Monday, May 21, 2007

Rachel visits Seattle

Brett's sister Rachel came up from Portland to visit us this weekend. She's 18 and a ton of fun. We got to spend a lot of time just the two of us because Brett had to work. It was great! We got to meet her soon-to-be college roommate, we did a lot of shopping, we ate a TON of good food (Mexican, Indian, and Thai, mostly, as well as pastries from Café Besalu), and sat on the couch and watached some movies while eating lots of ice cream. We also went up to the top of my building, which is something I like to do with people who visit the area. It was a great weekend.

Rachel took a bunch of photos.

Here is Brett, being weird, playing his electric guitar (which was not plugged in) while wearing his bike helmet. Oooookay.

Here is Audrey, our cat, getting cozy with Rachel's shoes while Brett pets her with his foot.

Rachel and me in the elevator -- a cute self-portrait.
Brett and Rachel in the elevator. I really like this picture of both of them.

The three of us on top of my building.

A cute self-portrait of Rachel and me.


Brett and me.

Brett and Rachel with the really pretty sky. It rained on and off the entire weekend.

A pretty cute picture of me, except for my double chin and for the backdrop. But still, not bad.


Brett and Rachel being fat kids and eating a ton of ice cream.


The Fiestaware bowls I got with some of my birthday money. I had been wanting these mixing bowls for a few years, but the set is pretty pricey. I finally sprung for it this weekend, with my birthday money from my mom and from Brett's parents. The bowls are in tangerine, scarlet, and peacock. I didn't have anything in scarlet or peacock before I got these bowls, so I'm excited to have them.

And there you have it...our weekend, in pictures. It was so much fun and I'm so glad Rachel got to come. This is one huge benefit of living in the same time zone as family -- they can come visit more often!

Thursday, May 17, 2007

birthday recap and serindipity

So, after I posted on Sunday, my day just kept getting better and better. Brett really outdid himself. I was so impressed with his planning and what he came up with for a fun day! It was truly perfect.

After eating the pain au chocolat (while watching The Sopranos, of course, because we are addicted) and taking a shower, he gave me my present.

I had a feeling I was getting some kind of jewelry (probably earrings) because a few years ago on our wedding anniversary, I lost one of the pearl earrings I'd worn in our wedding. Brett had promised me he would get me something to replace them but we'd been super poor at the time so we never had.

Well. He put the box in my hand, and I opened it, and was completely and utterly shocked. You can sort of see them in this picture -- he had gotten me diamond earrings!!! I was floored. I almost started crying. It was really sweet of him.

After I opened my present, we went downtown to the newly-reopened Seattle Art Museum. It was pretty cool -- definitely an improvement over what they had before. Still, it was a little too focused on older art for Brett's taste. He commented after we left that he hardly saw anything post-1980 in there. I don't mind that as much; I tend to like the older works. I especially liked the collections of Northwest art that they had.

We were hungry after walking arond the museum, so we went and had some lunch at a bar we used to go to when we lived down the street. After sharing some hummus and french fries (I know, I know), we hopped on a bus and headed down to Elliott Bay Books to browse around.

By the time we finished there, it was getting close to time to be at our next destination, which was a surprise. Turned out that it was a pretty fancy Italian restaurant that I'd wanted to try for a few years. It was really yummy! We shared a salad, and then had pasta, and also warm chocolate pudding cake for dessert. Mmmmm.

We then left for our next destination, which turned out to be the Fifth Avenue Theatre to see the musical/dance version of Edward Scissorhands. It was totally cool! It was all dance; there was no speaking. Still, it was easy to understand the storyline because the dancers were so expressive.

