hello, third cycle…i see you coming to greet me

Today I put my continued hopes and dreams into a third cycle, which I will likely start sometime today. Remember the phantom pregnancy symptoms I had last cycle? I had some again this month.

This cycle’s phantom symptoms included having to get up to pee in the middle of the night or immediately upon waking, and a keen sense of smell. One day while in a deliciously rose-scented bubble bath, I smelled the garlic browning for hubby’s vodka sauce through two closed doors and thought that surely it meant I had conceived and my senses were heightened. But I had simultaneous premenstrual symptoms too: slight cramping and heightened emotions, which this morning left me in tears over some frustrations I’m having with a website I’m creating to sell our place.

The early response test I took Monday morning told us “no,” and my body is telling me “no” too.

Here’s to a new cycle, a new day, a new time to try.


chinese zodiac

I am the first to admit that really all I know of the Chinese zodiac comes from the paper placemats set on the table of my favorite childhood Chinese Restaurant. I don’t put much stock in the monthly zodiac system, nor do I believe in this one. The idea that people who share a common birth month or, even harder for me to believe, a birth year have similar characteristics…well, I just don’t know about that. But sometimes don’t you read a horoscope and it seems to fit?

I was born in the year of the dog, 1982. According to chinesezodiac.com, this means I am:

  • Loyal (yup)
  • Faithful (yup)
  • Honest (very much so)
  • Distrustful (can be)
  • Often guilty of telling white lies (nope — see above: honest)
  • Temperamental (got me)
  • Prone to mood swings (gulp)
  • Dogmatic (i’m trying to unlearn my dogma)
  • Sensitive (oh yeah!)
  • Excel in business but have trouble finding mates (sure, but it all worked out “in the end”)
  • Compatible with the tiger or horse

Yay! Hubby is a horse born in 1978. He is:

  • Energetic (sure)
  • Self-reliant (most definitely)
  • Money-wise (for sure)
  • A lover of traveling (yup) love (double yup) and intimacy (sure)
  • Great at seducing (this makes me lol…I think he’d say yes, at least! love you, hubby! tee hee)
  • Sharp-witted (oh yeah!)
  • Impatient (can be, yes)
  • Sometimes seen as a drifter (Not sure about that)
  • Compatible with the dog ([beams happily]) and the tiger

If we have a child in 2011, he or she will be born in the year of the rabbit! According to the Chinese zodiac, he or she will:

  • Enjoy being surrounded by family and friends
  • Be popular, compassionate, and sincere
  • Like to avoid conflict
  • Sometimes be seen as a pushover
  • Enjoy home and entertaining at home
  • Be compatible with a goat or pig

So I think we all have a little of each of these traits in us. That might be why it’s easy to read a list like this and think, “yes, that’s me! That’s me to a T!” Eh, no matter what, I find things like this interesting and amusing. And what do I know, anyway? Wait, don’t answer that! 🙂

meet the crow

Yesterday hubby and I had two crows flying around our balcony. One kept landing for really long periods of time on our balcony ledge, really close where we (and the happy cats) could clearly see his shiny black feathers. One of them even returned today.

I always used to think of the crow as a bad omen, so to dispel that myth from my head I looked them up in our Animal Speak book and saw some info on the crow in relation to the magic of creation. I then remembered that at our last spiritual retreat, my husband had been given the crow as his “totem” animal for the next six months, and I the (related) magpie. My curiosity piqued by the appearance of one of our totems, I decided to talk to one of our spiritual advisors about the crow to see if he had any additional insight into the appearance of the mysterious and surprisingly lovely bird.

My Dear Sister,

The Crow is an awesome totem to have when preparing the path for a spirit to enter this realm (having a baby).

Meet the Crow

The Crow is about life, death and rebirth. It is also about integrity and doing unto others as we would like them to do to us.   Crow teaches us to know ourselves beyond the limitations of one-dimensional thinking and laws.  It is about bringing magic into our lives.   This animal teaches to us to appreciate the many dimensions both of reality and our selves, and to learn to trust our intuition and personal integrity.  There is magic wherever crows are.  They give us the message that there is magic alive in our life, in our world and this magic is ours to use and create a new world for ourselves.

I send you and [hubby’s name] lots of love, light and Crow energy.

Now I don’t put as much stock into the metaphysical properties of animals and natural objects as some, but obviously I am interested enough that I asked our advisor’s opinion in the first place (and to go to the type of spiritual retreat in which we pick totems for ourselves!). Mostly, I just believe we create our own symbolism and meaning for the things that happen in our lives, but that in many cases archetypal images and themes of interpretation have evolved over the centuries in a way that makes sense and imparts meaning. To me that means not necessarily that the crow has actual inherent spiritual qualities, but that I (and many others before and after me) can interpret the crow in a way that just seems to make sense. I know many people would disagree with reading meaning into a bird on a balcony, but I hope you can respect this way that I may be different from you. Thank you for doing that.

Another interesting tidbit I learned: a white crow was said to have watched over Apollo’s pregnant wife Coronis. Maybe I have a guardian?

nursery ideas

So we haven’t conceived yet (that we know of) but I like to think ahead and I lo-o-o-ve to browse Etsy. Put those two things together…and WA LAH! (How do you spell that very technical magician terminology, anyway?) Some ideas for a future nursery are born!

