Every Day

I keep waking up in the morning and I keep having a day. And then I keep going to sleep at night. And then? The next morning I do it again. In this way I hope to eventually get to the morning when I want to wake up and I actually enjoy the day I’m having. But, by going the through motions, I know I’ll get there.

Friends, acquaintances, internet pals and complete strangers have written me lovely and kind notes. THANK YOU SO MUCH for your kindness. I keep thinking I’ll go back in my email and start replying to all of you but then I get stuck because I have no idea what to say except thanks for your caring nature. Please accept this virtual thanks from me to you.

For the past month, while on bed rest, I have been working on my book. I’m just about ready to hand it over to my agent. I’m thankful to have had the time to work on it because I don’t think I could have done it without being forced to. After I finished getting it up on Lulu last year, I swore I would never edit it again. For one thing, it is terribly hard to edit your own work. It’s hard to have perspective because to you, the writer, everything you’ve written is important. Add to that the fact that this book is actually my life. It has been so bizarre to have editors and my agent send me editing notes in emails about ‘the characters’ and ‘the story line.’ The format of the book being what it is has the potential to be confusing to some readers, so there has been careful attention spent on making sure that the transitions are smoother and easier to understand.

But the hardest part for me has been that my strengths in writing do not fall in the creating fictional dialog and characters categories. I’m strongest in retelling events that I have been a part of. And my book is basically just a retelling of my life. 9/10th of it was written by the personalities themselves and now that I’m integrated, those individual voices are gone. To have an editor tell me that ‘this scene isn’t working and needs more dialog between character A and character C’ or ‘let’s have a scene where you learn this information earlier through this particular therapist’ just makes no sense to me. I can’t go back and create dialog that didn’t happen. I can’t make up a therapist and then have events happen that didn’t happen. Maybe if this was a purely fictional book, I could. But I doubt it. I’ve never been that good at fictional writing. Even when I was publishing columns, they were slices of my life that actually happened.

This editing journey, if nothing else, has helped me understand my strengths in writing, which I’m thankful for. Also, I’ve learned how to be strong and assert myself when I’m not comfortable with changes being asked for and made. The end result is a final version of the book that I’m happy with and will have no problem speaking to people about.

And now that the bulk of that is done and I’m no longer required to be on bed rest, it’s time for two things: The gym and a new job. My first time going back to the gym was yesterday. All I did was walk the treadmill for 30 minutes at 4.5 MPH but from the way my body is screaming, you’d think I’d ran a marathon. It’s amazing how fast your body deteriorates.

It feels good to be active again. Another thing to be thankful for.

Two Things

1. New changes and updates over at Blogger Network. Thanks, Digital Pixie.

2. Have you seen the new JPG Mag? It’s a totally new way to appreciate your contributors. In my opinion, Derek and Heather are really on the cutting edge of the way things are going in online media to print. I love the new format of JPG and can’t wait to contribute. And, it’s not just photos. Are you a writer? Ya, they want that, too.

Running Away

It was a flowered suitcase. More of a valise, actually. The elasticized sections on the zippered top measured into thirds and partially hidden inside the silky fabric, starting from the left, were three pairs of panties; rolled, a light blue flannel nightgown handed down from my sister: well worn around the seams, and my faded Mr. Bubble T-shirt which I owned because of meticulous cutting and saving labels and box tops for what seemed like eons but what in fact was probably more like an entire month the previous year.

The large area of the case, normally reserved for clothing for the savvy traveler who appreciates a fresh change of clothes while abroad, in this situation was full of notebooks and drawing pads, pens and pencils, reading books such as Grimm’s Fairy Tales and the H, B and I encyclopedias. H for the Human Form with clear plastic pages that with every turn inevitably created the back part of a man or woman, complete with bones, muscles, veins, organs and a flaccid penis or halved uterus, respectively. B and I for the wonderful illustrations of butterflies and insects. The final items rounding out the contents were a Holly Hobbie doll, practically new, and a pair of plastic pants to go over my panties, sewn by my own mother in my own size in an attempt to cut down on not only the laundry but the smell. Sadly, I don’t think it would have saved me from the humiliation of wearing them in front of friends. They crinkled.

The year was 1977. I was six and incredibly upset. As I lugged the suitcase up from the basement, the injustice of the situation did not escape me. Not only did I have to run away, I had to also carry my own luggage. And all of this because my mom did not think I was old enough to sleep over.

