Show and TellOh what a happy girl I was to win the Stirrup Queen’s mishloach manot contest. I stuffed the ballot box — er, maximized my chances — by entering dozens of times.

Every day I’d keep looking out the window to see if the postman would turn into the driveway with a package instead of just stopping at the mailbox with letters.

It was everything I dreamed.

I have one thing left to eat, but everything has been delicious. Mel is such a skilled baker! Thanks soooooo much!

Next year, you should try to win the mishloach manot. Seriously. It is so awesome.

Go visit The Purim Fairy for more Show and Tell.

Show and Tell: Rattled

February 10, 2010

Show and TellIt has been far too long since I participated in Show and Tell. This particular object is also long overdue.

Earlier this week, I showed you the act-of-faith mobile that we bought for our theoretical baby just a couple of days after my first beta from Perfunctory IUI #7. First, I’d like to follow up on that post. The view that I depicted had all of the pieces lined up. FYI, here’s what it looks like when a breeze is blowing and the components spin independently. Burrito and Tamale seem to like looking at it whether it’s lined up or jumbled.

The other act-of-faith purchase during that trip was a rattle. We were in the ancient synagogue in Barcelona, itself an incredibly special place. It is the oldest synagogue in Europe. It’s just two rooms underground. Everyone forgot it was a synagogue for a few hundred years and instead it was being used for various purposes including a storage closet. The first day we tried to visit, we got there after closing time because it was so hard to find because it’s just a little door on a random street.

When we finally made it inside the next day, we were treated to the cutest little tour of two rooms. Sort of like visiting someone’s studio apartment and being given a 10-minute tour, if that studio apartment had been built almost 2000 years ago. We wanted to support their grassroots attempt to preserve history — they don’t even have an entrance fee — but their gift shop was beyond tiny. I have more stuff on top of my TV than they have in their gift shop. (I really should tidy the top of my TV…)

Among the few items for sale was a rattle with some Hebrew letters and Judaic symbols. There was no price tag, so they made up a number. We shrugged and paid them happily.

Burrito and Tamale aren’t yet at the stage where they play with rattles, but it’s getting close. I’m not sure what they’ll think of this rattle compared to all of their other toys, but to me it’s very special.

Show and Tell: Raffle Prize

November 4, 2009

Show and TellThis week for Show and Tell, I present a pair of nesting bowls. I did the glazing, but they were thrown by someone else (I can’t make bowls this big yet). I’ve donated these bowls to the raffle for Share Southern Vermont, the organization for bereaved parents run by my bloggy friend Cara. The drawing will be held on November 15, and you can enter online. You can even designate your raffle tickets toward specific prizes, so there’s no chance you’d waste the karma of winning on a prize you don’t want.

Side note about the glaze: This is an example of form following function. The glaze bucket wasn’t big enough for me to dip the bowls in one dunk, so I glazed each bowl in sections. The overlap of glaze in some areas but not others caused a wonderful pattern. This glaze in particular has different qualities depending on how thickly it’s applied, resulting in variation in color as well as texture. The photos don’t do the bowls justice, if I do say so myself.


For everyone who has said that they wish they’d win some of my pottery, here’s a great chance to control the odds — with the additional benefit of donating money to help bereaved parents. If you’d like a chance at winning these bowls or many other great prizes, enter the raffle right now!

Show and Tell: Delegation

October 21, 2009

Show and Tell

Goodbye NICU and hospital that I’ve inhabited since August; hello home!

For Show and Tell, I present the delegation that showed up to welcome the babies to our home:
A doe and twin fawns.

See what else Miss Lollipop’s class has to Show and Tell.

Show and Tell: Views

October 7, 2009

Update: Using the burrito post as a springboard, I think I’ll call the babies The Burrito and The Tamale. Those names sound as good as any I was going to come up with, since I was going to use pseudonyms anyway. A, the Burrito boy, is a bundle of yumminess. B, the Tamale girl, is a little picante.

I am working on writing the birth story for you; there is so much to tell. Not much to tell with the babies except that they are doing incredibly unbelievably fantastic. After failing at the baby lottery for so many years, I have hit the jackpot. Slightly early but perfectly healthy babies, sweet and beautiful. More baby photos on the way soon so that you can see for yourself.

Although I may not feel like it, I have been deemed healthy enough to cease being a patient today. Instead of driving over an hour back and forth to my house, I am so fortunate to be able to bunk with The Burrito and The Tamale. All of a sudden I will go from spending no more than half an hour or an hour per day with them to the entire day. Because of my recovery process, motherhood has been a slow transition. The thought of being with them all the time, of holding them for more than a few minutes, overwhelms me with disbelief and love.

