Friday, December 31, 2010

New Year's Eve

Hard to believe 2010 is nearly over. Even the weather seems a bit surprised by it as it's going to reach the low fifties today and tomorrow after days of very cold temperatures.

2010 was full of huge changes and events, and 2011 looms large with loads of possibilities and unanswered questions. As it says in the Dharma, "nothing is permanent, so roll with it." OK, I added that last part but I don't think the Buddha would hold it against me. And anyway I always find it easier to accept the first part of that sentence rather than the last.

I don't like New Year's resolutions, in fact I think they are very silly. Any moment is a chance to break a habit or begin something new, so what's the point of waiting for one day?

One of Gurdjieff's teaching methods was to have a student work on breaking a habit, typically something enjoyable and addictive and not one the person put much thought into. By doing this one comes up against oneself, one is more aware of their mechanical ways, and out of the struggle one creates a heightened sense of self.

One of my experiments with this was to stop eating candy at work. Candy is everywhere in the office and in the past couple of years I've developed a fierce sweet tooth. Going without brought a lot of awareness to myself and my habit. Imagine my surprise when I finally saw how much I ate in one day without really thinking about it.
After digging around in this for a while I could see the mechanics behind this addiction, primarily the stress and unhappiness I feel in that job. So then it's on to facing those issues, and then on to something else behind that. It takes a lot of mental effort to stay with it but is worth it in the end.

Happy New Year and best wishes for 2011.

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Thirty Weeks

Just got back a little while ago from my weekly appointment at the hospital, only this time I also had to have an hour-long glucose test so all in all we were there for three hours.
The cervical exam was especially painful this week and I'm still experiencing pain from it.

I am having increasingly worse reactions to the weekly progesterone shots, which we discussed with the doctor. Bottom line is, I can stop them if I want but the success rate of preventing early labor is so high, and the reaction I'm having, while miserable, is not so severe that I should continue the shots.
I figured as much but part of me irrationally wished they could be stopped altogether as they are so painful and cause so many issues for me. But you can't argue with statistics...or something like that.
The doctor said I could stop them at 34 weeks but if I did go into labor at that point we would not be able to take the baby home with us as we would at 36 weeks. That's not something I want to happen, so hopefully the side effects won't be so severe at that time that I will continue the shots for two more weeks.

36 weeks is the magical number. Stitches will be removed, shots will end, nearly all restrictions lifted. That's six weeks away. The time seems be moving quickly.

Three people came over last night for a Gurdjieff group meeting. It was so good to have that again and happily, they want to come back again for more meetings.
Funny, I thought that I was not really using all that I've learned so far in my newest life situation, but as we talked I realized I have been, I just haven't been consciously thinking, "OK, I'm implementing what I've learned!"
It was good to see those kind, earnest souls again. I've missed them.

Monday, December 27, 2010

Something to Look Forward To

I have been in contact with the woman who organizes the meetings for the Gurdjieff group that I attend and am happy that we will have a meeting in my home, probably this week.
Interestingly, I emailed D about having people at my house now that I'm on modified, and she wrote back that they had been discussing doing the same thing!

I attended one meeting back in September, this after our Summer break, but that's been it for the year. I feel disconnected from the Work, something I have studied on my own and more recently in this particular group, for a few years now. The energy of the people and the meditative quality of the reading groups cannot be explained, other than to say it's a powerful experience every time. The group meetings have propelled me further into the Work and taught me a lot.
I meditate daily but this is something different, and it has become a meaningful part of my life.

The writer John Shirley once wrote to me that followers crossed mountains in order to take part in the Work. This is very true and while I have not had to sacrifice as much for my own pursuits, I am reminded of this whenever members from Cleveland drive 4 -5 hours one way and back in one day, just to work with our group once a month; or even just to have 2-3 people drive nearly an hour in winter to our home to meet with me. It's the same sense of effort and community that has coursed through these groups since the beginning.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Merry Christmas

On the rising of the sun,
and the running of the deer,
the playing of the merry organ,
sweet singing in the choir.

