Part I

I said a while back that I would tell Lily's story, and after reading the recent news about the losses experienced by members of the group Selah, I decided to come back to this. I wrote this out years ago, but it needs a bit of tweaking to post here. I think it will have to be posted in a few parts, as it's just too long for one. I apologize ahead of time if anyone finds anything in this story too graphic, or too upsetting. I don't want to make anyone feel bad for us, I just think that it's important for people to understand what happened. Miscarriage is a shameful and painful secret for many women, and it shouldn't be that way.

We found out that we were expecting around the middle of March, 2001. I went to the doctor on March 21st, and he confirmed it. The pregnancy test came back positive, but barely. He guessed that it was just very early in the pregnancy, and was not concerned. We guessed our due date to be November 20th. The Man and I were surprised by this pregnancy, but thrilled nonetheless. It had taken a year to conceive our daughter, so a surprise baby was a dream come true. We imagined our Thanksgiving baby, and we began to make plans.

On March 25th we boarded a plane to go to Las Vegas. The Man's sister was getting married out there. She was also pregnant, and we happily shared our pregnancy symptoms and other girl talk. We arrived on Sunday, and were scheduled to fly out on Wednesday night. We survived the "red-eye" and got to the Luxor hotel in the middle of the night. We had arranged for a crib for the Princess, who of course refused to sleep in it. The room we were in had two double beds, so I slept in one with her, and the Man slept in the other.

The wedding was set for Tuesday, at 3:30pm. We spent Monday walking around, and seeing all of the strange and interesting things in the casinos. The live lion exhibit in the MGM was great! We played some slots, but not too much, since the Princess wasn't allowed on the gaming floor. Some of our group rode on the rollercoaster on top of the NY NY Casino. We admired all of the extravagant architecture in all the casinos, then headed back to the hotel. I was really tired on the walk back. I had to stop and rest a few times, as I got a bad cramp in my side. I figured I was just overexerting myself, and resolved to try to take it easy the rest of the trip. We all got freshened up and met for dinner later. We ate at a large buffet in the Mandalay Bay Hotel. The Princess was uncooperative and tired, so I didn't really pay attention to the fact that I was so tired. I had felt a little faint while waiting in line for a shuttle train earlier, but I just chalked it up to pregnancy fatigue and forgot about it.

We gave up on trying to get our picky toddler to eat anything, or sit at the table with us, and headed back for the hotel room. By this time, dinner was not sitting well at all with me, and I was glad for a private bathroom. I lay on the bed and relaxed for a while, but I felt crampy and uncomfortable. I was sure that it was just digestive, and turned my mind to other things. A girlfriend of mine happened to be in Vegas at the same time as us, and we met up with her before dinner. She rented a lemon yellow BMW convertible, and wanted to go out and "cruise the strip." I left the Princess with her dad to go to bed, and we headed out.

We felt like teenagers again, driving down the Las Vegas strip, the wind in our hair, laughing and talking. We tried so hard to be out in front of the Bellagio at the exact right time to catch the waterfountain show, but we just caught the end of it. We drove around for a while, but eventually I got pretty tired. My friend took me back to the hotel and dropped me off. I went to bed, happy and exhausted.

I slept soundly, but woke up early. I looked at the clock, it was a little after 5am. I got up to use the bathroom. In horror, I discovered that I was bleeding. I was frozen for a moment. I had had some bleeding when I was pregnant with the Princess, at about 9 weeks, but it had turned out to be nothing. Maybe this was just like that; surely it was nothing. But the cramping pain I had felt the night before was there again, only now it was worse. Maybe it was just the food that hadn't sat well. Or the stress of travelling. The more I thought about it, the more I tried to convince myself that it was nothing. The bleeding seemed to have already stopped, so maybe I could just go back to bed. I left the bathroom, but as I approached the bed, the pain was too much. I began to cry, and woke my husband up.

I told him what was happening, and we decided to call my doctor back home. I called, and explained what was happening. When I told the nurse that I was calling from Las Vegas, she laughed. Somehow, I didn't find it that funny.

She told me that we needed to find an emergency room right away. She told us to call the front desk of the hotel and get directions. The Man called his parents and then called my girlfriend too. (Fortunately, we were all staying in the same hotel.) At this point, my daughter was awake, and climbing on the bed to sit with me. I held her and cried. The Man's parents came into the room. It was good to hug my mother-in-law, as I really needed a hug from a "mom" right then. The Man packed some things for the Princess. He packed up her white flower girl dress and sandals, and my MIL said that she would take them, but she was sure we would be back before then. I wasn't sure, but the Man agreed with her that we would surely be back by then. We had no inkling at that moment of what the day would bring for our little family.

