Thursday, December 27, 2007

Happy New Year


so this year, pray for enlightenment and a collective freedom from fear

for a continued sense of humor and joy in the midst of confusion

pray for real clarity as we move into the continuing challenges of ultimate health for us all

pray for a wisdom for each of us and an ability to stay steady in the midst of much tumult and to stay grateful for the connections we value

for loved ones who witness our lives and give depth, breadth and perspective to the journey.

for true courage to grow inward and give outwardly to really see and grow more creative in the way in which we harmonize with what is here and what we have ahead of us

all of this is to say blessings to us all on the head of this new year courage and strength and joy May you be written for a good year and may it be sealed so.

Sweet smell of sage

About a week ago, my hubby had the 3am urge to reach out and touch me in that half sleepy kind of way and I kinda half responded to it and then changed my mind. I felt it was better that we talk about things first. He promptly fell back asleep and I was left awake for the remainder of the morning as I analyzed the whole situation. I got up and went to my spin class and when I came back from my WW weigh in - lost 2 more pounds - I felt ready to talk. He begged me not to analyze it, we were married after all, but I still felt confused. I may have lost weight, but I still felt that I wasn't that much different than I was a month ago. He was reaching out, half asleep or not, he was trying. How did I feel? A little closed down.

My waistline is shrinking, but I was still holding onto the pain and rejection that I had been feeling. And what I wanted to hold onto deep down inside ... was my husband. And something else.... I wanted to hold onto victory. I've learned a lot lately. Once I took the time to really take care of myself and my health, I found that being a little selfish with my time (instead of being there for everyone else) was not a bad thing. If I had to visit my mum a little less, I could spend more quality time with her instead of squeezing her into my day and feeling harried and emotional and guilty. Hubby could eat my Weight Watchers friendly dinner or not eat at all, and I could get up before dawn and go to spin class. And you know what, my blood pressure was already good, but it went down 2 points.

And finding a lump under your breast really makes you appreciate your health a little bit more. I had been feeling that my body was just this thing that had let me down, the whole adoption homestudy process has left me feeling not in control, I was feeling that I was constantly trying to prove that I was worthy. And I just wanted to quit.

Had a chat with an old friend last week and he suggested that I "clear" my house of negativity with sage. It's a Native ritual/new age thing, but I thought it was a brilliant idea. So I ran out and bought some sage and then told my hubby about it. Needless to say he looked at me like I was crazy, but I explained that I was doing it for the both of us. And he should like it as it smelled a bit like pot. So we actually negotiated the time it would take and I had 4 minutes and 15 seconds. First he bagged up the smoke detectors (they're really sensitive, last year a BBQ set it off and the whole building was evacuated thanks to us) and then we stepped out and walked in with the smoking sage and I chanted all around the apartment and we "bathed" ourselves in the smoke.

He took a shower and then he runs out naked jumping around like Barishnikov exclaiming, "I feel so free! I feel so free!". I laughed and laughed.

I guess it worked, cause I took control the next morning and we both felt a little freer, if you know what I mean. I think I'm going to "clear"the house again soon.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

It's all about endurance

Okay, I just did a 90 minute "fight club" class at the gym. It was a small class as the holidays are upon us, but I made it through. They almost lost me during the "warmup" section where we went from pushups to squats, to jumping jacks and stars, not to mention "suicide" runs. You run to a ball and then back to the wall and then to another ball placed further away and then back to the wall and then to the opposing wall and then on to ....... yes, I did want to kill myself especially since I was so slow, I was causing a backup. Everyone else was almost half my age, so I get brownie points for not throwing up.

I also made it through a MRI today. This is done in preparation for my uterine fibroid emobilization next month. I took an Ativan prior because I'm claustrophobic and I did feel a pang of panic as I was being slid in to the machine. It was quite noisy, I don't know why they bother letting you listen to music, you can't really hear it over the noise. It only lasted 20 minutes and as far as tests go, very easy as all I had to do was lie still and try and listen to my soundtrack from City of Angels through a cacophony of clanging.

Are you ready for Christmas? Yes, I do celebrate Christmas, just not in the religious sense. I mean, I was raised a Christian, so I know whole meaning of it. I love Christmas trees and decorations and good cheer and all that. Christmas is about hope and birth and sanctity, don't you think? Of course, these days, it seems to be more about gifts, gifts and more gifts. I always found that a bit overwhelming. Yes, it's nice to give, but my husband's family used to have lists and they fully expected to get everything on their list. And they demanded a list from me as well. I grew up making a wish list as well, but it was accepted that you'd be lucky if you got one or two things off that list and you were more likely to get things like socks and underwear. Then my dad would go hide in the basement and be depressed and cry and ignore us. Then as soon as I was a teenager, I'd get quietly drunk and lay underneath the Christmas tree my mother stole from the church parking lot because they charged too much.

They really seem to enjoy all the gifts, but last year looking at all the presents under the tree, well, the amount seemed a little obscene. No one really need anything that they can't buy for themselves. And of course, there were no children. Sigh. People kept asking me what I wanted, and I'd say, "a baby". We got a set of knives.

This year, in the in-laws are coming over and my mum, so it will be small. There will be lots of phone calls, I'm sure, and since the tradition this year, is surprise gifts (no lists), it should be interesting as to what people get. I will try to decorate this place in record time, and cook up a great spread for everyone to enjoy. Things just seem a little weird this year.

Our homestudy is done, and now what?

Monday, December 17, 2007

On happiness

I enjoyed my time on set last week despite the cold and rainy weather. It was great. The director was great to work with and had very specific direction for me. As I read the script, I realized that there were just a few parts for women on the show, so I was really fortunate to get the gig. Everyone was kind and very professional, so it was a good environment for an actor. You have no idea how many sets I've been on where people are cold and bitchy and disorganized and you pretty much have to fend for yourself and when you are a day player (you're just coming on for one day) you have no idea why people are miserable or who to talk to or how to get what you need. So sometimes you think you're messing up a take, but if you know who to ask or what to listen for, you find out there's something wrong with the camera lens or there's a background noise they can't control or the lighting is off. And if you don't know the right questions to ask, you can end up repeating technical mistakes over and over. For example, if you're walking and talking at the same time (an every day occurrence, but can be difficult for an actor), you have to start at a certain place (marked on the ground) and walk a certain trajectory (to be in the correct lighting and not block another actor) to another marked placed on the ground (without looking at it) and make it look perfectly natural and carry through with all your emotional intentions and dialogue. Over and over and over. And if you are a non-famous actor, you had better get it right. They will accomodate a star to incredible lengths, but not Little Miss what's her name.

I was happy to see the first A.D. was someone that had directed me years ago on one of the most fun projects I've ever been on. I did an episode of The Outer Limits starring a former Saturday Night Live star. I invited him to come see the play I'm directing (which opens in a couple of weeks!). I told him to hurry up and direct a project I can be in. Always nice to see a friendly face.

So true to my health karma, I've got another concern on my plate. I get a call from the cancer agency, my mammogram last week showed something they need a second look at, so I've got an ultrasound appointment next month. The next available appointment fell on the day I'm having the uterine fibroid embolization, so I scheduled it for the following week. Sigh. And I actually do those breast self examinations, and I didn't catch it. It's like a long fibrous lump deep under my breast. My family physician felt it during my yearly checkup as I was laying on the exam table. Sigh. Yes, she told me that in most cases, it's nothing and not to worry about it. Still. Remind me not to do a mammogram right before the holidays. I told my hubby that it should have paid more attention to my breasts while he had the chance. Just dark humour. I'm not particularly worried about it, I've had a couple of friends go through the same thing. You know I'll be putting in some extra daimoku (chanting) in over the next month.

There's something about going through transformation that really stirs up the dust in your life. It's apparent to me just how important it is for me to have unshakable happiness in this life. I went to a Buddhist meeting last night, and welcomed one of our members' first child. As I held in my arms and smelled his silky head, and listened to the other mothers, I fought in my heart to just appreciate this new life for what it was, and not to feel sorry for myself. To hope that one day.... one day.... I would be bringing my own bundle of joy into my community. It seems so far away. And would it truly bring me happiness?

Faith enables us to receive the eternal joy derived from the Law. So let us
engrave in our hearts this point: We ourselves receive this joy. Because we
receive it ourselves, our happiness does not depend on others. No one else can
make us happy. Only by our own efforts can we become happy.

Therefore, there is no need to feel envious of others. There is no need to bear a grudge against someone or depend on another person for our happiness. Everything comes down to our state of life. It is within our power to take our lives in any direction we wish.

To be dragged around by other people or the environment is not the way
of life the Lotus Sutra teaches. True happiness is not feeling happiness one
moment and misery the next. Rather, overcoming the tendency to blame our
sufferings on others or on the environment enables us to greatly expand our
state of life.

----Daisaku Ikeda

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Working it out

I'm so excited!!!! Today, I am going to be working on set with Charles "Roc" Dutton. It's rare that I get to work with a black director, so I'm all excited that I have a cool part. I play a woman in the projects with information the police need to catch a suspect in a shooting. I have to watch my American accent on this one, though. Yes, it's true, Canadian blacks don't sound anything like American blacks. At least in TV land anyway. You have no idea how many times I get the "you don't sound black enough" comment. Sad, but true, it's something Canadians (black or otherwise) have to mimic in order to get parts on American shows. Though years ago, I made the decision that I would not do any degrading or stereotypical roles in my work, those roles are still out there. I just hope this pilot airs so I can make a bit more money.