The Holly and the Ivy

Friday, December 24, 2010

Ghost Baby

She stares out at us in these photos, seeing but not seeing. Once skeletal, now fuller and fleshier. Three pounds! I watch her heart beat and feel the profound connection we share, and her own burgeoning Self. Formidable form of life!
Ghost-like, illuminated, beautiful.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Now I Remember

As mentioned in the post below we had a growth ultrasound this afternoon.
The baby weighs 3 pounds which is slightly above average for a 28 week fetus but still well within normal. Her limbs and organs all look good, too. In fact, all results are very good.

We saw her wave her hands around and move quite a bit, then the ultrasound tech moved the wand over Jessie's face and all my depression and discouragement dissipated instantly. There was this precious, beautiful and angelic face that briefly peered out at us. No longer a skeletal face, her cheeks look a bit chubby and her mouth has a rosebud look to it. Just beautiful. I cry every time I look at the photos of her hand and face. She looked so peaceful, too. Could it be she was smiling? Not sure that's possible but she certainly didn't look unhappy.
I was so overwhelmed with love that I feel the most relaxed and happy I've felt in a while. It's really something what happens to someone when all that love overflows!

Tomorrow begins my 29th week. Just 11 more weeks if we make it to the due date and I'm seeing some light at the end of the tunnel.


"I give up."
I had that thought this morning although that's not what I really felt. I feel discouraged.
I'm tired of pain, progesterone shots, doctor exams and tests, constant nose bleeds, swollen sinuses, worrying about going into labor too early, haggling with the insurance company.
So I guess in a fit of frustration and self pity I thought, "I give up. Maybe I'll go to bed and refuse to get up until I go into labor. No more doctors, no more tests, no more shots, screw the insurance company."
I guess even 41 year olds have times of petulance.
Cloudy days don't help, either. Or the fact that Christmas is three days away yet I feel completely disconnected from it. Or that we wanted to see the red moon and lunar eclipse but couldn't due to snow and clouds.

But ultimately, I am not an "I give up" kind of person. I can be cranky, no doubt about that. And I can get discouraged and frustrated, but never will I give up.

I started a mental list of places to go after the baby is born. India? Mexico? Antarctica? Highly unrealistic at this phase of my life, but what the heck. Hueston Woods, the art museums, even New York City are much more realistic and I look forward to seeing all of them again or for the first time.
I can't wait to take Jessie out for her first hike in the woods. I hope she loves nature as much as we do. I believe she will.

Weekly doctor visit and a growth ultrasound today so I need to work on improving my mood. I don't think the professionals appreciate 41 year old petulance.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

A Bit of Good News

Had my weekly doctor's appointment yesterday and I'm very happy to report that I am now on modified bed rest. It's a small step but one I'm thrilled to take.
As happy as I am about this, I was dismayed to find out last evening and this morning that moving around more has brought on more nausea and more vomiting. One would think at this stage in the pregnancy I would be well past all that, but no such luck. Not that this will send me back to bed, of course!

I almost hate to admit it but I found one plus to being on bed rest, other than the obvious of saving the pregnancy, of course. We had snow today and in our area that means no matter how small the amount, the roads are in terrible shape and the commute is horrendous. Normally my commute to work is about 45 minutes, but on a day like today I could be facing 2 hours, and typically by car as the bus rarely shows up when the weather is bad. Being stuck in the house, watching the snow fall and not dealing with that feels pretty nice.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010


We are in the grips of this bitter cold blast that's covered most of the country. This morning it's in the single digits with wind chills at ten below. The furnace hardly stops running these days. Even so, I can't say I'd rather be warm in bed than out and about.

It seems Christmas is shaping up to be a non-event this year. Q finally brought in my Christmas decorations on Sunday and I put them out, minus the tree. Even so, there's just an air about things that makes it feel very un-Christmasy to me. But I'm ok with that.