Part II

Monday, June 16, 2008

This & That

Empty Arms - I wanted to post this a while ago but couldn't find the link. This video is about the journey of infertility. It is beautiful and heartbreaking, but so important that others watch and understand what so many women go through.

Sobriety Calculator - A fun little thing that you put your sobriety date into, and it tells you how many days you have. 2,576 for me today. :)

CopyKat - A great source for recipes of your favorite restaurant dishes.

Happy Father's Day to my husband and all you other dads out there!

Friday, June 13, 2008

Blogs I Read

I am really excited about the new blog listing feature down there on the right. Probably too excited. But anyone who knows me knows how very much I like to organize and arrange things, and the new tool is way better than the old way of just a list of links. I'm also considering changing some of my format, because I am just not crazy about the black and white text on brown. Thoughts anyone?

I decided to go through my list while I was at it, and remove one or two that I have stopped reading (or they have stopped writing), and also add a few that I've begun reading recently. The first is Bring the Rain, a blog that Amy told me about. I'll let that one speak for itself, and just say that if you do go read, be sure to start from the beginning, and bring tissues.

Another new one on my list is written by a gentleman I knew in college, Valentine Brkich. His blog, which consists of articles he has written for The Point North magazine, is about his new adventure into fatherhood. He is truly funny and endearing. You may look at his last name and think what one of our college professors thought, that he needed to buy a vowel. Or you may recognize his name and wonder if he is related to another Brkich that you've seen on TV. Being a person of odd last names myself (both maiden and married, oy), I think his last name is just fine, and I'm sure we'll be seeing more of him in the days to come.

I also added another college acquaintance, Tom Ayres, who happens to be a fraternity brother of Val. His most recent entry about how he knows he's competitive had me in stitches.

I have more blogs to add, but I need to go find them in the laptop and haven't had the time to do so. I have a pile of blogs about writing and publishing that I've been reading but don't have them saved on the Sticky Thing, so they must wait.

We're leaving for the campground after the kids get out of school today, so I'll be back on Monday. I said a while ago that I would post about my miscarriage, and have been in the process of editing. I'll put it up next week.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Too Many Labels

I bet that based on that title you're thinking that I'm going to say something truly profound about the way that we pre-judge other people, and how in today's society we simply must put an end to such shallow definitions. But alas, I am not that deep, at least not right after I finish the dinner dishes and collapse into this chair to putter about the internet.
No my dears, I just have too many labels on the blog. I spent some time earlier today trying to tidy them up from their unruly state. I had a lot that were only used once that I condensed or removed. There are some however, that will remain no matter what, such as the Michael Jackson label. The cheese stands alone. Or, the crazy man-child stands alone, whatever you prefer. (Of course, mentioning it in this posting allows me to go from 1 to 2 Michael Jackson entries, thereby justifying his presence.)
I promise I will come back to this project, hopefully after I put the kids to bed tonight. I am thinking of some kind of homemaking label, so I can mush together cooking, sewing and tattoos.


The Man and I had a crabby day yesterday. I'm not sure what was bothering both of us, but we weren't kind to one another. Neither of us has been feeling well lately, and I think that becomes our excuse to be rude. He has had an achy feeling the last week or two, and my allergies have been brutal. I was having a lovely sit on my pity pot about it the last few days, asking God why He won't heal me of all of the things I'm allergic to, and how I would be a better servant, mom and wife if He would heal me. I've been watching the Todd Bentley revival in Florida on and off for weeks, and it's exciting seeing all of those people get healed. I'm sure there are some who aren't truthful, but there are many that you can just tell are genuine. The woman the other night with the birth defect for example, you could tell that her ear was terribly malformed, and I have no doubt that she had been deaf in that ear since birth. And now she can hear! A true miracle. I'm no dispensationalist, I firmly believe that miracles and healings still happen today. But I find myself praying, 'God, I believe! Help my unbelief!' (Mark 9:24) More than my own healing, I want it for my mother. I have faith that she will be healed, but the waiting, waiting, waiting.... will You heal her this side of Heaven Lord? Can we all live with it if You don't?
I'm confronted with my own lack of gratitude, and I know that I must learn to ask with complete faith, but with enough maturity that I can live without what I ask for. The Apostle Paul asked God repeatedly to heal him of the 'thorn in his flesh', but it was left there for a purpose.
Gratitude... this is something we talk about frequently in meetings. It must be more than emotion, but follow into action that shows we are truly grateful. In my day to day living, I need to be showing in my actions that I am grateful. The way I speak, the way I raise my children, what I teach them - should be infused with the gratitude for all that I am given.
I was sitting in the breakfast room this morning, drinking my coffee and reading a book. The Barnacle was in his high chair, chatting in a sing song voice and eating his cereal. I was struck by how translucent his blonde hair looked in the early sun. The Princess was packing her bag for school while the Boy snoozed on the couch, escaping the heat of his upstairs room. I thought about the members of Selah, so fresh in their losses, and of the several women I know who have become young widows this past year. And I am confronted with the reality that no matter what pain my broken road has shown me, I am alive, my marriage is whole and I am abundantly blessed.
The Man called me last night from work and we both apologized. A bit of quiet and time gives the gift of perspective, and both of us sitting many miles from each other, alone in the silence of the evening was enough to show us our own ridiculousness. I don't know why we so often choose to learn things the hard way. But I can be grateful that we get there, however long it takes us.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Computer Ajuda

