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#Microblog Mondays 92: Optimistic

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

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I am not an optimistic person, so I clicked over to Mental Floss to learn the one simple thing I can do to change almost 42 years of the same, pessimistic mindset.

It turned out to be a simple exercise you can do while brushing your teeth (click over to read it).  I haven’t tried it yet, mostly because I have a terrible feeling that my lists would devolve into super specific things like: It makes me happy when Daredevil does a back flip, when Daredevil does that thing where he kicks off the wall before slamming into someone, when Daredevil parkours up the side of a building.

And then I would think, “Oh, I should stay up and read some Daredevil!”  And then be overtired the next day, which probably just makes me even more Eyeore-ish.  In all seriousness, there are a lot of things that make me happy, but I’m not sure I could come up with 3 new ones each day.

What do you think of advice like this?  Can committing to tricks like this really change the way you process the world?

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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.


May 30, 2016   17 Comments

When Infertility Pops Up

I was sitting in the carpool line, reading Simon Parkin’s Death By Video Game, a book that Josh got me as a tongue-in-cheek joke since — based on the percentage of my day that  I spend playing, making, or thinking about games — it is likely that when I kick it, my hands will be on a controller.  It’s a very good read, and I’m enjoying the way the chapters are arranged.  They each focus on a single benefit or detriment of playing video games.

But I wasn’t expecting infertility to crop up in a chapter titled “Hiding Places.”

Sometimes I unexpectedly encounter infertility in a book or a movie or a song — part of a plotline or a fact about a character — and it feels like coming across a cricket, always and wholly unwelcome.  Other times I unexpectedly encounter infertility and it’s more like a ghost, bittersweet to catch a glimpse of that world but also maybe a little… comforting?  I guess I only have warm feelings towards ghosts and the idea that we could have a chance to see someone again.

This encounter was more of the ghost variety.  I startled when the story started: “Ferguson and his wife, Sarah, had been married for seven years, and, during that time, had ‘never not been trying for a baby’.”  They experienced an ectopic pregnancy, and his wife lost one fallopian tube.  She remained in the hospital that night.

The part that gutted me while I sat in the car came next.  Parkin writes,

After the operation Ferguson wasn’t allowed into the ward to see Sarah, who needed rest.  In the chaos of the emergency, no one had taken a moment to explain to him why, as he puts it, he wasn’t going to be a dad any longer.  Instead, they sent him home.

Their chapter revolves around using games as a healthy escape; not as a way of not dealing with problems, but as a way to buy yourself time to think as you play, or to keep teens off unsafe streets, or to give people a place to escape to when the real world is unbearable.  The chapter also contains a discussion with a husband-wife team who describe video games as digital cathedrals, serving the same purpose — for some people — as awe-inspiring churches.

“Humans need cathedrals.  Or, at very least, they need somewhere to go for refuge, reflection, sanctuary and rest,” Auriea Harvey says in the book.

It’s a really gorgeous story, marrying processing infertility and video games.  Maybe it just hit close to home.

Sometimes I think the books we need to read work their way into our hands in random ways.  And sitting there, in a carpool line, reading about the Fergusons and thinking about figurative cathedrals, it was the ghost I needed to have come visit.

How do you feel when you encounter infertility in a book, movie, or song?

May 29, 2016   7 Comments

597th Friday Blog Roundup

The case of the totally weird receipt that ended up in my mailbox.

I opened my mailbox to collect the mail.  The receipt below was inside, tucked in with the letters.  53 cents taped onto a receipt from the post office.

receipt

We’ve been trying to figure out why this was left with our mail.  The Wolvog believes that when I purchased a stamp last week, I walked away without collecting my change.  Which I know isn’t true because I remember placing the quarters in my purse and thinking that I should transfer them to the separate coin purse that I use for paying parking meters.

But isn’t that odd?  Chasing me down to give me back 53 cents?  Thank you, post office.  You guys often go above and beyond, but this really is the pinnacle of good (and intriguing) customer service.

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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.

Something Out of Nothing writes about trying treatments again to have another child.  She worries, “This time, it doesn’t just affect Hubby and me. There’s a two-year-old girl whose life could be turned upside down for anywhere from a few months to the next eighty-or-so years while we figure out whether or not she’ll be granted a sibling.”  It is a great post about facing fears and moving ahead.

Silent Sorority has a post about meeting up with other bloggers.  I love the title: “The Exhilaration of Acceptance.”  Isn’t that exactly what it feels like when you find your group online?  She writes, “It doesn’t need to be a grand gesture. In fact, it’s the gentle gesture that often leaves the largest impact. A friendly smile, a nod of the head, an extended hand or kind word can change someone’s day. It can also change someone’s life.”  Finding that connection online has changed so many people’s worlds, and I love that she is getting to come face-to-face with the people who changed hers.

