Tag Archives: Melissa Ford

Bye Bye Balloon!

There is a question that seems to be reverberating in the blogging world right now. At a session at BlogHer, Mel asked: “Who wears the pants on your blog: you, your readers or your topic?”

I have been ruminating on this, because honestly? My blog is all over the place, right? It’s OK to say yes. It’s a little of this, a little of that.

After two years of pondering life after infertility and loss, after years of questions, I’ve finally come to a sort of peace. And an idea of what I want this blog to be.

It all began in Tahoe. I read Stephanie Nielson’s book “Heaven Is Here” during my stay. I am a Nie Nie Dialogues fan from way back, but the book told her compelling story in a single narrative. In a blurb: Stephanie Nielson was a mother of four living a beautiful life until the moment she got into a plane crash and was burned over 80% on her body. In a very moving and honest way, she describes how she found her way back to her beautiful life. It was deeply moving to me.

I haven’t been living my life lately as if I were a lucky person. I have been fearful and terrified and sad. It’s understandable, after so much loss.

I am lucky to be here, to be inhabiting my life. I have the life of a truly blessed person: one who has so much. I’ve been blinded by grief, but as if my sight was restored, suddenly I see my husband in front of me: someone who’s strong and makes so much of my life possible. Fourteen years have passed since the day I met and instantly fell in love with him, waiting in line for a concert. He dazzled me with his wit and sophistication and challenged me. He’s still doing so today.

And My God, my children. They’ve been in front of me, all this time, shining.

My dreams of more, more, more. I don’t blame myself for wanting more: it’s a biological imperative to have many children, it’s an urge deep in my soul. But I am not going to let it rule my life anymore. I can’t.

I’ll always look wistfully at big families, but I’m letting go of that dream. Letting it go into the sky like a sole, lonely balloon as I did when I was a child. I’d beg my mother for a balloon and then inevitably let it go. As soon as it was unreachable, I would sob and cry: “Bye, bye balloon!”

“Bye bye balloon!” I’ll miss you, but I must let you go.

Please know this is only MY decision and I’m not applying it to anyone else.

Faces of ALI is my very small way of giving back to the community that has given me so much. I will continue to write my profiles. Publishers and famous authors by damned.

But here, now, I must start something new. I understand if you do not want to follow me anymore, I do. Dear readers, I owe you this peace I now feel. I don’t want to desert you. I understand how you feel and my heart will always be with you, it will. I will continue to read your stories and comment on your journeys.

But in my own place, I must in turn follow the beat of the drummer I am starting to hear. I feel the excitement, the joy, the adventure, the heartbreak. It’s waiting for me, just around the bend. I hope you understand. I must chase it, because we only truly exist once, here.

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What’s Happening, Now: Edition Two

A while ago, I wrote an unworthy tribute to the Herb Caen columns that I grew up with. I’ve decided to make it a series. The point of “What’s Happening, Now” is to update you all about achievements and happenings among our friends in the ALI community. I hope to provide some fun, quirky news about our group and to remind us all that we are MORE than our infertility and loss. I hope you enjoy!

A Half-Baked Life provided an intriguing recipe for a Lime Pie this week. Do Lime Pies need the Key in them to be Lime Pies? I’m thinking now, no. Justine would not steer us wrong…Keiko of Hannah Wept, Sarah Laughed dropped a bomb on Twitter: she will be writing a book! Sadly, no details yet.

I’m guessing it will be infertility-related, but maybe it will be a Vampire horror novel? Regardless, I look forward to downloading it onto my Kindle soon…In other book news, I am dying to read the sequel to Melissa Ford’s bestselling “Life From Scratch”. I went to the source about the ETA, and she responded thusly:

Have you ever read Dead Cow Girl’s blog? It’s a fascinating look at a Dominatrix going through IVF. Yes, you read that right…Yolk reviewed a horrendous sounding show about noxious New Yorkers who name their children “Fox”. Yes, you read that right. I think Yolk should be our go-to critic for all Hollywood products about ALI….Finally, to my dismay, Lori has put “Perfect Moments” on hiatus. Wah. I’m going to miss this helpful exercise in joyful living, but her reasons for needing a break make a lot of sense…

Readers, do you have any exciting projects, hobbies or stories to share? Or have you read about another blogger’s triumph? Please provide links below!!

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Filed under Discovering joy, Infertility, Perfect Moment

Book Tour: “Life From Scratch”

Welcome! ¬†I am honored and thrilled to be part of Lavender Luz’s book tour for “Life From Scratch”. ¬†Melissa Ford, the popular infertility blogger, has written her very own bestselling novel: according to Amazon.com, it is currently #139 on the Kindle list. ¬†Congrats Mel!

Buy the book, everyone. It’s a fantastic read and so much fun!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

“Life From Scratch” is a book about finding yourself. ¬†I loved the idea that someone could use a hobby or personal interest to reshape their life and connect with the core values most important to them. ¬†Of particular interest to me is that Rachel uses a blog to record her journey, using her culinary lessons as a metaphor for her own voyage to independence.

I am trying to use a blog to chart my own voyage to a life full of more joy and happiness (spoiler: with mixed results), so I related to Rachel’s story. ¬†Through reading about different¬†philosophies,¬†I hope to connect (or re-connect) to the values most important to me, hopefully discovering and defining what brings me joy. ¬†I am learning that, for me, seeking joy is not easy. ¬†In fact, it’s hard, hard work. ¬†I think Rachel discovers her inner joy by digging into a task that seems daunting at first, then gains confidence through the tough yet fun endeavor of learning to cook for herself. ¬†Her story gives me inspiration.

