Tag Archives: NaBloPoMo

What’s in a Name?

My daughter has a very unusual name.

I first came across her name while reading about a glamorous cosmetics magnate in my teens. The name just sounded perfectly rounded in my mind: timeless, classic yet new. I even wrote it down in a diary as a possibility for my future daughter.

When we found out I was pregnant with twins, Darcy and I made a bargain. We would come up with four names BEFORE the ultrasound that would tell us the babies’ sexes. These four names would cover the whole range of possibilities. I would then find out the sexes (as would everyone else, except my Dad) and Darcy would not. Darcy wanted to live the dream of the doctor telling him, “IT’S A (fill in the blank)!” But I needed to prepare.

There was a big caveat for the naming: at least one of the pair needed to be a traditional Hebrew name. We had already agreed on the top name for a boy. It was perfect because although it was not a Hebrew name (in fact it originates from England, as do I) a lot of Jewish men who immigrated to America from Eastern Europe adopted it. The name is a hybrid of many cultures, uniquely American in a way. We both loved it. And it suits my son to a T.

But, oy. That meant if we had boy/girl twins, we needed a traditional Hebrew name for a girl. There’s not that many women in the Torah. My favorite Matriarch name was unfortunately shared by an ex-flame of Darcy’s. (Rebecca, if you must know. I still love that name, but, no. I’ll never forget the time that Rebecca flat out HIT ON DARCY in front of me. I’m NOT MAD. Even 12 years later. Clearly.)

My brother-in-law happened to come over to our condo to watch sports while we were in the midst of thumbing through several different baby name books. It was coming down to the wire: we had a few days left. Someone called my BiL, and he spoke for a while to them. After he hung up, I asked him, “Who was that?” Because I am really nosy. And he answered with that name from my teens, which I instantly remembered. Darcy and I looked at each other and both said at the same time, “I LOVE that name!”

We looked it up immediately. Turns out it’s a traditional Hebrew name and it means “good.”

That was it.

It IS unique. Even though we go to a Jewish pre-school, almost no one (parents, teachers or children) in the class had ever heard the name. I usually have to explain it.

But it fits her seamlessly: she’s a sassafras, she’s feisty, she’s independent and yet she loves everything glamorous, she dreams of living in Paris and is smart as new paint.

I love her so, so much.

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Filed under Family

I Just Got BUSTED!

Something Else Embarrassing

Sometimes you hear about a blogger getting, well, busted for something they’ve written. Dooce famously got fired after writing about her workplace.

On a more serious note, sometimes in the ALI community anonymous blogs are discovered by friends or family members. The writer usually decides to:
1) Make their blog password-protected
2) Start a new blog
3) Stop writing all together

Well, my day of reckoning has finally arrived. I have been officially busted by a family member.

For this:

“The content is great and getting better, but typos and grammatical errors unfortunately discredit writers more than they should.”

Yes, it’s come to this: my TYPOS and GRAMMATICAL ERRORS are EMBARRASSING MY FAMILY.

This is why I love my family.

They’ve had to endure reading all sorts of self-critical essays and even excruciatingly boring posts about pies, but they draw the line. AT TYPOS!!!

I could make a lot of excuses about WHY there have been typos and grammatical errors in my writing, but, alas, the truth is grammar was the second hardest class I took in school. I used to rely on the AP Stylebook quite a bit during my professional writing days. It didn’t even occur to me to use it while writing my blog. Blogging seems rather free form, and all that. Or, I’m just lazy.

Do you refer to a Stylebook while writing your blog posts? Do you cringe for me when you see the many typos which (or is it THAT!?) litter my work? Are you proud of your grammar knowledge?

Also, this family member has offered to edit my work, and, yeah, I think I’m going to take them up on that offer. And dear readers, if you’re still here and haven’t been scared away by my atrocious misuse of the colon, I promise to do better.

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Filed under Uncategorized

Write, She Said

Perfection.

Martha Stewart.

The two go hand & hand, right? I’ll be seeing her speak in about a month. I am quite curious what she has to say about blogging.

This will probably not shock you, but I am a (recovering?) perfectionist.

A perfectionist is not necessarily someone who does everything a la parfait like Martha, I have learned. A perfectionist can become paralyzed, never writing at all for fear of not amazing the whole room.

That’s why I signed up for NaBloPoMo this month. Not all of my posts will be gold. Most of the time I’ll just be spitballing. I’m paraphrasing Simon Pegg.

That’s OK. (?)

Is it?

I will never sing like Feist.

I will never look like Amber Heard.

I will never write like Jane Austen.

But I can WORK on my writing, polishing each line like a semi-precious stone. Most will not be worth than the turquoise medallions on my grandfather’s bolo ties. But his bookstore was called the “Gem Book Trading Company.” Because he believed that each book he housed there was a gem, whether a bright chunky piece of amber (like his beloved Louis L’Amour) or a bright, multi-facted emerald, like his venerated Faulkner.

I once met saw Elizabeth George speak. I asked her what she would recommend an aspiring writer do.

“Write”, she said.

She then relayed the story of a man she worked with on a mystery writing cruise. He was not a great crafter of prose by any means, but he was incredibly persistent. He reappeared at this particular cruise each year. Every time he brought an improved manuscript, until finally he brought a published copy of his novel. George was shocked. She had taught much more talented writers over the years, and they had never been published. But he had worked hard, like a miner, until he at least achieved his goal of unearthing and polishing a gem.

“Write,” she said. “Just, write.”

And so, I write.

7 Comments

Filed under Blogging

Self Worth: Can We Determine This Ourselves?