So a couple days ago, while I was having a rehearsal for the play I'm directing at my place, hubby goes out to hang with a friend. So of course, he comes home and he's semi-baked. I'm totally pissed and go to bed practically shaking with anger. I explained to him that he was either deliberately pissing me off or ignoring my feelings. Blah, blah, blah. The next morning, I discover him asleep on the couch waiting for me to get up so he could talk with me. He told me that he took my "I'm doing this for myself" attitude too personally. (Even though he had said I should be losing weight and moving forward in my life for myself and not him.) Hence, he responded by doing his own thing.

So we went all through this and other things in our therapy session that afternoon. We're on the same page about a lot of things. Now that I've dropped trying to figure out his shit for him and focused solely on myself, he seems much more interested in investing in our relationship. And he wants to find out our next step in our adoption process. We don't have another appointment for a month or so, so our homework is trying to do things that help us feel close again. Teendcoc has given me a book suggestion, so I'll check it out. I'll let you know how my day on set goes . Currently, it's actually snowing/raining out at the moment and I have to be outside. Brrr!

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

A poem for all you beautiful women out there

by Maya Angelou

Pretty women wonder where my secret lies
I'm not cute or built to suit a model's fashion size
But when I start to tell them
They think I'm telling lies.
I say
It's in the reach of my arms
The span of my hips
The stride of my steps
The curl of my lips.
I'm a woman
Phenomenal woman
That's me.

I walk into a room
Just as cool as you please
And to a man
The fellows stand or
Fall down on their knees
Then they swarm around me
A hive of honey bees.
I say
It's the fire in my eyes
And the flash of my teeth
The swing of my waist
And the joy in my feet.
I'm a woman
Phenomenal woman
That's me.

Men themselves have wondered
What they see in me
They try so much
But they can't touch
My inner mystery.
When I try to show them
They say they still can't see.
I say
It's in the arch of my back
The sun of my smile
The ride of my breasts
The grace of my style.
I'm a woman
Phenomenal woman
That's me.

Now you understand
Just why my head's not bowed
I don't shout or jump about
Or have to talk real loud
When you see me passing
It ought to make you proud.
I say
It's in the click of my heels
The bend of my hair
The palm of my hand
The need for my care.
'Cause I'm a woman
Phenomenal woman
That's me.

Monday, December 10, 2007

An ode to my self

I had a massage last Friday evening. It was heavenly, and as I was having my body kneaded and pulled and stroked, I thought about how wonderful I felt to not be judged by my body, just have it attended to lovingly. (As an actor, you are judged all the time, trust me, you just walk into the waiting room for an audition and the comparisons start to fly.) I was asked if I had any particular areas that needed attention and how much pressure would be good. With every efficient stroke, I thought this was how I was going to treat myself as I lose weight. For every five pounds, I will reward myself with a massage and not a piece of cake. Or a pedicure or reflexology or something like that.

It reminded me that though it is far from perfect, it has served me (for the most part) pretty well. Thinking of PJ's post about self esteem, I actually composed a poem to my body as I lay there in bliss. I don't remember most of it, but it went something like this.

Feet, you have withstood so much pain in order to fit into sexy heels, been bruised by careless people, misplaced items or the wheel under my bed. But you carried me on and on. You ached and complained, but you did your

Legs, when my lungs wanted to quit, you did not. You carried me through miles of cement and miles of trails, you carried me 10 km to the finish line without seizing, without tiring. You have more power than I ever gave you credit for. You were born to dance, to move, to run, to strut, to jump.

Arms, I've thrown you up in despair and down in surrender. You've held other people's babies, and groceries, and hope and leashes and lovers and friends. Parts of you are waving more than I care to admit, but you are strong and would never let a friend down.

Shoulders, knotted deeply with stress, but you have carried your burdens as
best as you can. You still look good in with nothing but a shawl around you.

Back, still smooth and soft, you let me know from time to time when I am
not taking care of you. You crave strength and discipline, you have
allowed me to live my life with grace and dignity. You are courage and
perseverance, wisdom and solitude.

Hubby is noticing my weight loss, and compliments and encourages me. But you know what, that's nice, but I wonder at what point do the compliments become actions? When do I become worthy of his affections? How do I stay open to that possibility? This is so weird, but I will continue to try and stay connected, to stay focused on what I truly need to be happy.

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

A trying week

I poured some Pepto Bismol down my throat and gussied up a bit to attend my agency Christmas party. It was a tame affair but a couple of male friends commented on my fabulous looks (always nice),I had fun, managed a couple glasses of wine, saw plenty of friends, and I stayed away from the buffet table. A first for me, I might add, but I had eaten before I left.

The stomach thing is still going on, though I have upped the dosage as I had gone back to the clinic to tell them it wasn't working. But I was told to stop taking iron citrate and Pepto bismol to see if my BMs would return to their usual colour. (Sorry, that was gross. But hey, if you've had your ovaries pierced with a needle through your hooha, you can take it.) And they haven't to date. Sigh. And I have a cold now. So if I have any more problem, I'm just going around the corner to a walk in clinic and tell them to give me a test for ulcers. A friend of my husband's had his ulcer overlooked and he ended up in emergency surgery.

Oh, yeah, and we had our final homestudy visit. Well, it went a little sideways at one point. Our conversation seemed loaded with landmines, so to speak. She asked me what sex of baby I would like. I said a girl, I'd love a girl. I'm a girl, I'm familiar with the parts, I was raised with sisters. Then she said did I realize that was decreasing my chances. I was asked if I had a preference, I told her. I didn't realize I was supposed to give the PC answer of oh, it doesn't matter to me. I mean, that doesn't mean that I don't want a little boy, but how much of that is in my control anyway? If I meet a birth mother and she doesn't know what the sex is (and these days, the doctor won't even tell you), and we decided to go ahead with it, I'm not going to change my mind because it's a boy. You know, when you start over explaining yourself, you're in trouble.

Then we discussed openness and full disclosure and all that. Hubby commented that if he didn't get a good feeling from meeting the birth mother/parents, he wouldn't be adverse to not going ahead with it. He did not want to knowingly deal with an unstable/addicted birthparent because the child would suffer the consequences. She called him intolerable of people being different. Uh-oh. She took the cause of the poor, downtrodden birth parents vs. the so called privileged adoptive parents. She envisioned us going through dozens of birthmothers turning them down because they were "different". We're a mixed couple for crying out loud. I tried to explain that though it may seem he was intolerant, it was coming from his protective nature. He wants to safeguard his family from unstable influences as much as he can. And I, being known for my compassionate bent, was there as the equalizing force. She said she wasn't sure how to write down what he said, so I just told her, write this, we are open and flexible in meeting any birth parents with direct and honest communication. I told her we weren't willing to sugarcoat our answers, this is who we were. While she seemed to side with "disadvantaged" side, she seemed incapable of understanding how adoptive parents can feel. We are not in control of a whole hell of a lot. First of all, it's already established we're not in control of our fertility. We've devoted considerable time and effort to begin adoption. We're not in control of when or whether we'll be picked to be adoptive parents. We're not in control of who will pick us or what they think of us. We're not in control of the health of the child. The birthmother can lie or withhold her involvement with drugs and alcohol if she choose to. And when asked whether I would consider a special needs child, I said no. We've got enough to contend with, thank you very much without asking for more challenges. So if we meet birth parents and things don't go well, that's a big "if", then we reserve to the right to determine if we can move forward with no regrets. We wrapped things up, shook hands and went on our way and she also let us know that there would be SEVEN post placement visits. Ohmigod.

Now speaking about big "if", hubby asked me how I was feeling about whether I could do what I wanted and remain married. He was referencing a comment I made a few weeks ago. I didn't have a definitive answer as I just don't know how I'm going to feel in a few months. I told him my intention was to remain married to him, but I can only account for 1/2 of the team. Which is why I asked him whether his continued pot smoking was helping our relationship. It's his way of relaxing, but it's also his way of checking out. And we've both done way too much of that in the past.

Saturday, December 1, 2007

He's ba-a-ack!

Can you believe we got into an argument on the drive back from the airport? I had been pretty quiet and he asked me what was new. I told him I had contacted a credit counsellor so that we could get started on a financial plan for the future. For free. Instead of a positive reaction, he was offended that yet again we needed a counsellor for something we were perfectly capable of doing on our own. That I must think we're too stupid or incapable of doing it on our own. My motivation was to have an objective person in there so we wouldn't get sidetracked. Which is what happened anyway. Sigh. Ohmigod, maybe we should just stick to IMing (instant messaging) each other from now on. There was a lot of that from Europe. Some good, some not so good.

Hubby has declared that he's not having a midlife crisis, as his issues are only with us. And if we're going to adopt, we don't have a lot of time. Fine. I'm done trying to psychoanalyze every bit of this and that, trying to put myself in his shoes. You notice women only do that? Or maybe it's just me. We did end up having a tearful and emotional heart to heart in which he assured me he has always loved me, that I didn't have anything to doubt. I was sincerely moved. We exchanged a couple of apologies about certain remarks. I felt better, but still sad. I'm supposed to be the positive one. Maybe it's because I only lost 0.6 lbs this week. Maybe it's PMS.

The next day he ends up asking for some tips from a financial officer friend who confirmed his negative opinion of credit counsellors. So he did end up asking for help, just didn't use my method. We agreed to stick to a budget starting in the new year, as Christmas is obviously not a great time as we'll be spending more than usual. We actually are pretty lucky, we have money to pay all our bills, but since my income fluctuates, it's hard to plan.

