Friday, September 7, 2018

The melting part of a meltdown

This meltdown has been building for awhile. Between stress work, stress from home, stress from Teddy's upcoming surgery and stress in general, I'm been feeling out of sorts for awhile and aware how thread-barred I've been becoming.

So when yesterday I misread an email that landed me in some hot water with my boss, followed by a rough morning with her in general, combined with a follow-up email from Maddy's teacher where she flippantly asked about meeting times and then another email from Teddy's surgeon where he decided Teddy needs to see a hearing specialist prior to surgery next Thursday (he's had 2.5 months to sit on the information I gave him), the meltdown began.

And though my boss apologized later, making it clear she wants me to communicate with her, I didn't feel any better as now I'm convinced my contract isn't going to be extended.

And though Maddy's teacher explained in a follow up email that she just wanted to chat in general, I emailed a request to the principle for a formal sit-down as I already know this type of communication will lead to future conflict and this needs to be rectified now, making me agitated that I have to initiate these boundaries

And though the ENT staff is scrambling to get Teddy in to be seen, the surgeon and I are now angry with one another as I pointed out that this delay really is not acceptable (and he's angry as physicians aren't use to this type of push-back), meaning today is a cooling-off period before an escalation happens that cannot be undone.

Somehow I got through the work day, but last night was spent with me pacing and floating in-and-out of tears, with Grey finding me curled up in the kitchen at one point. I'm consumed with guilt over all the negativity and am gripped by fear that comes with once again having to resume a job hunt. I'm tired of feeling like a failure and less-than based on a career-path I chose.

But above all, I'm angry. And that's not a great place to be.

Despite next to no sleep and a commute that continues to be taxing (~100 miles every day has been wearing), I'm trying to pull myself together today to get final pieces put into place for this event tomorrow. Grey has stepped up and will be the primary parent for the next 48 hours and even Maddy and Teddy have agreed to jump in to help out by showing Grey the ropes to their typical day. Still, I feel like goo, with next to no skeleton for support. And that sucks.

Wednesday, September 5, 2018

Playing tourist

Sunday, while every local headed out of the Bay Area, Grey and I decided to play tourist and venture into the city explore. My younger self use to turn up my nose at any activity that fell under "tourist attraction," but my opinion has changed as I've aged. After all, even if outwardly cheesy, these activities are often a lot of fun and far too many locals miss out one something that truly can be unique to an area.

After a lot of back-and-forth, we settled on Fisherman's Wharf as our destination. And despite a late start (really don't recommend arriving at any location at 11 am), we ended up having a fun morning/early afternoon exploring the piers and taking in the sights

It was on the walk back to the car that Grey commented about how rare it is for us to spend a day out together. A big part of this has to do with all the chaos over the last 5 years. Between moving, work stress and housing stress, there's not been much room for taking any down time. And as Grey reflected on this, I thought more about how this was a major factor that separated us from a lot of other people in our circle. How others around us have found a way to schedule vacation time while we've had it on the back-burner.

I'm hoping that this day-trip is the beginning of change on that front. Though I have no grand illusions about going somewhere exotic, simple trips like this where we can get away and reset while not having to worry about employment status or where our home will still exist seems like something reasonable to aim for.

In light of that, I'm hoping we'll have another opportunity to play tourist again. Because I hear the cable cars are a worthwhile experience.

Tuesday, September 4, 2018


Its the week of a major event at work. Tensions are high as all of us are preparing for a showcase of updated curriculum and introducing the science education community to new team members. And there's the added fact that my future with this organization rides on Saturday going well. All leading me to second-guess myself and my worth given that I've not been included in meetings about aspects I was previously a part of.

Then there's the email from Maddy's teacher, requesting a meeting as she's been struggling with communicating followed by no response to me asking for when we can meet.

The cherry on top of this that we are looking at moving again in 6 months. Our current apartment complex is transitioning with cooperate management that is clearly interested only in profit. Between the garbage bins being filled to the brim as word has gotten out that this complex is a great place for illegal dumping, a lot of pot smoke, repairs piling up (and threats from management for me not to do them) and dealing with neighborhood kids have been peeking into our windows (parents are no where to be found), we're realizing there isn't a sustainable community here.

It's not often that I find myself wanting to throw in the towel. Usually I can find a reason to power through a day, holding onto promises of progress and movement forward. But today has been a blue day where I feel both like a complete failure and angry about being pushed around as there doesn't seem to be a solution.

Even though I know a letter from a lawyer would make the next 6 months bearable with our living situation. That Maddy's teacher will get back to me and we'll work out a solution for moving forward. And following this Saturday I'll have an answer about my future with this company.

Monday, September 3, 2018

#MicroblogMondays: Opposite of the plan

Not sure what #MicroblogMondays is? Read the inaugural post which explains the idea and how you can participate too.

Yesterday, after some bribery and encouragement, I took Maddy and Teddy out to the parking lot for a maiden voyage on their fully reassembled bikes. Holding onto the back of their seats, I did what so many have described before, chanting "pedal!" as they gained speed before letting go. And though there were a couple of stumbles, 20 minutes later they were both biking around the parking lot with am amused looking Grey documenting the whole scene, including a very winded Cristy

As all of this was happening, some of the neighbors came out to watch, commenting on how quickly Maddy and Teddy have learned to ride. I had to laugh as what they were witnessing could easily be misinterpreted for the how the whole experience actually played out, with them missing all the moments over the past 2 months that had all gone completely opposite to plan.

Like the fact that I never intended to use training wheels, yet quickly threw that idea out the window after a week being on modified balance bikes (seats lowered and no pedals) as they were bored from pushing themselves around and didn't know how to get themselves moving. 

Followed by the fact we would go on to spend the rest of July and most of August on training wheels, with both kids picking up speed and Teddy getting off his training wheels for the most part, but both resisting the idea of removing said training wheels as they figured out that was what was keeping them balanced. 

How it took Maddy basically breaking her training wheels from all the leaning, followed by a night of serious argument with Grey after I asked if we could somehow fix the problem (we couldn't and he's still convinced I shouldn't be allowed to make future bike-related purchases), that lead to a fit of anger on my part resulting in removing the training wheels all together as well as pedals and lowering the seats again. 

And how over the next week following that ugly night, where I didn't see a way forward, both Teddy and Maddy would put it all together, mastering balancing on their modified balance bikes and then going on to riding them like it was second nature.

All of this has been a bit heady for me given that I thrive on plans. I like mapping out how to attack situations, making small modifications as needed but generally sticking to the skeleton that was laid out. Despite this, my life so far has gone no where near what was planned and I've often found that when I buck "going with the flow" I tend to lose. The problem is that a lack of structure is stressful for me and it's not where I tend to thrive. But what I'm reminded of is that too much structure and rigidity is also harmful. That we as humans learn best through failed experiments, finding roads and options we rarely would considered unless pushed.

