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Friday, October 05, 2007

Friday Blog Roundup

It feels like this week went through like a whirling dervish...without the spiritual side or the grace. I would start thinking about one thing and then race and do another and then remember that I'm supposed to be meditating and then wonder what to make for dinner and then...

Can I slow it down and recap?

The Second Happiness Challenge kicked off on Wednesday (yes, I am still trying to make myself happier and I'm dragging you along for the ride). It requires 10 minutes of meditation a day. It is slowly getting easier, but this has been a typical 10 minutes: I lie down and start thinking about the beach. I am placing myself in a beach scene. I deep breathe for a while and then I think about making dinner. And I wonder if I should make French eggs (what? You don't know how to make French eggs? Email me and I will teach you--they remain so much hotter and fluffier than scrambled eggs). Then I think about how I often use the French eggs bowl to make popcorn on the stove (what? You don't know how to make popcorn on the stove? You're missing me again). And I start thinking about how good popcorn would taste right now. But I'm on the beach. I'm deep breathing. But popcorn... And then the timer goes off.

Which is a long way of saying, do not stress if you are having trouble. Mr. Shahar promises that it will get easier and I am choosing to believe him. For me, switching when in the day I do it has helped a bit. And you can still sign up, you're just doing it for fewer days.

So, today is the last day to suggest a book for the next big book tour vote. Which will take place probably next week. I have a crazy voting system where you get to choose as many books as you wish and vote others off the island a la Survivor. Which is probably more work than it's worth, but that's the way I roll. So look forward to a vote soon and as they say each election, you can't bitch if you don't vote. So choose the books you want to read.

Next, and maybe the most important so indulge me while I talk about it for a moment...The Shop Mom or Pop. Here's the thought behind the idea: fertility treatments and adoption are very expensive. Most of us have a creative bone in our bodies and we could make something and sell it if only there was a good way to bring business to our site. As much as I want to start my own philanthropy for all of you, I don't have the money to give you for treatments or adoption (because it is all earmarked for my own treatments). But I do have the power of social networking. So.

I have created this post which will be a catalog of homegrown businesses owned by stirrup queens or sperm palace jesters (if it grows too large, I'll house it on a separate blog with a directory and different store "rooms"). If you are undergoing treatments or pursuing adoption or have done these things in the recent past and are still paying off bills, join along. Why that caveat? I had to limit the list in some way or I'd potentially have Jim, the 14-year-old from Kansas who makes dirty t-shirts, asking if he could just throw his name up there too (no offense towards hypothetical Jim). The guideline is loose--if you have great insurance and have paid only co-pays for your treatments, you can still add your business. I'll enter people who don't fit the guidelines at my own discretion. I am looking to help stirrup queens or sperm palace jesters as the bottom line.

You can also start a business that makes money for another person. In other words, your mother could start a knitting etsy with the intention of giving you the money for treatments/adoption. So this is a way that friends and family can help you too! Isn't that cool? Next time they say, "how can I help? I really want to help" you can tell them to use their creativity to help pay for your treatments/adoption. By the same token, if you are parenting after IF and you're finished with family building but you really want to help a fellow SQ or SPJ, you can open your own shop and give the money monthly to someone else (and you can designated that person at a later date).

So, you're creative, but you don't know where to begin. Well, there are simple websites like Cafepress that demand no money down and are easy to start. Not the most artistic approach, but it's an idea. Etsy is a little more work, but you're selling your products that you created at home. At the high end is setting up your own website like Rian. At the not-quite-high-end-but-certainly-a-bit-more-work-than-Etsy is setting up a post on your blog where you show pictures and give a way to order (either contact you via email or set up a post office box). This would be ideal of someone selling a single item such as a book or CD. So 4 ways to start a store and there are probably many more methods out there.

I know there are a lot of people who have a store like this, but I am not adding anyone without their expressed interest. So if you are interested in being added, let me know or your store will never be added to the list.