I forgot to mention in the last post that I am participating in NaBloPoMo for the month of July.

Yikes.

I’ve been feeling rather flaky. I’ve had friends hounding me for weeks, trying to set up play dates, events, dinners. I’ve been so overwhelmed by their requests because of my schedule: or lack of one. The kids have no school for three months, my babysitter officially retired (she graduated college and accepted a job) and my husband isn’t around because of work-related events and travel. When he does get home, it’s usually after the kids have gone to bed.

For the longest time, I’ve felt so guilty. I’m letting friends down. Then today I realized, rather like Sally Field, that I should take these texts and emails as a compliment. People like me, they want to hang out with me and I should focus on that, not on my own failure to be able to respond.

When you’re a SAHM, there is little adult feedback in day-to-day life. Spending time with parents on the playground, at a venue, is honestly a mixed bag. Some people just make you feel inadequate. (Usually because of your own issues.) There is always a well-behaved child who eats everything their parents give them, even Brussels sprouts. There are nurses at doctor’s offices who give you a dirty look for checking your phone.

Mostly, there is little to no positive feedback.

This is not meant to be a tirade about SAHMs vs. WAHMs or parenting or anything like that. I think women have it very, very tough in general. Whether we are parenting after infertility or loss or in our twenties, confused about how to handle ourselves in this economy. Whether we are secretly mourning the fact we don’t have children or we just decided that we didn’t want children, for many reasons.

We expect the world of ourselves and are often disappointed. Our lack of perfection amazes us. We try so hard. We…fail. Often. Because we are human and flawed.

But: even so. We are lovable and admirable and fantastic. Every last one of us. I believe it. Because you tell me so. Because I read your stories, because I feel your love for your children, and I could feel that if I was on a rocket ship in outer space. Because no matter whether we are doctors or lawyers or accountants or writers or former PR people struggling to live up to our expectations.

No matter if we had to give up our dreams to be a parent because of infertility.

No matter if we are approaching an older age and feel less visible.

No matter if we aren’t living the life we dreamed for ourselves.

ALL OF US. We are worth our own love, we are worth our own respect. And it begins with ourselves.

Today I am telling myself that I am an amazing person. For the first time in a long time, I believe it.

It begins now.

16 Comments

Filed under Infertility, Parenting After IF

My Blog Disappeared and I Almost Lost My Mind

I knew that my blog was important to me. I knew that it was responsible for finding good friends, connecting with others in the Adoption/Loss/Infertility community and really coming to terms with my own experience with infertility and loss.

Yesterday I realized my blog is almost a physical part of me. And when it was taken away, I ached. I was numb. I was in shock. I couldn’t sleep.

We unfortunately have been reminded this month that there are many, many worse things than a blog vanishing. I felt silly for having such a reaction.

Here’s how it began:

At about 6:00 PM, I checked my email to see if I needed to approve any comments. There was one, so I clicked the approve comment button. Instead of returning to the dashboard, I saw a notice in bright red letters notifying me that my blog had been deacticated, and I wouldn’t be able to administer it. Shocked, I tried to go to my site, and there was a notice that my blog had basically been suspended for violating the terms of service.

I reeled, and immediately filled out the contact form provided by WordPress requesting my blog be reactivated. I filled out a couple of other forms online. I started to get emails from friends who went to my site and saw that it was down. I went on Twitter and asked others for help. I went on Facebook and did the same.

So many bloggers came through for me. Stirrup Queens worked tirelessly and talked to friends who have a lot of experience with the WordPress platform. She also had saved all my entries and sent them to me in word documents so, worst case scenario, I would have a hard copy of my blog to look at. It made me cry to see my entries all together on actual pages. Mel, you are my fairy godmother. I cannot thank you enough.

A number of bloggers, Keiko, S.I.F, Write Mind Open Heart, SlackieO, Bereaved and Blessed, Once a Mother, Wistful Girl, Keanne and many others helped me by searching for answers, or tweeting and RTing my story copying WordPress. Or simply offered an I’m sorry and a shoulder to cry on. Esperanza issued a couple of fiercely-worded tweets that were very brave and much appreciated.

My husband Darcy, who I must admit is not the biggest fan of my blogging, was full of action and sympathetic and reassuring and supportive. He knew how much of a blow this was to me.

I obsessively checked my email until about 12:30 PM, and with no word from WordPress, I fell into a shallow and restless sleep until I checked my email at about 5 AM and found the note from WordPress that I was looking for: my site had been flogged by automatic anti-spammer controls. They had reviewed my site and corrected this and now my blog was reactivated. They were very sorry that it had happened.

Now in the aftermath, I have learned some valuable lessons.

Back up your blog. You just never know.
– I am looking into self-hosting. It’s time.
– I treated this blog very cavalierly and casually. I haven’t done any updates to it, I didn’t back it up, I used a basic template to create it, I never hired someone to create a cool banner. I thought about it, and promised to do it, but I didn’t. I TOOK MY BLOG FOR GRANTED Y’ALL, like some douchebag boyfriend in college takes his rad girlfriend for granted.

If my blog could sing, it would be singing this Adele song to me:

‘Cause there’s a side to you
That I never knew, never knew,
All the things you’d say,
They were never true, never true,
And the games you play
You would always win, always win.

Lyrics written by Adele and Fraser T. Smith

I’m so sorry, beloved blog. I will never again treat you like Adele’s ex-boyfriend allegedly treated her.

What would YOU do if your blog disappeared? Do you back it up? Feed it, water it? Give it love?

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Filed under writing