My psychic sixth sense/intuition went into overdrive this weekend, bringing with it powerful dreams. But I felt very uneasy, specifically, worried that Q was going to have a car accident. He was out in the snow on Sunday and arrived home safely then yesterday morning his car slid on ice and went into a ditch. Q is fine and so is the car but it had to be towed out of the ditch. I actually felt a bit relieved once it had happened as I figured if that was the worst of it then we were ok. And now Q is working on getting new tires for his car.
It can be difficult to see clearly when I'm dealing with someone I love, as then my feelings and fears obscure the big picture and I tend to think the worst and not focus on a more balanced view.
I can't even imagine what it will be like to be a Mom with these abilities. At the very least, I've grown up around women with similar abilities and have seen through the years how they deal with it. When I was a little girl and I would tell my mother about a premonition or a dream that came to be, she would tell me it was my "Indian blood" because we are part Cherokee, and my full blooded Cherokee great-grandfather, as well as other family members, were healers.

Thursday is the official start of my 28th week. The doctor said my case would be reviewed at this time and I may be put on modified bed rest. Needless to say, I will be bringing this up at my appointment tomorrow. And one of the first things I plan to do is color my hair. I am prematurely gray and am currently sporting an impressive line of white hair which has caused Q to dub me Cruella deVille.
I also hope to make some food for Q's Solstice party on Saturday as well as a few meals for us.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Lovely Objects: Menorahs

I've always enjoyed all the many styles of menorahs. Here are a few I found that I like.

Friday, December 10, 2010


Have to admit, the well has been dry for a while. But as I process all that's happened lately and settle into a reflective quiet, stimulated by my reading, I find the words coming to me again. Below are three I wrote the other night. This is how they have begun but hard to say how they will end up.


There are billions of people
who lived their wholes lives
never feeling the need to start over new somewhere else.

But that isn't so with us.
We have scarred the land,
burned bridges, dug deep furrows,
all because of this need to begin anew.

Born again, baptized, renamed
we push onward
until there is nothing left.
Our destiny inextricably linked to destruction.


Further back, the cold skin,
the unintelligible tongue.
Blood thirsty progenitors who answered to the sky and sea,
the builders of stone monuments to the moon and stars.

Where did all of that go?
Lost in domestication,
lost in the mists of Imperialism and the American Dream.

Family Tree

My family is a mix of
victim and victors.
What does it matter to me,
if they died on the Trail of Tears
or under the boot of the British.
If they owned slaves
or built missiles?

I believed I had sloughed off the remains of these identities
these binary ideas.
Yet I find without even trying that I repeat the mannerisms of my father,
the anger of my mother,
the thoughts of their time and class.
So then, who's to say I am not
part oppressed,
part slave owner,
part bomber of worlds
and even darker things than these, which are rarely spoken of?
Of all the secrets I carry with me,
Maybe I carry these things, too.
At least I know, I cannot be innocent.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010


Today is a day of "have-tos."
First was a call to the cable company because the Internet connection on my desktop has gone out--again. Nothing like paying $50 a month for terrible service.
Then a call to the local Social Security office. I submitted all the forms for my name change back in September and had yet to receive my new SS card. Turns out, they never received the information. This means my SS information, my birth certificate and our marriage certificate are "out there" somewhere and that makes me nervous.
Then it was filling out more paperwork for my long term disability while on bed rest. A bit anxiety provoking but overall not too bad.

Next up I have to order more clothes! I'm expanding quickly and am running out of things to wear for the colder weather. And did I mention the cold? Brrrr! In the low teens at night and not much warmer during the day. So glad I married a man who is like a furnace and who keeps me warm at night.
Also, buying another birthday gift for Q. That's a have-to I'll enjoy.

Is origami a have-to? Maybe not, but I'm stuck on one particular fold and I am determined to learn it. I also have a first draft of a poem written down that I need to work on.

