It's time to put the blog on hold, at least for now. I'm devoting no time to it, and am struggling to keep up with my friends in the computer, friends in real life, job, and creative projects. So I'm going to continue to read my blogs, and will keep this site around, but probably unpublished for a while, since there's nothing new going on.
I feel weird about it, like "listen to me listen to me listen to me", and then silence, then no blog at all. But that's how things go. I have other projects I'm hoping to devote more time to, and of course I have to keep stalking my fellow infertiles and hab-abs, both the ones who've made it to the other side, and the ones still struggling.
Thank you for over two years of support and good cheer, and I may be back...
The proverbial pie-slicing is complicated. I know I need to make some choices and exercise some discipline regarding time management. I already have cut out tv, not that I watched much (and when Ugly Betty's back on, I'll be there.) I'm working 30 hrs a week and with Lincoln every bit of time I'm not at work, which leaves me with evenings free, after Linc's bed. That's often when we eat dinner together, or one of us goes out, or we do some housecleaning--not that you can tell, b/c our house is so very messy and dirty (the former connotes clutter/chaos, the latter dog hair, dust, and dead bugs).
I participate in an online community which is where I spend a lot of my free time (those evening hours, or stolen minutes at work), presumably at the expense of seeing friends in person. We socialize on the weekends sometimes, often with another couple/family/friend. I spend very little time doing anything alone--reading, writing, even talking on the phone or emailing. So this blog is neglected, and some projects I'd been working on are covered, metaphorically, in dust. I'm going to have to make some changes.
What's really fallen by the wayside is exercise. I used to get a fair bit of exercise most days--working out at the campus rec center probably 4-5x/week, plus a bike ride or walk to and from work. Now I manage maybe one workout every two weeks, tops, and the commute now involves taking Linc to day care, so the bike ride/walk doesn't work. When it cools down a bit, we'll bike ride between his day care and work, so that will add some exercise and save some gas. And, most notably, once it's cooler and the mosquitoes are gone, I/we can go on long fast walks with Lincoln in a carrier/stroller. Right now we can't do that, b/c he's asleep by 7, and before then it's too hot/bright/mosquitoed. I've never in my life gotten so little exercise. I miss it. My appetite is kind of eh, too, which I think is tied to the decreased exercise (and thyroid stuff, and hormone stuff, and all that.)
I usually love summer here, and much of it's been lovely, some wild storms and before it got wet, the nights were wonderfully temperate and mosquito- and ant-free, delightful for eating outdoors. Now it's too hot inside and too itchy outside. We have evaporative cooling, which keeps the house a comfortable 70 degrees in June, when it's 110 out with 9% humidity--but later in the summer, when it's in the 90s with humidity 50% or more, it's about 88 in the house.
But summer is still beautiful and evocative, even if I'm uncomfortable and pent up. Here's a photo from a recent storm--a dove taking flight after a huge lightning strike nearby.
I mentioned earlier that motherhood has rendered me humorless. I should also note that my artistic side has hit the trail as well.
The funny thing is that it seems less about lack of time and more tied into the humorlessness. The world seems very, well, real to me now, and I don't feel as inclined to spend time imagining and creating. I feel like I should consider this a great loss, but I am not thinking much about it.
This is not to say that I think of art as a waste of anyone's time, my own included, nor that I feel like creativity is permanently gone from my life. I'm guessing that I'm simply so deeply entrenched in a very simple, visceral day-to-day that there's not much room for anything else.
S still pushes to do a lot of creative stuff, and he spends time and money on music/books/movies. My resources feel so limited, time-wise and financially, that art isn't being funded right now. I wonder if this is a gender thing, or a difference in our personalities. I spend "extra" time/money on things connected to Lincoln--researching stuff, buying him books/clothes (though I haven't gone nuts spending money on him), interacting with him. S doens't research baby stuff, and doesn't buy him things. Is it b/c I'm doing it? If something happened to me, how would his pie be divided differently? Or would it?