We still have a way to go with biking before I can send Maddy and Teddy off on the trail with Grey (that's my current pipe-dream). Teddy is doing well with getting himself started on the flat, but gravel trails are a bit more difficult. Maddy still is more cautious and needs to gain confidence with speed; hills are going to be hard for her. Yet watching them both today on the school playground blacktop, zipping around the courtyard, I was reminded that oftentimes the best things come in ways that I could never have planned.

Something I need to hold fast to for this coming week.

Monday, August 27, 2018

#MicroblogMondays: Chemistry in the kitchen

Not sure what #MicroblogMondays is? Read the inaugural post which explains the idea and how you can participate too.

Lessons learned from today's experiment:

1) Ball size matters

 2) Ratio of frosting to cake is key to success

3) The presence of chocolate in cocoa butter makes a HUGE difference in consistency
4) Vegetable oil does wondrous things to chocolate.

Experiment 2 next week.

Sunday, August 26, 2018


On Friday, Maddy and Teddy finished preschool. It's a bittersweet end to an era, given they've been in some form of daycare since they were 5 months old and our family has generally benefited from the relationships with the teachers and the schools. Still, we're officially in a weird limbo of no school for the next two days, meaning I have two gift days of being home with them full time, helping them prepare for their first day of Kindergarten.

There's so many things I have on my list of final experiences: baking together, making thank you cards for all their previous teachers who have gotten us to where we are today, getting in some final midday bike rides and maybe trying to hit the pool one final time. Everyone around me telling me how precious and special this time is, making it seem like there's a need for it to be picture perfect.

But the reality is, none of it will be. There will likely be fights and struggles; moments where we'll want to be done with each other. I also have to work during these two days, so there will be some creative juggling happening. Meaning these last 2 days will likely be far from perfect.

Our world is currently focused on the "perfect moments," fueled by social media and unrealistic expectations. It's interesting how sneaky this pressure is applied, either with well-meaning questions or check-lists of things we need to do. 

And yet, what makes something a perfect memory is usually something that seems benign or is unexpected. A touch, a moment, a shared exchange, but even joy or humor during something that is otherwise a disaster or the calm that comes from making up. Things that generally aren't planned.

Today we went on a hike with Lucas and Moon. And it was during a moment when Maddy declared that she was tired and couldn't possibly walk another step (1 mile away from the car) that I lifted her into my arms and walked while she wrapped her body around me. All while one cousin was in tears over being terrified about the wasps and Teddy was tearing off ahead of the group, causing all the adults to panic. In that moment (with Teddy fetched and accounted for), I could feel the weight of this young girl and knew the day was rapidly approaching that carrying her would be next to impossible. 

All of it reminding me that "perfect" is not something we can actually define and hold to a standard. And that sometimes "perfect" comes in the most imperfect moments 

Monday, August 20, 2018

Monday, August 13, 2018

#MicroblogMondays: Sploot

Not sure what #MicroblogMondays is? Read the inaugural post which explains the idea and how you can participate too.

Just over 14 years ago, Grey and I adopted Daisy. Upon returning home from our honeymoon, we found a very lonely Jaxson who had taken up the habit of laying completely prone on the floor, chinning touching the ground and looking around in a very sad manner. Deciding enough was enough, off to the animal shelter we went to find him a companion, resulting in us finding a small mackerel tabby with a star on her forehead and an attitude that still keeps everyone in line.

But the one habit that Daisy possess that I had never seen before is this sitting position.

Initially we thought it was a way for her to protect her belly following her spay operation, but 14 years later she still does it, usually when comfortable and relaxed. 

Apparently splooting is thing, often associated with dogs but cats and rabbits will do it too.

Who knew?

Wednesday, August 8, 2018

The myth of "happily ever-after"

It's later in the evening and the kids are down. Settling into the night, hoping for just a few minutes of relaxation, I say something that triggers a fight. After several minutes of back-and-forth, I end up leaving the room to cool down and reflect. More minutes will pass before I emerge to apologize, trying to repair the hurt built upon more hurt and figure out a road forward.

Maddy has become interested in fairy tales, picking out stories that involve some sort of adventure that wraps up with a happy ending. Watching her recount these tales, I'm reminded of how for the first 30 years of my life I too believed in happy endings: that right triumphed, there was always a reason for the bad and this idea that if you worked hard enough one could overcome anything. Happiness was a destination and despite many failings I held fast to this idea that once I reached it I would be complete.

So it was a bit of a one-eighty that my 30s have been spent tearing apart this myth about happiness in a spectacular fashion, with infertility being the final straw resulting in the collapse of the "happily ever-after" myth and the reality that life is actually insanely unfair journey.

Despite this realization, I still struggle when Grey and I fight. I hate it to my very core, even though I know that the arguing we do isn't a sign that our relationship in trouble (I worry about couples who claim to never fight). Still, my whole being hurts when we're in the thick of disagreement. Even though I know I should know better, it can often be hard to see a path forward.

I’ve been reflecting on this today, picking apart why my world feels like it’s falling apart when Grey and I are fighting. Part of it still comes from the power of the myth of “happily ever-after” and the idyllic pictures of seemingly conflict-free couples. One of the most damaging aspects about the ever-after myth is the unspoken assumption you’re either on the road or you aren’t. A former friend once informed me I was doomed to a life of unhappiness, a threat meant to pull on this fear of a melancholy destiny. Looking at our society, where instant gratification is a multi-billion dollar industry with people throwing almost all caution to the wind in the hopes of experiencing happiness, it's not surprising that this fear exists, highlighting why it can feel so damning if you aren't feeling happy when everyone around you seems to be

One reason that infertility was so painful was this assumption that I was somehow undeserving for parenthood because I wasn't the image of happiness and in the thick of that darkness that was fertility treatments and miscarriages a lie I told myself was that having a baby would resolve all our pain and worry. Never mind that this is the furthest from reality, the idea that I was undeserving stemmed for a belief that it was because I wasn't happy

Another realization is that there's still this myth that happy couples are conflict-free couples. The truth that fighting fair and conflict resolution aren’t skills most people have, with me being one of many that didn’t learn to fight well. With my mother, apologizing for anything meant taking full responsibility for any hurt, leading to an end where one person “lost” and the goal of each argument to “win” no matter the damage caused in the process. Not surprisingly, it was rare to come out of any disagreement happy with the outcome, leading to a lot of negative self-imaginary along the way.