I still have no internet on the laptop. It's making me a bit insane. In particular would be the part where it did it out of nowhere and I have no clue how to fix it. And did I mention that the family computer is sticky. It is. And as of this afternoon, cue the annoying automated answering system provided by my ISP and you have the trifecta that will, in fact, have me swinging from the chandelier and throwing paste in short order. Verizon was no help whatsoever. A lovely computer voice informed me that if she had not solved my problem, that I was welcome to stay on the line until a rep became available. A click or two later and I was less then welcomed by a beefy voice informing me that the number was out of service, whereupon it hung up on me. At this point, I would be willing to throw myself on the sword of whatever barely-speaking-English tech support person out there who could help me.

If there is a lesson God is wanting me to learn from this, I'm clearly not getting it, or at least not in the mood for it. And no, I don't think that ajuda is spelled that way. But the spell check offers me nothing that fits, nothing! So I care not! I may try calling Verizon again tomorrow and begging for a tech support person to talk with. If I'm not back soon though, send the cavalry.

Friday, June 6, 2008

Homesick for Hell

When I was at my meeting last week I was chatting with a friend afterwards about how we can sometimes have this inexplicable yearning for our previous lives. That the chaos and insanity somehow can still appeal to our now sober minds. I cannot explain save to say that alcoholism is cunning, baffling and powerful, and that ridiculous feelings like that are WHY we need to go to meetings, be in the fellowship, do our step work, and so forth. My friend said she once heard it described as being 'homesick for hell'. I'm sure that none of my 'normie' friends out there will have a clue what I'm talking about, and that's ok. It's part of the mystery of us alcoholics, something quirky and sad that we need to admit to, so it doesn't become bigger than we can handle. I'm sure everyone can relate to having crazy thoughts sometimes!

I did fairly well with talking at the meeting when I got my coin. My sponsor was proud of me, and I felt really good about it. Sometimes I share and I can tell it's just coming out wrong or I end up going off in some crazy direction that makes no sense. But I held it together and didn't bawl and actually made sense. A friend gave me an additional coin with the Serenity Prayer on it, which was so sweet of him and very special to me. It looks almost exactly like this one.

Monday, June 2, 2008

Church of Oprah

About two months ago my friend Trish blogged a bit about the silliness that has been going on with Oprah Winfrey. I guess I shouldn't call it silliness, it's actually quite serious how she is misleading people. Oprah has long bugged me with her new age take on religion, while she claimed to be some kind of Christian, or at least a believer in Jesus. One of her main issues that came up in that YouTube video is her being turned off by the scripture that says that God is a jealous God.

Spend a few minutes and read this article written by a Baptist minister that clarifies the jealousy issue. As he says in the article, "There are simply no substitutes for truth, and God is Truth." It truly saddens me to think how Oprah has missed the mark by such a measurable distance, and her fans may so easily be taken in by these falsehoods.

This & That

A few things to share...

100 Must-Read Books: The Essential Man's Library I found this fantastic list and practically swooned. I love books. A lot. I've recently given my resignation from a women's ministry that took up a fair amount of my time every week, and I've been really excited to get back to reading books on a daily basis. Right now I'm reading the Left Behind Prequels, which are entertaining but certainly not what I would consider literature. So I was quite delighted to find this list of 100 must read books. Granted, they are billed as 'men's' essential reads, but still... It's a nice starting point.

MousePrint This is an amusing place to read what the fine print on some of your favorite products says. It can sometimes be a bit vulgar but is mostly a good source of info.

Pig Latin Translator isThay isyay ustjay ainplay unfay andyay ayay oodgay ayway otay annoyyay youryay ildrenchay.