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518 Friday Blog Roundup

Happy Halloween!  I am going as the TARDIS tonight.  I was going to go as a Ravenclaw and wear my new robes, but I haven’t gotten them hemmed. (It has an unusual shape to the bottom seam, and I need to take it to a professional rather than hemming at home.) Not a problem wearing them around the house, as I am wont to do, but I didn’t want to get them dirty outside.  I was making a TARDIS shirt for Josh (and ended up making two for the twins and another for my Dad), so I made a fifth one for myself.  Simple Halloween costume that can be worn year-round.  And yes, I will wear it year-round.  Every day is casual Friday at my workplace.

We are passing out Hershey Kisses tonight.  It seemed like the most practical candy to distribute because if we have leftovers — and we usually have leftovers — I can use them in baking.  See, I’m always think-y.

What is your costume tonight?  And what candy are you passing out?

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I should probably keep posting reminders through December about the Creme de la Creme.  So… here’s your reminder!

The 2014 Creme de la Creme list is open for entries until December 15th.  No one will be added after December 15th.  Read the post to see how to be a part of the Creme de la Creme, which is open to every member of the ALI (adoption/loss/infertility) community.

Consider that your weekly reminder.

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Stop procrastinating.  Go make your backups.  Don’t have regrets.

Seriously.  Stop what you’re doing for a moment.  It will take you fifteen minutes, tops.  But you will have peace of mind for days and days.  It’s the gift to yourself that keeps on giving.

As always, add any new thoughts to the Friday Backup post and peruse new comments in order to find out about methods, plug-ins, and devices that help you quickly back up your data and accounts.

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And now the blogs…

But first, second helpings of the posts that appeared in the open comment thread last week.  In order to read the description before clicking over, please return to the open thread:

Okay, now my choices this week.

Bio Girl got an odd phone call from her mail order pharmacy about the Lupron she didn’t order that brought out old feelings.  She recounts the year being caught between the insurance company and the medication provider which ultimately led to her hysterectomy.  So this call came waaaaaaaaaay too late to be helpful, and only served to stir up frustrated feelings about the health care system.  A powerful post.

Res Cogitatae is on a roll (see above).  She has a post about her final transfer after 6 1/2 years.  This is the moment that quieted me: “I went into the room and the nurse left me there for a few minutes after telling me to ‘lie down and get comfortable’.  You can’t get comfortable in that room.  So I stared at the ceiling and told myself (again) that this was the last time I would have to stare at that ceiling.”  It’s a huge moment, that final transfer, and it made me hold my breath for her.

The Maybe Baby(Babies) is asking for advice on a conundrum: an unliked coworker lost his unborn child, and while she knows she is in a unique position to offer comfort having lost her twin daughters, their prior relationship colours the current moment.  Should she step forward to comfort when she knows he doesn’t like her?  Does any of that matter when someone is in mourning?  Give her advice on what you would do.

Lastly, We Say IVF They Say FIV has a post about Facebook reminding her of an acquaintance’s birthday who has since died.  Again, the awkward situation brings up a host of feelings since this acquaintance took her life two months earlier.  While no amount of friends reaching out can undo the effects of mental illness, she wonders about a person who was connected to 254 people, and how she had no clue what was happening internally when the external looked like a happy place.

The roundup to the Roundup: What are you going as for Halloween, and which candy are you passing out?  Your friendly Creme de la Creme reminder.  Your weekly backup nudge.  And lots of great posts to read.  So what did you find this week?  Please use a permalink to the blog post (written between October 24th and 31st) and not the blog’s main url. Not understanding why I’m asking you what you found this week?  Read the original open thread post here.

October 31, 2014   5 Comments

Dear Prudence, Here’s What You Should Have Said

I usually like Slate’s Dear Prudence column.  I like advice columns in general, and I like Prudie specifically because she usually doesn’t coddle or mince words.  She gets to the point quickly, and that’s how I like my advice from strangers.

By covering each situation quickly, she can get through multiple situations in the same column.  Two days ago, I was reading about a girl who doesn’t think she is pretty enough for her boyfriend and a big-breasted woman who wanted to go bra-free, when I came to a conundrum that hit a little closer to home (not that I don’t have big breasts, but I don’t want to go bra-free): a sister who is requesting funding for IVF.

