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Tuesday, April 01, 2008

Full Steam Ahead

When I put that message in Lost and Found yesterday, I meant it. We are smart, resilient, sensitive people. We have to accept that our bodies have limitations. But the financial side of infertility is just bullshit. We really don't have to accept those limitations. We can take matters into our own hands.

Why start with Calliope? Well, why not? She has been working so hard to get to this FET cycle and reaching it on her own would mean changing the essence of Calliope. Yes, she could place her grandmother in a nursing home and blow off the people who need her. She would have the IVF money, but then she wouldn't be Calliope. Because Calliope's enormous heart led her to give up her job in 2003 in order to become her grandmother's caregiver.

Compounding her situation and why she needs us is that she is doing this on her own. Yes, emotionally she has family and friends who have her back. But she doesn't have a partner's paycheck to supplement her own lack of income. And she has frozen embryos, just sitting there, waiting for her to come back for transfer. And frankly, she has taken care of so many--from her mother and grandmother to others in the community--it is time to stroke her head and say with our actions, we'll take care of this.

And once we have succeeded, doing it again. And again. And using our smart, resilient, sensitive minds to do something so simple, that costs us little, that can change someone else's world. As we planned this, we decided that our goal was to this four times a year and hopefully, it will become so streamlined that we won't need a month or two to get it ready.

Someone made an argument a while back that we should fundraise for the major organizations and that money is better spent than fundraising to give a person a chance. They may be right in one sense, and we should keep fundraising for Resolve but I disagree. I think changing a single person's life can have larger, rippling effects that cross the world. That create change. So, if you don't agree that it's a good idea to help one stirrup queen at a time, you don't have to participate. If you do agree and want to help Calliope, join in U.T.E.R.U.S. (Union To Expedite Relief Until Self-Fulfillment).

Here's the idea that a few of us brainstormed behind the scenes and we're still trying to figure out how this will work (sorry, Calliope, you're our guinea pig):
  • We are going to hold a series of mass auctions via eBay. The first will take place this upcoming Thursday. Our eBay ID is uterusbrigade.
  • This allows us to utilize an online auction site that is already in place with little taken off the front/back end for costs.
  • It also opens up the bidding to the larger world rather than having the weight of the fundraising coming internally from our community with sales.
  • This is what needs to happen on your end:
  1. Decide what you could donate to the sale.
  2. Take a photograph (if possible).
  3. Fill out this form by cutting-and-pasting it into an email.
  4. Email it to Jen at and Mel at simultaneously (as in, put both our names in the address line). Just a heads up, we are keeping a spreadsheet the three of us will see so any of us can email you during the process to ask you a question or give you an update.
  • Helen is going to list your item and sell it for you. We will have all of the sales under one account to make it easier to transfer the end sum in one transaction.
  • All money earned will go to the designated person (in this case, Calliope), though you will use the shipping fees you requested to ship the item. The cost to you is simply the donated item.
  • We will talk the hell out of this to get word out (grab the code for the icon over here).
  • There will be list of all the auctions in one space so people can easily access them.
  • We will give you constant updates so you know how much we've raised. The goal is to have this completely finished within a month or so.
  • The goal for this particular convening of U.T.E.R.U.S. is $3000.
From what I understand about eBay, you can literally sell anything, including personal art work, services, and a tangerine peel. So, dip into your world and let me know what you could place on eBay in order to benefit Calliope. Those who don't wish to actually donate an item but would like to donate directly to Calliope, you can do so here.

Me: I'm starting off with designing an ad for a blog and running it in the top corner of my blog as well as on the blogroll post for the entire month of May (with the image obviously linked back to the winning blog). This feels completely immodest, but I do have a large number of readers and it felt like a simple place to start. I will be adding to my list as we do our Pesach cleaning and remember what we own buried under all the stacks of paper and books in our house.

Jen: a set of pearls (matching necklace and bracelet).

Helen: a vintage 1920's necklace.

Alison: a copy of The Purpose Driven Life by Rick Warren.

BigBellyMeli: cherry red size 6 bridesmaid's dress at home in perfect condition only worn once.

Angi: family organ (no...not that kind...). The musical variety.

JuliaS: a Motorola W370 Tracfone.

Arian: a really really gorgeous, hand-made baby blanket. It looks so damn soft I want to wrap my head in it and go to sleep.

Chicory: 12 piece magnetic spice tin set.

