Do you have a cat?

July 16, 2012 § Leave a comment

Otis is like a cat. The moment I crack open the tuna can, he’s at my side. I squeeze the juice into his bowl and he laps it up leaving a sparkling dog bowl behind. Well, sparkling for a dog food bowl.

Anytime I think of Otis or cat in the same sentence I’m reminded of what has become an inside, weird joke between me and Jeremy. On occasion, I or Jer will say Do you have a cat? in a really weird voice. I’ll try to explain it here, but I’m not sure it will translate AT ALL. You have to let your mind go to a really strange, warped space, imagine an ordinary day you’ve experienced when things suddenly became a bit bizarro world for you and only you get it.

Early on when we first moved to this neighborhood, we were out for a walk with Otis when we passed two older women sitting in their pajamas on their front stoop. Both women were wearing cat eyeglasses like from the 50’s or 60’s or whenever they were the thing to wear. The stoop they were sitting on belongs to a dilapidated house with a large dumpster on the side in the driveway (the kind used during construction). Very Grey Gardens. It appeared as though they were mother-daughter or possibly sisters. As we passed their house, they complimented our gorgeous dog Otis and continued talking about what a pretty and big dog he is. Then, out of nowhere one of the ladies asked “Do you have a cat?” And, not that Do you have a cat? is the strangest question in the world, but if you could have heard how she said it. So innocent, like a child. So very sincere. So extremely curious if we had a cat. An old woman, with the voice of a little girl. In an instant I looked at Jer, he looked at me and we acknowledged without words how odd the whole set up was while Otis sniffed a bush. What adds to the strangeness is we’ve lived here three years and we’ve never seen them again. Almost like it didn’t really happen or they were ghosts or something. The house is still there with the dumpster by its side. Things about the house change (though not for better), someone must come and go, though we’ve never seen anyone. It pretty much appears deserted.

We had another moment once like this in the city. Again on a walk. We passed this big, beautiful old brick house and there were two really small women dressed in red jumpsuits. They were really small, reminded me of oompaloompas but their bodies were proportionate. They were doing something to the huge pine tree perched in front of the house. Jer and I looked at each other, acknowledged the strangeness of it and never saw them again. Both of these weird incidents were/are located on our regular paths, so it really makes no sense that we never saw either again. Well, now the story is getting boring. You should have seen the red jumpsuits. Really out of this world.

Jar Hoar-der

July 13, 2012 § 1 Comment

Maybe I’m just a lonely lady. A lonely lady with a jar addiction. I was walking around my house with this thought in my head of being a lonely lady. In almost every room I have jars. I can’t seem to throw them away or recycle them. I think most jars are pretty and I really think some day I’ll do something creative with them all. On top of the jars I keep, from grey poupon mustard, store bought jam or olive jars and even some pretty maple syrup and wine bottles; I recently purchased a whole bunch of mason jars. So, as I looked around with the thought in my head about being a lonely lady and noticing many jars (after washing more jars) I realized I’m like a cat lady, only married and with jars. WTF? I giggled because it’s kind of funny and very weird and something I just learned about myself. I seriously have an addiction to, I guess, hoarding jars. There are even more stashed in the basement just waiting to be turned into something creative.

 

A touch tipsy and a little Etsy

June 30, 2012 § Leave a comment

A touch tipsy and a little Etsy. For a moment when I glanced at the screen, I saw Elvis. And thought, Elvis? What was I looking at? Not Elvis, Elvis, as in svelte or heavy, but the letters E.L.V.I.S. Oh yeah, that’s Etsy, not Elvis. Again, just a touch tipsy and making purchases on Etsy. And, a little sad on the side. Actually, a lot sad. All encompassing. But, I’m trying to pretend I’m normal. Or as a lot of the grief material states – “You will need to create a new normal.” I hope this isn’t my new normal. I don’t think it can be, I’m not even sure what I feel yet. I no longer know who I am. Not that I knew before, but now I’m REALLY lost.

HAPPY FRIDAY PEOPLE! Get drunk and do some unnecessary online shopping. Buy from artists if you can.

P.S. When you do a spelling and grammar check, the computer encourages you to change “Etsy” to “easy”. No Elvis suggestions.

Hungry

June 28, 2012 § Leave a comment

I’m HUNGRY today! Treated myself to a whole avocado, three eggs and an apple for my very late breakfast (1:30pm). I’m afraid most days I only eat for fuel out of pure laziness, though I do enjoy cooking and eating. I’m going to repeat the quick dinner I made last night tonight, out of laziness. But, it was tasty and always is to me. We just happen to have extra chicken breasts and I have to get moving on consuming our very own garden cucumbers and romaine. It’s hot here in Chicago today. Really hot. And, actually I’m in a south suburb, so I think we’ll be hotter than Chicago. I’m worried my plants won’t make it, especially the romaine.

