Thursday, April 28, 2011

Soaking it Up

So I grabbed my camera to go take some pictures of my garden. I put my hand on the door--a flash of lightning, a crack of thunder, and I decided I could paint you a picture with words.

There are two circles in my backyard that are 4 feet across. Right now, my garlic, onions, radishes, beets, swiss chard, lettuce, and maybe something else I can't think of right now are planted and growing rapidly. The rest has to wait for better weather.

I already have so many radish sprouts that I think it is going to hail radishes. Anyone live here and want some?

Okay, now it is raining sideways outside. And it's sunny. The weather in the midwest is bizzaro.


We're happy about this whole thing. Clearly, I am not too far along, but I am not a believer in the "keep it secret for alittle, until you're sure" method. Until I'm sure of what? That I'm pregnant? Uh, yes, I am. Until I am sure (in the words of one friend) it's going to stick? (also, I looked at her alittle sidways) Thanks, but whether this pregnancy makes it to the end or something terribly sad happens, it's our baby. And we are not in the mood for secrets.

Not only are we happy, we are surprised. Okay, well I am really surprised. I have had a delightful time with endo and a side of ovarian cysts, so when the doctor said getting pregnant? hmmmm. might be a problem, I believed her.

Of course, at that time, I had not embarked on my year of reformed eating. It's been more than a year now of no sugar or processed foods. I'm sure it doesn't have everything to do with it, but I think it had something.

Anyways, it was a good thing to be able to talk about with Mama Vor the day before the surgery--though we didn't tell, she guessed. That's what happens when you don't order wine and you are a terrible liar. She was hilarious when she came out of surgery all hopped up on whatever they gave her though--she started announcing to the world at large, "We are going to have a baby!" To anyone who would listen. So much for secrets.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Answer Me

There are highly important pressing questions I need answered.

1. Where do I find maternity suits?

2. On that note, for a bebe due at the end of December, would a pantsuit or a skirt suit work better? (truly not interested in having more than one maternity suit)

3. How do I make the in the court room vomiting not happen? Because that is going to get old, quick.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Oh, and by the way

Surgery is going well. I am home on a"let the dog out to pee" break.

Oh, and by the way:

Yeah, more on that later when I'm not hanging out in a hospital!

D Day

Mama Vor's surgery is today. Prayers please.

Friday, April 22, 2011


The first time I went to Ireland, I came back a different person.

I came back more independent, more confident, more aware. For some reason (maybe it was the fresh Irish air), I was suddenly able to admit things to myself that I had scarcely dared let cross my consciousness, and make decisions when I had previously denied there was ever a decision to be made.

For example, I completely threw over my dad's adamant desire that I be in the biology/chemistry field. I knew what I wanted was to be an English major. It was what I loved, and I would see where it too me. Making that change made me happier than I had ever been in college, and led me to law school. Who knew.

Also for example was my longstanding dedication to synchronized swimming. I had been a swimmer since, oh, I don't know. There are pictures of my holding ribbons for winning a speed swimming race, and it looks like I am too young to walk. I kid you not that I knew how to swim at the same time I knew how to walk. I had been a synchronized swimmer since 6, probably, and was nationally competitive at 8.

At age 20 in college, I went to Ireland and suddenly discovered I hated it. I knew before I went to swim Division 1 that I felt burned out, but I had been doing it so long that I could see nothing else. That, and I get a major high from winning. I am a competitive freak. I have struggled long and hard to control this, as it actually can be quite destructive in personal relationships--who knew!

So anyways, for reasons long and short, I came back and quit. I felt like a quitter. I felt awful. My room mates, who were also my teammates, were angry, and helped me feel awful. I had never, never quit. Yet I just did. For however hard and awful that was, I know now that my single minded dedication to it was holding me back. If I could have been someone different, and opened myself up to new things and experiences while still being a synchronized swimmer, then maybe it would not have held me back. I'm not programmed like that. It was a hard decision, a good decision, one that I don't regret now. I had a new horizon.

So here I am, back form Ireland again. Again, I am suddenly seeing things clearer than before I left. Again, I am feeling that desperate need for a radical change. Again, I am ready to admit things to myself that I couldn't before.

1. I want kids. Hear the crickets chirping? 'Cause I sure do. This has been a long struggle for me. More recently, I oscillated between good idea and very bad idea, usually depending on whether a cute smiling baby was looking at me, or a tantrum tossing toddler was nearby. Now, thought, I am sure. I am okay with this. We can do this. It's definitely not a biological craving the way my friends describe it. It's not an overwhelming need. It's a new horizon.

