Friday, January 3, 2014

Not What I Expected to Write This Morning

Little specks of diamonds twinkle off the snow surrounding you with the beauty that can be winter. This was the first day of the new year, with the sun shining, walking through Fish Creek Park on the way to a nice little tobogganing hill for the little one.

It's easy to get bummed out in the winter. Cloudy days, temperatures plummeting into the absurd, road travel becoming near impossible. But then there is this. Tucked away for anyone to see if they want to.

It probably wasn't the easiest holiday season for me. After discovering a tubal pregnancy at the beginning of December, long evenings and mornings spent waiting in emergency, a dose of chemo drugs to dissolve the pregnancy, it was easy to want to curl up and do nothing for a long time. Not to mention, nearly the only thing I could do. Anyone who has experienced chemo drugs will understand just how much it takes out of you. I was fortunate that I only had to get one dose. As one of my Facebook friends said, "It's the chemical equivalent of being hit in the head with a 2x4." She was not kidding. You might want to get up and do something, but your body tells you otherwise. The tiredness that comes hits you so hard and so suddenly, it takes everything in you to just get up off the couch and walk to the bathroom. And dizzy. Nearly all the time. Sitting. Standing. Lying down. It doesn't matter. A sudden move, or no move at all, could send you to something that feels much like trying to sleep after a night of over-drinking.

Fortunately, my HCG levels have come down quickly. Dropping by half in the first week after the injection. And slowly, very slowly, I began to feel more like myself, only slightly dizzy. More blood tests, which I have to continue until hormone levels reach zero. (Last update from this past week, levels are at 182. Dropping great, but not quite gone. Another blood test this week and fingers crossed, that's it.)

The holidays were good. Filled with laughter and love from friends and family. But you know, there's this little voice inside you sometimes reminding you that, "hey, you lost a baby." In many ways it really was a relief. But it still doesn't change the fact that there was the beginnings of a tiny human trying to grow and become a bigger human, but nature wouldn't allow it. It doesn't hurt. I'm not mentally or emotionally unstable over it, but I am saddened, even though the thought of starting over again with a baby, to a toddler, and so on, made my stomach wrap up in knots. Not to say I wouldn't have loved it as much. But sometimes, when you work so hard to get to a point in your life, make goals, reach goals, and then something unexpected threatens to deter you from those goals, it makes you feel just a little bit out of control. I don't like feeling out of control.

Like when we got to the sledding hill.

I haven't been on a sled or anything that will send me screaming down at hill at uncontrollable speeds since I was a child. (unless you count snowshoeing last winter and falling on my butt in slippery snow pants. Fortunately, the creek at the bottom was frozen solid.) And I had no intention of doing it again. But after several runs with the child on her own, she walks up the hill and says, "Mommy, you want a try?" My first instinct was to say no, thank you. But there was something in those little eyes that said I better give it a shot.

I climbed on the little sled. She decided she would come with me. And there we went. Sliding down a hill. Her squealing in enjoyment, me clenching my teeth praying we don't tip over.

Well, we didn't tip over.

But we swerved slightly and hit a bush.

Thursday, January 2, 2014

First Book of 2014

My first book of 2014. Quite possibly the best book I have ever read. As someone who is fascinated and mortified by the atrocities of WWII, I am always trying to glean something from any story I read about that time. Whether it's an understanding or an added loathing. I like to see the varying points of view, no matter how difficult they may be.

This story certainly held many of those moments. I'm not going to give it a review, because, well, anyone who has read it probably already knows how fantastic this book is, and anyone else, should probably just read it to judge for themselves.

And if you read it and didn't like it, well, I have no words to say to that.

What I do want to point out is the incredible writing in this book. Whether the fabulous use of language came direct from the author or had some help from the editors at Knopf, it doesn't much matter. The language is breath-taking. Heart-rending. Powerful.

I've read much of concentration camps in Europe. I've visited one of the deportation camps in the Netherlands. I get choked up thinking about the things these poor souls endured. But I have never considered it in the way the author lays it out. One section that will always remain with me, I had to stop and reread many times simply because I couldn't believe how well it was written and how much emotion it invoked in a somewhat subtle yet direct way.

The Book Thief, by Markus Zusak 

Death's Diary: The Parisians

Summer came.
For the book thief, everything was going nicely.
For me, the sky was the color of Jews.

When their bodies had finished scouring the gaps in the door, their souls rose up. When their fingernails had scratched at the wood and in some cases were nailed into it by the sheer force of desperation, their spirits came toward me, into my arms, and we climbed out of those shower facilities, onto the roof and up, into eternity's certain breadth. They just kept feeding me. Minute after minute. Shower after shower. (pg. 349)

Please believe me when I tell you that I picked up each soul that day as if it were newly born. I even kissed a few weary, poisoned cheeks. I listened to their last, gasping cries. Their vanishing words. I watched their love visions and freed them from their fear.

I took them all away, and if ever there was a time I needed distraction, this was it. In complete desolation, I looked at the world above. I watched the sky as it turned from silver to gray to the color of rain. Even the clouds were trying to get away.

Sometimes I imagined how everything looked above those clouds, knowing without question that the sun was blond, and the endless atmosphere was a giant blue eye. (pg. 350)

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

A New Year. New Beginnings...A Do Over

As I've said before, I don't do resolutions. Like most people, I don't like to fail and to set out a list of resolutions for the coming year is nothing more than setting oneself up for the inevitable. There are many things I would like to do. Some will happen, many won't. It's about picking and choosing what's more important.

2013 was full of various ups and downs. I made mistakes. Learned from them and now am moving on. But there was good stuff too. Mostly on the publishing side of my life. Nothing significant stands out. Moderate goodness for the passing year. Hopefully even better for the coming year.

I wish you all a Happy and Healthy New Year. Hope all your dreams come true, or moderately close. Work hard. Stay true to yourself. And just be happy.