What you’ll need for the salad:

Trader Joe’s Balsamic Vinegar. It’s cheap and consistently delicious. Or, if you have a favorite Balsamic, use it. For now, I really like expensive ones I can’t afford, so TJ’s is it.
Olive Oil
Garlic clove or two, minced
Romaine
Tomatoes (we like grape tomatoes and have a plant with what looks like 100 little green grapes ready to pop red in just days)
Onion (from our garden, not as developed as I’d like, but they’re already paid for)
Cucumber
Avocado
Any other veggie of choice
Any cheese of choice (last night’s salad had some leftover blue cheese, tonight’s may be cheese-less due to my laziness and lack of desire to venture out to a store)

Clean/chop veggies and throw them into a bowl. Mix vinegar, olive oil and minced garlic. Dress salad and toss. Season with sea salt and pepper.

For the chicken:

Two chicken breasts (we have boneless, it’s also great with skin on, bone in)
Small glass baking dish
Salt
Pepper
Garlic Powder (might use fresh garlic today, we’ll see how I feel about that later)
TJ’s Balsamic Vinegar
Olive Oil

Add chicken breasts to small glass baking dish. Pour a good amount of TJ’s balsamic vinegar over the top. Stick in refrigerator for about 15-20 minutes, then flip, and re-set your timer for ~20 more minutes. I’m sure you can marinate longer if you’d like or if you have less time just do what you can. Set the chicken out for a bit after marinating. Preheat oven 375˚.

Add a little more balsamic. Drizzle breasts with olive oil. Salt, pepper, garlic. Stick into the oven and bake for ~15-20 minutes, then flip (feel free to add another splash of vinegar if it looks like the chicken sucked it all up when you flip the breasts) and bake until cooked. Depends on the oven, you’ll know when it’s done to your liking.

IMPORTANT

While preparing dinner, or maybe even 30 minutes before, be sure to have yourself a cold drink to deal with the heat even though you’re indoors. A cold, alcoholic beverage. Maybe something clear and fizzy or a chilled white wine. I have a cheap favorite we pick up at TJ’s, Villa Cerrina Italia – Chardonnay Pinot Grigio (yes, a blend of the two). I’m considering becoming a serious alcoholic to deal with my pain. Not really, but I am enjoying a few drinks this summer now that I’m not with child. One of the perks of not being pregnant, I guess. Looking at the bright side of things. Far reaching, bright side of things.

I’ll Avert My Eyes

June 27, 2012 § Leave a comment

I’ll avert my eyes for now. When I see a stroller coming. When I see a father holding his baby. When I see a mother breastfeeding (I probably shouldn’t stare at this anyway). When I get automatic emails from the many baby sites I signed up for online.

Unfortunately, I can’t avert my ears. I hear the neighbor’s tiny children squeaking with their little voices, their tiny independent little selves asserting the world of play. I can’t not hear the baby crying at the park, at the store, at the restaurant, at the church next to my house.

I stay inside mostly. I’m lucky to not be employed right now. Hindsight. I water the flowers and vegetables. I look at the projects I began when I was nesting. The house is a mess. I manage to accomplish the dishes and the cleaning of the kitchen. Most days I make the bed, but sometimes not until the afternoon.

Yesterday evening I forced myself to start my new phone. Jeremy had used my phone to take photos of me and Elias in the hospital. The phone is sacred to me. The phone was in the room when I delivered my dead son. The phone took pictures of that fine moment holding him in my arms. I didn’t want to switch to the new phone. Jeremy bought them the same day I delivered our son. He was sleep deprived. He was grieving. He needed something to do. He called the cell phone company and bought new phones. He was in the rocking chair next to me. I was in the hospital bed, resting. Crying. In shock. Tired. Broken. Empty. And, in pain. I thought to myself, they always say not to make big decisions or purchases while in mourning. I didn’t say anything to him at the time. He needed something to do.

 

While taking a photo of the new phone packaging with my new phone, I accidently bumped the option to face the camera to me. What a fright! I barely recognize myself. I look like I’ve aged 20 years. Too much sun from watering the plants and looks like I could use a shower. Oily, matted hair. Guess I’ll finally shower today and see if I can put on real people clothes. I think I’ve been averting my eyes from the bathroom mirror a bit too long.