With Grey, and later with the help of David, I have been learning how to fight in a more problem solving mind-set, which has been one of the few gifts from infertility, as the foundation we built while facing the traumas caused by infertility gave us both an invaluable toolkit we still use to this day. The other end has been actively reminding myself that though fighting hurts, with less than happy feelings being experienced in the moment, the goal needs to be towards building together in order to foster that happiness

All that said, I suck at all of this and given my nature it’s hard for emotions not to run high and often to feel overwhelmed. Whereas some revel in conflict and heated engagement, I find myself wanting to disengage and hide. Because though "happily ever-after" is a myth, it's a very appealing one compared the the reality of the work that is waiting.

Monday, August 6, 2018

Shoe on the other foot

Moon is sick. About 2 weeks ago she found herself in the ER due to chronic headaches and vertigo. Due to some pushing, the doctors caught what could have resulted in her having a stroke and prescribed blood-thinners for treatment, but the vertigo has returned.

And she and Lucas aren't communicating much.

Across the way, I learned on Saturday our neighbor's doctor is recommending she have her remaining ovary removed. She's only 22 years old.

A big part of me wants to dive right in, crossing all the boundaries and pushing that we are here to help. In some ways I have already by sending texts to Moon and putting this young woman into contact with friends who can connect her with a second opinion.

Yet, I'm also well aware that with any traumatic event the decision on how to proceed need to be made by those facing them directly. That even though everyone surrounding them, including me, has an opinion, it is not for any of us to decide the best course of action and finding someone who actually can help will take a lot more digging and advocating. Jumping in and trying to fix things is actually the farthest thing either of them needs as they navigate this.

It's odd to be on the other side watching all of this unfold. So many who aren't familiar with the situation have their own thoughts and opinions about courses of action and listening to them makes me wonder what those outside looking in were saying about Grey and me while we were in the thick of infertility. But more importantly is this feeling of fear about overstepping or alienating. This isn't my journey and their decisions need to be their own.

So I'm doing something that makes me uncomfortable and stepping back. The information and knowledge of support is out there and I'm allowing them to do with it what they want. Because though there were moments I hurt terribly and felt like I wanted to be saved from the pain, what ultimately brought me healing was feeling like I wasn't alone. Even though things were scary and the path forward was often unclear.

Having the shoe on the other foot is fucking hard.

#MicroblogMondays: A red sun

Not sure what #MicroblogMondays is? Read the inaugural post which explains the idea and how you can participate too

There are fires just south of where we are. Too far away to be of any concern, but the past couple of days the sunrises and sunsets have been veiled in a red hue.

Red is the color of passion, fire, seduction, violence and adventure. With red comes a sense of urgency. We've all been feeling it here, even though it's not clear what or why.

Friday, August 3, 2018

The hazards of bridge building

It was lunchtime. Sitting together at a fold-out table, waiting for turns at the microwave, my new co-workers and I shifted our conversation from work to more personal topics. To the outside world, all of it was pleasant and benign, yet I was inwardly cringing as we touched on each topic knowing that though the three of us were clearly at ease, the topics we covered from housing to career tracks to finally our families, focusing on our children, would be landmines for so many.

Since Sunday, I've been thinking more and more about all of this. One of my biggest fears with moving to the Bay Area was facing Lucas and Moon. Until 4 months ago, I had never seen a photo of the daughter they conceived who's due date matches the babies I lost during my second miscarriage. Though Grey talks with Lucas regularly, I made a point to stay distant given all the negative emotions from those years in the trenches. The idea of having them both so close frightened me in ways I struggled to share.

Within a week of arriving in the Bay Area, Grey, Teddy, Maddy and I were invited over to celebrate Easter, a visit I steeled myself for but even then found myself struggling. Then there was another invitation to watch Teddy and Maddy while Grey and I were car shopping, which I agreed to at the last minute when it became clear both kids we're craving time with cousins. This followed with a conversation with Lucas about Moon's friends who were suffering following the loss of their child and then us learning that Teddy was going to require surgery too, leading to a call for help.

But what shocked Grey (and I believe Lucas too) was when Moon and I started texting one another. What started as a simple request to add her as a emergency contact lead to a conversation about birthdays (both sets of twins share a birthday month) followed by an invitation to join us at the aquarium. All figured out without either of the brothers involvement, leading to Grey wondering what the hell had transpired. On the visit, Moon and I would have a few moments to chat, asking each other about work and how life was generally going. It would be later as we were sitting together that she would open up more about her own worries in life. And it was because of that conversation that I would immediately think of her for help with my neighbor's daughter.

Interacting with my co-workers, I realized I'm at an odd crossroads with past hurts and damaged trust. In some cases I'm still fighting, like with my parents about my mother's continued inability to see how her actions and words don't lead to healing (she still doesn't understand why asking me to adopt my cousin's son after he had been removed from her custody as a way to cure my inability to get pregnant would be damaging). But with Moon and Lucas, the situation is different. Olive branches are being extended on both sides and it's becoming clear that the pain that was caused didn't come from a place of malice, but of lack of context to begin understanding.

The thing I struggle with the most is how to move beyond and foster the bridge that is slowly forming. Unlike disagreements or arguments that are considered socially normal, this situation created in the midst of trauma is largely uncharted. For me, trust was broken compounded by the additions of triggers and pain during moments where I felt like I was drowning. Though I know well there were moments I behaved badly, it's not as simple as asking for forgiveness because I believe it's important that they understand there was underlying hurt in how some things transpired. The isolation Grey and I experienced, both together and as individual, was far from okay.

The realization I've been puzzling over more is that understanding infertility and loss is extremely difficult for anyone who hasn't experienced it. Just like any trauma, most people are unable to relate and even for those who have walked this path, there's a tendency that is highly encouraged by society and loved ones to block out that pain. These things frighten so many and there's a natural desire to block all of it out in hopes of continuing with what is normal. Hence it's difficult to understand how things that can be triggers would be painful. There's a societal enforcement of keeping one's head in the sand, preventing others who might want to understand from getting a footing for how. An unexpected gift from infertility is becoming aware, tasting pain on this level and being aware that though there are different paths towards healing; that it's not about making things instantly right or better, even though that's the first instinctual reaction.

But another realization that has been emerging is that triggers for trauma often come through efforts to connect. That when people ask what they consider benign questions about family make up or milestones, the purpose is through their own intention of finding common ground. Granted, so many are extremely sloppy at this, likely encountering many moments where the answers result in awkward silences and them failing to follow through with establishing a connection through another route. The summary statement being that many lack the refinement in social skills to navigate triggering others.

I don't have any sage advice from all these reflections, given that I'm currently navigate the minefield of my own crossroads. Hell, I'd love some advice! But one thing I am beginning to appreciate more is that as humans, though we are social creatures, we struggle a lot even under the best of circumstances. Infertility just manages to fuck it all up even more.