Io: An official program from the 80th Academy Awards "Oscars." This is the program given to people who attended the Academy Awards on February 24, 2008. AND two dramatic, wooden wall sconces.

Anonymous Offering: Very rare collectible jacket from Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines. Embroidered with a message from Arnold inside. Never worn.

Amy: Pearl and crystal drop jewelry based on the original design by the House of Robin from French 19th century design (necklace and earring set) AND costume jewelry from the Metropolitan Museum of Art in the original packaging.

Gypsygirl: hand-embroidered bookmark.

Jen: chocolate chip cookies (though we need to figure out the whole food thing) AND a size six Liz Claiborne little black dress AND Old Navy pink s/s shirt with bows at sleeves.

Care: 6 DVD+R - recordable discs and SanDisk Sansa c250 MP3 Player.

Liza: First Edition paperback copy of Middlesex by Jeffrey Eugenides, winner of the Pulitzer Prize for fiction in 2003.

JP: Complete First Season of "The New Adventures of Old Christine"- DVDs viewed once and are in mint condition, box/case also in mint condition.

Duck: Bluebeard by Kurt Vonnegut, Hard Cover, 1987 First Edition, excellent condition.

Luna: Once-worn classic puma sneakers, perfect condition size 7s.

S.E.: Lot of 14 popular fiction paperback novels.

: Few skeins of sock yarn from Blue Moon Fiber Arts.

Freyja: Pedestal sink and a *brand new* ventless (I think) gas fireplace.

TNC: A two-hour outdoor photo session at the location of your choosing in the Middle Tennessee area.

Fostering Pride: Morton's Chili Blend.

Tracy: Authentic "Return to Tiffanys" necklace and bracelet.

Family of Two: Diaper Cake.

Anonymous: A copy of When We Get There.

Soapchick: 4 different sugar scrubs (I know you use them on your body, but they sound so good, I want to eat them too).

Dotty: Flecked, blue-glass beaded necklace.

Arabella Cucumber:
An original arabella cucumber cloth doll.

Deb: Crabtree and Evelyn Summerhill items.

Queenie: A copy of the book 'The Godmother' by Carrie Adams.

Kelly: Copies of her book, Tiny Toes.

Anonymous: Irish Claddagh ring w/diamond chip in heart AND Hearts and "Kisses" ring AND Lot of 4 Marion Zimmer Bradley books.

: Baby Einstein DVD entitled "World Animals" AND DVD, "Lindsey Jackson's Pilates in Pregnancy."

Jenny: Elegant handmade ceramic brooch of girls' face AND Ceramic Lenox floral clock.

Slimbo: Dune brand new ladies flat black leather shoes in box size 6 1/2 with strap detail.

Anna: Black Leather Pumps, size 9 AND White Patent Leather Peep-toe Pumps AND Box Set of Books - "Revolutionary Thought From Marx To Mao."

Jess: A knife set AND a lot of really gorgeous jewelry. I am seriously drooling over one of the earring sets and I don't even have my ears pierced. It would be worth doing it for them.

: Tiffany & Co. Somerset Mesh size 6.5 ring.

You: add what you'll be listing on eBay in the comments section and I will move it into the post. Then send the email to Jen and myself so we can get this ball rolling.

There is also a growing list of people who are donating directly to Calliope's fund and they need to be thanked and honoured too:

1. Fellow infertile in CA
2. Sabrina
3. Auntie Venustat2
4. Erin
5. Anonymous reader from Germany
6. Rella
7. Anonymous Infertile
8. Michelle
9. Timaree
10. Carrie
11. Helene
12. Tracy
13. Jen & Cait
14. Molly
15. Kathleen
16. Kwynne
17. Sarah
18. JJ
19. Baby Step
20. Malloryn
21. B
22. Anonymous from NC
23. Melissa
24. Maureen

For photos and links to the auctions (once they are running), click here and access our eBay page here.


Anonymous said...

Love, love, love, love, love this idea. Especially the part about marketing it to the outside world.

I will donate a copy of The Purpose Driven Life by Rick Warren to start with, but I will have more, I just need to dig through my closets. Sending the email...

Meghan said...

LOVE this, I have so many things in my basement that I keep saying I'm going to put on Craigslist or ebay and I haven't gotten to it. This is practically doing me a favor ;)

I will go through things this weekend and put it all together

Mazzy said...

Wow, this is incredible.
I agree whole-heartedly with what you are doing here.

I have a cherry red size 6
bridesmaid's dress at home in perfect condition only worn once that will never be worn again.
I will take a photo of it tonight.