For the past two nights, I've been suffering from intense and painful burning in my stomach. At one point, I considered going to emergency. I've tried Zantac, Pepto Bismol, couple of herbal remedies. I'm exhausted, bone tired. My body seems to have shut down. Not now, body, not now, we have so much to do. I have an agency party to go to tonight, alone, as he has other plans with friends. I don't mind though. I just wish I felt better. Just want to get spiffed up, make an appearance, avoid the buffet table and then get back home into my flannels.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Video that says it all - Part 1

Sorry for some of those who can't see this video,it's Torn by Natalie Imbruglia.

You can go to and search for it. Or try this link -

Either way, these are the words, which I how I feel before the moment I decide to crawl my ass out of bed and start my day:

I thought I saw a man brought to life
He was warm, he came around like he was dignified
He showed me what it was to cry
Well you couldnt be that man I adored
You dont seem to know, dont seem to care what your heart is for
But I dont know him anymore
Theres nothing where he used to lie
My conversation has run dry
Thats whats going on, nothings fine Im torn

Im all out of faith, this is how I feel
Im cold and I am shamed lying naked on the floor
Illusion never changed into something real
Im wide awake and I can see the perfect sky is torn
Youre a little late, Im already torn

So I guess the fortune tellers right
Should have seen just what was there and not some holy light
To crawl beneath my veins and now
I dont care, I have no luck, I dont miss it all that much
Theres just so many things that I cant touch, Im torn

Im all out of faith, this is how I feel
Im cold and I am shamed lying naked on the floor
Illusion never changed into something real
Im wide awake and I can see the perfect sky is torn
Youre a little late, Im already torn. torn.

Theres nothing where he used to lie
My inspiration has run dry
Thats whats going on, nothings right, Im torn

Im all out of faith, this is how I feel
Im cold and I am shamed lying naked on the floor
Illusion never changed into something real
Im wide awake and I can see the perfect sky is torn
Im all out of faith, this is how I feel
Im cold and Im ashamed bound and broken on the floor
Youre a little late, Im already torn

Monday, November 26, 2007

I'm no expert, but.....

I think hubby's been having what they call a midlife crisis. I was just thrown because I thought that didn't happen until 50 something. I've been googling around and he seems to have many of the classic symptoms, irritability, roller coaster emotions, insomnia, self medication, feeling "lost", a sense that time is running out on him; he's lost a lot of weight and is tailoring his suits. He's very concerned about his appearance. And of course, he walks in and sees me sitting on the couch watching Oprah, not exactly the little hottie he met 10 yrs ago. We're not where we thought we'd be, still renting, no child, too much debt and not enough disposable income to buy first without looking at the tag or waiting for half price sales. I don't make a lot of money, still waiting for my big break and living paycheque to paycheque. So, it's all my fault or at least I'm a handy target.

I have no idea if he realizes this or even if he did, would it make any difference? I expect it wouldn't. "Oh, I'm having a mid life crisis, a bit early, I feel so much better now!" If he's hellbent on looking at me like an anchor around his neck, then there's not much I can do about it. Love, patience, understanding can be extended but it's up to him if he accepts it.

I'm learning to look at this as an opportunity to redefine my life. Unlike my husband, I do have interests and pursuits of my own, so I've managed to learn how to revitalize my spirits and remain hopeful about life. I think he's mainly been concerned about taking care of me and my happiness which is probably why he's so unhappy. I've got strategies to cope with stress, and so I look to them now. I would prefer not to spend my morning hours sweating on a very uncomfortable bike, but hey, if it improves my health and gives me a shot at buying a new wardrobe, what the hell? I'm in. And my Buddhist practise refreshes me, gives me hope, keeps me strong. I'll keep trying to reach the wisdom that I know is there. If he's done taking care of me, then I need to take care of myself. I already know I'm a strong woman. I'm tired of viewing myself through his eyes. He can't see too well at the moment, so why should I trust his vision?

I'll be there for him, but not as a whipping boy or doormat. I wonder if it's occurred to him that he's not the adoring, playful, uncomplicated young man that I used to know?

Friday, November 23, 2007


I got my wish today - showed up for the pre dawn spin class and guess what - it was cancelled due to a family emergency. Yay! I mean that's terrible! But yes I stayed and worked out as hard as I could anyway. I was rewarded for my saintliness - at my weigh in I had lost 4 lbs! I could have cried. So apparently I am not a freak of nature and I can lose weight. I just have to work out like a dog to do it. Alright. Bring it on then, bitch!

Thursday, November 22, 2007

A man's point of view

I went back to the doctor to discuss my test results, and phew, no diabetes, but I am anemic. Just how anemic is another blood test. Having fibroids, thus excessive bleeding during menstruation, makes it worse. Well, I have been waking up exhausted for so long that I'm used to it, but it's back on the iron citrate train for me. I stopped taking it at some point and the basic multivitamin doesn't cut it. I started taking this after a naturopath prescribed it for me as it's as effective as the basic iron, but no constipation side effect. It is however way more expensive. So the thyroid levels are fine, so that's not stopping me from losing weight, just good old slow ass metabolism, I guess. I seem to have picked up a stubborn dry cough,too.

During my hours of surfing, I started looking for blogs on marriage difficulties and I found this old one by a 40ish year old guy. Now, granted it was all from his perspective but I found it compelling that once he had made up his mind to leave, that was that. He had been depressed and miserable with his wife and mother of his child. They stopped having sex after the birth of their child. That really seemed to be the issue for him. According to him she wasn't the woman he married anymore. Once he worked up wth nerve to tell her he wanted to leave, he just wanted to get on with his life so he could be happy again and wanted her to do the same. She did not want a divorce however, but apparently it went as amicably as could be expected. Not once did he mention why he married her in the first place. He never spoke about the love he once had for her or what they shared. I did get the sense he thought he had been sold a bill of goods, to speak and that women misrepresent themselves and then once they marry, they turn into someone else.

Mmmm, interesting. Is this representative of how men think? I was talking to a male friend and he said men find it easier to move on and following a breakup they're often re-coupled within months, and it takes women years to get over things. They just check out at some point and then justify why things are "over".

I certainly hope that's not what going on in my husband's head. He's been very articulate with me about how he feels, and he makes a lot of sense. I don't want things to go on like they have in the past though. I want to see this a sign that we can make things better. I'd like improve my health, get my groove back and live life to the fullest. I want to fulfill all my dreams and be strong and independent so that no matter what happens, I'm not left feeling like I can't take care of myself.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Spinning in Denial

Well, it's Monday morning and has been for quite some time. I woke up late, but I opted to drive so I made it to my 6:30am spinning class. Hubby was actually reaching for me to come back to bed. And for a second, I thought, oh yeah back to the warmth of my bed, but no, I splashed water in my face, threw on my gear and left. Victory!

Arrgh! There's this thin blonde whose legs go straight to her back who seems to spin so effortlessly while I heave and wipe sweat out of my eyes and consider throwing up. I hate her. I imagine falling off my bike, I imagine the fire alarm going off, I imagine time going faster, I imagine quitting but somehow that doesn't happen. After class, the instructor says she feels like a million bucks after it's over, I say I feel like a buck fifty.

One day this will seem easy, right? Hubby tells me that he's proud of me for what it's worth. Mmmm, thanks. And in the meanwhile, what's life going to be like? I don't know. I'm starting to feel this feeling of yearning for a child again. It hurts again. That loss of what might have been.

Yesterday, I opened up my old journal, read some entries from 2003. I was stunned. It was like a veil of memory lifted. I wrote about how I knew my husband wasn't attracted to me, how I was disgusted with myself and how much I hated how much brain space this was all taking up. How it was difficult to get pregnant if we didn't have sex very often. How no matter how hard I tried to lose weight, I couldn't and it made it hard to stay motivated, I was constantly being pulled in other directions. How he would just smoke dope every fucking day with the neighbour and play video games for hours, despite my protestations so I just stuffed candy in my mouth to fill up the bottomless hole. Holy cow. Talk about living in denial. We moved through crisis through crisis taking care of everything else but us. I had goals, I had dreams, but few were achieved. So I think I concentrated on other things and sought satisfaction elsewhere.

I've got a follow up appointment with the doctor to discuss my blood tests results and I fucking hope I don't have a problem with my insulin levels. Diabetes runs in my family and it generally comes later in life and I'm fucking terrified of it. That alone should motivate me to take care of myself.

So while he is away in Europe on business, I will take this time for myself to move myself forward through this. The good part is that it makes much more sense to feel lonely when I actually am alone. I look forward to it actually.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Lurkers beware

Guess who read my blog? Yup, hubby was wondering what would happen to my blog now that we're putting the adoption on hold. Should have asked me, but instead he read my blog. He wasn't too impressed that I'm "airing our dirty laundry", but I after I gave it some thought, I chose to do it anyway. Women share some crazy shit and with the blog world of pseudonyms, we're apt to speak the naked truth. I've always been impressed how honest you bloggers are out there and what was I supposed to say? Hey, we're a little stressed, so we're putting things on hold, see ya later? No, I don't think so. Part of blogging is about exploring your feelings, so sometimes we don't make a lot of sense, but we figure it out eventually. Your camaraderie and virtual hugs are enough compassion to keep me going. In the depths of loss and grief, I searched and I searched for answers, for understanding and empathy and you were there.