I was a bed wetter. Oh, the humiliation. With each bump-step, bump-step, I became increasing sure that I was in the right and that my mother was in the wrong. Should I be locked in a cage simply because I could not hold my urine? bump-step Should I be forced to stay home when every other girl in my class would be spending glorious evenings together playing Barbies and Smurf Family all over town? bump-step Was it fair to ask me to be the only girl that hadn’t played Light as a Feather, Stiff as a Board late at night while giggling and secretly being completely freaked out? The mystique surrounding that game was luscious, sparkly and completely opaque to my eyes. I would never find out if the ghosts were real if my mom would not let me sleep over using my plastic pants.

bump-step.

And now on the landing, I looked for my olive green, corduroy jacket with the ripped right pocket from the time I tried to jam both gloves in at the same time. Those small, darling topstitched pockets were more ‘Pockets’ than pockets and unfortunately, were not made for a glove set. There was really only room for my chapstick and one tiny vial of perfume no bigger than a pen lid, scent: green apple, my favorite, which now resided only on the left, near my heart.

There was one dollar and sixty-three cents from my bank in my back pocket. Along with over ten dollars I had stolen from my sister’s room. This being an emergency, and since she would never see me again, I suspected it would be fine.

I gave the entry hall one last look, a tear rolling down my cheek as the seriousness of what I was about to do settled in my heart. Oh, my dear, dear parents. They would miss me, yes. And they would understand that they had wronged me. There I would be, living in a hovel, a gutter, dirt smeared on my face. The tears began falling in earnest now, my suitcase heavy in my hands. I would eat leaves and scraps from trashcans. The neighbors would refer to me as that sad, dirty girl that had no parents that loved her.

With a heavy sigh, I opened the front door and plunged into the early evening air. Tears on my face, snot dripping, but oh, so brave! I marched down the sidewalk just as my mom drove home from her errands. Well, fine! Good! I was glad she would see me. She’d soon be sorry for treating me like such a baby.

From the corner of my eye, I saw her form get out of the car, open the hatch and remove a brown bag of groceries just as I reached the street. The neighbor, also exiting his vehicle, asked me, ‘Where ya off to, now? With your bag? And it’s about to rain?’ which, apparently, was more questions than I knew what to do with. I stopped in my tracks, teetering on the edge of our property between Home and Out There. I looked at the neighbor. I looked back at my mom. She yelled, ‘Leah! Get the bag with the Rice Crispies cereal in it!’

My decision was swift and based mostly on hunger. I grabbed the cereal bag and dropped my suitcase at the door. But I kept my sister’s ten dollars.

Two Things

1. Joe Schmidt is holding a charity blogathon for the Osteogenesis Imperfecta Foundation on September 30th. Osteogenesis Imperfecta, more commonly known as OI, is a genetic disorder which affects approximately 20,000-50,000 Americans. OI is a disease that instructs the body to either make little collagen or poor quality collagen resulting in brittle bones. I love it when people actually do something to try and help make the world a better place. Good luck, Joe.

2. A quote from Marianne Williamson that can apparently make me weep for hours:

Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate.
Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure.
It is our light, not our darkness, that most frightens us.
We ask ourselves, who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, and fabulous?
Actually, who are you not to be?
You are a child of God.
Your playing small doesn’t serve the world.
There’s nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you.
We are all meant to shine, as children do.
We are born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us.
It’s not just in some of us, it’s in everyone.
And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same.
As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.

An Untitled Post. (Yet, That is a Title)

Football has started. The third game was on Saturday. They lost the first game, due mostly to confusion as the league fired their defensive coach the previous night, not leaving time for a replacement, and angering the head coach who happens to be my ex-husband.

By the second game, they had a new strategy and a replacement defensive coach. They won by just over a 100% lead. The third game, last Saturday, they won by a 300% lead. The boys had a slight swagger after the game and straighter, although exhausted, shoulders. (I have no photos to show you since my camera broke again. But, there are other things of a sadder nature that have taken center stage and although I do miss having a camera, the energy I have is going towards those other things at the moment.) We were all quite pleased. I was satisfied as well that the opposing team did get their one touchdown. We are not at a college or national level and I hate for any of the kids to go home feeling like failures. I sometimes even cheer when the opposing team does something really great. Don’t tell.