Show and TellYou may recall that the view from my hospital bedrest window offered a mix of construction workers and fireworks. The view from my postpartum window is quite different. It’s almost directly above my old room, but it’s 3 stories higher and on a hill, so it has a fabulous view of a city, bodies of water, and the changing foliage. By day:
Day View

By sunrise:
View Sunrise

And one that comes with a metaphor. On the day I took the following photo, the weather was all over the place. Every few minutes it would change from sunny to rainy to overcast to clear to stormy. This is what it has felt like to be me over the past few days. I have had such a difficult time physically, quite a switch from being the perpetual bedrest non-complainer with the iron pain tolerance. The babies have made it more than worthwhile, but even seeing them has taken a physical toll. I did not throw up even once during the entire pregnancy (months of nausea, but zero vomiting), but the first time I was about to hold my son, I was so queasy from the anesthesia, narcotics, and movement that I puked just as they were about to put him in my arms. It happened again on my next visit — not the welcome that he deserves. I’ve struggled to get to the NICU (with help, via wheelchair) twice a day, usually not for long, then paid a physical price the rest of the day. Most of the time my pain has been decently controlled, but sometimes it hasn’t. At times I have wept with pain; at other times I have been in so much pain that I wanted to scream but couldn’t make a sound. All of this, while being happier than I ever dreamed. The contrast between my emotional highs and physical lows is absolutely bizarre, and the postpartum hormones just serve to magnify everything.

Back to the weather metaphor. Just when you think it can’t rain any harder, the storm breaks. One minute the sky is black; the next minute there are two rainbows.
Double Rainbow

Forget about potato chips; two rainbows is quite an omen. I hear you, Universe. I will weather the storm, and we will all be okay. Together.

Show and Tell: Towel Bunny

October 2, 2009

Status: Just stopped mag. We’ll see what happens. Could go into labor, or could be waiting for days.

Show and Tell In the hospital, it’s feast or famine as far as excitement goes. The feast times have been a little much, so for now I’ll take famine. During these slow periods, I have to embrace the little things. Doesn’t take much to float my boat.

I’m in my room far more than 23 hours per day, and so I’m always here when the cleaning staff stops by. Sometimes they just empty the wastebaskets. Sometimes they also clean the toilet and the floor. But, on a rare occasion I was out of the room (for an ultrasound), apparently having me out of the way freed them up to do some extra cleaning.

They got rid of my used towels and set out some clean towels for me.


I am hopping with joy.

See what other surprises people have discovered at Show and Tell.

Show and TellSince I will not be leaving the hospital for at least a couple more weeks (currently 30w1d and counting), I might as well go back to the Show and Tell I would have posted a couple weeks ago had I not been hospitalized.

More than a year ago I showed you a lovely pot I’d made that I dropped on the concrete floor when I was taking it out of the kiln. This pot was intended to sit in my pantry holding garlic (hence some decorative holes for proper aeration). I talked about my approach of Zen non-attachment with pottery, and how that Zen does not extend to fertility.

Unattached Pot

I subsequently showed you other examples of ruined pots that required Zen non-attachment due to no fault of my own, ranging from smaller incidents inside the kiln to The Great Pottery Calamity of 2008.

I may approach things with a Zen attitude, but that doesn’t mean I don’t still want replacements for the ones I’ve lost.

During my most recent round of pottery, I was set on finally replacing the lost pot. I decided to make some backups so that I’d be sure to end up with at least one for myself — having long ago given away three very nice pots with similar shapes, some for garlic, some without holes, to members of DH’s family, who showed a range of levels of appreciation (you can probably guess who was insufficiently appreciative). Finally, I have my garlic pot… and then some.


My favorite of the bunch, not intended for garlic because there are no holes, from a different angle.

A close replacement, in form and function if not color:

Not that any cooking has been taking place in my house at any point during this pregnancy. But whenever garlic eventually gets purchased, it will have a home, finally.

Show and Tell: Flat

August 27, 2009

Show and Tell

We interrupt this week’s regularly scheduled Show and Tell pottery-themed broadcast to bring you this special report…


Red and blue babies’ heart rate lines, beautiful as they have been the whole time in the hospital. Black contraction line now wonderfully flat instead of contracting strongly every 4 minutes.

Ignore the “No FM” sign; that means I was not hooked up to the monitor when I took the picture. I can’t very well stand up and take pictures while I’m strapped down to triple monitors.

Magnesium sulfate has stopped the contractions. The cervical shortening continues. Even though there’s almost no cervix left to shorten further (from 2 centimeters last week to .9 centimeters Tuesday to only .5 centimeter Wednesday, consistently 80% effaced Tuesday and Wednesday, 1 centimeter dilated at first on Tuesday then 2-3 centimeters dilated Tuesday night and Wednesday), there is hope that we will make it to September. Maybe even October. These are not supposed to be summer babies. These are autumn babies. Do you hear me, babies? Wait until the leaves start falling, please. The leaves are very pretty around here. Wait and see.

