Friday, October 28, 2005

Homeward bound

I'm about to depart for a long weekend at my parents' in Boston, so this will be the last entry for a few days (I can hear the sighs of disappointment!). I'm really looking forward to the visit, since I haven't seen the folks since July. We'll have lots to talk about (the crumbling of the current administration should be good for a couple hours of conversation, at least -- my dad loves to gloat) and the change of scenery will do me good. I've been staring at the same four walls for so long, I'm beginning to fear for my sanity.

One small item to report before my departure. Last evening I was lucky enough to go to a reading by one of my all-time favourite contemporary writers, Julian Barnes. It was surreal to hear him speak in person, listening to the voice behind some of my best-loved books. I hope it doesn't ruin my reading of him in the future, now that I can summon his actual voice in my head. Anyway, it was very cool to have seen him. I even got him to sign my copy of Love, Etc., and I got it from the horse's mouth that he's planning to reprise the characters therein at some later date (after he's let them age a bit, as he put it).

All right, I leave you with a bit of Friday fun: Cool illusion

Be good, folks. Catch you on the flip side!
:: posted by Ann Howell, 9:46 AM | link | 5 comments |

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

An exercise in fertility

Even though I told myself that I would not obsess about temperatures and charting and all of that this month, I find myself doing exactly that. My temp dipped the other day, then spiked up yesterday, which was right around when I should have been ovulating, so I was pretty optimistic that ovulation had indeed occurred. When it dropped slightly this morning, frustration washed over me. Was this going to be yet another anovulatory month? Am I going to have to go onto round three of Clomid, or should we go on to a stronger protocol? I spent 1/2 hour pouring over the chart gallery in FF, looking for pregnancy charts that had patterns like mine. And I found myself extremely relieved to see plenty of charts with dips at exactly 2 DPO -- all was not lost! But this whole line of thinking is just ridiculous. Even if my temp goes back up (and stays up) there will be no way to tell if it was a successful month for a couple of weeks. No matter how many charts I find with post-O dips, it will have no effect on what my body is doing right now. I either ovulated the other day, or maybe I didn't. Maybe I will ovulate in a couple of days, or maybe this will be another anovulatory month. Maybe I'm already knocked up, maybe not. Obsessing about it is not going to change anything! So, I resolve not to go back to FF again today, or waste any more time worrying about my fertility signs. Right after I take this last OPK, of course...
:: posted by Ann Howell, 10:56 AM | link | 6 comments |

Monday, October 24, 2005

So this is what being happy feels like

I can't believe it's been a whole week since my last post, but there you have it. I have been busy with work and social activities, but the real reason for this gap, I believe, is that I've been feeling pretty happy lately. It seems that the more content that I feel, the less I feel the need to express my innermost thoughts. The self-obsessed venting is only necessary when I'm feeling sad and frustrated, or something. I should get into the habit of writing anyway, I mean there were plenty of topics I felt like blogging about this week but just never got around to. I'm sure writing about subjects not related to pregnancy loss and my TTC frustrations would be a healthy exercise, especially since writing is something that I want to get more serious about.

Anyway, for now I'll just catch up for the week. Let's see... I went to the doctor on Friday, not for anything gynecological, but because I had this horrible chest pain (it felt like a huge knot, like I had just swallowed a hard-boiled egg whole) after a migraine that did not go away for a couple of days. Eating and sleeping were extremely uncomfortable, so I hauled myself over to the clinic and got examined by a very nice doctor. He thought I had some sort of esophageal spasm that was causing the constriction and he gave me some meds. It's gotten better, but the pain hasn't completely abated yet. At least I can sleep, which is a big improvement.

My latest work project is finished, so I've got a 4-week gap to fill until the next booked contract. I know I'll have a few more days work from this last client, but besides that I imagine I will be spending most of my time on self-promotion. I need to set up some medium-to-long term contracts for the beginning of the new year. It's my least favourite task, drumming up new work, but a necessary evil.

I've been going to the local Unitarian church lately and I'm thinking of joining. I'm not religious at all, really, but going there is like listening to a univerity lecture in a pretty setting and I like the people in the congregation. They have tons of cultural events during the week (concerts, book clubs, discussion groups, etc.) and I think it might be a nice outlet. When I told a friend about starting to go to church, he got really concerned that I was being sucked into a cult. But I think that had more to do with his own experience with the Jehovah's Witnesses (his ex-wife joined when she was on the brink of a nervous breakdown and dragged him along), than anything else. I promise not to start hanging around airport banging tambourines or proselytizing in any way. At any rate, I don't have any proper religious beliefs to try to spread and I'm not looking for any. Just a quiet place to think about how I can help the world around me and lead a "good" life.