Unknown said...

This is an absolutely brilliant idea. And I love that Calliope is the recipient.

I must sort through my apartment and see what I can add to it!!

Tash said...

Never figured out the sell part of ebay, but woo boy can I buy. Bring it on.

Jendeis said...

Fabulous idea, ladies. Will start going through my house this week. Question (trying to be sensitive and not come off like an a-hole): is there a monetary goal we are shooting for or is it just a time period and whatever we raise, we raise? Should I space out my donations among different recipients, or let them all go in one wild, massive donate-a-thon for one person? Please let me know if there's anything I can do to help administrative-wise.

Kathy V said...

I agree this is a great idea but it would help to know how much she needs for her FET. It just helps to see especially when we are getting close to the final amount.

annacyclopedia said...

This is an amazing idea. I will start working on identifying items right away and pull some stuff together. I am so in!

Angi said...

Is there a weight limit for this stuff...of course I want the item to sell. I have a family organ (the musical instrument) that I have been trying to decide how to get rid of (no where to put it)...but the shipping will likely be pricey. I am sure there are other things I can find...

JuliaS said...

I just bought a new Motorola W370 tracfone that I found I do not need. The package is open, but it is brand new, has the charger cord and paperwork. It will need a battery which can be gotten at any Radio Shack or cell phone place. It has an unused sim card and can be set up online at the tracfone website.

I was just wondering last night what I was going to end up doing with this and now I have my answer!

MsPrufrock said...

Bloody hell you're good. Seriously. Do you ever sleep? This is such a brilliant idea, and I shall spend the day tomorrow brainstorming as to what I can contribute. I couldn't think of a more deserving recipient either.

f said...

I'm in the middle of massive exams and don't even have time to sleep, but I assume since this is an ongoing thing that getting something in 2 weeks will be ok? If so, I have a great bike saddle and a bunch of other stuff. Will sort it out at the end of April if that's still ok. Thank you for organizing this and THANK YOU to Calli for being the guinea pig :-)

Anonymous said...

holy heck!

I can not even begin to explain how awed I am by you, Mel. just. wow.


sara said...

Excellent idea! I'll start looking through my house!

Arian said...

I will for sure donate something and I will put this on my blog tonight! I will also spread the word over at soulcysters!

I have a baby blanket that I crocheted a few months ago and I've been holding on to it for something like this! I'll post a pic soon!!!

Barb said...

I think it's a GREAT idea. The big organizations are great and all, but rarely do they have an affect on the individual. We NEED smaller organizations that can affect the individual. I will work on what we can possibly donate.

We could have a whole online store site too of donated items from all of us.. maybe handmade stuff? We have a LOT of knitters, crocheters, jewelry makers and artists. I know many of them have their own stores, but I know I for one can donate some of my goods to the store if I get good enough. ;-) And my husband is quite the artist if I do say so myself. Just some ideas...

But this one is good. We'll work on it. YAY for you! And I firmly agree that Calliope is worthy of it.

As for who gets the money.. you can always hash that out that there are one or two awards a year or whatever, and people have to submit them for consideration?? Again.. just thoughts.

Anonymous said...

can donate a set of handmade magnetic spice tins.

Melissa said...

I just tried to use your link to donate directly to Calli and it doesn't work! You amaze me....what a fantastic idea. I LOVE IT!

katd said...

I tried, too, to donate directly and it didn't work. Is it me? :) I'll start searching for stuff, too, but I'd love to donate directly, as well.

Io said...

Yay! I am donating wall sconces and an Oscar program from this year. I wish I had nicer stuff.

niobe said...

What a fantastic idea. Let me look around and see what I can find.

Amy OT said...

Hi Melissa,
I would love to be able to help out Cali if I can. I have two sets of beautiful never worn Metropolitan Museum of art jewlery (both sets include a pair of earings and a matching necklace). Both pairs are totally new, never worn, and in an original box. I will be donating both pairs. I will send an email ASAP.

Natalie said...

I love this idea. It's so infertility-bloggy - not all blogospheres are this good to each other:-)

Grad3 said...

You have some of the coolest ideas ever- seriously!

gypsygrrl said...

i will donate a hand-embroidered bookmark ~ buyer to choose colours if they like (up to 3) and i will make it. will try and remember to email a photo of an example tonight when i get home.

this is TOO COOL!


Jen said...