Last night I watched the documentary Ram Dass: Fierce Grace. Such a deeply moving and profound film/person/experience. I was reminded of where I used to be and what I went through and so I feel today that this is the most important have-to: Ram Dass' life is a valuable reminder to me of the need for balance between the awareness of suffering on one side and love, compassion, joy on the other. This is ongoing work. It's not something one just "gets" and then moves on to other things.
I do work on it. But I seem to still be imbalanced as I am regularly overwhelmed by the suffering of others and can have difficulties pulling myself out of that place. This can often turn to anger and hard-heartedness in order to handle the more tender, difficult feelings. So yes, balance between that openness and that hard place tops the Have-To list.

Friday, December 3, 2010


This week I had my last ultrasound for a while. The baby was face down and curled up so we couldn't see her face. She's been relatively quiet the past few days which means less discomfort for me but a bit more worry as I like being reassured by the strong kicks and turns. It's difficult to be on bed rest and in this condition and not worry about every pain, or lack thereof.

Next week I begin my weekly doctor visits, which I resent. Up 'til now it's been weekly ultrasounds with twice monthly doctor visits.
After successfully avoiding doctors for years it's hard to have to see them so regularly. This isn't to imply that I'm ungrateful as I know very well if it wasn't for one doctor in particular I would have lost the pregnancy. Pretty amazing when I think about it.

Bed rest is wearing me down. This week has seen terrible pain in my lower back and my right leg, particularly my knee. I've also been having trouble with my sinuses and have a bloody nose every day. And sad to say, I've had some panic attacks. Not major ones but they are bad enough. I've found in the past two weeks that being in the doctors' office can be difficult as I've grown used to the near solitude and quiet and I feel a bit overwhelmed and irritated to be around people and noise again. I also find that even talking on the phone wears me out now. I don't view these as good developments but am unsure at this point what to do about it.

My 41st birthday was Wednesday and Q made it a special day for me with generous gifts and Chinese food and just being a good husband.
Today would have been my father's 82nd birthday. I miss him very much and deeply regret that he is not alive to be a grandfather to our child.

Chanukah began on Wednesday, too. Q brought out his Menorah and we light the candles every evening and Q recites the prayers in English and Hebrew. We definitely need to get some latkes in the mix, though!

I realized the other day I couldn't remember my work phone number.
I did so much at work that it's taken a full-time temp and about half the department to do all my tasks, but my memory is growing fuzzy about things. The department I work in is in the process of instituting a whole new way of doing business so when I do return it will be like learning a new job--which could be challenging and interesting.
My Gurdjieff group has combined with another Gurdjieff group and changed meeting time and place, so that will be something else that will be very different when I finally return.
Well, the world goes on. So does my world, just in a very different way than it used to.
I feel in some ways very different than I did before all of this happened. I think it's changed me in a fundamental way.
Maybe when it's time for me to return to my old ways I won't want to and will look for something different.
Then again, I'll be a new Mom and probably too tired to do much of anything!

Wednesday, December 1, 2010



Know this-
that every near miss is a miracle.
In the early morning light
I watched the bird fly out of the cat’s mouth
and knew right down to my bones this is true.

Don’t ever think we stand still,
life is a constant
tug-of-war between that which is fluid
and that which is not
and love soldiers on
side by side with loneliness.

These are the things I will profess to believe
when every day I see the births and deaths of all things-
and by death I mean change-
because everything continues on in one fashion or another
until it is nothing but light
which we consume like starving beggars at the banquet.
It could never be any other way.


I love to learn how the earth used to be.
What is now a desert was once an ocean,
that which is separated was once whole.
The great beauty that was created and then destroyed
and then created again as the earth followed its own rhythms
that when studied from a distance of six billion years becomes a soft undulating motion like a boat on the ocean.
Still today,
mountains collide and glaciers drift
and the moon continues its ancient conversation
with its own child.
How wonderful it must have been in those early days, alone,
when the planet would release itself of its burdens,
with no one around who would believe these movements to be betrayals,
or who would over thousands of years
do everything in their power to subdue it.