2. This is not my forever job. That's pretty hard for me to say. I love the work, I love the organization. It is a good thing. I help children who are helpless and ignored. It's okay hours-wise. The pay sucks, but it's a nonprofit. It is draining. Really, deeply draining. It is a soul sucker. I come home angry or sad 95% of the time. While I have done an okay job leaving the problems at work, that attitude is not necessarily encouraged. But how else do I survive this job? And while I like the attorney part of it, there are other aspects I don't like.

3. I don't want to practice law full time. The dream, of course, is that I finish writing this novel, and someone swoons over it and me, and life's a fairly tale, yada yada yada. Right. But I am finishing this thing. I will do this thing. The reality is that I would like to practice part time. I don't know if my present employer can swing that. Litigation is a funny business that does not lend it self to set schedules. Ever. What do I want to do that other part time? Write. I want to write this novel, I want to take odd editing and proof reading jobs, I want to content write, etc. Or, maybe, someday, I don't know, I hope, maybe, maybe, maybe... I go back to school. Get my MA, MFA, or maybe even the PhD. I always that fast and duck, expecting, I don't know, the hand of God to reach down and smack me.

4. Food is a problem for me. Since December of 2009, I have tried hard to make better decisions about food. Officially, I eat meat, vegetable, fruit, and very litle dairy. No sugar, no processed foods. And when I was religious about it, it worked great. But if you give me an inch, I take a mile, and I confess, I just ate a grilled cheese sandwhich. And it was good. And now I want more. Is there such a thing as a food addicition? A sugar addiciton? I think I have it. I have not been terribly good about the food (and exercise), and it almost immediately tears at my health.

I am normally pithy on this thing, or at least, I try to be. Below is a moment where I am dead serious.

So: My name is Grace, and I have a food problem, spcifically a sugar problem. I recognize that sugar and all its processed forms is very bad for me, causes immediate and massive weight gain, soreness, stiffness, imflamation, and probably brings me back to brink of Diabetes. I recognize I have no self control when it comes to food like this. I recognize that if we want to get pregnant, I must get this under control, for my health and any potential baby's health. I will find that place in myself that holds the single mided determination, and I will activate it for this purpose. I will not let it control me anymore.

There, I admitted I have a problem. In public. I feel embarassed, but relieved.

I am deeply grateful for this trip. I feel clear headed, rested, and ready. I feel aware. I feel energized.

I feel awake.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

is Golden, Silence

What exactly does that mean, anyways? That your parents want some peace and quiet? That no news is good news? That no answer at all is more revealing than the truth, a half-truth, or a lie? That a picture is worth a thousand words? I am quite sure that I can out-platitude you, sir or madam.

In this case, the silence is golden adage means that there is so much happening and swirling around that golden = a barrel so stuffed full of things that when you tip it over to get everything to fall out, nothing falls out. So my mouth opens, but no words come out. It’s too full.


Ireland was…amazing, restful, wonderful, green, beautiful, relaxing, fun, eye-opening, spiritual, everything and more. And that was just the tea!

I jest (surely) but truly, the tea was divine, and Vor and I are nothing if not tea snobs. Well, I am a tea lover, but he is a tea snob. We have special tea equipment and tea procedures for making tea at our house, and he has declared that we can never live in Colorado because of the elevation—the tea is not hot enough when it boils, and it tastes wrong. I do pat myself on the back for making that connection before my engineer turned lawyer husband did—he was staring plaintively at his cup of tea, saying for the umpteenth time on our honeymoon that it tasted wrong, and I finally pointed out that we were in the mountains. High up in the mountains. Isn’t air pressure a problem? He looked at me with even more loving fervor in his eyes than when he had said I do days before, and he knew that this was why he married me (I jest again, surely). Yes! Elevation and air pressure and vacuum and boiling and tea—never these shall mix! He was then off on a tangent, trying to think of ways to create a tea kettle that would allow the water to get hot enough to create proper tea, and he lost me somewhere at hermetically sealed pressure chamber.

Anyways. Ireland. We flew into Dublin, and took the train across the country to the west coast, where we stayed in the lovely, quirky city of Galway for a few days. Our hotel was more of a large B&B, and it was in the middle of everything. We walked everywhere, expect when we took the ferry out to the Aran Islands. I had been to the smallest Aran Island (Inis Oirr) before, but this time, we went to the largest, Inis Mor. We rented bikes and rode around all over the island, encountering cows and sheep and stone fences and beauty and friendly Irish people speaking their supposedly native tongue to our hearts content. We sat on the cliffs that are the complement to the Cliffs of Moher, and listened to the silence.