Tyler is running for student body president at his middle school. His slogan, ‘Stay Fly, Vote Ty!’ is catchy. We spent the better part of Sunday attaching small ribbons of paper to Smarties and Dum Dum lollipops with which to ply his fellow students into voting him into office. Actually, I did the cutting and Tony helped Ty do most of the attaching. I didn’t even ask them to work it out. I didn’t even ask Tony to help his brother. I just sat back and basked in the wonderfulness that is your children cooperating completely undirected.

Devon made a paper airplane. It flew quite nicely off the top balcony. So nice, in fact, that he did it quite a few times. I was wishing for my marshmallow gun to give it a few pops on the way down. Just for fun. Dev is learning about responsibility. It’s a hard and very long lesson. I wonder when I’ll get to the end of it so I can let him know how it turns out? But, between now and that place, his dad and I are both encouraging him to stop working so hard and to possibly be more social. Go to a dance. Date someone. For him, work IS fun and even more important than school since he will use his computer and entrepreneurial skills for the rest of his life and history will last only till the end of the semester. So it makes no sense to him yet. And I can see why.

I’m thinking of taking a dance class with him. I told him so and after he stared at me in uncomfortable silence, he asked if we could possibly take ceramics instead. I suspect it is the lesser amount of time holding hands and waists with your mother that makes that more attractive. If the point was to satisfy my craving for dance lessons, I could press it. But since it’s not, ceramics class it is.

Tony has started a new painting. He did a large yellow moon with a slice of dark around the right side. Then he made some drips, which he rather likes and does not want to cover up, and wonders how he can get the background on without doing just that. He appears stuck but I have faith that he is merely paused. He is smart. He may even decide it is finished as is.

Tony never quite gets enough of me. Not Quite Enough. He frequently asks to take things back to his dad’s with him. Reminders of me. And sometimes of Joe. I always oblige him, not even caring what the thing is he’s asking for. I hope he sees the tokens at his other home and is a little less confused by his life. And I wished I enjoyed playing fighting video games with him more, since that is always what he asks to do first. Perhaps there is a class for that.

Alex turns 16 in mere minutes. A tiny breath away. She saves her money and does much thinking before spending it. A $70 homecoming dress? Possibly. She buys it and brings it home. But, no. It goes back because not only is it too frivolous but also the boy she liked when she bought it has since gone the way of the wind and it would only serve as a reminder. A 90$ hair extravaganza? With long layers and long bangs and multi colors of blond throughout, so many blond facets that it positively sparkles in the sunlight? Yes. That is absolutely necessary every once in a while. And right now is that while. I tell her she looks lovely. Joe tells her she looks lovely. The boys say something along the lines of, ‘Oh. Cool.’ I hope that is satisfactory for the moment until she goes to school and gets the oohs and aaahs of her friends to seal the deal.

My kid’s dad has the idea that an old Volkswagen will last a lifetime. As each child comes of age, he purchases them a diamond in the rough, to love and care for. To get to know at a deep level so they can bond with it and know every cable. Every wire. Every switch as they lovingly bring it to prime health. This, to him, is meaningful and right. To the children, it is horror at the beginning. Pure horror. The car does not run right. It stalls. It’s not what I had in mind. My friends all have cars that just go, you know, mom? You know what I mean? I don’t want to freak out every time I have to drive that car. Can you just ask dad to get me something else? This is the story I’ve heard twice and know I will hear once more. Not twice more, because Tyler alone will love it just the way his dad will hand it over. Tyler will agree that it is meaningful and right. And it will be.

Alex’s car is the yellow convertible Volkswagen Bug. It has a modified transmission and although it is not completely manual, it is not automatic. In my opinion, it has muddied the waters and makes it harder to drive. I prefer the purer breeds.

I’ve driven cars with non-working clutches where we had to pop it into gear by pushing it down the hill. I’ve also driven cars which are automatics and they, you know, just drive. I would be lying if I said I preferred the first since it’s the latter I have vowed to own the remainder of my life. But, since I don’t have spare thousands of dollars around which I could use to replace the car for her, I feel the need to be supportive, if not overly cheerful, in helping her learn to drive the yellow car that scares her. Devon is now a pro at his Thing. She is as capable as he. She can be fierce and fearless. With time, I’m sure she can learn to win it over, but in the meantime I’ll have to be strong to bite my lip and only say nice things about the convertible beast with the darling flowers on the steering wheel cover and the shiny silver running boards along each side. And pray that she does not ever drive it on a road with an incline until she learns to use the parking break like a third foot pedal and with as much ease as she answers her cell phone without looking at it. It’s instinct. After all, once she conquers this, learns to change the oil and the tire, I won’t worry so much when she’s out driving and 15 minutes late.