Bea also had a great idea--someone who owns a baby-gift service could set up accounts for SQs and SPJs. Next time you get the birth announcement and need a gift, you would just email this person with the details and address, pay for the gift, and be done with it. No stepping into Babies R Us or having to navigate Target's website. Anyone want to volunteer?

Plus, every time you shop at one of these online stores, you are benefiting an SQ or SPJ.

How did this idea start? It really came from a discussion with Beagle who was lamenting Christmas. And we started throwing back and forth ideas on stuff to do leading up to Christmas and this idea took place: throwing yourself into a creative project that could help with treatments/adoption by taking advantage of the upcoming Christmas shopping season. Which is why I wanted to start this now--get it up and rolling before the shopping season begins.

What can you do if you don't want to start a business but want to help:
What can you do if you do want to start a business:

Email me at so I can send you some questions to fill out and add you. You can sell or make anything--from edibles to knit to clothing to ceramic. And everything else in between.

My store? I will be creating wall hangings and silkscreening, but it's going to take me a few more weeks to get started.

In case you haven't noticed, I'm really emotionally-tied to this idea right now. It is up there in my heart with Lost and Found and the Emoblopedia. I'm hereby declaring this year for me as The Year of Linkage.

Moving on.

My father has a question about Cinderella. Perhaps you can answer it. "If you remember, the fairy godmother turned a pumpkin into a coach, mice into horses, etc. She also turned Cinderella's rags into a fancy ball gown, complete with accessories. All was cool but, at midnight, everything would turn back the way it was. Remembering the Disney version, Cinderella is running down the steps to get out of the castle as the clock is striking the midnight hour. Now everything changed back into what it was at midnight. How was Prince Charming able to find a glass slipper on the steps? Wouldn't the slipper have turned back into what it was? A second question that also has to be considered...if only Cinderella's foot fit into the glass slipper, and no other woman in the kingdom could get the slipper to fit, does that mean that Cinderella had a foot deformity and the slipper was designed to fit that deformity?" If you care to take a crack at this, leave a comment for him below.

Two great ideas in the blogosphere this week:

Jenna's friend has set up a raffle for her. You can support Jenna as she pursues adoption AND win cool things like an iPhone. I don't know...sounds like win-win to me...

And, Starfish is proposing a knit along. What is a knit along, you ask? It's a way to clear out UFOs (see...I just learned this knitting term: unfinished objects) and make a cool scarf with other bloggers cheering you along and answering your questions as they arise. I think it's a very very cool idea. If you knit, please go to her site and check it out.

Thank you for reading through all of this. I think this just may be the longest roundup ever. And wait, we haven't even gotten to all the cool things I read in the blogs this week...

Nycphoenix at Forever Reaching has a beautiful post this week called "Confession." And it is just that, a good Catholic girl, placing out her thoughts in Confession. It is an admittance that as much as she tries to let go of the idea of being pregnant and go with whatever plan is in store for her, she is still fighting against it, still trying. It doesn't come to a perfect end--it's still a work in progress--and I hope she finds her peace.

Dianne at Flutter of Hope writes about the infertile elephant in the room. It is an impossibly hard time. The last treatment is finished, a year-long break has begun, and still, standing in the center of the room is that enormous infertile elephant, the constant reminder and the space that no one discusses. The one that even Dianne tries not to see. It is a post filled with pain and sadness. The words literally ache. I hope the elephant has not trailed her to her sister's wedding this weekend. He needs to give her a moment of peace. We all know that he rarely listens and stays home, but we can hope.