So he was left with the impression that he was portrayed as the most evil husband out there. Which I don't agree with, I never said anything of the kind, I don't even think that. I told the truth as I saw it, as I experienced it. If that's all he got out of it, that's really sad. I was hoping that he could see things from my side. I haven't validated his feelings either, mind you. Too busy looking for answers, too busy being mad and hurt and rejected. If I had felt like he would truly listen and understand and stop being so frustrated(or angry), I might have told him to his face. I wanted him to wrap his arms around me and tell me that he knows how much I feel rejected and unappreciated. I expect he wants the same. We're protecting our own selves. Pain turns us into wounded animals, lashing out while we tend our wounds. And who can hurt you most but the one you love? Hence, our disconnect.

Anyways, we actually went out later. So maybe I did get through to him just a little bit. We had a counselling session the next day. Oddly enough, the counsellor seems to think we have reason to hope, it's just going to take some time. Every time the universe pushed me to expand my capacity, I'm amazed I simply don't blow up.

By the way, a week of counting points, working out at 6:30 in the morning, walking like crazy, and I gained .8 lbs. It's enough to make me start eating Twizzelerators again. But I won't.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

For me?

Thanks, Jenna, for the Blogger Flame of Fortitude! You made my day! I'd like to thank dementia, infertility, fibroids, my acting career, my marriage and my own shame and arrogance for getting me here! (Cue applause.)

Adversity gives you the opportunity for growth and awareness, appreciation and gratitude. I would have never known just how strong and flexible I could be. If I had not suffered, I could not offer true compassion to myself and others. Even in the depths of hell (suffering), Buddhahood can exist and it's possible to turn poison into medicine (or lemons into lemonade as PJ likes to say). I know that for a fact.

Now don't get me wrong, I'd rather not have all these "opportunities"; I was pretty happy without them. But no one can avoid problems in life. I don't want to be a self sacrificing martyr. That was my mother and see what she got for all that. And I've learned to find happiness in simple things. I can only control my reaction to whatever happens or whatever I make happen. I get to choose that. So I'll make a plan that doesn't rely on anyone else but me, stick to it and see what happens. Thank you! (cue music and applause)

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Somebody needs a kick.....

Before I went out to chant, he and I started discussing shit again. He told me that he was angry/frustrated that we had let get things go for so long and now we were at this point. He asked me if I was angry with myself. I thought about it for a moment and replied no. If anything, I felt shame or disappointment with myself but not anger. I'm more angry at him. He didn't get that. Figures. Shame and ego keeps us from seeing clearly. I can let myself off the hook because all that we've both gone through haven't been excuses as he'd like to believe, but valid reasons why we were distracted. We're not perfect. I can forgive myself. I'm not going to beat myself up for past history. It's what matters now that is important. So if he wants to continue doing a post mortem of our marriage, then he's as good as gone. I warned him that he continued this mourning of years past, he would be better off not to drag me through this shit for nothing.

I had listened to our wedding CD the night when I went to bed. I didn't wail, I was thinking of happy memories, I was trying to remind myself of the good times. We've been together for 11 years, there've been a lot of good times. And I just wanted to feel better for a while.

And yes, I was definitely thinking, does he truly deserve me? He pointed out that if we had been having more sex years ago, we might have gotten pregnant because we haven't used birth control in years. Maybe, maybe not. We'll never know, will we? 'Cause my fucking youth is gone now. Can you believe it?! Thanks for that. And he wonders why I'm so pissed at him. And hurt.

After I had chanted with my Buddhist buddies, we chatted over green tea and talked a bit. One woman had finally kicked out her husband after years of infidelity, the other talked about her struggles to maintain balance in her family and marriage and the other,a demure but wise Japanese young woman was a new mum. They understood so well of what I was going through. I finally realized that I just didn't how to keep true to myself and be married at the same time. I had been taught by my mum how to take care of others and sacrifice myself, put myself and my needs on the back burner. Family was what mattered, not me. I lost my drive and my energy through events I just could not control. And that stuff I could control, I simply chose not to. I was content to leave things as is.

Maybe I just picked the wrong guy. Maybe I just fooled myself into thinking that he would keep me safe and secure. He said all the right things and did all the right things. Because he loved me he protected me from things that he had no business in doing so. And then came to resent me for it. Maybe I was just trying to fill the hole that my father left in my life. Ah, fuck, no matter how much psycho babble you put to it, why is it that women are the ones who are left to keep things together?

Now when I get my groove back, what makes him so sure that I'll need him for anything? How on earth do women do this shit?! Arrrgh!!!

Nam myo ho renge kyo. Never be defeated by anything.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

The Elephant in the Room

I started to feel like I was coming undone yesterday. Had a crying jab in the shower. I got my period as well. I was tired, but it was a beautiful day so I went for a little run just to see how I would do. My bladder ached, but I kept at it. The fibroids press a bit on my bladder so jogging is very uncomfortable activity, especially if I have any liquid in me. I may have to just settle for a brisk walk. I just have to remember that when I first started training to run for a 10 km, it was difficult at first, but it got easier. I can do this. This is good for me.

Life never ceases to amaze me. My friend asked me to appear in a documentary about women and how they deal with their self identity, their bodies and health. She asked me had I ever been judged by my weight and appearance. I had to hold back a laugh. I tried not to get too personal, but I had to admit that men often believe that they women they marry should stay exactly the same as the day they met them. I wish I could have stayed the same. Back then, I had no one to worry about than myself. I didn't cook meat and potatoes 5 nights a week, I went to the gym rather than spend time with a boyfriend, I danced the weekend away with friends, I didn't spend 3 days a week hanging out with a demented mother, wasn't responsible for her physical and financial well being, I wasn't infertile and didn't spend months injecting myself with hormones and popping pills and having my blood drawn. I was far too busy running from temporary office jobs to auditions, to bars and parties and theatre shows. I took the bus in the rain and rode my bike, and had popcorn for dinner. I didn't have money for junk food and even if I did, I would have spent it on something pretty. I was having far too much fun to worry about weight. I was not model thin, but I only cared about my career and keeping a roof over my head. Ah, the single life. Getting drunk and eating pasta with salad dressing.

You know, looking back on things, I realized that I was always a great cheerleader for someone other than myself. Earlier this week in counselling, my husband was telling the counsellor about his career progression. And I was amazed that he didn't mention my part in any of it. It was like he had done it completely on his own. Like I was never there. So when we went back on Friday, I corrected that. Went back down history lane and reminded him that I was there every step of the way, supporting the decisions that he always consulted with me. I reminded him that he received all his recent jobs because of people he knew, friends of mine to be specific. Not to take away his accomplishments, he always worked hard and learned quickly, and taken quite a lot of crap so that he could provide for us. I was and am so proud of him. I always knew he was a natural born leader. I guess I forgot to take care of myself over the years. Just sloughed it off. Not sure when I decided to do that to myself. I'm sure it was even before my mother got sick. Somewhere along the line I couldn't quite figure out how to be married, go for my dreams and make everyone happy at the same time. I put it aside because it freaked me out I guess and I ate Dairy Queen right along with him. It was fun. No one had to put a gun to my head to eat a hot fudge sundae. And it was great not to have to worry about working at shitty jobs to pay the rent. I liked it. He shouldered the load so I didn't have to anymore. Sure we argued about money, but he would relent and tell me what I wanted to hear. I did the laundry, cooked the meals and made sure his ass never touched a dirty toilet seat.

And so what if the gigs slowed down, and the pressure of dealing with my mother had us eating more takeout than not. I quit going to the gym after the first IVF attempt. Those pesky appointments got in the way. We were married right? We would always be there for one another, no matter what. Oh my gosh, I should be on Oprah as one of the many women who "let themselves go". I actually had the audacity to let life get to me and I focused on other things and other people. I gave up and just struggled to get by. I wasn't unhappy, mind you. I had a lot to be grateful for. Mmmmm, does that strike a chord for any woman out there?

Well, I'm not in denial any more. There's a big fat elephant in the room, and how on earth did I miss that?

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Married,but not really.

Thanks everyone for your kind words and support. I've been so busy lately, it's been an emotional week. I haven't slept much. Or eaten much. But I guess that's a good thing. I've been trying to figure out what steps to take. Odd to be on your 6th anniversary (yesterday) and be attending marriage counselling.

It was an interesting day. I was up early,went to meet my former personal trainer. I had gone to his website to find out his rates, quickly decided I couldn't afford it, but put my name in for a contest for free personal training. He emailed me back right away and asked me how I was doing. I said my career sucks and so does my marriage. He said come in for a free session. So that's where I went. We chatted, I worked out, he gave me thoughtful tips and said he understood my situation and asked me how important was it that I get healthy again. He asked me if I was really ready to do this. No pressure, either, to use his services. Of course, my husband doesn't think that much of him; I had used him before(cause I wanted to lose weight before I got pregnant, hah!), I had lost weight, 10 lbs as a matter of fact, but I guess he didn't notice or think he was that effective. I don't care what he thinks on that matter. When I told him I had gone for a workout, he was just concerned that I was spending more money for no results. He can't quite figure out why I can't do this alone. I told him that if I could have done it on my own, I would have done it already. I don't particularly enjoy being overweight and out of shape, but I guess it took negative reinforcement to get me going again. And yes, it has occurred to me that it isn't really about my weight. I'll find out soon enough though.