Wednesday, August 1, 2018

Embracing "wrong"

For the past few weeks in the early mornings, while waiting for the fog to clear, my coworkers and I have been busy destroying 20 years worth of work. Laying out the bins for our portable laboratories that go out to the local schools, we removed and disposed of reagents and teaching tools that others created or cultivated, all while restructuring and thinking about what made the most sense to use as scientists for approaching a topic. The results from these sessions of purging have been shocking for most that knew how things were before, with not only lighter mobile labs and a complete restructuring of the space that houses them as well as them, but also the stripping of mindset and misconceptions that were deeply rooted in fear of failure and the "correct" way to teach these topics. Never mind that doing so has inhibited the very mission we've been trying to promote.

Given what is happening in my professional life, it's hard not to make comparisons to my personal one. To date, Grey and I have been told we made a terrible decision with quitting on Boston. And yet Grey has been happier than I've seen him in a long time, pursuing work and collaborations that were not possible before. Teddy and Maddy have been embracing their bikes, enjoying our weekly routine of hitting the bike path on Saturday mornings; all made possible by putting training wheels back on their bikes and promoting them getting out there over learning the "right" way. With Teddy, we've hit a break-through with behavior when we realized giving him breaks with Legos and praising him for good behavior resulted in a kid who was eager to please.

And then there's my situation where I've started turning away recruiters, telling them point-blank that I'm not what they are looking for with some of these positions. Me telling them "no" has suddenly made me desirable, which has gotten a bit annoying.

From a young age, there's programming we are subjected to about the "right" way to do things. Starting with our parents bragging about milestones and achievements to later us being rewarded for taking certain paths or reaching certain milestones within a prescribed time, we're trained early on about the "right" way to lead our lives, with falling outside this perceived correct way as deserving any and all pain that results. The problem with this mindset is two-fold: the first being that terrible things happen to good people, while amazing things happen to scumbags. The second is that being so afraid to doing anything that isn't "right" stifles creativity, exploration and discovery of things that would never be known otherwise.

The days of purging have brought a lot of this to a head, with us ripping of excessive amounts of labeling and tossing materials that should have been discarding years ago but hadn't under the guise that it was somehow impossible to understand the lesson without it. The problem is by adhering so rigidly to a "right" way of doing things, this program has effectively become irrelevant and out of sync with modern biotechnology. Fear of failing or breaking things has made it necessary to not only burn down the house but also to throw the naysayers into total panic attacks about all the wrong in order to turn things around.

The thing is, what is resulting from all these wrongs, both professional and private, is fairly exciting. In less than a month of riding, Teddy is close to having his training wheels removed. While Maddy will likely take longer given that she bikes like an old lady and has no interest in speeding up at this point, she's none-the-less excited about Saturdays coming and doing things her way. Never mind the professional gains that are being made by both Grey and me at the moment.

All possible due to embracing "wrong" and being willing to fail.

Tuesday, July 31, 2018

Outside looking in

Yesterday, upon arriving home, I ran into a neighbor who was coming home with her daughter following a doctor's visit. Over the past month, this young woman who is in her early 20s has gone from being completely mobile to requiring a walker to get around. When originally asked, there were snippets about an ovarian cyst that needed to be resolved. Yesterday, it became clear a lot more was going on.

In a fit of despair, I overstepped and reached out to Moon for help. Given her training as a nurse practitioner specializing in women's health, I asked if she could talk. Then I walked over to the neighbors apartment, knocked on the door and rapidly explained that not only was I extremely worried about her, but that I had someone she could chat with to get a second opinion.

The long and the short of it is that as a young woman, she's already lost one ovary, her other ovary has a large cyst and there are two additional large masses in her pelvic region. She's in a substantial amount of pain and yet fears going to the ER as she doesn't want to lose her remaining ovary. All the while the doctors telling her they cannot understand why she would be in the amount of pain she's in based on what they are seeing.

All this made me want to cry. Here's someone who shouldn't even be having to think about her fertility and is choosing pain in an attempt to preserve it. Here are doctors who are failing her (her regular OB/GYN is apparently on vacation, leaving her no one else to see over the course of 2 weeks) and she's being minimized for something that is life altering. Though our stories are different, the emotions involved are extremely familiar.

I feel helpless in all of this. To scream about how if her heart was failing how differently the treatment plan would be. How what's she's facing isn't a trivial matter. And yet I know that even if I frighten her physicians, nothing will change. Just as no part of what I went through changed any part of the current system. Fertility is still seen as this taboo element that society then uses as a moral measurement, not a something that qualifies as life-threatening or altering.

Friday is this young woman's appointment; Friday is also my appointment with the Rheumatologist to begin exploring my own lingering fertility issues. All with me not expecting much from either situation.

Monday, July 30, 2018

#MicroblogMondays: Standing hand-in-hand

Not sure what #MicroblogMondays is? Read the inaugural post which explains the idea and how you can participate too

Almost 9 years ago, Grey and I made a trip to Washington DC to help Lucas and Moon with their almost 3 month old twins. Over the course of those 10 days, we would not only bond with the babies, but Grey and I would come to a tearful agreement that it was time to expand our own family.

Little did we know what would lie ahead; the heartache, the pain, the loss and the darkness all caused by loss and infertility. The idea of something so simple that would become so tainted and a myth shattered with the reality that far too many face.

4 years later, that chapter would end when Maddy and Teddy came into the world. Though there was much celebration, the healing that needed to happen would take almost another 5 years. 

On Sunday, Grey, Teddy, Maddy and I made our way down to the Monterey Bay Aquarium to spend the day with Lucas, Moon and the cousins to celebrate Teddy and Maddy's 5th birthday. And in that space, there was a moment where all those babies we held and cared for were hand-in-hand, guiding one another through the exhibits and sharing their excitement.

The truth is this moment didn't make infertility right or worthwhile. All the pain and loss of those that died in my womb cannot be justified by this sight, but seeing them all hand-in-hand ushered in more healing to reenforce the scar-tissue to those very deep wounds. Just a simple reminder that there is always a reason to fight towards the light.

Thursday, July 26, 2018

A Name Ceremony

Years ago I read somewhere about a naming ceremony for children around their 5th birthday. For the life of me I cannot remember were I first encountered this (I want to say it's from the !Kung, but have no references for this), but the tradition came from a culture where child mortality was high and the community had established age 5 as a milestone.

For the past few years, I've been subconsciously holding onto this milestone. Following infertility, a high-risk pregnancy that ended with the Beats arriving at 32 weeks and then a month-long NICU stay, I got it into my heart that this milestone would be important.