Namely, her sister asked the family for funding in lieu of baby shower gifts in the future, and some of the family members had concerns.  The woman asked Prudie if she should tell her sister the family’s concerns.

And Prudie answered:

Of course people have concerns when they get a mass email requesting money to help fund someone else’s personal activities—such as, I’ve got my own needs to take care of, and this is out of line. Your sister’s request was presumptuous and very unlikely to come close to funding what would likely be multiple procedures. What people would spend on a few onesies is not going to cover IVF. You should direct your sister to Resolve, the support group for people dealing with infertility. They have a Web page about getting loans for IVF, and that’s the way your sister should go.

There was so much wrong with Prudie’s answer.

One, family building isn’t a personal activity.  Running a marathon is a personal activity.  Writing a book is a personal activity.  But family building is actually a group activity because the person produced becomes part of the… wait for it… family.  In other words, they become another member of this social system which was created for the sole purpose to collectively share resources and provide mutual protection and comfort.  Humans invented this concept of family, and families need members to be replenished in order to keep existing.  This doesn’t mean that every member needs to reproduce — that would cause the family to explosively grow and need to fragment out into smaller groups.  But it does mean that family building ceases to be a “personal activity,” as Prudie labels it.

Requesting money is not “out of line.”  It’s just a request.  The sister isn’t holding the family hostage or threatening to leave the family if she doesn’t get her money.  She is merely stating her need and asking the family to step forward to help.  Again, we created this system of family for precisely THIS type of situation: someone has a need and other people come forward to fill it.  This is the way all animal groups work.  And while we’ve expanded where we draw comfort, joining into communities that are beyond the family, the core group that the vast majority of people turn to first and foremost is family.  So, no, not “out of line,” Prudie.  Nor is it “presumptuous.”

I agree that it’s unlikely that small donations will add up to enough money for multiple IVF tries, but IVF loans through fertility clinics (which are the plans listed by Resolve) is not a great idea.  In fact, SLATE (yes, Prudie, your publication) had an article about fertility financing just a few years back pointing out the problems with these loans.  Resolve has a note on their site that they don’t endorse any of these programs; they list them for the benefit of users without comment.  Better to recommend a book such as Budgeting for Infertility, which covers the financial side of infertility, and allow the sister to come up with additional ways to fund her treatments.

Here’s what Prudie could have said:

A: You’re obviously close, so yes, voice the concerns of family members in a non-judgmental manner.  Your sister may not have thought through all the possibilities in her request, and alerting her to questions could help her chart the best route through infertility.  As you know, treatments are very expensive.  A book such as Budgeting for Infertility would be a good starting point to helping your sister think outside the box in funding IVF.  All that aside, it sounds like your sister trusts family and wants to perpetuate the family by producing more members, the sort of people who will be taught to turn around and help out the next generation.  So congratulations to your family for remaining so close in a time when families are increasingly splintered.  And good for you for wanting your sister to succeed rather than making the “lack of funding speak for itself” which is what my totally thoughtless alter-ego would have said.

You know, something like that.

October 30, 2014   16 Comments

Other Kids in Baby Clothing

In the interest of space, and of perfectly good items going unused, we’ve given away most of our baby clothes.  I’ve saved a few pieces.  Okay, a lot of pieces.  Like all of their preemie clothing and clothes that hold special significance.  But for the most part, their clothes are less and less the tangible memory pieces they once were.  When they were babies, all we had to save were their onesies.  But now we have homework and art projects and all the random things a child creates or accumulates.  The clothing now drifts away when we outgrow it, not as important as it once was.

Sometimes it goes to strangers.  Sometimes it goes to people we know: friends and family.

Sometimes I see photos of other kids in our baby clothing.

It’s bittersweet.  I love that the clothes are getting more use.  I am such a practical person, and the idea of something not being used well kills me.  I like seeing the clothes again on another happy kid.  It makes me remember my kids in those clothes and the equally silly, shit-eating grins they wore while in those outfits.