Evil Mom has a post about not knowing where life will take you, and how certain things circle back into your life in unexpected ways.  I guess posts like this give me hope that the things that I think have floated away indefinitely will possibly come back one day, albeit in a different form.  I especially love this: “Life is weird. Weird isn’t bad, it’s just unexpected.”

Lastly, In Quest of a Binky Moongee has a post about her mother making other people baby clothes.  She doesn’t necessarily want to see all the beautiful things her mother is making for other people, but her mother doesn’t understand her point-of-view.  So she keeps peeking at the sweaters.  I love the end of the post, the hope looking forward to the day her mother begins knitting for her child.

The roundup to the Roundup: The case of the odd change.  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 May 20th and 27th) 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.

May 27, 2016   10 Comments

Fraternal Experiences and Other Words on Loss

I haven’t yet read Daniel Raeburn’s book Vessels: A Love Story about their first child who was born still, but an interview I read made me place it on my to-read list because of a few ideas he brought up.

Fraternal Experiences

He and his wife processed their daughter’s death differently.  He states in the interview: “Even though Bekah and I went through her death together, ultimately we each had to survive it alone. We had twin experiences, but they were fraternal twins, not identical twins, so the differences between us were magnified.”

Fraternal experiences.  I really loved that because I don’t believe there are ever identical experiences; even the ones you go through together with someone else.  So many factors go into how we experience happiness or grief.

That is such a lonely idea, too, that we are the only person in the world who experienced life exactly as we’ve experienced life.  But it also highlights that idea that every person is necessary.  Every telling of an experience — even a common experience — important due to its uniqueness.

Defining Moments

For Daniel Raeburn, the issue wasn’t getting to a point where he could move on.  He was terrified to forgetting his first child, or not having the experience affect his day-to-day.  He says, “I eventually realized that I didn’t want to be free of Irene’s death. That the long-term struggle wasn’t to move on, but to hold on. To never forget.  I realized that Irene’s death did define our marriage, and that that was a good thing.”

I really love this way of viewing this situation, and how it explains that there isn’t a single way to grieve, a point where grief is done.  And that grief is not always a sad thing; that these sad moments aren’t always things to get through but sometimes things that we can use to state who we are and what is important to us.

No Advice

But the best moment comes toward the end of the interview when the Raeburns are asked to give other grieving parents advice.  The husband states, “None. My advice would be to not give anyone who’s grieving or mourning any advice at all. Just listen to them. That’s all you can do. Nothing can alleviate the death of a child. Nothing. So don’t even try.”

Perfect.

May 25, 2016   7 Comments

Your Failure Resume

Piggybacking on Sunday’s post about presenting the whole picture and not just the highlights reel, Lifehacker had an interesting idea a few weeks ago about creating a failure resume.  So think the opposite of your actual resume.  It’s a document that catalogues all the times you’ve failed.

But there’s a point!

By doing this exercise, you stop telling yourself a messed up version of life where you pretend everything came to you easily.  Instead, you remember how far you’ve come and the times where you’ve had to navigate a difficult path to emerge out the other side.

I was trying to think about how I would arrange my failure resume, similar to the way people highlight different aspects of their experience depending on their job.  My chemical pregnancies and preterm labour should probably go toward the bottom of the document at this point, similar to the way I tuck my degrees towards the bottom of my resume.

I guess I would start with not getting into my first choice college.  That sucked.  I remember crying so hard that I couldn’t breathe, and my friend, Matt, taking me out to see My Own Private Idaho for the sixth time as a condolence prize.  I was miserable about this fact until October of my freshman year of college when I decided that it was okay that I wasn’t where I wanted to be, and I was going to be happy where I was.  I had a fantastic four years, and zero regrets in retrospect, though… at the time… it sucked.

And I would currently end with all the agent rejections followed by the publisher rejections that I’ve collected over the years.  Connecting with my current agent took a lot of time and a lot of “no, thank you,” emails from other agencies.  And then landing all of my publishing contracts also came with a heaping dose of “not for me.”  It wouldn’t be that hard to crawl back through my email folders and start listing all the names and places as a reminder.

I really love this line from the article: “The notion that any person can achieve meaningful success without experiencing setbacks and disappointments seems hopelessly naïve.”  Have I learned from all of my mistakes?  No.  There have been plenty of setbacks that haven’t taught me anything about myself or how to navigate life.  But there are plenty that should be listed, if only to remind myself that sometimes shit happens, and sometimes we even get through it.

What do you think of making a failure resume?

May 24, 2016   16 Comments

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