After we had our homestudy visit (we discussed parental philosophies), we should have received Oscars by the way, we went out for dinner. He hadn't eaten all day. After the first glass of wine (red, low cal) I reached out to touch his face. He looked so handsome, even though he was tired and sad. I had to remind myself to pull my hand back. I still loved him and wanted him so bad, it almost took my breath away. You know, he actually sent me flowers? Yeah, after I bawled my eyes out, I resisted the urge to throw them in the trash. And a card, and a gift certificate at my favourite spa. I had to laugh, cause I got him a massage certificate at the same place. Figured he could use some stress relief. I certainly wasn't going to give him one. No card, though. Couldn't find one that said I know you don't want to have sex with me, but it's okay, I'm a Buddhist, we have no attachment to physical desire card.

I'm glad we're putting the adoption on hold after the homestudy. He was right to suggest that. Having a child doesn't fix an unfulfilling marriage. I just would have put all my focus on the child. A child shouldn't have to bear that weight.

I'm still angry, but anger can be very clarifying for me. It clears the head, blows a lot of the dust away. It's energizing as long as it's focused. I just have to keep moving forward and not get stuck in it. If one gets stuck in anger, it inevitably turns to depression. I may have to take up kickboxing, though.

My intention is to fight for my marriage though. Hopefully it will turn out better than the getting pregnant idea. If he wanted to go to therapy, that's a good sign. He didn't have to go. He could have had an affair and let me pack his bags. It was his idea to do 2 appts a week since he leaves on another business trip soon. I didn't set the ground rules, I know, but I'll be a winner no matter what. I'm going to try to go to sleep, I got an early appt with Weight Watchers. And then another delightful session with the marriage counsellor. If you lose water weight due to crying, does that count?

Houston, we have a problem.....

You might want to take a look at the side panel "About Me" and notice that I've remove the "happily" to the married part. Apparently we're not, just me. Well, I've been very careful not to blog about my marriage in detail as that was not the purpose of this blog. I also didn't think it was very nice to splash my wifely complaints out there, you never know who might read it. Like my husband, for instance. And I may not even post this or post it for very long. But I need to write about this. I need it.

Last Friday evening, my husband returned home from a business trip, I was out having a drink with some girls after a workshop. I knew he would be exhausted and would probably be asleep in no time, so I called to welcome him home and inquire if he had any of the delicious veggie curry I had made for him before I went out.

The next morning before I had my morning coffee, he let me know that he was unhappy with our marriage, our financial situation and wanted to halt the adoption. He was willing to finish the homestudy, as it was good for a year.

Blink. Blink.

He was very emotional, crying, staring into my eyes as he unburdened himself. Frankly, I think I was waiting for the confession of infidelity. I didn't get that, but something that caused me to feel shame. And fury. Remember that issue I had with the questionnaire about the sexual difficulties box? How I just couldn't let it go? And I blamed the lack of our sex life on fatigue and cold sores and what not? Well, alarm bells were set off in him. He saw the light. And for the past few weeks, he's been crying, talking to friends and decided to stop lying to himself and me. He loves me, but he's not "in love" with me. You know, as in not being physically attracted to me, as in not wanting to fuck me. And that's been the case for years. And he doesn't want to be the sole breadwinner either. He's been working for 3 weeks straight without a day off and he's really stressed out.

Now this isn't a new problem. It's an old one actually. He said these things about a year before we were married. Now when he told me about his displeasure with me gaining 20 lbs, I threw myself on the floor, sobbed my guts out and asked him to leave because I couldn't bear the sight of him. I accused him of not truly loving me, of being shallow, blah, blah, and raged for 3 days to myself before we went to counselling. We had talked about what we had in common, how we could build intimacy, and then I was promptly diagnosed with depression and I continued counselling on my own. I was definitely the not wanting to get out of bed, moving in a cloud depressed. I took some happy pills and between counselling and chanting, I was able to go off them in less than 6 months. We went to Bali on vacation, had a great time, had lots of sex and we were so happy. We continued to fight about money, especially if I wasn't booking gigs and making lots of money. I worked sporadically doing office work, and the year we got married, I had booked lots of gigs and could contribute to our wedding costs. We did not borrow a dime from anyone.

Our 6th wedding anniversary is on the 7th. I'm 40 lbs heavier than I was I used to be. Throughout my mother's condition and our infertility, I self medicated (with food), we both did. What's a few DQ Blizzards between a husband and wife? I stuck to my guns about being being available for auditions, continued my typing in the evenings, but never followed up in developing that business further. He said he admired me for pursuing my dreams and that he would support me in that. And he has. Until now.

So he admitted his part in "enabling" me. He said he just couldn't go on like this and that he believes that by being honest with me, he's doing the right thing. He deserved to be happy and that he want to feel passion for me like he once did. And that I deserved to be happy too. I admitted that I just just given up as far as the sex thing. As for the money issue, I enjoyed "being taking care of". With my flexible schedule, I would be able to be there for a child in the way that I wanted to be. I loved being able to go to acting class, visit my mum, do Buddhist activities. And sporadically, even the gym.

We're known to everyone we know to be such a strong couple, solid as a rock. Our love and admiration for each other was apparent to everyone who met us. What a joke!

So what did I have to say to all of this, you might be wondering. Didn't I know there was something wrong? Yes, but I had gotten used to being rejected. Rejected in a subtle sort of way. And when I had the courage to ask him if he was still attracted to me, he would say yes. I told him so many times that I felt like a comfortable old shoe to him. He would brush that concern aside. Even as recent as a couple of weeks ago, I told him again that I felt really bad about myself and was feeling as we weren't connecting. He brushed it aside again and left for another business trip.

I've tried a few times over the weekend to talk to him. I didn't leave to go stay at a friends, nor did I ask him to leave. I'm not the same woman I used to be. That's actually a good thing for me. He has a problem listening, because he interrupted me every single time. No, I have to use "feeling" words, don't accuse him, that's not true. I stopped talking. I listened for hours as he's told me over and over again what he needs from me. I don't think I got even two minutes of airtime for myself. So I talked to my girlfriend. That was a relief.

I called a marriage counsellor. He actually suggested it but agreed to go to the one who had helped me deal with the grief and the very same one we went to years ago. Now, these are the questions I have in my head. If I lose 40 lbs and work more (for the sake of my marriage) will it be enough? Can I actually do it, do I even want to? What has been true about our marriage? Every day, every single day for years, this man has told me has loves me, calls me throughout the day to say he's been thinking about me, brings me flowers, takes care of me when I'm sick, takes me on vacations, talks well of me to his friends, tells me I'm beautiful to my face. I know where he is at all times, not because I ask, but because he tells me. What do I have to sacrifice? Do I even have to make sacrifices or are they true benefits? Did I give up on myself somewhere along the line? Does this man love me or the "idea" of me?

Okay, enough, I'm not getting any richer or skinnier by writing this. Later.

Saturday, November 3, 2007

Maybe I need meds.....

Okay, it's been crazy busy for me the last couple of weeks. I actually had 4 auditions in a row and then some typing work. Wow, that's pretty busy for me these days. And also my hubby was in and out of town twice in a week and then he left again for Toronto yesterday for one day. So I had double duty with my dog and my mum. I took them both for a walk yesterday afternoon. Then off to a to attend a two evening business of acting/personal coaching workshop. Oh, yeah, and I'm casting a play.

So I decide to make my hubby a comforting curry vegetable dish for when he comes home. He's been very tired and run down and preoccupied with work lately, so I really wanted to welcome him home with the smell of a lovely curry dish to warm his belly. And it went well, but it was a bit of a pain because I have no running water in the kitchen. Before he knew he had to leave, I did mention that maybe we should get a plumber to fix the leaky kitchen faucet (which got worse after he tampered with it), but as soon as I said that I realized it that he was just going to take that as a challenge - what and pay over $100 just to fix a leaky faucet and then pay for parts?! Nooooo, I'll just take a little look and see.... fast forward to a dismantled faucet in pieces that will have to wait til he gets back and ...... sigh. So for 2 days, I've been carrying water back and forth from the bathroom and washing dishes and cleaning mushrooms and various vegetables in my spa tub. And boiling water to clean the sink. I mean "it's not like we don't have enough faucets and water in the apartment". I'm not cooking this weekend or any other time, until I get my kitchen sink back, one way or the other.


I have to tell you this... a couple of weeks ago, I lost my cell phone. Yeah, I know. Horribly, horribly inconvenient. With all my precious numbers for all the precious people I know. I searched high and low, driving around to all the places I had been and of course, that day, I had been to about 5 different places, but nada. So because my stupid 3 year contract is over at the end of the year, my only options were to get a new cell phone for free - which meant I had to sign another 3 year contract or use an old cell phone I had in the back of my drawer. It's an old bar phone with a light up green screen and I can't text with it. Nor does it vibrate or have a silent ringer. Either way, I had to pay a bill for 2 more months, phone or no phone. I don't intend of staying with my current carrier. Why couldn't they just give me a loaner phone? Why not? Because they're bastards, that's why. And then they'll pester me with dinner time phone calls trying to get my business back even though I've been a loyal customer for years.

Anyways, earlier this week, I misplaced my hat, which I love, it's the best reversible cozy hat I have for wet weather. I searched all over the apartment, I usually just leave it on the coat rack in the foyer. I kept looking there as if it had temporarily rendered itself invisible. It was just one of those days, when I felt unsettled all day. On edge. I sat in my bedroom closet and cried. Just sobbed my guts out. I thought there was something terribly, terribly wrong with me. When you have a mother with dementia, every lost or misplaced item, brings on a wave of nauseous fear that you too are losing it and pretty soon you'll have to post notes all around the house and check the knobs on the gas stove 10 times before you leave the house. Then I cleaned the house and put everything in its place. I calmly recalled the last occasion I had to wear it and then I figured I left it at a directors' meeting. I had dashed out to pick up my husband at the airport. I emailed the producer and sure enough, it was there. She had spoken to me earlier but had forgotten to tell me! She said it was "baby brains" (she had a kid earlier this year.)