Tomorrow the Beats turn 5. 5 years since they were pulled from my failing body and brought into the world. 5 years of watching them demand to live and live their own lives. And over the past 5 years, watching them define for everyone in their lives who they are as separate individuals.

So it only seems fitting to mark this milestone for them by doing a name-change ceremony of sorts in this space. Because though Sugar Beat was a name of endearment given during a moment where Grey and I were grasping for hope, it's also a name that they have both outgrown.

Prior to the Beats arriving, Grey and I spent a far amount of time arguing about discussing names for these two. While there was a lot of back and forth about their first names, we wanted their middle names to be reflective for the journey it took to bring them into the world. What neither of us could anticipate is how well their middle names suit them, reflecting their personalities and mannerisms.

She-Beat's middle name is from that night Grey and I stood outside the IVF lab where we left a single madeleine cookie for our embryos that were actively growing inside those incubators. "Mads" and "Maddy" have become names we use affectionately when interacting with her, but we also get questions about our little "french girl" given her mannerisms and physical characteristics.

He-Beat's middle name is in honor of the clinic where our embryos were conceived. Located on Roosevelt Way in Seattle, Grey and I had a lot of back-and-forth about which former President's given name we would use. A coin-toss resulted in "Theodore" and given his energy and competitiveness, he seems like a modern-day Teddy in many respects.

Thus, in honor of their 5th birthday, I'm retiring "He-Beat" and "She-Beat," renaming them for this space as Maddy and Teddy. Because though these two shared a petri dish and were womb-mates, they are unique individuals who remind me each day that they are not only have their own paths but their own ways of traveling down them.

Wednesday, July 25, 2018

IVF turns 40

40 years ago today, the first IVF baby was born. This seemingly simple event marked the beginning of an industry, providing a medical means for couples would were struggling to expand their families. To date, more people than ever are using IVF to resolve infertility and the technology resulted in Robert Edwards winning the Nobel Prize.

Yet 40 years later, the truths about IVF are only starting to come to light. In the United States, IVF is still generally not covered by insurance, leaving most pursing this route to drain financial savings (if they have any) or take on massive amounts of debt in the hopes of becoming pregnant. Adding to this is the fact that IVF success rates are actually pretty low, with a recommendation of multiple rounds in order to optimize a positive outcome. Then there's the simple fact that IVF is being used as a fix-all to treat anyone with a diagnosis of infertility, even though the procedure was developed specifically for those with getting sperm to connect with egg. It's the equivalent of telling someone with heart failure and another person with kidney failure that they need to undergo the exact same operation and assuming the same outcome.

Fertility treatments are a mixed bag. For those undergoing them, there's a gratefulness that exists to even be given a shot at parenting. Speaking from experience, when those around me were clueless how to offer support and often fell back on platitudes, the REs were the ones I felt were actively working with me to resolve. To date, I have no regrets about the decisions we made, though I also am very aware that both Grey and I were armed with a lot more scientific knowledge than most people will ever have.

Despite the good, there was a lot of bad that happened. The utter lack of emotional support by the clinicians, a general offering of "bad luck" for explanations of why I was miscarrying or IVF rounds were failing and a price-tag that left us in crippling debt all left me not only with a severe case of PTSD, but also a realization that this largely unregulated industry was focused more on profits than on patient well-being. And that we have a long journey ahead of us to rectify that.

Recently a group of amazing bloggers and advocates took to social media to bring these truths to light. They've each talked candidly about their experiences and how they've been impacted by the myth that IVF is the cure for infertility. Just as the dark-side of CRISPR has hit the news media, so too does a similar spotlight need to focused on IVF. And the conversation needs to be brought to the forefront, making the general public aware that treatment is far from a guarantee and is one that is often trauma inducing.

Happy birthday Louise Brown. Your birth has changed the world. May it now mark this anniversary by ushering in much needed change again.

Tuesday, July 24, 2018

The American lie

Yesterday morning, as I walked the couple of blocks between the train station and my office, I found a woman curled up on a blanket on the corner of an intersection. Barefoot, the wear and tear on her feet was visible and all her belongings were inside a brown paper bag she kept close to her head. All the while traffic rushing by a few feet from her head.

Early that day, while on the train, I saw the vast homeless camp that was set up along the rails. Composed of scrap wood, metal and cloth and monitored by a single police officer. 

Later in the day I would have a woman around my age approach me as I was exiting the grocery store after finishing my commute back to the other side of the bay. With tears in her eyes, she would ask if I could spare any food for herself and her child, leaving me with half my original groceries.

Finally there was the high school age girl who was begging on the train, who left a package of tissues and a note next to me on the train. 
Hi. I have two brothers. My mom is sick and I have no father or job. If you can please help me for food or for rent. Or if you can any gift card. Thank you and God Bless You!
Part of me would like to tell you what an atypical day yesterday was. How I'm not collecting stories about begging incidents and sights that make my heart hurt. How I don't regularly lose my lunch to someone I find on the street who clearly hasn't been eating on a regular basis. Or that my shopping trips aren't regularly interrupted by someone looking for spare change or a few items of food.

The other part of me no longer cares if those reading this find it hard. Because the truth is that these sights I've been witnessing aren't new; they are just getting more common. 

But the root of this, a very real truth that many still don't like to hear, is how Grey and I came dangerously close to being among this ranks. And we were ignored or silenced because it made those around us uncomfortable. How often we are blamed for the unemployment both of us faced and that the normal equation used to justify the judgement (two PhDs in STEM careers with extensive training who have very little familial support and survived infertility) often leaves those who want an easy out tripped up and uncomfortable.

The United States is a misclassified country. While so many refer to it as a land of opportunity, the reality is we do not have a social safety net to help those living in poverty. It's seen as a moral sin to be living in the lower class, with platitudes being shared among those who have financial security that "education" or "work-ethic" will somehow rectify. And yet the truth is those who are secure have are part of a privileged group that is actually rapidly eroding. An article in the Atlantic about the Birth of the New American Aristocracy illustrates that nicely, sounding a wake-up call to the top 10% of Americans. The truth is we are at a turning point in history where poverty and homelessness are literally on peoples' doorsteps, making it so we can no longer afford to ignore it without dire consequences.

For my part, I'm trying. From a conversation with a man about where to find a local shelter group to buying breakfast for a teen who looks like she's new to the streets. Some days the best I can offer is looking them in the eyes and offering a smile and nod. All the while knowing that it's not nearly enough and it's we're long overdue for communities to start embracing these members, weaving the nets of security and help that are so desperately needed.

Because the lie that we've been telling anyone living in poverty is it's just a matter of doing well in school and not buying lattes is a complete myth. And we need to stop spreading it.