Joe has started his new job. He likes it. It’s closer to home by half. He can make it home in a hurry if need be, and I have needed him be once already and possibly once more this week, but it is a luxury I am trying not to overuse since the occasions we have had to use it for are, so far, not fun. It would be different if he was playing hooky and we went to the pier and fed the seagulls. That might be a good use of this new treasure.

Two Things

1. Tom Coates at Plasticbag.org highlighted the new Flickr cards from MOO.com. I ordered the free set of 10 which you can get if you are Flickr Pro. I can’t wait to see the quality and $20 for a set of 100 doesn’t seem unreasonable if the quality is good. I think they are fun. The discussion here in the comments is funny to me since no one said the cards were meant to exude professionalism. They are fun and the application makes it easy to crop and zoom to get the look you want.

2. I use Rock, Paper, Scissors all the time with the kids to decide important matters such as who sits shotgun, what tv program we watch and even who gets the last bit of ice cream. Nice to know I’m in good company. Via Kottke

And Still, I Gestate

Joe and I went to the baby’s first ultrasound yesterday. Because I’ve been on bed rest (and going insane) the bleeding had subsided by Wednesday evening, which meant we could have the ultrasound on Thursday afternoon.

Everyone was very nice. I tend to read too much into things so I think they were treating me with the uber-nice set of bedside manner skills. And I jump from there to the conclusion that they think I’m going to lose this baby so they treat me with more smiles, arm squeezes and shoulder pats. Either that, or I really am just so incredibly charming and don’t know it.

Here is Exhibit A:

uterus

Here are the two scenarios they gave me.

1) My uterus is reabsorbing the fetus. I will continue to bleed until I manifest a full miscarriage in the next two weeks. No amount of bed rest, Wikka, prayer or hocus-pocus will do anything to stop it from happening.

or

2) I really DID have the flu for 3 weeks, took the first home pregnancy test the very same day that the egg implanted and by some stroke of luck my hCG was high enough to show positive along with the next five tests. This would put me at only 5 weeks pregnant, which could account for not being able to see anything in the gestational sack. Which, as you can see by the blue arrow in the above illustration of my uterus, is mostly empty save for a few ribbons of something near the bottom. Which would be wrong for 8 weeks.

So, either we lose the baby over the next 2 weeks or we go back for an ultrasound in 3 to see if anything has changed in there. You can guess which one we are hoping for.

Thank you so much for all your comments, emails, letters and packages of encouragement. Your support means so much to us. If I don’t answer you, it’s just because I don’t know what to say right at the moment. My mental health seems to be a bit teetering on the edge and I’m really concentrating on keeping it together. Thanks for understanding.

Much love,
lpc

Gloria Steinem & Greenstone Media

I was lucky enough to speak with Gloria Steinem about Greenstone Media the other day. She and Jane Fonda, among other great women, have created a national radio network owned by women and featuring women. You can read what I took away from the call over at Huffington Post.

Also on the call were these classy ladies:

Que Sera Sera
Mommy Needs Coffee
Motherhood Uncensored
Her Bad Mother
Three New York Women
Brazen Careerist
Mom 101
Almost Literary
Pamela Slim

Bed Restlessness

Because I have been stuck in bed for the past few days, I have been absorbing way more than any person should know about Goldie (actually very smart!) and Kate (as sweet as she appears!), J-Lo (actually has a legitimate music career!), Cameron Diaz (i would like my ass to look like hers in roos!), the right way to fold a t-shirt courtesy of Martha Stewart (i don’t care! i roll mine!), who incidentally, licked jam off of David Letterman’s finger last night (it looked like blood!), watching Kelly Ripa pick a splinter out of Regis’s foot, (I AM NOT A FOOT PERSON!!) and watching episodes of Project Runway that I’ve seen probably five times but still enjoy way too much (yay! vincent is finally out!).

A very thoughtful person sent me a box of books, music and even a game to help my mind not turn into a bowl of oatmeal. Thank you, Amy. And, my husband thanks you since it keeps me from being quite as crabby.