Here are the discussion topics I chose to answer:

1. One of the topics explored in the book is the workaholic culture in Manhattan, and the ultimate choice of sacrificing that culture for more free time (and less money) to spend with your husband or wife.  Do you agree with Rachel that leading a comfortable, luxurious life (with lots of take-out) and very little quality time with your spouse is less preferable than a life with more emotional connection (and food made from scratch), and presumably more economic hardships?  Does it have to be an either or situation, or is there an in-between?

This is one of my questions, and I have been thinking hard about this topic as part of “living joyfully”. ¬†Rachel’s used to a pretty posh life of take-out food and nice apartments, financed by her absent husband’s punishing career. ¬†She rejects this lifestyle to live a more frugal, meaningful life with, presumably, a strong emotional connection to an eventual partner. ¬†It’s a fairytale choice: love or money.

I’m finding this choice more complicated in real life. Just the act of living our life is expensive. ¬†To finance our pretty barebones existence (heavily budgeted with no take-out food, boo), my husband works really long hours and travels a lot. ¬†I’m a SAHM, not particularly by choice, but because my career features crazy hours with not enough pay to cover basic childcare costs for our twins.

Not seeing my husband very often sucks. It helps to remember that he’s not working this hard to pay for Porsches, ponies and pearls, but just to pay the bills. ¬†I think this scenario is pretty common among many middle class families. ¬†It’s sad that many people don’t have the fairytale choice to reject a workaholic culture.

2. Arianna is a character not seen much in fiction: a single mom by choice who had trouble conceiving, and used IVF.  Do you think her infertility struggles and single parenthood affect the choices that Rachel ultimately makes in her life?

I’m pretty sure that everyone in the book club LOVED the Arianna character. ¬†Arianna is the first realistic portrayal of an infertile woman I’ve come across in fiction. ¬†Her struggles to get pregnant are correctly and poignantly described. ¬†Hooray! ¬†I hope the book gets made into a movie, so the public can GET WITH IT.

To be fair, how would the public know better? ¬†Here’s what I learned about infertility from “Friends”:

  • When you act as a surrogate for someone, you’ll have a completely normal and full-term pregnancy with TRIPLETS, delivering them all vaginally.
  • If you are infertile, you’ll be diagnosed within one month, immediately move on to adoption and be quickly matched with a woman who is unaware she‚Äôs having twins. ¬†(The discovery of those twins, during delivery, will be a shock to everyone, including the doctor.)

I like how Rachel admires Arianna’s choice to be a single mom and realizes that getting pregnant when she’s ready may prove to be difficult. ¬†Hopefully, lots of readers will learn the same lesson and have a bit more empathy for those who battle infertility. ¬†One can dream, right?

3. If you had to take up a hobby after a life changing event, what would it be? Have you ever wanted to just try something new?

Great question. ¬†Cooking is something I’ve dabbled in from time to time, but when it comes down to it, I’m afraid I’m a take-out kind of girl. ¬†But the one hobby I’ve always wanted to try is writing, and after I experienced my second miscarriage I decided to pursue this blog. ¬†Real original, I know ūüėČ ¬†It’s been life-changing to “meet” the ALI community, and it has been rewarding to put into words my point of view. ¬†I once asked Elizabeth George at a book signing what she recommended an aspiring writer do. She replied, “Write!” And so, I try.

To continue to the next leg of this book tour, please visit the main list at Write Mind Open Heart.

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Filed under "Life From Scratch" Book Tour, Discovering joy, Family

Day 28: Does Adopting the Status Anxiety Philosophies Help? Part Two

As part of trying to live joyfully this year, I read and tried to put Alain de Botton’s book “Status Anxiety” into practice. The book’s main points:

  • We should resist grasping for more, and instead try to celebrate art, literature and philosophy that focuses on the mundane, the ordinary.
  • We should value goodness and virtue.
  • We should try to ignore the noise and judgement from others about how to live our lives and come up with our own idea of what makes our lives rich and happy and try to stick to that code.
  • We should opt out of the materialism game and instead appreciate what we already have.

I tried my best to work on this in the month of January, and as I mentioned, we had decided not to eat in restaurants this year, do lots of cooking, and stay home, in general try to enjoy ordinary family life, devoid of treats, vacations, and shopping sprees. I must mention that this way of living is not NEW to us. We’ve been living this way for years. I just tried to enjoy it more. Did it work?

I don’t think I’ll ever not be able to eat out, once in a while. It just means too much to me. But there were some cool facets to living this way: I really took a look at the material goods I already have and learned that the most meaningful items were, mostly, not the expensive items I owned. My grandmother’s butterfly pin, the wedding quilt my in-laws gave us and photos of my family (extended and immediate): this is the “stuff” that gives me great contentment. I didn’t read any great works of bohemian literature this month (I did read Melissa Ford’s book “Life From Scratch”, which if you haven’t read it yet, RUN to Kindle, your local bookstore, whatever, and buy it. So Fun!) but last year I read “War and Peace”, which shocked me by being super enjoyable and accessible. I couldn’t put it down. Tolstoy’s philosophy seems to fit in neatly with de Botton’s. I did join a book club, which I hope will be a nicer herd of women than the people in¬†Geochick’s notorious group. I thought hard about cliques, tried to avoid mean people and befriend kind ones.

For the month of February, I am going to try to learn from my dad’s favorite group of thought-leaders – the Stoics – and see if any of their thousands of years old theories will help me live more joyfully. Spoiler alert: I’m pretty skeptical, I’m kind of a wuss and think I’m about as resilient as a hothouse flower, but I’m going to give it a shot. The book I’m reading is by Tom Morris, and it’s called “The Stoic Art of Living”.

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