Monday, July 23, 2018

#MicroblogMondays: Redwood Cathedral

Not sure what #MicroblogMondays is? Read the inaugural post which explains the idea and how you can participate too

Sunday before last, Grey, the Beats and I met up with Rain and her boys, Cadet and Pumpkin, to take a train ride through a Redwood forest. It's the second time Rain and I have seen one another in real life and I can tell you without a shadow of a doubt how much more amazing she is in person. Most gratifying was watching Cadet and Pumpkin play with the Beats. Two different paths of resolving infertility dancing in front of survivors was a bit surreal.

At the end of the train ride to the top of the mountain, we passed a small grove of Redwood trees. Walking back to this grove investigate, Grey and I found ourselves overwhelmed at the sight of these creatures. The smell, the feel of the wetness in the air and the sight of this Redwood Cathedral was enough to bring tears to my eyes. 

Thursday, July 12, 2018

Someone else's bad day

A year ago, I walked into my supervisor's office knowing full well that the conversation would not be a good one. The month prior, as my colleagues around me received news about promotions or transitions, my requests for meetings had been met with silence. It was when one of my coworkers texted me about an urgent coffee meeting, alerting me that I no longer had access to an upcoming course's class website that I connected the dots about my contract not being renewed. The meeting with my supervisor confirmed my fears.

Over the next few months, I would learn how badly my situation was being handled, with those higher up in admin confessing that all of this was not only handled poorly but in a manner that made them worried about a potential lawsuit. On my end, I was determined to exit with grace and as many good reviews as possible, much to the shock of many of the professors and administrators I worked with (hence some of the candid confessions). It was hard to be the pariah walking those hallways, fighting to complete my work to a standard I would be proud of when others were actively avoiding me. But given I was the one with the paper trail for cause, there wasn't much that could be done as I prepared for unemployment.

This past week has been a hard one because today is the day that my new place of employment is firing one of our team members. The situation is entirely different as there is SO MUCH documentation about this employee, including action plans for discipline and documentation of clear goals/expectations not being met. Basically an open-and-shut case for HR. Yet it's been damn hard given my own experience and mistreatment, leaving me wanting to curl up into a small ball as even though it is the right decision for this organization; it's just going to suck.

Last night Grey and I had a long conversation about all of this, tying in with some news on his end. While in Boston, he had lunch with one of his former supervisors (who we call rockstar midwest guy) and learned about the drastic changes that happened when he announced he was quitting after they failed to hire him on permanently due to one asshole supervisor. That basically everything on the project of this asshole supervisor continued to fail, with her blaming others and firing people to cover her butt. That when the team finally decided to take Grey's advice and implement the plan from rockstar midwest guy that everything not only worked, but worked better than anyone anticipated. That rockstar midwest guy is also successfully shopping another device Grey created with him and word is getting around. And that finally the other member of this team was permanently hired after Grey's supervisors freaked out and declared they couldn't loss anymore people from a team that was getting things done. That it basically took him leaving for all this amazing change to happen.

Reflecting on all of this last night, I remembered that too often people stay in situations that aren't working. Whether it's a job, a career trek, a relationship or even roads to family expansion, often we stay because the unknown terrifies us and we are determined to find a way to overcome. But sometimes, the best solution is to cut our losses or be kicked out of the nest. The freedom from having the choice in continuing down a toxic path allows us to find new roads and grow in ways that can lead to opportunities and experiences we never imaged.

A year ago, I was miserable. I was teaching a summer course and gearing up to teach another class all in a manner that I deeply believe doesn't work. I didn't see a path forward and was going through the motions under the guise that it was just a matter of getting others to see my viewpoints. The moment I learned my contract wasn't going to be renewed, I started taking chances that I didn't consider before, giving me connections and opportunities that have lead me to this current position that basically was created while I was in the interview for another one.

Looking at my team now, we have so much we need to do before the school year starts. Reagents to prepare, curriculum to update, an event to finish planning not to mention social media to get off the ground. All of which has been stalled by this current person and creating a lot of frustration, meaning it's not a good fit. But all of it is something that I am excited to be a part of as it meets a goal and mission I believe in and have long sought. And it's a team I not only enjoy working with but also believe has a shared mindset.

Today is going to be someone else's bad day. There will be tears, anxiety, anger and even some hatred. But my hope is that this low is the beginning of a new chapter for this person, leading them to things they could not have imagined. Just as it was for me.

Wednesday, July 11, 2018

All the things

It's only Wednesday. That's the only thing I could think of while laying in bed this morning, willing myself to get up and prepared for the day. It's only Wednesday and yet the amount of things that have happened make me want to crawl back under the covers.

Like the fact that Grey is currently back in Boston for work, doing a full-week of training for a new product from his company. The emotions surrounding having him literally doors away from former colleagues and walking the pavement where so much crap happened has been a lot for both of us.

There's also the doctor's visit the Beats had yesterday that resulted in mixed news. She-Beat's hearing is excellent and her surgery from May has resulted in her making huge gains in speech, behavior and healing. She graduated from ENT yesterday. All while we learned that He-Beat hasn't healed from the ear tube removal surgery, resulting in him having some hearing loss and the fact that he is struggling more with behavior. Basically the surgery he is having in September for resolving sleep apnea is also needed to put new patches on the holes in his ear drums, making it from needed to urgently needed.

Then there's this new lyric video from Death Cab for Cutie that made me cry. I know the intersection Ben Gibbard is standing in and there are so many memories from walking those streets, including the costume shop where Grey rented his tuxedo for our wedding. All being destroyed for condos. It's hard not to feel lost when something that was so loved is coming to ruin around you, changing into something else. Death Cab says it better than I ever could.

There's also been drama at work, consisting of a 3 hour meeting on Monday where we discussed potentially letting go of someone on the team. I was in a complete panic for the rest of the night, even though it's not me that under this lens, because this decision directly impacts someone's life and I know intimately what that impact can look like.

Finally, there's the fact the Beats are turning 5 years old at the end of the month. Both extremely excited about the prospect of all that comes with this milestone. Flipping through old photos, I've managed to trigger myself a few times from memories of NICU. How insanely fucking hard that experience was, feeling like a failure to both of them and spending so many time since trying to make up for that failure. Yet somehow, they are thriving; a testament to each of them and how amazing they both are. 

In short all the things and all the feels that come with those things.

And it's only Wednesday.

Monday, July 9, 2018

Thursday, July 5, 2018

Beginning of the bike chapter

For the past 3 years, Grey and I have talked about bikes for the Beats. Given how important biking is to Grey (and I enjoy it myself), this activity seemed like given when we started talking about expanding our family. The unforeseen hurdles we faced, though, stopped us dead in our tracks for proceeding with getting these two their own set of wheels. First being the financial expense, with recommended bikes running close to $400 each, combined with an issue of storage not to mention an area to practice. Despite our desire, we were struggling just to get Grey back on his bike making this goal for the Beats seem impossible.