Interesting to ponder.
But back to art. I felt really angry once when we were visiting the city of Venice, CA, where there are many whimsically designed, expensive-but-modest-sized homes. Somehow the idea of "fun" architecture seems so frivolous to me, and I got mad that some people have enough money to "play" with the design of their homes while others are homeless.
Then again, I have time and resources to reflect upon parenting and TTC and gender issues and other people work in sweatshops. The comparison thing becomes a spinning dark place in my head b/c there's always someone/some animal who has things much worse than some other person or animal. The Buddhist thinking would be that this is just how it is, right? I get lost in it though.
Because I have many more worldly comforts than most people on this planet, and certainly more than nearly all other animals, I feel profoundly grateful. I feel judgmental when I see "frivolous" spending, when people shop out of boredom, and are wasteful. But surely others would think me frivolous, buying clothes for myself and for Lincoln when we already have things to wear that aren't falling apart, throwing away food that is edible but not to my liking, etc.
Do you think about these things? Do you get lost in them? And what about art?
I don't know why this didn't occur to me before. Let's blame it on the sleep deprivation and hormones, shall we?
Nearly all my anxieties about having a baby centered around physical stuff--long ago I feared labor, but reading about epidurals helped me in that respect. I worried, vainly, about having a very saggy stomach and lots of stretch marks, about my breasts being transformed in a most unpleasant way by nursing. The nonphysical stuff I thought about--no more weekends reading the NY Times for hours on end, not being able to decide to go to a matinee with S on the spur of the moment, stuff like that. I knew what I was in for in terms of that kind of sacrifice, and I was down with it, so to speak.
Turns out the physical stuff hasn't been that big of a deal. My body weathered the pregnancy and birth pretty well (And at nearly 39, the glory days of ye olde rack are over, so whatever changes nursing is causing aren't worth worrying about.)
But the mental stuff is a different story. I am still fine with the sacrifices and financial struggles and all that. I know I've written about this a lot, but what's blindsided me is the painful burden of my attachment to my child. All that fretting about physical stuff and silly me didn't have an inkling of how the emotional stuff overshadows the physical. I am smart, aware, and consider myself to be semi on top of most things psychological. So why the hell didn't I worry about the things that are truly hard?
Why don't the baby books focus more on the emotions? I swear that everything I read was like this: pregnancy is hard, childbirth hurts, but then your baby comes out and it's love at first sight. You won't get much sleep, and you won't have much sex, but it's all worth it.
I'm fine, mostly, with little sleep--though one could argue that my sometimes fragile emotional state is a result of fragmented sleep. I can handle the physical. I wasn't completely and uncomplicatedly in love right away, but my god I am now. Everything I was told was hard hasn't been, and I feel like there are these other surprises, things I never read about.
It's painful to be so attached to someone--I've known this, and it's partially why I was single for so long (the whole thing of not wanting one's eggs in one basket). But I didn't know this kind of pain. It's an exquisite, precious thing--but the depth of love and protectiveness is overwhelming. It's an unbidden attachment that I will never be free of, and that's a wonderful and terrible thing.
So, what's your relationship with the internet like? (And do we capitalize Internet nowadays, or not?)
I have always been obsessed with information, especially of the trivial, people-based nature. When I was little, I'd get SO excited the day we got a new phone book, and would lie on my back on the floor reading it, looking up everyone I knew. Somehow seeing their names in print was so fascinating. I'd search the high school sports scores for the names of kids in my school. I even had a special relationship with the microfiche at the library.
Basically I was a budding stalker with no one to stalk.
My first experience with the internet was just after college, in 1990, when some of my tech-geeky friends showed me "usenet" sharegroup things, whatever they were called. I was absolutely fascinated that there was a group of people that could post information about a common topic. At the time I was very involved in animal rights issues, and was obsessed with a particular band or two, whom I won't mention here, and the idea that I could in some way connect with faceless vegetarians across the country--it was almost too exciting to bear. That anonymous, written contact was kind of a dream for me.