Tonight, I went out after the workshop with the girls to have a drink and some sushi and went I went to pay my bill with my debit card, I realized I didn't have it. Had another one, so I paid the bill and left. Yes, I looked all around my messy purse, but I always leave it in the same place in my card stuffed wallet. I came home, looked around the purse, checked two other purses and then decided to check my web banking to confirm when I had last used it. At a gas station. Checked my wallet again and it dawned on me that my air miles card was also missing. Okay, no panicking and fear this time, just mentally retraced my steps. Yes, I had used both cards to prepay at a gas station and then - you guessed it - slipped them into the pocket of another ooat. Checked the pockets and there they were. Had I been in a rush? Of course. When am I not?

Here's the clincher - we scheduled our next social worker appointment on our wedding anniversary. And I figured it out yesterday. Sigh. We need a break.

Maybe I should be on the lookout for other perimenopausal, potential adoptive, infertile women. Where do they hang out again?

Friday, October 26, 2007

Me... a mother?

The last couple years, I've been part of a project called A Mother's Story, initiated by a local actress. She was asking other actresses to write the stories of their mums, living or deceased. It came at a really good time for me, as I was growing into the role of guardian for my mum. And as I wrote the story, I realized that there was a lot about her that I didn't know. We never really talked about her personal history. My mum was of the West Indian ilk who instructed and complained to her children. We didn't really have a "friendship". She was the parent, I was the child, the end.

So I concentrated on how our relationship is at present. Another actress suggested we "collage" our stories and that turned in to a staged reading with about 25 of us, reading parts of our collectives stories. Then this spring,we put on A Mother's Story at a stage downtown for Mother's Day. We served tea and cakes before the show to everyone. The show was sold out 3 weeks before we did it. Then another performance this fall at a Unity church as a fundraiser. It's always emotional, funny, touching and serves as a reminder for us all that motherhood is extremely powerful. My mum has been in the audience on two occasions. I can't look at her though or I lose it. She told me she's proud of me.

After the show, I usually get asked by an audience member if I have children. I always smile and say no, and change the subject. Strangely enough, I never get questioned as to why I don't. Maybe it's the look in my eye or something, I don't know.

Next spring, I may answer yes to that question. Sometimes, in the midst of all the concern about money, social worker visits, books to read and courses to take, I forget that I will be a mother one day. I've never really felt like a mother to be, my lovely dog not withstanding. The closest I've ever come to that was I was swollen up like a beach ball after egg retrieval.

What if a birth mother chooses us and we find out it's a boy? I kinda want a girl. We both do actually. What do I do? Say, "No thanks" like someone is offering me a stick of gum? What's the etiquette for this? I have no idea.

What if I can't produce enough breastmilk? Oh, don't even get me started on adoptive breastfeeding. I went to a site that had so much friggin' hardware to go along with it, I freaked out! And you don't want to know what my hubby thinks of it. I told him my boobies were going south whether he liked it or not. I think he's terrified because he's seen my mother naked (not intentionally of course, but sometimes dementia patients don't feel like wearing clothes, heh, heh).

What if I don't know how to make it stop crying during teething? I don't think they approve of brandy on the pacifier like my mum did. I don't think my mum can help me out anymore.

I don't know what's in the baby aisle in the drugstore. I've always avoided it. Unless I need Q-tips.

Jeepers, I've got a lot to learn. That means I'm going to have to go in a baby store and actually look around. I'm kinda freaking out about that, too.

I wonder what story my little kid will tell about me? Or the birth mother? Oh, man.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Mum's the word

My back is much better thank you. I'm just out of shape. My core is pretty weak. Ack, sometimes I feel so old. I've already seen my first grey hair on my head. You don't want to know where I found the other grey one. I felt like Samantha in Sex and the City when she found a grey hair in her nether regions. I was absolutely horrified and went into denial, sure that the electrolytes in my pee was responsible or whatever. And no, I won't be dyeing my powder puff brilliant red or going Brazilian any time soon.

But the grey hairs are catching up on all of us, I guess. Not much other than hair dye will keep it away. Well, I guess I better make a plan to get back into shape, cause I'll need all the energy I can get when I have a wee one who doesn't sleep as much as I do. I used to be in pretty good physical shape until my mum moved here. I promised a couple months ago to tell you a bit about my mum so I'll do that now.

Just before trying to conceive consumed our every waking thought, my mum finally retired and sold her house and went to spend some time with my sister and her new baby in Atlanta. We went to visit and it soon became obvious that there was something definitely off a bit with mum. She was paranoid and had found a new dislike for my sister's husband. She was also overly possessive with the baby, but at the same time clearly not capable of taking care of him as my sister had hoped. So, it was agreed that she was should relocate to Vancouver. Six weeks after she moved here, as I was taking her to do extra work in a movie, she had a massive stroke.

I'll never forget that day. I was so sure that it had something to do with her diabetes. I was not familiar with signs of a stroke, it wasn't obvious, it was just like she was sleepy. I drove her to emergency, they told me to go get a coffee and when I came back, she was lying unconscious in a dimmed room and the doctor sat me down and told me that he was sorry, she had had a massive bleed and there was nothing he could do for her. I was dumbfounded. I bent my head down on her chest and all I could do was chant softly and I had no idea whether to chant that she survive or that she went quickly. I just chanted. He said there was a small chance that maybe the surgeons at the other hospital could do something as they had no neurosurgeons there, he would check. I just chanted. I didn't want to lose her. But I didn't want her to be comatose either. She was transferred to the other hospital, had brain surgery right away and she lived.

Once she physically recovered, a team of therapists said she had to be in intermediate care, a home in other words, a locked ward for dementia patients. It would be too difficult to care for her at home. At the time, we lived in a one bedroom apartment with our dog. She would need 24/7 care. She stayed several weeks in hospital until a space came up for her in a care home. I was told it could take months and I wouldn't have a choice for the first placement. I chanted. 6 weeks later, a large room became available in one of the better homes downtown close to where I lived.

So for 4 years, my husband and I have cared for her as much as we could. She cannot keep track of the days, she cannot bath or toilet herself properly, she doesn't remember what she had for lunch, but she does have long term memory. She doesn't always get things straight and sometimes she can't find the right words or the right memories. She has a nasty habit of blowing her nose in her hand and wiping it on whatever is handy. She knows who I am and all of her family. She remembers names, and can do simple addition and subtraction. In the past her condition has gone up and down. Now she's stable and doing well. Her doctor had told me that she was going to get worse. I never believed him. And you know what, she's doing much better, she's stable. She has her sense of humour and she can still sing. She still likes her beer and she has a fondness for sushi. She still knows she's my mum.

It was tough. Really tough when the elevator doors to her floor closed. I cried every time I left her. I did my best. We ate out a lot, we were both exhausted from constantly attending to her especially in the early days. I gained a lot of weight. No more time for working out and going shopping with friends. I had to become her legal guardian as she had no power of attorney agreement when she got sick. The paperwork was overwhelming. I suffered from nosebleeds and didn't sleep properly for 2 years. My eldest sister from Toronto and my uncle from England came once. My youngest sister once a year. I chanted to keep my stress down, to continue working. I even thought I had a huge break in my career until I got replaced( i.e. fired) from the role. My husband took great care of me. He went through 2 layoffs and a career change.

During this time was when we went through all the IVF treatments. Yeah. No kidding. There was a lot of hope, though. The first time, I had hired a personal trainer for the days I didn't visit mum, and as I've said before, acupuncture, Chinese medicine, blah, blah, blah. I was in great shape and I felt completely confident. We cracked a lot of jokes. From my mother's disability, I learned to really treasure our time together. In many ways, I had gained a relationship that we never had before. For most of my life, she drove me crazy and I found it hard to be in the same room with her. I knew she always loved me, but she never listened to me. I couldn't really talk to her. Now, we hang out at Starbucks and people watch. I miss her when I don't see her. We hold hands when we walk down the street. She listens to me. I can't tell her my problems, but she always senses my mood. She continues to encourage me. I have learned patience, how to slow down my pace to match hers and focus on her needs. I get short tempered with her every now and then, but now I recognize that I need to take time out to take care of myself and not get overextended. I have to say no to her every now and then.

That's why it still hurts that I cannot give her a grandchild of her blood. I am proud of her. She's a survivor. She just loves watching little kids and I wanted her to hold my baby and see herself in there somewhere. I told her recently that I cannot have my own, but will be adopting. She said she was okay with that. I hope that she will "forget" that the child is adopted but be a part of her. I think she will be happy to be a grandma again.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

3rd Homestudy Visit

We had #3 visit couple nights ago. I did share some of my comments about the questionnaire and she did explain why they were there. For example, the query about sexual difficulties could be a sign that the marriage is in trouble. Really, I'm sure there aren't too many couples checking that one off. Mind you,between my bad back, and my husband's cold sore, we're not getting any, but we kept that to ourselves. (Maybe that's why my subconscious picked up on that one? Mmmm.)