Other than that, I am really uninspired to write about anything else right now. I'm going to go and see what the rest of the blog world has been up to this week and maybe my creative juices will be piqued enough to write something more interesting today.
:: posted by Ann Howell, 12:23 AM | link | 6 comments |

Monday, October 17, 2005

Dragging my ass

I don't know if it's the gloomy weather or the fact that I haven't exercised in weeks (!), but I have absolutely no energy today. I promise I'll get up first thing tomorrow morning, get into my workout gear, and crunch, lunge and sweat myself back into a better state of health, but right now I need an artificial second wind. Hello coffee my old friend...

Anyway, I did get that editing contract, so thanks for all of the positive vibes! It's just a 3-week gig, but it's for the Kyoto Protcols Conference, so it should be interesting. Plus, it'll give me a nice little economic boost just before Christmas. We never splash out on big gifts for Christmas, but all the little things have a way of adding up. Plus, I'd like to get some new decorations. Last year for the first time ever I did not put up a tree; I was just too sad, thinking about everything we were missing. But this year I'm ready to celebrate again. I really feel happier and more at peace than I have in a long while. I'm not quite where I want to be, but I'm enjoying the process, which is a big improvement.

Meanwhile, I think I need some chocolate with that coffee. Self-control? Delayed gratification? Not in my vocabulary today!
:: posted by Ann Howell, 6:09 PM | link | 4 comments |

Friday, October 14, 2005

Thank you, thank you, thank you!

Just a quick post to thank everyone for the positive thoughts! I had a really good interview and I feel pretty confident about it. I should know by Monday, so fingers crossed until then. I've had a hellish week and I'm just about to unwind with a nice G&T (gin and tonic, for the uninitiated) and a couple episodes of this new (well, new to me, anyway) cable show about a soccer mom who deals dope to keep her semi-orpaned kids fed and sheltered. Growing up in the 70s, all of our shows were so square, which is kind of ironic. Now that the Red states have taken over, we're able to air shows that portray suburbans enjoying a spliff with their Olive Garden take-out, just as long as we don't legalize the stuff, or anything.

Stay tuned for more exciting updates from "Tales from the Cul-de-sac"...
:: posted by Ann Howell, 9:53 PM | link | 3 comments |

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Shameless call for positive vibes

Googling my old boyfriend (OB) the other day and finding out that he is up to amazing things has had an oddly profound effect on me. I've felt rather lost since losing the baby, like I am no longer sure what I'm here for. (To be perfectly honest the feeling probably goes back even further than that, but I guess the baby gave me some sense of purpose.) Lately is has seemed more and more clear that I have to start leaving some footprints.

The reason that the news about OB is important, is that he is a person who came from the same place that I did, with similar influences and values; if anything, he had fewer opportunities that I had. He wasn't any more intelligent or gifted (not that I would have known -- we were more interested in kissing than having philosophical discussions at that age), but obviously somewhere along the way he developed a passion for something that helped to drive him. It is about bloody time that I found my own passion...


Okay, I don't have time to finish this post right now (major deadline), but I just wanted to put a call out for some supportive thoughts tomorrow. I have an interview for an editing project that would be very cool to get. It has moral value, as well as professional, but I don't want to jinx it by saying more about it. So, if you're reading this and you think of it tomorrow, throw some positive vibes toward Montreal. Who knows, maybe the power of this blog can be used for something good, for a changeā€¦(as opposed to just a forum for my self-obsessed ramblings) :)
:: posted by Ann Howell, 8:59 PM | link | 9 comments |

Friday, October 07, 2005

Total Eclipse

I had a whole other post planned, something about failed dreams, or changing aspirations, or something fairly philosophical. But it's Friday night, my man's traveling and I've had a couple glasses of wine, so other thoughts have started to seep in. I'm listening to an 80's mix CD (we seem to have quite a few in the repertoire), and right now The Pretenders cover of "Angel of the Morning" is playing. I love the way it almost completely fades out toward the end, then comes back for a few more cords. Now it's ABC, "Be Near Me". Ah, the 80s... an unjustly maligned musical decade.

There was talk in blogland today about the fear of a subsequent pregnancy after a loss. The feeling I have tonight is that as much as I want another baby, as much as I miss being pregnant, what I really want is Lydia back. I know objectively it sounds ridiculous to miss someone who you never met, someone who was only a presence in your life for a matter of months, but I really do miss her. I didn't even know that she was going to be a girl when she was born. We had...

[Sorry, Bob Marley's on -- some 70s tracks must have slipped in -- "One Love"... he was only a year or two older than I am when he died. How could someone capable of such love and beauty have died so young? But, I digress..]