Foreshadowing…

June 26, 2012 § Leave a comment

Pumpkin vine

In three months I was supposed to have a baby in my arms. Now, I’m no longer pregnant. I only had a short time with my baby. I am empty. I planted pumpkins for him. I was going to take pictures of my newborn next to the pumpkins planted just for him. We were going to dress him up for Halloween as a cute little pumpkin. I had many plans for this child. I am empty.

Foreshadowing:

Rabbit Hole – A couple mourns the loss of a child, their son, in different ways. I watched this movie a few weeks before getting pregnant. I thought it was pretty honest and real even though I’d never experienced a loss like that. Now I know. I hate when I think about something I’ve never experienced and never want to experience and then eventually I experience something similar.

Junebug – Watched the night I had implantation bleeding.

The day I received the call from my doctor about my afp reading a little elevated and that I needed to set up a level 2 ultrasound with a maternal fetal medicine specialist, *Zolton, our talkative neighbor, rambled on about how when Denise was giving birth he asked another guy how it was going with his wife only to be informed that they were giving birth to a dead baby.

Private Practice – Amelia learns she’s carrying a baby whose brain isn’t forming (there’s a name for it that escapes me). Gives birth and has to say goodbye to her dead baby.

Boardwalk Empire – Irish chick loses her baby after her husband beats her. Nucky’s story about his wife holding their dead son in her arms and pretending he was alive. She kills herself.

I feel like we were surrounded by a lot of sad pregnancy stories while I was pregnant. I might add to this as I remember them.

*Yep, that’s our neighbor’s name. Sounds like a character from Star Trek doesn’t it? Or a planet in a far, far away galaxy. His wife says the name is Polish. For a long time we kept confusing it with Zoltron which sounds like a transformer character to me.

Just remembered…

The Big C – Cynthia Nixon’s character has a miscarriage and holds a wake/funeral for the dead fetus.

Anger, friends & family

June 22, 2012 § 1 Comment

Maybe today is an angry day. Angry because my heart is so open and the one I want my love to flow to and through I can’t hold. Angry that I’m lactating, but have no baby to nourish.

I met with a friend last night for dinner. No where special. Just Wildfire because they have a gluten-free menu. It was a big step for me, I must not be myself. Typically I go within, I hide, I stay hidden and keep my feelings to myself. Many of my friends don’t know much about me. I ask them questions about themselves and their loved ones, they do most of the talking. I rarely share much at all. I’m surprised I have any friends. I’m surprised they don’t notice or need me to share parts of me. Then again, that’s my perspective. Maybe the bits I share seem like enough of me or all there is to me, so they question no further.

Annie, my friend, is dear to me. Our relationship isn’t old, but feels like I’ve known her always. She’s been soothing me in my dreams lately, so I reached out to her after months of no contact. She replied in the kindest way. I didn’t warn her about what she was getting into by meeting me. I should have. I feel slightly crazy that I didn’t warn her. It’s not yet been a week since my baby’s stillbirth. She’s also going through a tough time. Her mother is fighting ovarian cancer. Heartbreaking. I want to be there for her as well. I should have been there for her months ago. The good thing is we’ve reconnected and plan to see a lot of each other over the coming weeks. She’s such a good person, very funny, very honest and not afraid to get dirty. She’s a true badass adventure chick. The kind of woman I need to surround myself with. I’ll share more about her in the coming weeks. We worked together at an adventure travel/expedition company. She’s still working there. I am not.

Pardon my poor writing skills for now. My brain isn’t firing the way I’d like it to, the words escape me. Also pardon my ugly photo taking. Really I’m much better. I have to remind myself I am an artist and a writer and that everything will fall into place eventually.

We’ve received many kind notes from friends and family. And, it is true there is nothing anyone can say… But, we received this sentiment from a family member and it’s the best thing I think anyone can say considering there is nothing one can say.

The card reads:

The only feeling stronger than loss …
is love.

The note reads:

We want you to know that your loss is shared by our entire family. Our hope is that each day going forward will bring the healing that will mend your broken hearts.

Succinct. Beautifully written. Thankful that I have family supporting me through this difficult time even though they are far away. And, thank you to those who’ve commented. I’m still trying to figure out wordpress, so soon I should be able to reply.

Coffee can be Soothing

June 21, 2012 § 3 Comments

Stumptown Coffee, Hair Bender

Stumptown Coffee, Hair Bender

This was supposed to be a blog about food and travel and tidbits about my dog. When I included “Actually, All About Everything” in the title I never imagined everything including mourning the loss of my baby boy. So, now the blog will include my grief and hopefully my healthy steps back into the light of life. My wound is fresh, hasn’t yet been a week. Sad, heartbroken, hurt, scared, lost – none of these words scratch the surface of what I’m physically and emotionally experiencing.