It went pretty well until we talked about the time we had separated briefly 2 years before we were married. When I say briefly, I mean a few days. Then we went for couples counselling which ended up with me continuing solo with counselling for depression. Now she had made it clear that she thought it was good to seek help when you need it, but still I felt, well, a little less than perfect. She asked about what would be things we wouldn't tolerate in our relationship. My husband's was infidelity, mine was disrespect. Disrespect covers a lot of ground, from not valuing who I am to being belittling and mean. I saw a lot of that when I was growing up and I'm sensitive to that. I don't think I would divorce him over infidelity, I'd want to stay married and make him suffer for a while. I'm such a nice Buddhist, eh?

All in all, it went well, we're meeting again in a couple of weeks. This time she gave us questions about child rearing to think about. However, I guess we can have our ideas about something but it's something that we'll have to experience to truly know.

I felt pretty drained after the visit. I was pretty quiet on the way home. Why, why, why? I started analyzing everything. The questions, our responses. Did I look upset, I think I got pretty quiet after a certain point which is a dead giveaway that I'm upset or concerned. I didn't like talking about the time I was being treated for depression. It reminded me of my vulnerabilities, the whole feeling of not being good enough, at a time when I am sitting in front of a social worker whose job it is to satisfy the powers that be that I am good enough to adopt a child. Cripes, even as an actress auditioning, at least I have a script! I've got time to prepare.

You know, there's a lesson in all this for me. When you're auditioning, there's this thing we call a "stink" on you when you really want the part. It's called desperation and they can smell it. It's not an attractive thing. And you never get the part. Darn it, I should have chanted an hour before the meeting. That would have chilled me out and connected me to a place of calm. Okay, next time.

Ah, so that's why I feel so drained!!! I am auditioning! I'm "improv"-ing for an hour and a half. But it's real life, it's our life. I want the role of being a parent. Remember Sally Field when she won an Oscar for Norma Rae ("you like me, you really like me!")? That's what it's like.

Ohmigod, I just had a thought, maybe they should make homestudies more like Donald Trump's The Apprentice.

It's a 12 week interview. We get judged along with other potential adoptive parents. The parents could be split into teams. Team Open Adoption and Team International Adoption.

One of the tasks is that we get a "baby" doll that cries at all hours of the night and poops at will. We can tell it stories about the time it was adopted and came into our lives on "gotcha" days. The judges could be Brad & Angelina and Madonna & Guy. We would be judged on our nighttime adoption stories and Life Books. Extra points could go to the couple who does adoptive breastfeeding. How will they handle issues of attachment and grief and loss? Stay tuned for next week's exciting episode.

Will Team Open Adoption raise enough money for their adoption or will they be forced to cash in their RRSPs, or take out (duh, duh, duh) a bank loan? Will Team International Adoption have to face the fact that their country of choice is now closed under shady accusations of a child sex slave ring, be bogged down permanently in a sea of bureaucratic immigration red tape or fall victim to infighting due to the indecision of which country is cheaper?

It's Must See TV!

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Linking Around

So as I'm linking around, I'm noticing that a lot of the infertility blogs are now posted with baby pictures which just goes to show that IVF does indeed work for a lot of people. When I first started lurking through the blogosphere, I realized that a lot of women in their early 30s were struggling with prolonged infertility. I was quite surprised. I had a lot of doctor appointments where I gritted my teeth through the "a woman your age" crap. I had just turned 41 when the syringes started their siren call.

Needless to say I'm happy that they finally became pregnant and delivered safely. They're on the other side of the fence, so to speak, but forever changed by their struggle. I don't want to look at those creepy floating baby icons though. It' s bad enough to go for an ultrasound with my bloated waistline and see the "baby ultrasound" brochures and a floating fetus on the TV. Umm, can I get a pic of my gigantic fibroids? I'd love to put that on my fridge. Imagine what my guests would say? Oooh, wow, 6 cm, that's impressive. I was wondering why you looked pregnant! Can I touch your tummy?

Anyways, here some blogs that you should visit.

Frank humorously notes that you don't hear from RE's and you get the feeling you'll show up at an empty office while they're off spending your money.

Great post that includes the following:

"Somebody said "Just adopt; you'll get pregnant." This somebody doesn't know how it feels to try to figure out where to get the money for an adoption. This somebody doesn't know how it feels to try to figure out where to get the money for an adoption." Please read on.

Love the post about still waiting for the rain. Beautiful. Heartbreaking. I wake up a lot of mornings with just the feeling.

A new blog. Just cause it reminded me of when I was in I'll try anything under the sun time of ttc. Hopeful.

Monday, October 8, 2007

A lot to be grateful for

You know that shower I was talking about, well, the mother to be could not be in attendance because she was in labour! So as of today, our district welcomes a bouncing baby boy! Talk about timing! Welcome little one, you are loved!

Maybe I should have gone, because after I had put our Thanksgiving turkey in the oven and was cleaning up a bit, I bent over to plug the vacuum in and threw out my back! Great. It took me about 15 minutes to get off the floor and to the phone to call my dh to get back home to help me out. So after half a back pill, thermal wrap and a glass of wine, the dh and I put on a lovely feast.

So I'm grateful for these things:

1) the good fortune to have lots of good food to eat
2) my family
3) a special thanks to my hubby who always makes me laugh and pampers me when I'm not well
4) my health (as painful as it is right now)
5) good friends (that includes you all out there in blogosphere; I saved a place at the table for you all)
6) on-line Scrabble
7) the ability to pick up things with my toes

I've got to be better in 2 days, because I'm on set on Thursday and I have to be able to move without being in pain or hunched over. And of course, hubby leaves tomorrow for a business trip.

I love it when the universe just pushes you to grow.

Saturday, October 6, 2007

The Club that Dares not Speak its Name

Got mine a couple days ago, and I put it on. My infertility bracelet. Thanks, dmarie.

Oooooh, wow, I'm in a special club that no one wants to be in. You know what we drink? Pomegranate martinis, of course! It contains 2 shots of vodka (cause we can drink as much as we want now) and 2 parts pomegranate juice (cause we care about antioxidants) and a spritz of sparkling water (or soda) just to liven things up, and a squeeze of lime. When we really feel crazy, we dip the rim in lime juice and brown sugar. Yum! The Infertility Martini!

How can you tell us apart from the others? Well, we are usually absent at baby showers, though if we do go, we're the ones who grit our teeth and stuff our faces at the the buffet table while the others discuss the agonies of delivery and breastfeeding. We don't come running with unbridled congratulations over pregnancy and birth announcements. We never ask to touch a pregnant tummy.

We hang our heads or look in the other direction when we pass those cute maternity clothing and baby stores that are springing up everywhere. We head straight to Starbucks and order a latte - because we can now.

We carry small purses. We have long phone conversations without interruptions. We buy our dogs ridiculously expensive items. Those are doggy treats in my pockets, not Cheerios.

We have no idea what the latest educational toy craze is. We didn't know that 4 year olds still need child car seats. We don't know Barney songs and have no tolerance for Bob the Builder or Telebubbies or Baby Einstein.

We do know our way around the business end of a syringe. We have an inordinate amount of information about ovulation charts, hormone drugs and suppositories. We don't flinch in the face of HSGs, laparascopies or nurses who tell you to go home and demand sex from your husband 3 times in 48 hours. And what's a little ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome between friends?

And often, we feel very, very alone. We feel shame. We cry a lot. We transcend the pain and find a mission that is unique to ourselves.

And if we get to leave the club, the other members applaud but also envy you.

Now that's the club for me!

The Votes are In

I was reading an old post from So Close and Tertia gives some great advice to surviving infertility. In regards to the baby shower thing, I think I'm going to just drop off those meatballs and gift and excuse myself. It's Thanksgiving weekend here anyway and I'll be busy making a turkey dinner for dh and my mum. I'll be happy to visit my friend when she comes home from the hospital and gush over the baby, but I'll spare myself the character building afternoon. I'm not really NEEDED there and they will understand. The event isn't about me, after all. See, I wasn't even there yet and I was stressing myself out.

Thank you for your support and votes!

Thursday, October 4, 2007

Forecast for the showers

I have another shower coming up this weekend. As much as I've progressed, I still don't like attending showers. I really like this girl, too, but my Buddhist district is organizing it and of course, it hasn't occurred to the co-ordinator (despite sharing my experience last week) that I may not be entirely comfortable going to one. I said I'd bring meatballs. Oh, brother, there are going to be decorations.

Help! Do I go and make a brief appearance, do I drop the meatballs over early and then make an excuse? Maybe it won't be so bad. Maybe I'm just having a knee-jerk reaction. It's not about me, right? It's about a really wonderful, sensitive, intelligent, young couple bringing in a much wanted baby into their lives. And who knows,maybe we can hang out one day with both our babies......AAAGHHH, I don't know.

I'm going to digress here a bit. I went to have my hairs pulled out of my snatch yesterday, oh, sorry, I mean have a bikini wax, and we were chatting about my family visit and my esthetician asks if I'd like to have children. I say, I'd love to but I can't - insert uncomfortable pause - but I'm adopting. To which she enthusiastically replies that it's so much better to give a home to a needy child. You ever notice that when you say that, people always seem to feel better? You can almost hear the audible sigh of relief.

This made me think of those who will remain childless. There's no "happy ending" to the "I'd love to but I can't" line. I can think ahead to a time when I can invite people over to see the new baby (albeit it will have to be after the 30 day waiting period where the birth mother can change her mind). I can plan a nursery, buy stuffed animals, baby clothes. But I still feel ... a way. Not sure what the feeling is yet.

Anyhow.... any advice, tips, suggestions?