DMarie at La Bella Vida is still sending out Common Thread bracelets and Samantha at Southern Infertility has a gorgeous post about tying hers on. She writes: "So far, no one has asked, no one has commented, but it makes me feel better to be wearing it. It sort of serves as a space where I know I am always acknowledging my sadness, and lets my brain get on with other things. My mother, after my older brother died, got a ring to remember him by. I think I really understand that better now." Even though it starts out as a post about the bracelet, it travels into the heart of the matter, which is that "something's not quite right." I cannot possibly say this better so I give you Samantha's words instead. And then you should go over and read the whole post because Samantha is an incredible writer overall: "I can imagine scenarios in my head, where I share my feelings, my sadness, anger, and frustration in intimate detail with D, with other people, and I really want to do it, to take a load off of myself, but these moments never quite happen. When opportunities arise, I either don't or can't let go enough. Last night, D asked what was wrong, and I said I didn't know. I didn't know how to explain. Nothing? Everything? We're running out of chances and your sister's due date is May 16? My embryos died? I can't think clearly because every loss in my life is weighing on me like lead right now? I know you're stressed out and I'm not going to help matters any? I want to go to bed and not have to get up in the morning? I felt petty and irrational, so I brushed my teeth and did my relaxation CD. I know after each attempt, I'll be upset, but I'll also get better, but it seems like it gets harder and harder to get better and more of stretch to be ready for the next cycle." Really, go read the whole thing. And the post above it as well.

I read the most amazing post at Uterine Wars. We constantly underestimate what children know; what they can sense. And this post sums up an amazing moment between mother and child--one that she dreaded when she started down the road of adoption, and one that turned out so different from how she could ever imagine. And I was so moved by the idea of sending the message that you're safe. I laughed, I gasped, AND I bawled as I read this.

Lastly, but not leastly, the always funny, pretty damn amazing Truculent Girl at Good Times Good Times, who made me laugh so hard that I had to read the post aloud to my husband as he sat across the room. Seriously, how can you not click over to a post that begins, "My grasp on reality is tenuous enough as it is - did I really have to get an email birth announcement two days before I get bitchpatched? 'Are you read for mini me???' Quite frankly - no." Go over and read about the emailed birth announcement in all of its glory.

So, a final recap of the final recap before you click away. My father's Cinderella question. Voting going on next week for upcoming book tours. Deep breathing and cleansing thoughts happening currently. And Shop Mom or Pop--spread the word, start your own business, get a leg up with customers by listing it with everyone else, support other SQs and SPJs...that sort of thing.

And a major thank you for all of those delurking this week. I was touched beyond words by your comments. I think somewhere inside of me is that eighth grade Melissa who reads the comments in amazement because she still can't believe that someone would say something nice to her. I would write more, but I'm delurking myself and I'm still pretty choked up.


Samantha said...

Wow, that was quite a post. Thank you for mentioning my blog and praising my writing in your roundup. I'm also really enthused about the business idea. Not that I have creative talents to sell things myself, but I will definitely be looking at these shops for gift ideas and for baby showers.

I have thought of one additional book suggestion for the tour: Digging to America, by Anne Tyler. The book follows two families who adopt children from Korea. Anne Tyler's specialty is focusing on interpersonal relationships, and this book is exceptional in bringing up issue of race and culture in modern American families. The book does not focus on infertility or adoption as the centerpiece, but rather uses these as a springboard to exploring our notions of family and how we create ties with the ones we love.

dmarie said...

To Mel's Dad--
Leaving one slipper behind broke the spell on the pair and it was forever to remain a glass slipper. However, it still was a "magic" slipper made just for Cinderella. The slipper adjusted itself as each woman tried it on--either being too big or too small--until Cinderella tried it on and was perfect.

Nilz said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Dreamer4agift said...

Dear Mel's Dad,
Okay, to answer your questions about Cinderella (at least in my opinion): 1. The Reason the Prince finds the shoe even after midnight is b/c the fairy godmother allowed it to be the only thing that stayed the same, so that there would be a way to keep a connection (thus the reason she got to keep her other shoe). 2. It only fit Cinderella b/c she was "the one" for the Prince so fate only allowed the shoe to fit her foot and no one else's.

I pride myself in being an expert on Cinderella (yes, even at almost 30 I can watch it over and over), so if you have any other questions, feel free to ask:)

I'm also having a hard time meditating. My brain starts out being on the beach or in a grassy meadow, and then I hear a noise and then I think about what it is, which leads to thinking about the dogs, and how I need to walk them, then on to what else I need to do. But I'm trying:)