Anyway, in terms of food. I still like and admire food and want to prepare something delicious again in the future, but for now I have no appetite. The most pleasurable food experience of my day is my morning regular coffee. I sit with it outdoors on my patio or on my screened in deck. I feel the warm breeze, listen to the birds doing their morning business, watch the squirrels pass by with my lovely Otis nearby, and stare at the beautiful flowers I planted in May. I cry. I remember my baby in my arms. I collect myself. The church next to our house rings its bells and plays beautiful music. I cry. I miss my son and want to hold him in my arms. I imagine those moments of holding him in the hospital. It felt right. It was soothing. I never wanted to let him go. He was perfect.

I digress. Coffee. Stumptown. The best coffee I’ve ever experience in the U.S. What I’m drinking is the Hair Bender blend. Shots made in our espresso maker. I savor it as I savor the flowers, the breeze, my dog and my son.

No words…

June 19, 2012 § Leave a comment

There are no words to rightfully describe what I’m feeling, what I’m experiencing. If I can’t explain what I’m feeling with words, I can’t expect anyone else to sooth me with their words. There are no words. Maybe in Japanese or Chinese or some other very old language like that they have a word. Sometimes I run into words from old languages that stand for a whole host of feelings. I can’t think of any right now, but I’m sure one of the older languages has the right word for this kind of grief.

“Good-night, sweet prince;
And flights of angels sing thee to thy rest.” – Horatio in Shakespeare’s Hamlet

Elias Horatio born 1:57am on 6/16/12

My heart aches to hold you in my arms again. You will be loved and cherished all of my days. Rest in peace my son.

Late Night Questions for Google

April 25, 2012 § Leave a comment

Do you ever lie awake at night and think of lots of questions to Google? Like, can I pour vegetable oil down the drain? Can I watch Anthony Bourdain’s No Reservations online now that I don’t have cable? Can I apply acupuncture to my Rottweiler myself? Pet massage? How to wash your dog outside? Which vegetables can I plant in last year’s tomato plant location? How to kill trumpet vine without destroying surrounding plants and flowers? Can I still twist to crack my back even though I’m pregnant? What teas can I drink while pregnant? How little weight can I gain while pregnant? How hard can I work out while pregnant? Are tabatas safe while pregnant? Why can’t I keep orchids alive? What is the symbolism of the orchid? These are pretty boring ones, but I swear at night I think of the best questions to ask Google to help me find the answers. Similar to having the best writing ideas and strung together words that by morning are a distant memory and when recreation of the idea/words is attempted they sound like crap.

Anyway, at night these questions seem really important. Like, I really must know the answers in order to be a well rounded and happy individual. Many have to do with cooking and substituting ingredients. Sometimes they’re just food ideas that I want to see if someone else thought up, so that I can justify my need to create them. Most everything you think up has been made before. Sometimes not exactly, but close enough that you can easily see where your substituted ingredients will slip in quite fine. Most of what I make at home isn’t by following a recipe. I’m too lazy and usually never have all of the right ingredients. I typically look in the fridge and look in the pantry and see what I can whip up. I NEVER, EVER want to have to run out to the store just to make something.

This has been a bone of contention between me and my husband. I usually try to have chocolate chips on hand for when the mood hits that it’s a good day to bake. He thinks the chips are there for munching on after dinner while watching tv. Often, it goes like this, “Is that the last bag of chocolate chips?” He says, “yep.” I repeat what I’ve repeated a billion times before that “They’re not for eating like that! That’s what a candy bar is for, the chips are here to be MADE into something.” And so on. Pretty boring argument, but it really irks me. For instance, if it’s a rainy day and I feel like baking, I don’t want to run out to get chocolate chips when at one point we had five bags in the pantry (all of which became my husband’s chocolate munchies). I went to the store yesterday and last night he’s looking in the pantry and complains that I went to the store and didn’t get chocolate chips. I thought about getting the chocolate chips, but decided against it because, well, I just ate like 30 cupcakes and the chips won’t be there when I want them. No more chips on hand until I find a good hiding place.

Anyway, shopping yesterday I wanted to find red chilies, to make this Sweet Chili Sauce that I found on Closet Cooking. I’m about to embark on a major spring roll making kick and I’ll need something delicious to dip them in. To bring this post full circle, I was thinking to myself last night to Google: can I use jalapeños in place of red chilies when making an Asian dipping sauce? I think I’m going to wing it and see what happens because I’m too lazy to go to the market that will have red chilies!