Last month, that started to change. First with moving to the Bay Area, where bike culture borders on cult-like, we easily found quality bike shops that weren’t limited to the upper-middle class. With a lot of pushing and nagging reassurance and promise to make time, Grey finally got his bike out of the moving box it's been in for the past 3 years, got it tuned up and found a trail system he enjoys.

But the ultimate push came with seeing both Beats standing on their tip-toes, watching the neighborhood kids through their bedroom windows as they would zip along the green space on their bikes. The scene was like a thousand knives to my heart, with me hitting a tipping point this past weekend.

On Tuesday, following a morning of curriculum evaluation, I ventured across town to an organization called HopeBIKES, an organization that not only refurbishes used bikes but also offers employment and training to those with developmental disabilities. Upon walking in the door, I spotted exactly what I was looking for and within 30 minutes I was heading home with the below and some helmets, total damage being ~$140, complete with a plan for how we would be spending our Fourth of July holiday.

None of this has been perfect. Grey has been insanely busy with work, getting ready for 3 weeks of extensive travel for a new product his company is launching, meaning not only has he not been able to be involved with this process, but he also had zero clue what I was doing Tuesday. In addition, the original plan of removing the pedals, turning these into balance bikes, was thwarted when I learned that the seats couldn't be lowered enough for the Beats to get their feet flat on the ground. This meant installing training wheels for their first day of riding (the ultimate failure for anyone who subscribes to bike culture). And space is still an issue, with it becoming apparent that the 4 moving boxes, including the one containing my bike, in the living room I've been ignoring can't be ignored any longer.

Despite the pain and fighting from training wheel installation, yesterday was spent with two almost 5 year olds pedaling around the park, insisting on more and more laps even though it was getting late. And at the end of the day, when they saw the older kids biking around the green space, they talked excitedly about joining in instead of looking on with longing.

To be determined if any of this is considered a win. But suddenly one dream of getting these two on bike trails doesn't seem so far away.

Tuesday, July 3, 2018

The outsiders

On Saturday, in an effort to beat the heat, Grey and I contacted our apartment complex manager and asked for access to the pool. The property has purchased by the current management company a little over a year ago, resulting in everything being renovated from the interiors of each unit to the grounds and the common areas. Due to this the pools haven't been available until recently, and with temperatures reach to the 90s Fahrenheit (30s Celsius) access has been almost a requirement.

For a little over an hour we had the pool to ourselves, with the Beats splashing around, Grey and me getting in a couple of laps and all of us cooling off. But during that time, I noticed that most of the neighbor kids were peeking out at us, looking at this family they both didn't know and didn't trust.

It's been a weird experience to move into a complex that is actively undergoing transition. Those moving in that look like working professionals do well with Grey and me, but winning over those that have resided here prior to new management has been a bit of a struggle. To date I am on friendly terms with at least two families that have resided here for close to 20 years, with them helping me relearn Spanish (English is their second language) and slowing coming to trust Grey and me. But other neighbors still see us as outsiders who are threatening their previous way of life. Between porch piracy (which we've now resolved with getting packages delivered to Grey's work), some minor vandalism (resolved by installing a security camera), some intrusion onto our designated parking spaces (resolved following asking people to move, which has left them dumbfounded) to simply using the green-space in the evenings, it's become clear that some here don't want us.

The hard thing about all of this is I get where they are coming from. Grey and I are part of a wave of change that is happening, marking a change in life for some of these residents. But what isn't talked about openly is that though we may be seen as the problem, the truth is those that are driving forces purposefully have remained removed and invisible. And they don't like it one bit when I draw attention to them.

The bee hive incident is something the neighbors still talk about, giving those that don't want us here pause. Apparently many have never seen such a rapid response from management to a situation that was impacting their homes and I'm starting to have some neighbors approach me with questions about other maintenance issues (like not having running water). In addition, due to my continued conversations with these two families, word is getting around about the work I do. To say there's curiosity is an understatement.

Given all of this, there's currently an element of frustration with home. Grey and I always intended this space to be transitional; a West Coast landing zone. That said, my new-found goal is to win a few more of my neighbors over, hopefully breaking some of the misconceptions about white Americans while opening the lines of communication. It's too important not to try.

Monday, July 2, 2018

Friday, June 29, 2018

Another round

On Wednesday, I picked He-Beat up early from school and took him in to see She-Beat's sleep doctor. Following She-Beat's diagnosis for sleep apnea and immediate improvement post-surgery, the sleep doctor recommended scheduling an appointment for He-Beat to have him assessed. Walking in, I assumed this would be a fast appointment where I was told there was nothing to worry about. Sure, the kid's tonsils had been swollen, he also sweats while he sleeps and there's been some increasing behavior issues, but he doesn't snore and never wakes up at night (though getting him to sleep is a challenge). I really thought none of it would be related.

I was right that it would be a fast appointment. What I wasn't prepared for was the same diagnosis, followed by the doctor looking in my mouth and nose, declaring that it's extremely likely I have the same condition too.

Normally, I would be fighting all of this. Surgery is not trivial and this one has a long recovery time. There's also the fact that medicine has too many cases of doctors diagnosing conditions solely to make money.

But this past week has been extremely eye-opening. Not only watching He-Beat struggle on the soccer field, having harder days as allergies flared, and seeing him struggle with social interactions while doing something he clearly loves (and having the coaches pull me aside to encourage me to bring him back as they love his energy and desire). It was also hearing reports from school about She-Beat and what an angel she has been: following directions, socializing well with others, being generally sweet and compliant. Furthermore was watching her initiate social interactions on the playground and actually defusing a fight in another group by asking a little girl to come join her on the swings, something I never would have dreamed of hearing 2 months ago when she was struggling to communicate her frustrations (still working on it, truthfully) and wasn't really interacting with others.

Color me fully shocked to have other parents complimenting me on her behavior

To date, almost all She-Beats teachers have been convinced about sleep apnea and behavior. (never mind brain function)  So when I mentioned He-Beat was given the same diagnosis, they didn't hesitate to ask when his surgery would be scheduled. Hell, they've become hinting at having other children who struggle to be assessed, fueled by parents who have also been raving about the benefits.

Surgery is scheduled for September 13th. The soonest I could get given that this doctor is fully booked (he's well rated). The only person who has reservations is Grey, who is wanting to make sure we're being prudent.