As I was saying, we had just had an ultrasound a couple of weeks before she was born, and the tech couldn't tell for sure whether she was a boy or a girl. Mind you, she would have taken more time to look, but I said that we didn't mind waiting until the next one. Not that it would have really mattered, but maybe it would have been a good thing to have known what we were having. Maybe I would have bonded even more. But the point is that I never got the chance to get to know her as my daughter. We hadn't even settled on a name; I named her on my own when she was born. Lydia was a name I had come across while visiting my parents the week before and when I looked at her the name seemed to fit.

[Bryan Ferry... now there's some lovely 80s pop. "Dance away the heartache..."]

I had just started to get used to her rhythm. She started rolling around every night around 10:00; I could almost set my watch by it. I wondered if she would continue that routine when she was born -- would she start wailing every night at that time? But I never got to find that out; I never got to hear her cry.

[The Eagles, "Desperato" (definitely some 70s mixed in here, and this one is most certainly mine -- I'm the only Eagles fan in the family)]

But what I find amazing is the effect that she still has on me. I mean, it's been almost 16 months and the loss is still so tangible. And I really try not to wallow excessively about it. Her pictures are in a drawer and it's rare that I pull them out, mostly because it's too painful to look at them.


Here we go. I was so inspired by my brief foray into 80s pop, that I decided to burn a CD of pure 80s drivel -- Air Supply, Journey, Chicago (again, probably some 70s in there) and to finish -- la piece de resistence -- Bonnie Tyler. Oh come on you've got to love it: "the beat of my heart is a drum and it's lost and it's looking for a rythym like you-ou-ou..." (Who the hell wrote these "lyrics"?) God, how many slowies did I dance to this one -- round and round in a circle, wishing the song wouldn't end. It's amazing how the mind works... just listening to "All Out of Love" brings me back instantly to when I had just broken up with my first boyfriend at the tender age of 14. I remember playing this song over and over, weeping uncontrollably. I thought I would never be happy again, that this was the absolute worse that I could possibly feel. That poignant pause at the end... cue the electric piano...

I just got an urge to Google said first boyfriend... "Mr. X a Boston-based lawyer, an adjunct member of the faculty at Boston University School of Law, and a visiting researcher at Harvard Law School. He is currently completing a Ph.D. in Law at Oxford University, where he has concentrated on public international law, with a particular focus on international offenses and the crime of genocide. X was appointed a U.S. Supreme Court Fellow for 2005-2006." Who woulda thunk it?! (And that's definitely him, there's a picture and everything) Last time I saw him he was graduating from a vo-tech, on his way to Rensselaer (I thought to study engineering, but I guess I was wrong).


Alright, I'm depressed now. My old boyfriend is a Supreme Court Fellow and I'm sitting here on a Friday night listening to maudlin songs from the 80s, wondering what happened with my life. But on consideration, I still have a box somewhere with some really sappy poems that he wrote me, that I'm sure he'd be terribly embarassed to see now...

Enough rambling for tonight. Bonnie, take it away...
:: posted by Ann Howell, 11:48 PM | link | 9 comments |

The picture game

I only had 10 minutes to compose a post today, and rather than spend the time interpreting my dreams from last night or attempting to describe my current mental state, I thought it would be much more fun to play the picture game that's been going around. So here are my answers:

Town I grew up in:

Town I live in now:

My Name:

Grandmother's Name:

Favorite Food:

Favorite Drink:

Favorite Song (well one of them):

My Favorite Smell:

And now I've really got to get back to work, especially since that took slightly more than 10 minutes...
:: posted by Ann Howell, 10:18 AM | link | 3 comments |

Saturday, October 01, 2005

Such love for a little tadpole

My heart is breaking for Lauralu and Justin, who just found out they lost their "tadpole". I had just joined the world of blogging when I found their blog and a week or two later they were announcing the appearance of the tadpole. Having been through the traumatic loss of their son at birth, they seemed so happy and hopeful about this pregnancy and it gave me a tremendous amount of hope, as well. Life really doesn't need to keep showing how indiscriminately unfair it can be. Lesson learned, okay? Laura seems to be handling this incredibly well (I think I would be a basket case) and I admire her strength and pragmatism. I just wish there was no need for such a show of character.

And regarding the tagging business that has been going on lately (I was tagged twice, I think), since I don't have a 23rd post and I believe that everyone else on my blogroll has been tagged already, I think I'll join Cat and Catherine by walking away from this one. A virtual drinking game (hell, I'm not pregnant or ovulating), now that's something I could get into at the moment (well, not this exact moment as it's 10:30 am; even I am not that wild and crazy)...
:: posted by Ann Howell, 10:14 AM | link | 2 comments |