Sometimes it makes me cry.

Because I look at those much smaller children and remember what it felt like to have much smaller children.

I’ve loved every age so far.  They’ve each had their high points and low points.  I was very scared to have the kids grow up, but if history is a predictor of the future, I should calm the fuck down because it just gets better and better, especially when you can have real, deep conversations or activities that go beyond hand clapping and singing a song in a circle.  The twins are my favourite people, and I should trust that they will remain my favourite people.  After all, I am close with my parents.  It is entirely possible that they will remain close to me even as they grow apart from me and untangle themselves.

And yet even knowing that, I can’t help but feel wistful when I see another child still back in those smaller sized clothes.

Josh and I love seeing the pictures.  Whenever one pops up in our Facebook feed, we turn our phone to the other one and then talk about back when our kids wore those clothes.  I love remembering, but it makes me cry to remember.

October 29, 2014   15 Comments

IComLeavWe: November 2014

Welcome back to IComLeavWe. It stands for International Comment Leaving Week, but if you say it aloud, doesn’t it sounds like “I come; [but] leave [as a] we”? And that’s sort of the point. Blogging is a conversation and comments should be honoured and encouraged. I like to say that comments are the new hug–a way of saying hello, giving comfort, leaving congratulations. Here is the vital information, pure and simple (a more detailed set of rules follows below the list):

  • The list opens the 1st of every month. It remains open until the 21st. You can add yourself at any point. The list is open to everyone in the blogosphere–blog writers and/or blog readers.
  • Add yourself to the list by filling out this form after adding the icon below:  November 2014. I will move the information from the form into the post (usually within 24 hours).
  • Click here to cut-and-paste this bit of code to add to your sidebar (if you have the old code from another month, remove it and replace it with this one). You need to add the icon or a link to the current list on your blog (see below) and will not be added until it’s up.
  • Commenting kicks off every month on the 21st. Please mark it somewhere (calendar, post-it note taped to your computer…), though I will be sending out an email reminder on the 20th. Commenting week runs from the 21st to the 28th. Every day, leave 5 comments and return 1 comment for a total of 6 comments. You are highly encouraged to choose the blogs you comment on from the participants list below, but this is not required.
  • I will send a second email on the 28th to remind you to remove the icon from your blog.
  • Read below if you want to find out about Iron Commenters.
  • The commenting ends on the 28th. We catch our breath and the whole thing starts again the next month on the 1st. Drop in and out according to what is happening in your life between the 21st and the 28th.

The November 2014 List

  1. Stirrup Queens (twins, books, writing)
  2. In Due Time (faith, waiting, health)
  3. Breathe Gently (IVF, miscarriage, toddler-mum)
  4. A Virtual Hobby Store and Coffee Haus (books, life, news)
  5. Life.Love.Jesus (RPL, miscarriage, faith)
  6. Climbing the Pomegranate Tree (FET, MFI, pregnancy)
  7. Amateur Nester (infertility, faith, encouragement)
  8. Add yourself by filling out the form after adding the icon…
You have questions…I have answers:

Q: What if I miss a day?

A: Catch up the next day by doubling your comments–12 comments instead of 6.

Q: What if I have two blogs? Can I sign up twice, listing both blogs?

A: Yes, but you also need to double your comments. If you have two blogs listed, you should be leaving 12 comments per day.

Q: What is an Iron Commenter?

A: Not for the faint-of-heart. People who wish to be an Iron Commenter and be entered on the Iron Commenter honour roll need to leave a comment on every blog on the participants list (exceptions are blogs that require you to have a special log-in, such as some LiveJournal accounts or other similar situations). You can spread out this commenting any way you wish over the whole week, but the final comment needs to be left by midnight on the 28th (EST). Reaching Iron Commenter status is done on an honour system. Please email me if you earn Iron Commenter status so I can add you to the wall of honour.

Q: Why do I have to add that bit of code to my sidebar?

