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LFCA Latest Issue: Friday, September 25, 2009.

Latest Post on BlogHer: Parenting after Infertility.

My Status: Fed Josh's almonds to the squirrels. They needed them very badly.

Friday, June 13, 2008

Friday Blog Roundup

Io's dream was funny/coincidental/fortuitous because as she was writing about her dream, I was thinking about it on this tiny, remote island in the Chesapeake Bay. I don't know why I'm so drawn to this space. I certainly have nothing in common with the inhabitants--crab fisherman and Methodist wives. I couldn't eat on the island, the main draw for making the trek out from Crisfield (which doesn't make a lot of sense to me since Crisfield is also on the water).

I've been drawn to Smith Island for different reasons at different times. When I was in elementary school, it was interesting because it seemed impossibly far away. Back then, you couldn't really go to the island. During high school, there was an article in the Washington Post about the closing of the school in Tylerton. There just weren't enough children to keep it open and the island was in crisis--begging for teachers. I cut out the article and kept it; an idea? Back in high school, it seemed entirely possible that I would just pick up and move to this random island for a few years.

During college, I was drawn to the unique dialect. Cut off from mainland, the island developed their own terms and kept the Elizabethan accent and cadence. After graduate school, it fit my mood. Quiet melancholy. I thought of it like the Americana version of Minguley. Before Minguley emptied.

And now.

I think I am drawn to it because it is an almost childless community. An interesting space for someone infertile. I think the number we heard during our walk around the island was 11. 11 children on the island. No belly bumps. No maternity stores. No strollers parked outside restaurants or babies at the next table. It is--emotionally--the perfect space to think.

Io's dream is something I've always wanted to do and it's funny because she's not the first person who has written to me about having that dream. Serenity had one a year or two ago where she crawled into my house through an open window and I made her bread. Maybe the seed was planted then? But I would love to have an oceanside retreat, a space where people who are hurting from infertility--hurting emotionally--could come and think and be in a space where people are willing to unconditionally listen. To sit with you even if they can't do anything to actually fix the problem. A space to go to during a wait--any wait; adoption, infertility--and get some breathing room. When I first described this idea to Josh about two years ago, I called it a farm. But being at Smith Island made me think that water was perhaps a better medium for this. The lull of waves. The huge expanse in front of you.

And now, cake is also the interest with Smith Island. There was an article in the New York Times about the cake a few months ago. It is the last great hope--the item that will help this community economically. A large portion of the island lives under the poverty line and the cake is the way to bring extra money in with crabbing limits in place. The article ends with this thought: "All the women just about make cakes. The women will pull together and try to save the island."

And damn, I love a good story about women pulling together and saving the day.

I am attempting and documenting making the cake this weekend (which apparently has British roots and started as a 4 layer cake and grew with competition). I'll let you know how it goes and which recipe I used. Look for pictures of Smith Island tomorrow in Show & Tell.

A few orders of business (it sounds like I'm calling a board meeting to order). First off, NaComLeavMo. When I checked the polls on Sunday night, the first week of every month had the most votes. Unless you put the two month-long options together. But I didn't. I went with the one-week-a-month plan for two reasons.

(1) People who hear about it don't have to wait a long time to join along. They can jump in the next month. (2) A week of heavy commenting is much more do-able than a full month. This is getting a bit exhausting.

To make it easy so people can get in a rhythm and plan around it, the list opens every month on the 1st. It is open until the 21st. Commenting takes place from the 21st until the 28th. The next list opens on the 1st, so on and so on. Drop in or out depending on what is happening in your life from the 21st to the 28th. If you can join and commit to commenting, crantastic. If you can't, join on another month. And I still get to use my colour-coordinated badges to show which month we're in...

Oh--and the name! IComLeavMo won so the new name will be IComLeavWe (since it is a week) but isn't that cool: IComLeavWe--International Comment Leaving Week but say it aloud and it sounds like "I come; leave we." So you walk into the blog alone (as an "I") and you leave after reading and commenting as a "we." Because you've made a connection with someone. How much do I love this? Thank you, Kymberli.

Next order of business. I am nudgling a new book onto the Barren Bitches Book Tour list. Actually, when we last voted, we put this book on the to-read-in-the-future list but I am going to slip it in there now. Eat, Pray, Love will come before Baby Trail because it is blowing my mind and I need to talk about it with people. And because it is actually changing the way I see/process a life crisis. Plus, it is easy enough to get from the library or a used bookstore by this point.

While it isn't a book about infertility (at least not that I've come across yet), it is a book about getting through a life crisis. I keep marking things that also apply to infertility. When the time comes for sign up, I'll post one of my favourite passages thus far and how it relates to pregnancy after infertility. But note that the next book in line is Eat, Pray, Love and we'll start reading that on July 10th. If you want to join along or read ahead, go for it. The formal signup will begin July 10th but feel free to throw your name on a list now if you were looking for some summer reading for the beach.