All in all, it was a fantastic day. We had a great time hanging out. The effort Brett put into making the day special was incredible. I was so impressed and pleased. It really was the perfect day!

~~~~~~~~~

And now, something random.

When C came to visit in March, she was astounded at the sheer number of people I managed to run into, both downtown and in our neighborhood. I am not sure why, but I do seem to have a knack for running into people I know. I really love it, actually. It makes Seattle feel like a smallish community rather than a big city.

Anyhow, let me get to the point.

Last night, I had to go have my measurements taken for my bridesmaid dress for Brett's sister Amy's wedding, which is coming up in July. I was walking down Fourth Avenue (a street I never walk down at that time of day) and was waiting to cross the street when I heard a familiar whistle.

Some friends from college always used to whistle this specific whistle (who-WHOOO) whenever they wanted to get someone's attention.

It made me pause and look around -- only to see two friends from college (who had married each other) waving to me from atop a plaza a few floors up! They yelled to stay there and they would come down.

When they got to where I was standing on the sidewalk, they informed me that they had just been standing there having this conversation:

Her: "What would you do if we were standing here and we saw someone we knew right now?"

Him: "Well, I guess I'd whistle."

Her: "OH my GOSH! There's Kathleen!"

Him: who-WHOOOO!

I hadn't seen them since the wedding of some mutual friends three years ago. It's even more random, because these two don't even live in Seattle anymore -- they live in Portland and were just up for the wife to go to a conference.

We wound up standing on the street corner and talking for quite a while. Turns out, they had had a miscarriage a few months ago, too. I can't describe, really, the emotional connection of that moment. Yes, these are people I've known for (gulp) eight years now, but just hearing that made me feel closer to them than I probably ever had. Unfortunately, it really *is* like joining a secret society when you have a miscarriage and when you encounter others who have been through the same thing.

I teared up a bit while we were talking about it, standing in front of Nordstrom. But it was a healthy tearing-up, I think: acknowledging the pain but not giving in to it, if that makes any sense. Talking to someone who has been there brings the emotion to the surface much more powerfully than talking to someone who hasn't. I guess it was a moment when I realized that the emotions will probably surface like that for the rest of my life: at random times, in somewhat inopportune places, and especially when talking to people who have been there.

It was cathartic to realize that I'm moving on, feeling better, coping. And it was good and healing, too, to know that I haven't forgotten. I realize that sounds like a contradction of sorts, but I know some of you will understand.

Sunday, May 13, 2007

iz mah birfday

I haven't yet mentioned here how much I love www.icanhascheezburger.com. I am totally addicted to it. Brett thinks I'm totally off my rocker and that it's not really that funny, but he clearly just doesn't have the same (low) level of humor that I do.

Anyway, I saw this on there a few days ago and thought it was appropriate for Isabel and me today, since we share a birthday. Happy Birthday, Isabel!


Brett has something up his sleeve, so we are off now to do whatever fun thing he has planned. He already gets major kudos for getting up early today and braving the 30-minute-long line at Cafe Besalu to get me a (um, ok, TWO) pain au chocolat and a vanilla latte. He's a good husband!

Friday, May 11, 2007

sometimes, being a vegetarian sucks

Being a vegetarian has its drawbacks, the major one being that at any group event involving eating, I usually get the shaft.

Weddings and potulcks are generally pretty bad, although I can usually find something to fill me up. Chicken or Beef? Um, no thanks. I'll just eat this roll here, and maybe that salad over there. And also two servings of dessert.

So I manage at weddings and potlucks. I don't usually get what I want, but I don't usually leave hungry, either. Office parties are generally the worst, though.

For instance, while we lived in Maine, there was one staff lunch where (literally) the only thing there I could eat was potato chips. Everyone knew I was a vegetarian -- and yet no one thought to tell me, "Hey, you might wanna bring a salad." I sat down with a plate full of plain chips, sour cream and onion chips, and barbeque chips -- and the worst part was that the only person who noticed the contents of my plate was my friend and co-worker Susan. We had a good laugh about it in the car on the way back to our office, but at the time, I was pissed off and embarrased and hungry.

Or, there was the time earlier this year when we ordered Mexican food for lunch. I had ordered a special bean burrito -- the only veggie entree we'd gotten, because most of our employees scream if you offer them anything other than a big slab of meat with a side of meat sauce. I got stuck at my desk for a few minutes at the beginning of the lunch, and by the time I got upstairs, someone had eaten my entire lunch.