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Questions, questions, questions

I know they have to ask, but these family assessment questionnaires are a little, well, stupid. We have to fill out another one before our next meeting with the social worker.

For example:

Have you ever been the victim of an unwanted sexual advance?

Huh? As a woman living in this world, the answer to that question would be a yes. Somebody grabbed my ass on a crowded New York subway. Some drunken idiot grinded his erection into me while dancing. Occasionally, I've been asked if I would like to fuck to which I replied, no thank you, not if you were the last man on earth. I think I know what they're getting at, but I'm left to make an assumption.


Have you experienced any of the following during the past two years?

none, marital reconciliation, separation from spouse/partner, loss of child, family member or close friend, financial problems, personal inury or illness, infertility treatment, divorce, change in health of a family member, pregnancy, sexual difficulties, change to a different line of work, fired from job.

What is "sexual difficulties" doing in there? Just curious how that would figure into the business of the Ministry of Children and Family Development. "Oh, we noticed that you have difficulty achieving orgasm, we have a problem with you adopting a child." What I'm wondering is why they don't ask you how many one night stands you had.

The rest of the questionnaire deals with issues of alcohol and substance abuse in the entire family tree. Just reading down the list of drugs they ask if you have every taken had me strolling down memory lane. Ah, those crazy times when I had no responsibilities, no worries, no sense of my own mortality. When I was single, I had nights when drinking and doing lines in the club bathroom seemed like a good idea at the time. I don't regret any of it. I just have better things to do with my time these days. Luckily I don't have an addictive personality (do cherry Twizzlerators count?) and cessation of either alcohol or drugs was never a problem for me. It occurs to me that if I were a European woman who drinks a glass of red wine several times a week with her meals, I might raise a red flag. As one gets older, drinking gets you a hangover and you waste an entire day feeling like hell, and frankly I can't afford cocaine, I'm all tapped out after buying Gonal F. Now that's an expensive mood bender! Does taking Dexatrim for 2 weeks count as a stimulating substance? I think so, since over the counter diet pills is on the list. Is nothing sacred anymore? Is salivating over new shoes a bad thing?

Aw come on, what if they're on sale?

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Birthmother Panel

Okay, so we went to a birth mother panel sponsored by my adoption agency. Quite a lot of people there, but we were the only biracial couple there. And the best looking I might add. It felt terribly awkward to sit in a circle of strangers cautiously eyeing each other. Wow, I wonder what their story is? Are they infertile like us?

There were 2 birth mothers there and they shared their experiences. They were both eloquent, heartfelt and touching. I learned a lot.

One of the things I learned was there needs to be open and clear communication between both parties. It's predicated on one couple's desire for a child and the other's desire for a continued relationship with that child. As much I as deeply want to parent a child, I can't get past the fact that a birth mother can change her mind. That happened to another blogger out there and though she understood, she was devastated.

Boundaries need to be established and respected on both sides. Both of the girls didn't necessarily set out wanting to have a relationship with the child, but they changed their perspective within the first few months after giving birth. They said that they were both deeply affected by hormones after birth and weren't thinking very clearly and weren't really sure of their emotions. Good to know about that now.

Another thing I learned was that as an adoptive parent, I should not just make assumptions about how she feels. That in trying to protect her feelings, I might inadvertently make things worse for her. For example, one girl gave birth and was promptly discharged within hours and no acknowledgement that she even gave birth. No flowers, no cards, no kind words from anyone including her family, adoptive parents or hospital staff. That's too cold.

One of the young women actually had sleepovers with her little girl who looked in the mirror and noticed that she shared the same nose. And had spent a week with her. Not sure I could do that. Given that the adoptive parents hadn't told the little girl she was adopted yet, I found it admirable that the birth mother trusted them implicitly that the adoptive parents would deal with that.

We can name the child, though. Wasn't sure about that. One of the things I used to day dream about was the name of my future child. I had one picked out for a girl. But if I get a girl, I'm not sure I will use it. Can you understand why? Somehow it doesn't seem fair.

One of the young women mentioned that she was looking for financially stable adoptive parents. I felt a little like a fraud, knowing full well that we'd most likely have to borrow or cash in our RRSPs (so we don't go further into debt) to complete the process. Now I understand why people hold fundraisers. We're not celebrities, we're just regular people trying to have a regular life. We have bills. We go to Starbucks (but not every day). We have a dog who sleeps in a bed better than most of the world has. We use coupons and if it's not on sale, we don't get it. If we had conceived on our own, we'd probably own our little overpriced townhouse furnished by Ikea. We'd be living on one salary and anything I earn would go to the baby's education fund.

But we didn't, IVF didn't work for us the way it worked for others. Somewhere in the universe, that makes perfect sense. Having said that, I determine to make as much money as I possibly can. I've already booked a gig for this month on a TV show, now I just need it to keep it rolling. We are also considering looking at Ontario for a prospective birth mother.

There will be an adoptive parent panel next week that we'll be attending. I'll let you know what happens.

Monday, October 1, 2007

2nd homestudy visit

I had a good feeling that our visit was going to go well. Yes we cleaned, and yes, she actually looked around. As I mentioned I had my family visiting, but they went out to visit my mum. After sitting down with some tea, she sent hubby to the office with a lengthy questionnaire to fill out and then she started asking me questions about how I saw myself as a person. Well, that's a favourite subject of mine but luckily I forced myself to be brief and somewhat modest. Then 3 words to describe my hubby and again, I tried to be brief and concise. When it got around to discussing my spirituality, it got a little sticky. So many of the profiles I've seen mention Christian, church going people. And in some international adoptions, you won't be considered unless you're a Christian. And I'm not even sure if they mean church going or does one just mention the denomination of a baptismal certificate. Is this someone you mention in an adoption profile for birth mothers to see or if they choose you, you tell them.

Not that many people know about Buddhism. There are many sects and beliefs, myths and assumptions. And what they do know consists mainly of images of a golden Buddha or saffron robed monks. I just explained her to my practice and what it means to me. It turned out to be more lengthy than I intended, as sometimes when you explain one thing, you have to explain something else. My community involvement extends mainly in that area as we've done cultural exhibits open to the public.

Frankly, I was raised a Christian, went to Sunday school and all that. Was forced to sit through some scary Pentecostal service as well. But as a Buddhist a consistent daily practice takes discipline, not something you can force a child to do. Usually at our meetings, the kids are watching a video or playing or something. I'd like my child to know that kindness, compassion and respect for all beings isn't just the domain of one philosophy or religion.

In due course, it my turn to go to the office and fill out the questionnaire. Mmm. Not sure I like multiple answer reports. Some of the choices weren't really applicable, or even realistic. I mean, really, what family isn't dysfunctional on some level? It asked how our respective families would feel about our future adopted child. Neither of us give rat's ass what they think really. They're not doing the work nor are they paying for any of the process. If they love us, they'll love our child and if they don't, too bad for them.

All in all, the visit was fairly intense because it really wasn't a conversation, it was more like here's the question, what's the answer kind of thing. Still, we shared a laugh at the end and set another appointment at her place. She told us to expect questions about our marriage. I asked her about her marital status and she admitted she'd been divorced twice. I said great, she either would be commiserating or taking notes.

Keep reminding me this is better than sticking myself with hormones.

Saturday, September 29, 2007

All in the Family

Just before we went out to a birthmother panel, my DH unloads about the rather "lively" discussion he had with my sister and her husband about racism the night before. For crying out loud, I go out to work for a few hours and they manage to get into an argument. The main contention seems to be that my sister asserts that black people can't be racist. Sigh. Oh yeah and the fact that when my sister found out I was dating a white guy, she wasn't too happy about it. She said it wasn't his colour, she just didn't like him. Not that she even knew him or took the time to get to know him. I remember that, she barely even looked at him even though the first time she met him at my mum's place, he brought a chicken burger. And that she wouldn't like it if her son came home with a white girl however, an Asian girl would be okay. That set my husband off. He told her she was a racist and that she was just like my older sister. Cripes. My sis didn't like that, I'm sure as she doesn't think too highly of my eldest sister. My brother in law apparently agreed with my husband since he didn't come to his wife's defence. My hubby and him get along quite well.

So as he's telling me all this, I decide to not defend my sister for a change. I do that a lot it seems. I listen and realize he's offended and hurt by her attitude, especially since she's sitting in his house. I let him know that the original plan of having her and her family move in with us for a while after they sell their home may not be such a hot idea. He tells me that he's willing to wait and see what happens.

My husband has very high expectations for people who call themselves family. He has seen what I have gone through these past 4 years, dealing with my mum, the tears, despair and frustration as I've sorted through her life and try to put it in order. We've gotten all the late night, early morning teary phone calls, we go to the care conferences, the doctor appointments, we put our life on a schedule to accommodate her, and through all of it, we tried to get pregnant. It's been hard on me, on both of us, and what he wants to see is her extending herself to me with care and compassion. And he doesn't see it. He sees self-centredness. This makes him very, very angry.

My sister's life hasn't been easy either, I know she feels guilt about not being here, she's busy working and caring for her only son, who spent the first few years with frequent illnesses, her husband's frequent unemployment and inability to assist her in family organizational matters. She doesn't eat very much and she's often tired. I also understand our family's karma. We don't demonstrate a great deal of affection with one another, we hold things in, act strong and cope as best we can. We don't confront.

It was hard to get a lot of chanting done this week, but I did get it a little in. And when the daimoku (chanting nam myo ho renge kyo) ran out, I resorted to white wine. Yep, you can pick your nose but you can't pick your family. Meh.