In 1991, I had a job I can't describe in a highrise office building in downtown San Francisco. (Really, I don't know what I did. My title was "provisioning coordinator" and I really don't know what provisions I coordinated. This was at the very start of the dot.com boom, and the business I worked for was a new company that bought and sold...nothing. Well, they bought long distance time in bulk, and sold it at a profit.) I shared a cubicle above the fog with a woman named Kim, and we had an office intranet. Kim's job was similarly perplexing in its vagueness, and we were often similarly without day to day tasks. We sat back to back, facing our computers, and typed messages back and forth, all day, on our office intranet. I also conducted one office romance, and two office flings, thusly. The flings, of course, also entailed a little more contact of a non-written sort. The romance guy was, like the rest of us, a little unclear about exactly what his job entailed, and was in a master's program, so he wrote his thesis between the hours of 8am and 5pm.
So began my relationship with written electronic communication.
I didn't have my own computer or modem yet, and it wasn't until 1998 that I had internet access, through my work. I had never actually used the usenets, or whatever they were called, but as soon as I had the internet access at work, I commenced to search for those bands I was obsessed with, and to "research" ex boyfriends. (This was, of course, pre Google Dominance, so these searches were conducted using Excite, Lycos, Dogpile, Yahoo...)
Now, like most of us, so much of my life is handled through the internet--staying in touch with people, paying bills, actual research (eg weather, travel), and slightly-psycho research (eg seeing if I can figure out what happened to my teacher from fourth grade) (Don't worry, Miss Baker--I'm totally not dangerous!). The former proves constantly, if excessively, useful. The latter, too, has brought me great rewards--I got back in touch with my best friend from grade school--our Catholic school teacher, along with my friend's mom, made us break up because she thought I was a bad influence. I found her, thanks to her unusual last name, and we picked up where we left off. She was divorced after some scandal, and newly remarried, and I hadn't yet met my first husband. (So who's the "bad girl", huh my dear nuns?? ) We helped each other through some key struggles--her miscarriage, my TTC and miscarriages, a messy and painful breakup with my ex, her job crisis--and have a wonderful friendship today. Thank you, internet! I'm sure that, intrepid as I am, we could have/would have found each other without Al Gore's help. But it sure made things easier.
So now I have all sorts of friends in the computer, and my "real life" friendships are, more often than not, maintained online as well. My childhood obsession with information has been stoked by Google, and my natural inclination toward tangential cognition delights in the hyperlink-riddled wonder that is Wikipedia.
In my most acute bouts of postpartum anxiety, I spent a lot of time online. I didn't want to be around people so much, but the computer allowed me to interact in a safe way. I was usually awake at 3am, and high speed cable connection provided entertainment, balm, numbness, lots of things.
I was never much of a tv watcher, and save my conflicted relationship with alcohol, and a long long phase of obsession with women's magazines (you know, Glamour, Self, Allure), which I'm finally, thankfully over, I've never had a habit I've thought was bad for me.
I'm wondering about the internet, though. Like many of you, I'm guessing, I have spent hours following links in blogs and "window shopping". I think all of this is okay. What I'm wondering about is the something like obsession that I have with information. I have often found myself wishing I had a notepad so I could write down something that I want to Google or look up in Wikipedia. The possibility of getting the information has made it hard to resist looking for it, no matter what it is. Song lyrics, the name of that shampoo I used to use, the etymology of the word lemur. I want to know, but why? And is it something I should fight?
As I mentioned, my brain leans toward tangents. And I am prone to obsessing. Does the internet make this worse? I guess I could channel my natural tendencies into something useful. But then I wouldn't know the second verse of my sixth grade summer camp's theme song, nor would I be able to tell you that "lemur" comes from the Latin lemures, "spirits of the night".