That was my executive decision of the day. Because the book is rocking my world that much. And because other people joined in to say that they loved it when I mentioned it in the Lost & Found. So all of you better join the book club so we can discuss this online and I can ask the 1 million questions I've already marked in the book. Including what word defines where you live (that's a little insider nod to those who have read through at least "Eat").

I think that the last order of business is that sign up for the Roundup Extravaganza closes June 27th if you want to get in on that. And I am having fun putting together the first ALIes (it will be easy voting polls once we have all of the categories filled). And that's um...all the business stuff.

So now the blogs.

I thought Deb's post at All Things Deb about binge eating and anxiety moving in its honesty and straightforwardness. It begins: "I used to cope by binge eating. Yes, I am a binge eater. I have been working on stopping that destructive behavior over the past several years. Honestly, I am actually proud of how far I have come with my binge eating especially over the past year." It is interesting the diversity we have in dealing with stress and in so many cases, the solution our bodies come up with are just as detrimental as the stress itself.

Solo Trekking Through Recurrent Miscarriage had a post about pregnancy announcements and the new leaf she has turned. It starts: "No, not mine. Before you get all excited. Or depressed. I don't know how pregnancy announcements make you feel, but normally they make me feel like shit. Yes, I am depressed it isn't me. But I am even going to admit this: I am rarely, in any way, happy for the other person (unless we are talking my pre-TTC years). I just feel generally resentful and grumpy and depending on who it is and how close they are and how many kids they already have and how easy it has been for them, I generally have a good old cry as well." The post twists and turns and ends up in a happy spot. Just a good read.

Because we are in the middle of switching ourselves (for the 300th time in the past five years), Dramalish's post at So Blessed I Could Scream about insurance cracked me up. In one of those if-you-don't-laugh-you'll-cry sort of ways. Beyond having one of the greatest titles of all time, it contains this nugget of brilliance: "I'm sure the Dalai Lama would have said something much more wise and serene, but it worked for the moment. Why does the 2ww wait have to be so so long? And how did I ever convince myself that I was more savvy and together this time around? How did I possibly believe I wouldn't fall into the same mind-games that screwed with my head during the first crusade?" Go wish her luck that she gets pregnant in the next three cycles.

Lastly, I liked Thalia's post called "Blogging, or Lack Thereof." It is the quintessential blogging about blogging post with Thalia's unique, straightforward take on those early months of finding your footing with motherhood. She writes: "I'm really doing rubbish at posting. I'm doing great at writing long posts in my head. Just last night, between 0130 and 0330, when Pob and I were both up, I wrote several posts. One about sleep and my increasing desperation. One about the US democratic nominee. One about a recent UK TV programme about childhood. One about sleep again. One about Pob's development. One about food, my weight, my body, my lack of exercise. Another one about sleep.Yes, none of them sound particularly interesting, do they? Not surprising since my brain is pretty mushy these days. I simply can't remember words any more." As one who constantly writes long posts in her head that never find their way onto the computer screen, it is a comfort to think about all of these lost words bouncing around in our heads in the wee hours of the morning.

The Roundup to the Roundup: NaComLeavMo has become IComLeavWe and will now be held every month from the 21st to the 28th (sign up begins for the July week on July 1). Eat, Pray, Love is now on the Barren Bitches line-up. There was stuff about the Roundup Extravaganza and the ALIes. Oh, and the oceanside retreat I would love to build. Perhaps, like baseball diamonds, if I build it, they will come...

Happy Friday the 13th.


loribeth said...

Sign me up for "Eat, Pray, Love." It's been in my "to read" pile for awhile & I've been saving it for the BBBT.

I love the idea of a seaside retreat. There is something soothing about the rhythms of the ocean. Dh & I went with my family to Cannon Beach, Oregon, shortly after we made the decision to stop fertility treatments (we've been there once before & once since), and it was the perfect place to lick our wounds & start to heal.

I'm on a private board with a handful of childless-not-by-choice women that I met on another board, & we often joke that we're going to wind up living together & looking out for each other when we're childless & widowed little old ladies, like the Golden Girls.

Ally said...

I'll come to your seaside retreat, Mel. When will you start taking reservations? And, just a logistical question: How do you plan on getting rid of us there? I would probably want to stay for quite a while. It sounds heavenly.

Lori said...

In on Eat, Pray, Love.

Great ideas all over the place!

annacyclopedia said...

I love the idea of a retreat, too. Farm or ocean, it doesn't really matter to me. In fact, you could do the ocean, and I could have the farm for those of us in the middle of the continent. And all your talk of Smith Island has totally made me want to go there and learn more about it. Fascinating.