Again, I ate chips for lunch, only that time they were the slightly-more-appealing corn variety.

And then there was today. We had lunch for me at work, in honor of my birthday, which is Sunday. I had requested Indian food, which I think weirded a lot of people out. It was too exotic for most of my co-workers; at least, that was the impression they gave.

Anyway, I have been looking forward to my favorite, favorite dish -- Aloo Mutter -- all. week. long. Seriously, every day I have wanted Aloo Mutter and every day I have told myself, "Just wait until Friday. Then you'll get Aloo Mutter and naan and all kinds of other Indian goodies."

You can see where this is going, can't you?

The ONE EFFING DISH the restaurant didn't put in with our order? Not one of the two orders of chicken tikka, or the chicken briyani, or the lamb curry...oh, no. It was my fucking Aloo Mutter. I really, seriously had to fight back the tears when we realized it wasn't in there. I managed to hold it together only because my co-worker Andrew felt so bad that my lunch got skipped. Again. On the day of my birthday lunch.

So I ate what I guess must be the Indian version of chips for lunch: about one whole piece of naan. And a little rice. And half a samosa.

It was a sad, sad day.

At least one of my co-workers had gone and gotten chocolate fudge cake and also strawberry cheesecake for dessert. He seriously saved the day.

I guess next time we have a staff lunch I am either going to a.) insist on going with whoever picks up the food and checking that my order is there, and correct or b.) bring something. Because I just can't seem to win when it comes to eating in group settings.

Monday, May 07, 2007

congratulations!

I just got a call from one of my best friends, Daisy, for whom I threw a baby shower back in January. She called to say that she had her little baby girl yesterday.

The delivery sounds like it was rough, but despite sounding absolutely exhausted, Daisy sounds so happy. She said that the baby was sitting in her arms, asleep, while we were talking.

The image brings tears to my eyes, and I'm not sure why. It's not necessarily a sad type of tearing-up, more just that there is so much (happy) emotion welling up in me that it has nowhere else to go but out my eyes.

I am so, so happy for her. She will be an incredible mom, and her husband will make such a great dad.

It's a little bizarre to think that Daisy, the girl with whom I was randomly paired as a freshman roommate, the girl who has become one of my lifelong friends, the girl with whom I have shared more than almost anyone else alive, this girl is a mom.

That image seems so far away from when we first met, almost eight years ago. We stayed up late the first week of class, putting glow-in-the-dark stars on our ceiling (which, of course, all fell down the following morning -- we called it our own personal meteor shower), inventing the Information Superhighway (a string strung between our window and Joel & Nathan's window below, on which we'd send messages back and forth).

We'd stay up almost all night sometimes, laughing our heads off at random things (Me: "Yeah, they give you free beef at Les Schwab if you get your tires changed." Her: "Wait. So if you get new tires they give you a hunk of cow?!"), laughing so loud that we annoyed our next door neighbors to the point that they banged on the wall for us to shut up (uh, sorry Sarah!).

We would skip class for silly reasons: to take a nap, to go buy Converse, or to shop for bathing suits downtown. We put a window box outside our window, and filled it with hyacinth, sweet peas, and tulips. We went to see Elliott Smith together, and Tori Amos, and The Pilfers. We would sit in our room and listen to Death Cab for Cutie and Google (or did we even Google then? I think this was pre-Google.) random and inappropriate things in the days before SPU had a web filter.

Daisy left SPU after her sophomore year. Since then, despite living in opposite parts of the country, we have managed to see each other at least once a year -- a huge feat, considering neither of us has a ton of extra cash to be dropping on plane tickets.

Daisy was my rock at my wedding. She kept me sane when the programs got screwed up and I was screaming at the guy in Kinko's at 11 p.m. two days before my wedding, when the tuxes didn't arrive on time and I was bawling the morning of the wedding, and when we royally screwed up another bridesmaid's dress and were frantically trying to fix it just hours before the wedding.

At her wedding, I'd like to think I helped her like she helped me. Corralling bridesmaids, handing out placecareds, gluing programs, making punch, and laughing as Daisy, another bridesmaid, and I took turns pushing each other up and down the halls of the hotel on the luggage cart.

I am so thankful that I have a friend like Daisy, someone with whom I know I will stay close as our lives change and evolve through different phases -- college, bachelorettehood, marriage, and now parenthood and beyond. It's a great and wonderful feeling to have a friend like that!