Awesome! My partner Cait and I will donate:

-2 dozen chocolate chip cookies (often featured on Addition Problems as a prize)

-Liz Claiborne little black dress (6 petite... clearly Cait's and not mine!) NWT

-Old Navy pink s/s shirt with bows at sleeves (M) oddly - what with the pink and bows - also Cait's

Thanks so much for doing this. We'll look around to see what else we can find!

battynurse said...

What a great idea.

Io said...

Oh fantastic! I am getting excited to bid on things too!

Care said...

Love this idea!

I'm donating a SanDisk Sansa c250 MP3 player (new in box), and 6 DVD+R disks (still in plastic wrapping) - 5 are single layer (120 min) and one is dual layer (240 min)

JW Moxie said...

What an amazing idea. I'll have to troll around in the garage to see what I can find.

Shauna said...

This is so amazing that I can barely believe it.

Um, I'm kind of an eBay bonehead. If I'm in Canada, will this still work? I know we can list products but I'm just curious about how the payments would work?

N said...

This is really fantastic. I'm going to see if I can find anything, and if not, I'll definitely bid or donate.

Unknown said...

This blog is related to Auction Income on Ebay that anyone can make lots of money but he should have good skills in internet as well as in marketing.

Anonymous said...

I've linked to my blog here, I will donate directly. I hope this works for C.

Anonymous said...

The link to donate directly to paypal isn't working. let us know if it gets fixed...i will donate directly...

Wendy said...

Ah, I see Cerridwen has beat me to it - paypal's not working :D

Anonymous said...

I have something I'd like to auction but I'm in the UK - can this still work? Can you list and sell it as a UK item from the USA?

Helen said...

veeandjay - absoloutely. I'm in the UK too, and have something listed. Donations from everywhere gladly accepted!

Liza said...

Brilliant, ladies! You are BRILLIANT!

Off the top of my head:

First Edition paperback copy of Middlesex by Jeffrey Eugenides, winner of the Pulitzer Prize for fiction in 2003.

I'll take a poke through the closet and garage to see what else I can offer.

Pamela T. said...

Okay, this gives me a great excuse to clean out some nooks and crannies...

Tina / Anxious Changer said...

Let me take a look at home...we are trying to clean things out anyway to pay some bills of our own off, but we can certainly donate something out of the sell list to this great cause. ;)

Will send you the e-mail later (today or tomorrow) with a pic of what I am going to offer up.

Caro said...

What a fantastic idea.

Nadine said...

BlueBeard by Kurt Vonnegut, 1987 first edition hardcover

s.e. said...

(As I said in my email) I am in absoulute awe. Your brainpower and motivation is inspiring.

I will love to donate a box of 14 bestselling paperback books.

Shelby said...

This is a fantastic idea! I'll have to see if I can find something to list. I can definitely part with a few skeins of sock yarn from Blue Moon Fiber Arts (Socks That Rock) that I bought ages ago and haven't used, as well as a few others.

luna said...

truly brilliant idea.

I'm going to start with a pair of once-worn classic puma sneakers, perfect condition size 7s. I imagine there will be more where those came from... I'll get it together this wk-end. ~luna

Mindy said...

What a truly beautiful idea. I'm in, I just need to take a little time at home to figure out what to donate. So, I will email soon with my contribution.

Me said...

I've got a pedestal sink and a *brand new* ventless (I think) gas fireplace. It is a long story how and why I have these items but I do. I'll take pics tonight and send you an email.

BTW - this is a FABULOUS idea!

Blondie said...

We will pick up extra bags of Morton's Chili Blend while we're in Texas. Hold off until late April for listing, if possible (cause we don't have them yet!)

Shannon said...

I'm moving in 2 weeks and still need to pack! I know I have a ton of stuff....mostly books, I'll let you know what I find!

girlranting said...

I wish I could help donate something but I'm way off in Mexico and anything I could donate would probably end up costing more in shipment fees than what the item is actually worth :(

Antigone said...

Fabulous idea.

Anonymous said...

What a wonderful idea!

Looking through my things this weekend for the perfect item to donate.

Familyofthree said...

This is wonderful! I hope many people are helped by this!!!

I will set out to make a diaper the tradition of helping those get their babies maybe a baby shower gift will help!

I hope to get one started, photographed and ready to go this weekend!

Unknown said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

How is the next person to be picked ?

Lollipop Goldstein said...

Hey anonymous--there is a U.T.E.R.U.S. listserv and we're soon going to start discussing the summer recipients and then list them here (probably by the end of June so we have the summer to raise the money).