I’ll be in the hospital for at least a few more days, possibly weeks. Every doctor laughs when I say that I’ll stay here for 3 months if they’d like, but I mean it.

Show and TellSorry that I couldn’t post last week to show you the prizes won by the winners of my Blogoversary Contest. Turns out that being horizontal is not conducive to climbing stairs, fetching cameras, photographing pottery, etc.

1st Prize which will be sent to Birdless whenever I can manage to put the package together and send my husband to the post office (she preferred a blue-ish bowl over the prize I’d originally planned). It’s cereal-sized — unless you’re my husband, in which case you’d need a bigger bowl for cereal. Hopefully Birdless eats normal portions of cereal; or, she can eat whatever she wants in it. The inside swirl was done with glaze; the pattern around the rim is carved into the clay when it’s leather-hard using the wheel and — get this — a pencil. That pattern at the rim is a bit of a trademark for me (almost all of the bowls in my house have that pattern). Thanks to the swirl, this is one of the bolder pieces I’ve made:


2nd Prize for Lori. Yes, those are L’s for Lori (or for Lavender Luz if you prefer). The L’s go all around the cup in a decorative pattern. I was experimenting with wax resist.

I won’t be making any more pottery for a loooong time, so in future Show and Tells I’ll keep showing you some of the pieces I made in this last batch as well as various non-pottery things. Next week: A resolution to my episode of Zen non-attachment, my very first Show and Tell from over a year ago.

See what the rest of Miss Lollipop’s class has to offer for Show and Tell.

Show and TellMy Blogoversary Contest is over! We have two winners! Congrats to the winners, and thanks to everyone who entered!

The first one came easily, but it required an extra round of guessing to get the second winner — I think the title of the second winning song scared some people off. I’ll reveal their prizes at next week’s Show and Tell. In the meantime, here are the identities of the winners as well as the winning selections.

First, honorable mentions to S for pointing out a lyric I never noticed in Neon Bible:

A vial of hope and a vial of pain,
In the light they both looked the same.

…and to Kristen for guessing My Body Is A Cage. Yeah, that would seem like a logical choice for my IF anthem (as Rebecca pointed out in her comment, too obvious?), but not as much as the winning songs. It is a damn fine song, though. Haunting and evocative; the organ really amplifies the chord structure. Good stuff.

Second prize goes to Lori from Weebles Wobblog. I swear, it’s not fixed. It’s not some conspiracy to make her the #1 collector of my pottery. Yes, she won a little vase in my very first contest and I also brought her a little dish when I visited her house. But Lori won because she wasn’t afraid to guess (Antichrist Television Blues). Most of the song is not infertility-related — in fact, apparently the song is about Jessica Simpson’s father — but one part literally screams IF to me:

Dear G-d, would you send me a child?
Oh! G-d, would you send me a child?

Lord, would you send me a sign?
’cause i just gotta know if I’m wastin’ my time!

Take a listen — that section is at the 3-minute mark (cued up if you click through rather than watching the embedded video below).

I think that many infertiles have asked the universe to send us a sign because we just want to know if we’re wasting our time.

First prize goes to Birdless, who delurked just for the contest. Through her careful reading of the lyrics, she correctly guessed that the Arcade Fire song which most speaks to my infertile heart is Neighborhood #4 (7 Kettles).

I am waitin’ ’til I don’t know when,
cause I’m sure it’s gonna happen then.

The ideas of waiting (and waiting and waiting) and of not knowing when is very familiar to those of us who have struggled with family-building. There’s also an explicit reference to unborn children in the song:

My eyes are covered by the hands of my unborn kids,
but my heart keeps watchin’ through the skin of my eyelids.

Here is my very favorite section of the song, both lyrically and musically. More than anything else I’ve ever seen, it truly sums up my seven years of infertility. Waiting, then not paying attention to waiting, then waiting more, then showing patience, only to see that patience get me nowhere:

They say a watched pot won’t ever boil,
well I closed my eyes and nothin’ changed,
just some water getting hotter in the flames.
[interspersed with marvelous swelling orchestration]

Oh, the orchestration. You really need the album version to hear the orchestration. Go to 1 minute 55 seconds.

And finally, a call for true patience. Not patience as in pretending that you’re not paying attention but really you’re peeking with one eye open, but truly believing in the good things to come.

Just like a seed down in the soil you gotta give it time.

Partly I wanted to hold this Blogoversary Contest because it’s fun to hold contests and give out pottery, but I also wanted to share these songs with all of you. When you’ve finished shoveling your car out of the snow and you’re driving to the RE at the crack of dawn for the 5th time that week, these songs make the trip a little easier. Trust me.

See what the rest of the class has to Show and Tell.