From Galway, we rented a car—yikes—and drove a manual transmission on the wrong side of the car, on the wrong side of the road. It was actually easy to get the hang of, though I think it helps to have a passenger in the case (c’est moi) muttering under her breath: drive on the left. Left. Left. I need to be closest to the shoulder of the road. Left. Left. Left. I was the like the man who rode along side Caesar, whispering in his ear that he was only mortal. Left. Left. Left.

We drove from Galway to Limerick, saw my family for a few hours, and had dinner with them. We then drove to Cashel, and stayed the night there in a B&B, then crawled all over the Rock of Cashel in the morning. From Cashel, we drove to Blarney and crawled all over the Blarney Castle, and Vor kissed the stone. I declined, as I did not want to negate my gift of gab I previously received from kissing the stone by kissing it again. Or, I did not want to dangle upside down off a five story castle with nothing but the strength of my forearms and an Irish man named Paddy holding my waist preventing me from certain death. Again. I love Blarney—a teeny tiny town with delicious bakeries, lots of green, quaint shopping and a castle.

From Blarney, we drove to Kenmare. Kenmare is about 40 minutes away from Killarney, and is a small town situated on a bay. We stayed at a B&B that was on the bay, drove through Killarney National Park, experienced part of the ridiculously touristy but never the less gorgeous Ring of Kerry, and relaxed. After two days, we took a train back to Dublin, spent the night in Dublin, and came home.


Home—is where the heart is; is where, when you go there, they have to let you in; see also, you can never go home again. Or maybe, it is you can always go home again. I suppose it depends on the person, and the home.

We know what caused the acute attack that put my mother in the hospital, but we still don’t know what that spot on her liver is. We’re waiting, and we wait and wait and wait, for doctors, for referrals, for appointments, for tests, for results.

As the time ticks by, I think about how short life is. I think about how much fun it has been to be a child was born decidedly late in my parents’ life, and I think about the disadvantages. It has been fun having older, much older siblings, and one of the greatest gifts of my life to have nieces and nephews that I call brothers and sisters, because I am so close to them, in age and emotion.

It is one of the greatest heartbreaks I have that my children will not know their great grandparents, my grandparents, like most of my nieces and nephews did. They are physically long gone, though I fiercely promise myself that my children will know them through stories and my memories. The idea—the knowledge—the practical reality—that my children will not have nearly the time or memories that my nieces and nephews have had with my parents is so breathtaking, so cruel, that every time I try to voice the idea to Vor, I stop. These are words that cannot come out. I don’t know what else will come out with them. It goes beyond heartbreak. Silence is best. So, as I wait wait wait for my mom to find out about this spot on her liver, I think and try not to think.

The opposite of wait is go now go fast run run run. My mother in law has all her tests back from all doctors, and nothing surprising was found—no new news is good news. Thank God, no more surprises at this point. But, breast cancer it is, and so now we are in motion for treatment. We put our feet back on American soil and learned the latest results and the date for surgery. People seem to fall into two camps on this double mastectomy: the “if it saves her, cut them off and don’t look back” camp, and the “it’s necessary, but emotionally costly camp.” The camps clearly agree on the end result, but are certainly different in their emotional approaches towards us—and her—at this point. I, personally, would appreciate some balance.

There was a breast cancer run this weekend in town. I’ve always watched those runs from a distance and thought, yes, supporting breast cancer research is good. I’ve bought the flowers at Lowe’s that sent the proceeds from the sale of pink dahlias to breast cancer research. But as I stood behind someone in line at Starbucks to get some tea for this ridiculous cold I acquired, I saw that she was running in the race. She had the pink shirt on, and the logo. And for the first time, it was not abstract.

Anyways, the surgery is Monday. The day after Easter Sunday, which I hope and pray is good thing. This is no two hour in and out surgery. It is a marathon surgery.

Did I mention that Vor and I were supposed to fly to Florida this weekend? No, not for another vacation, though the weather is undoubtedly nicer there than it is here. We were going to say goodbye to his grandmother, whose health is failing. We were supposed to still be in Florida on Monday. So, changing those plans and tickets has been part of the go-go-go. I hope we get to see his grandmother soon. I hope we get to see her, period.


So that’s that. Despite the crazy and the bad, it’s good. Each day I draw a breath and the ones I love around me do the same is a good day. It’s golden.