A: The code is the latest icon (the icon changes colour every month so you know that you’re on the right list). This month, the icon is dark blue, the next month it will be red, etc. The reason is two-fold: (1) it enables more people to find out about IComLeavWe and (2) it gives you easy access to the current list once the commenting week actually begins and better ensures that you’ll use it. Too many times, people sign up and forget to actually do IComLeavWe and this icon gives you a daily reminder (with the dates on it) every time you open your own blog. The icon is linked back to the current list. On the 28th, remove the icon from your blog. A new one will be created for the next month.

Q: It’s the 23rd and I just saw this for the first time on my friend’s blog! I want to join the list–why can’t I?

A: Because IComLeavWe happens every month, once the list is closed, it’s closed. If you’re finding out about this on the 23rd, you can’t join the current month. But leave yourself a note to check back in a week on the 1st and you can sign up for the next month.

Q: You said the list closes on the 21st. Well, it’s still the 21st where I am. Why aren’t you moving my information onto the list?

A: All dates and times are U.S. Eastern Standard Time (UTC/GMT -5 hours). The list closes around 11 p.m. EST on the 21st.

Q: What if no one comments on my blog and I have no comments to return?

A: Well, that really doesn’t happen for the most part, but in that case, simply choose another blog and add an additional comment. The goal is to hit 6 comments daily as a minimum. Going over that is fantastic and encouraged.

Q: Mel, my question wasn’t covered at all. What do I do?

A: Email me; I’m quite friendly. It helps to place “IComLeavWe” in the subject line. You could also check this post which contains the history of IComLeavWe and see if you can glean anything there.

Looking for the comment section? It has been closed on this post. Use the form in the directions to add yourself to the list.

October 28, 2014   Comments Off

#MicroblogMondays 9: Seance

Not sure what #MicroblogMondays is? Read the inaugural post which explains the idea and how you can participate too.

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I love reading about Houdini.  I was interested in Houdini since I was a kid; even before I learned that he and his wife were infertile and remained childless.

Around this time of year, articles come out about him because for 10 years following his death, his wife, Bess, held a séance to try to contact him.  Every year on October 31st, people keep up the tradition for Bess and hold a séance.  The largest one is at the Magic Castle in California.

They were a wonderful couple — he often wrote her love letters, even when they were physically together — so it makes sense that they would continue to try to speak after death.  I would do the same for Josh.  But it made me think about who else I would hold an on-going séance to try to speak to again (or for the first time).

If you could call forth three spirits this Halloween — either people you once knew, people you never got to meet, or famous people — who would you want to speak to at your séance?

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Are you also doing #MicroblogMondays? Add your link below. The list will be open until Tuesday morning. Link to the post itself, not your blog URL. (Don’t know what that means? Please read the three rules on this post to understand the difference between a permalink to a post and a blog’s main URL.) Only personal blogs can be added to the list. I will remove any posts that are connected to businesses or are sponsored posts.

1. Karen (River Run Dry) 19. obsessivemom 37. A.
2. Turia 20. Vidya Sury, Collecting Smiles 38. Waiting for Baby
3. Vee 21. earthandink 39. dennasus
4. Mary Francis 22. lostintranslation 40. ANDMom
5. Lisa 23. Non Sequitur Chica 41. Karen
6. Shail 24. Isabelle 42. Laurel Regan @ Alphabet Salad
7. Middle Girl 25. Gypsy Mama 43. Stephanie (Travelcraft Journal)
8. Lori Lavender Luz 26. Mrs T 44. Infertile Girl
9. Jen (Days of Grace) 27. Corinne Rodrigues 45. Ke Anne
10. D 28. S 46. Emma (Muddy Boots & Diamonds)
11. Persnickety 29. Daryl 47. Justine
12. m. (The Maybe Baby) 30. awomanmyage 48. Alissa (Miss Conception)
13. Mina 31. Created Family 49. Katie
14. Loribeth 32. Amber 50. Vinitha
15. No Baby Ruth 33. Jamie @ Sticky Feet 2 51. Heather
16. JB 34. Just Heather 52. Tara
17. Rachel 35. Mali (A Separate Life) 53. Cindy
18. Usha 36. Mali (No Kidding in NZ)

October 27, 2014   37 Comments

(c) 2006 Melissa S. Ford
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