And I'm in on the BBBT for "Eat, Pray, Love" - I've read it already, but I agree that it's a wonderful book that needs to be discussed with other women (ok, people, but to me it's so much about women's ways of processing life crises that I just want to really get into it with my girls.) Great idea - and I think the book lends itself very well to IF stuff, even if it's not exactly about that.

Io said...

Hmm...if I'm not the only one who has this dream for you, I'm thinking it's a sign you should sell all your worldly possessions and go start the seaside retreat. Which would serve cake.

Trace said...

I read "Eat Pray Love" and I totally agree. I found it inspiring and I could definitely apply so much of it to our parenthood journey. I'm also a yoga girl so I thought it was neat.

I like the comment week idea! Sounds fun and less of a committment.

Jen said...

Eat, Pray Love is so much better than Baby Trail anyhow. I'm only half way through, but I adore that book.

Helen said...

I have been dying to read "Eat Pray Love". Sign me up!

loribeth said...

P.S. re: "Perhaps, like baseball diamonds, if I build it, they will come..." -- I've also been to the Field of Dreams near Dyersville, Iowa. It's been 10+ years since they filmed the movie there, & people are still coming... we were there near closing time on a Thursday afternoon, & the parking lot was full. There's something peaceful about a farmhouse porch in the middle of a cornfield too...!

MamaSoon said...

I loved Eat Pray Love. It touched me deeply.

I would like to participate in IComLeavWe! Where do I sign up!?

PaleMother said...

I loved, loved, loved Eat, Pray, Love. You know it was a good book if you feel lonely like your best friend just moved away when you finish it. There were so many things in that book that I want to remember.

So yes, please. Sign me up, can I play? I'll have to brush up on ow it works ...

In the meantime ... I did blog a little about it here a while back:

And speaking of great books that talk about dealing with crisis and life-altering events, have you ever read any Daniel Gottlieb?
I'm reading him now. Wow. Easy reading, but Wow (I mentioned you while writing about him this morning):

Thanks, Mel.

Heather J. said...

Hi Mel!

1 - I love the new name IComLeavWe!

2 - My IRL book club is doing Eat Pray Love for our meeting on Aug 3, so of course I'll join your book club this time. :)

courtney said...

I'm new here. Well, like so many of you ladies, I'm not new, but this is my first post.
I love everything you have here. I found you guys when I was researching my HSG (this website came up at the top) and it helped tremendously.
Like so many others, I think I consider this blog to be the 'home' of all things infertile so let this be a comment of affirmation that what is being done on this blog is good and helpful.

Tina said...

IComLeavWe... awesome! Will be looking forward to signing up :)

JuliaS said...

Mel - I'm sorry - but I don't think I am going to be able to participate in this book tour. I've got way too much stuff going on. I have read the book and will probably read the others too and peruse other peoples reviews though! Next time or the next next!

DC said...

I'm reading "Eat, Pray, Love" now and am loving it. Sign me up! :)

alicia said...

wow I love the sound of that island? Where is it? I have often dreamed of running off to a land with no children to taunt me.

The IComLeavWe sounds great! Can't wait.

here for my second round of NaComLeavMo

Pamela Jeanne said...

Smith Island is going on my list of places to visit! Do please sign me up for Eat, Pray, Love. I need a good BBBT immersion ;-)

p.s. so behind on my commenting. will get on it this weekend...

Julia said...

I love the sea. I would love that resort.

I have never heard of Smith Island until you started talking about it. Now I want to see the picture of that cake. Definitely tuning in tomorrow for S&T.

P.S. Thank you for the BlogHer column.

the Babychaser: said...

Oh my god, can you really create Grown-Up Island? 'Cause that's where I REALLY want to go right now. No children, pregnant people, or PEOPLE WHO ADMIT THEY HAVE CHILDREN allowed. (People with kids can come, but no talking about them.)

Every once in awhile, my husband and I manage to have a totally grown up afternoon together, and it's so soothing and peaceful. It's never planned that way, but at the end of the day I'll realize that I've actually spent a day feeling like I have some inner worth, something to say about life that isn't related to my pathetic uterus.

Such a nice dream for all of us.

Alyson & Ford said...

So much going on!
I have loved the NCLM and the idea of just one week works for me.

I have my Show & Tell up today...

Keep the good vibes coming; love reading your blog.

Alyson LID 01/27/06 (IA China)

Dianne said...

Please sign me up for "Eat Pray Love". I actually have it on my night stand waiting for my July book club :o).

Lee said...

I'm liking the "IComLeavWe" name!

Lee said...

Neglected to mention. I forgot my show'n'tell this week.

*sheepish look*

Stacie said...

Sign me up for "Eat Pray Love"

Lee said...

I doodled iComLeavWe!