I'm so, so happy for you two, Daisy. Congratulations, Mama!

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

two steps forward, one step back

I've been feeling really normal lately, which is great. Happy, laughing, mostly able to just be functional and enjoying life.

But today I feel like I've been pulled back into the emotional black hole I was in during the time right after the miscarriage. I feel like every time I take two steps forward in feeling better, something pulls me a step back and I am right where I was before. (So consider yourselves warned -- this is going to be pretty bleak.)

I am so sick of this. I am tired of having my life be hard. I am tired of grieving. I am tired of feeling emotionally troubled. I just want to be normal. I want my life to be normal. I want to have a normal baby, a normal relationship with God, a normal relationship with my husband, a normal financial situation. Well, ok. Let me clarify. I guess by "normal," I mean "trouble-free." And maybe that's not normal. I guess everyone has problems or troubles, but it sure seems sometimes like I'm walking around with my screwed-up life and everyone else around me is just doing fine and dandy and perfect.

I know that's not true. I know that everyone is screwed up on some level. This is just my mood swings/depression/whatever talking, bringing me down. It's that split of logic vs. emotion. I've kind of been dealing with that a lot lately.

Logically, I know that everyone has problems and I am not alone among my friends in feeling like I am screwed up.
Emotionally, it seems like everyone around me is normal and happy and has an easy life and I am the one who is messed up and having a hard time with it.

Logically, I know it makes sense to wait to get pregnant again. We can improve our relationships with each other and with God, we can save money, we can pay off debt, we can move into a house or at least somewhere more conducive to having a child, I can lose weight, etc.
Emotionally, the thought of waiting makes me want to cry, just full out sob. As C said today while we were emailing, "All the logical reasons to wait in the world don't fill that hole in your heart." That hole is present to the point that it feels completely gaping at times, like there is nothing to me but that hole. At other times, the thought of having a baby, an actual baby, scares me to death and I think that I can plug that hole with other things: books, movies, Brett, Audrey, friends, etc. Overall, though, that hole is there and it's not getting smaller, just maybe a little harder around the edges, less raw -- although one little emotional bump and it feels as fresh as the day the miscarriage started.

Logically, I know I need to stop eating so much and start working out more, even if that is just not having a second helping of something and walking farther to/from the bus right now.
Emotionally, I feel like I deserve to eat whatever I want, dammit! I deserve to lie around like a slug -- I'm greiving. After all, my baby died! Give me some fucking french fries! *stuffs greasy fries into mouth while sitting in bed*

As I touched on a few weeks ago, my perspective on talking through all of this with the people around me has shifted. At first, all I wanted to do was talk about it, with anyone who would listen, but now I feel a strange shyness about it. I guess I feel like I should be getting better by now, and I feel ashamed that I am still so emotional about it. For one thing, I'm sick of (most) people's pity. I know that people don't know how to react or what to say, but I'm just tired of it. Like I said, I just want to be a normal member of society again.

Thankfully, I do have some non-internet friends with whom I can bare my soul -- one who has gone through miscarriage, one who has experienced infertility, and one who has experienced neither of those things but who is a caring, loving, Godly, wise friend whose counsel I trust and whose love is always present.

And thankfully, too, we have a church that offers Biblical counseling for free, so I have been meeting with a lovely woman from church who is helping me sort through some of this.

Yet all of this remains heavy on my heart and forefront in my mind almost constantly -- even when I am happy or laughing or enjoying myself, I'll suddenly remember. And that will stop me in my tracks for a second and make me very sad. A friend (who is from NYC) related it to how she felt in the months following 9/11: it is like having a wet wool coat thrown across your shoulders, weighing you down and making you sad and lethargic.

Like today, the thought that I would have been 18 weeks pregnant today. It's a sad thing and it makes me wonder what I would have looked like, what it would have been like to hear the heartbeat, how Brett would have been acting about it, what it would be like to be at work and be visibly pregnant.

But I don't get to know that today, unfortunately. Hopefully, someday in the future, I will. I just have to hold on to that idea, even if it is not going to happen in the near future.