Honestly, though, I'm done. After watching He-Beat have a good morning, needing extra guidance from coaches modeling how to play (and being very proud of the good outcome) only to hear he was rough with another child at school, I'm ready to get this over with. Two-week recovery and all.

Hell, I'm tempted to have them take my tonsils and adenoids too.

Wednesday, June 27, 2018

Thoughts from the soccer field

Pulling up to the field 30 minutes early, I unbuckled He-Beat and handed him the pink box that was occupying the front passenger seat. Looking at me a bit sheepishly, he proceeded to walk/run over to the coaches tent, slowing slightly with his approach as 8 curious teenagers eyed him.

"We come with a peace offering" I announced as he handed his coach from the day before the box. A quick conversation happened where I thanked them all for their hard work before grabbing He-Beat so we could leave this group in peace with this well-deserved snack.

Almost 90 mins later the head coach for the program would find me to chat some more about our email exchange. We talked about what he had been seeing and the fact that He-Beat is actually falling within the normal range for behaviors expected from beginning soccer players. He would then ask what I did for a living given how our email exchange had gone down combined with the pink-box incident in the morning. Our conversations would weave and dip through education, parent involvement and how difficult it is to be a teacher of any sort in the modern era. Of how though most do this work because they are answering a higher calling, it can often feel thankless or unappreciated.

Watching He-Beat today, seeing him do better but knowing there's still much to learn, I though more about how often we don't focus on allowing our kids to fail. Team sports and activities seen as extra curricular are often seen as secondary to what is traditionally tested on standard exams. And yet, those that excel don't make them secondary. The things that feed their souls are incorporated into their daily routines, becoming a part of their work by incorporating the skills they learn. But in order to master that, they have to be allowed to fail. Something that can be incredibly painful to watch.

Practiced ended with another very tired He-Beat who was once again begging not to go to school. He also waved good-bye to another little boy, which I consider a big step in the right direction, with a promise to see him tomorrow. So today I'm counting as a mini-win, accepting that there will be more hard days in the future but that it's none-the-less important to continue down this road. If for no other reason than to see that delighted smile on his face again.

Tuesday, June 26, 2018

The normalizing

One of the things Grey and I promised each other back in January when we learned we were relocating to the Bay Area was we would start doing things normal people do. An odd statement given that "normal" can mean so many things, but after spending 4 years in crippling debt and somewhat stressful living situations, our normal had become defined as engaging in hobbies and extra-curricular activities.

To date, we've been somewhat successful. She-Beat is currently enrolled in a beginning ballet course, which she is both loving and doing very well at (the instructor has moved her up to the next level). After a month of massive bargaining and lots of reassurance, Grey finally got his bike out of the moving box from 3 years ago, had it reassembled & repaired and has started doing weekend rides along the local trails.

Two wins.

Which is why this week has been especially hard as after a lot of research and me shifting my work schedule, I enrolled He-Beat into a week-long morning soccer camp. And though day 1 seemed to go well, day 2 ended with him in tears and me pulling him from the rest of the morning session for the day.

I've been beating myself up all day since I dropped He-Beat back at school after the emotional morning. There's been so much focus on She-Beat over the past few months, all of which has been paying off as she's been making huge gains that have impressed even her teachers. But I know that with the focus on She-Beat, less focus has been on He-Beat. And the whole point of soccer camp was to give him something special that other kids his age tend to be involved in a way that is almost a given.

Hence I feel like not only have I failed at not properly preparing him, but we're actually souring him. Which sucks all the more as swimming lessons are also on the agenda this summer.

I'm hoping the coaches will respond to my email before tomorrow, because I honestly need advice on how to proceed tomorrow. How can I help this kid understand the importance of sharing the ball with others, waiting his turn and that the goal of practice play is to work with his team? Or am I asking too much from a not-yet 5 year old?

Monday, June 25, 2018

#MicroblogMondays: One before the four

Not sure what #MicroblogMondays is? Read the inaugural post which explains the idea and how you can participate too.

Note: I'm overdue for a proper post, but this will have to do for today. More soon on life, I promise.

Fourteen years ago today, Grey, Lucas and I started our day by chasing Jaxson. In the midst of final preparations for the wedding later that day, we had neglected to lock Jaxson away in our bedroom while loading materials into the awaiting cars. As this 1 year old tuxedo cat sprinted from the apartment, he decided to turn left instead of the usual right, climbing the exterior stairs and settling in to watch three crazed 20-somethings taking the usual right turn and tearing down the walkways in hopes of catching him. All witnessed with much delight by my soon to be FIL.

This morning, as I dropped the Beats off at school, I told them about why today was special to our family. Contemplating this information, He-Beat looked at me and said "Fourteen. That's a one before the four." A seemingly simple observation that I feel has a deeper meaning. Because before the one before the four there is almost a quarter of a lifetime's worth of memories, crazy stories that bring about belly laughs and moments that still bring tears to my eyes. There's been journeys most never would have imagined taking, failures that broke us both and closed chapters that have far from happen endings. But there's also been joy and happiness that I never could have imagined finding, moments that have defined us both as individuals as well as a family.

Fourteen years later, Jaxson hasn't tired to escape. He's got a good deal with the guys next door that he doesn't want to miss out on. But the memory of that moment, though stressful at the time, has become a cherished one. Because fourteen years ago today, Grey and I formalized our family for all the world to witness. Including one devilish cat who still finds joy in messing with the humans.


Monday, June 18, 2018

#MicroblogMondays: The Ohlone Creation Myth

Not sure what #MicroblogMondays is? Read the inaugural post which explains the idea and how you can participate too.

"All water has a perfect memory and is forever trying to get back to where it was. Writers are like that: remembering where we were, that valley we ran through, what the banks were like, the light that was there and the route back to our original place. It is emotional memory - what the nerves and the skin remember as well as how it appeared. And a rush of imagination is our "flooding"

~Toni Morrison. Full quote here

Monday, June 11, 2018

#MicroblogMondays: Busy

Not sure what #MicroblogMondays is? Read the inaugural post which explains the idea and how you can participate too.

I have a love-hate relationship with being busy. On the one hand, there's the thrill that comes with having something to do that not only gets me out of bed in the morning, but also makes the hours of the day fly by. This aspect of being productive and working towards a goal is one I absolutely love.

The hate part comes with pushing self-care to the back burner and finding myself pulling away from things that brought me solace. This blog being the first thing to take a hit each and every single time.

So I'm promising to try and be mindful about this space more. Because even though things are coming together, with Grey's travel looming on top of summer camps and activities for the Beats on the horizon as well as finalization for Kindergarten placement (we're fairly confident they will be attending their homeschool, meaning they will already be signed up for aftercare) and me getting into the swing of things with work, there's also a need for balance and finding a way to write here. 

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