I found the seller bomobob just the other day and love his colorful photo prints! I would like to have a gender neutral nursery in the future, one that inspires creativity and that can be used for future babies down the road. I can just picture any of these sets (perhaps matted and) framed on a colorful wall in a coordinating color. I see something like one of these sets serving as the inspiration springboard for the rest of  a nursery design. What do you think?

Of course I would like to reserve the right to change my mind at any time, as last week I was imagining an owl theme. 😉

Large Bird Prints

Looking Up

Summer Fun Set

like tom petty said

We’re only on month two of this journey, but as the song goes…the waiting is the hardest part.  I’ve been on birth control for ten years. First Depo Provera, then Ortho Tri-Cyclen Lo. My cycle regulation since going off has been…interesting.

First cycle off: 41 days
Second cycle off: 29 days
Third cycle: 21 days and counting (will it be early? late? not at all?)

I’ve noticed during this cycle that the hardest wait for me is the second half of the cycle, the part where I know I COULD be preggers. The first two weeks felt carefree, lighthearted, and fun. Now I find myself this week trying to fill my time (dance class last night, dance class tonight, workout class tomorrow, dinner with a friend on Thursday) trying to catapult myself as quickly and happily as possible into next week…into a period….or maybe not.

The weirdest part is not knowing my body and what the way I feel means. I actually feel like I’m about to get my period. Is it coming early? Did we totally miss my ovulation window thinking my cycle would be about the same length as last month when it will really be shorter?

But like I told hubby this morning, maybe what I’m feeling is just the need to go to the bathroom.

TMI, huh?

being less selfish

Today was the first really hot day of Spring here in Atlanta — the first day when, in the car and despite its (however faltering) air conditioning, sweat ran in thick rivulets down my stomach from beneath my breasts, and my legs became as slick as if I had been dangling them into a pool.

Hubby and I ducked into the glorious, blasting cold of the interior of a Virginia Highland restaurant called Everbody’s Pizza and settled into a booth. A few minutes later, looking out at the hot, sunny day as yet another server swung through the rear door to serve guests who were braving the patio, I said:

“It’s days like this I would kill for a cigarette.”

Hubby, when he smoked, always liked them in winter, bundled up in sweaters and exhaling warm smoke into cold night air. I preferred the smoking of summer, the smoking of margaritas, lounging poolside with a magazine, or driving around  town with the windows down and warm air blowing my hair all crazy like around my face.

I realized the other day that there hasn’t been a year since I was 18 that I haven’t had at least one cigarette. In college I smoked a pack a day at times after picking up the habit within just a couple months of arriving to school. I have since vacillated in my commitment to quitting, sometimes smoking none for weeks or months at a time, but most of the time having at least a couple a week. Since hubby and I met I have smoked less than I have smoked in the last 10 years, but as athletic and otherwise health-conscious as he is, he also has enjoyed that guilty pleasure in his past, and we’ve been guilty of indulging together, however rarely.

Since the New Year I have only had half of one cigarette, when my best friend was in town visiting from where he teaches in South Korea, and hubby hasn’t had any. Since we decided to try to conceive at the end of February, neither of us have had any. I’m absolutely 110% committed to never, ever, ever smoking when I am pregnant or could be pregnant, and I also don’t want to be a mom who smokes after we have children. (No offense meant to any of you moms who do smoke…I love cigarettes, I just wish they were healthy for me! So I totally get the desire…)

But on days like these when the desire crosses my mind more than normal, I think about how much I am willing to change my life to create another. I can’t deny that it feels hard to slough off a lot of my selfishness, and let me tell you — all volunteerism, empathy, and generosity aside, my 20s have been a pretty selfish time. But really, to me it only seems right that we’re more focused inward, or even self centered, during that time in our lives…isn’t it when we are learning about ourselves and what makes us who we are? Of course many of us are more focused on ourselves…we’re finding them.

So it’s a hot sunny day in Georgia and I reach for my water, chew my gum, grab a book. And while I am absolutely looking forward to this new time of living my life and taking care of myself not only for me but also for others (hubby and future baby, primarily) —  I’ll admit it — it feels hard to give up living life for yourself.

combating destructive forces with the most ecstatic form of creation there is

One of the books I bought when hubby and I decided back at the end of February to begin this journey of conception is called Mother’s Nature, Timeless Wisdom for the Journey into Motherhood. Each page in the 200-and-something-page book highlights a different theme, with quotes, short readings, and suggestions for contemplations and activities to pursue during pregnancy. Some of the succinct and gently thought-provoking pages’ titles include, “I expect,” “I am the web,” “I am serene,” and “I hear.” These are only a few of many. Over the last several weeks I have enjoyed reading the first dozen or so pages.

One selection that caught my eye is from the page entitled, “I create.” The page includes an excerpt from a letter written during World War II on May 4, 1941 by Jessie Barnard to her unborn child. Jessie writes:

My dearest,

Eleven weeks from today you will be ready for this outside world. And what a world it is this year! It has been the most beautiful spring I have ever seen. Miss Morris (a faculty colleague) says it is because I have you to look forward to. She says she has noticed a creative look on my face in my appreciation of this spring. And she is right.

But also the world itself has been so particularly sweet, aglow with color. The forsythia were yellower and fuller than any I have ever seen. The lilacs were fragrant and feathery…Nature is outdoing herself to prepare this earth for you. But also I want to let all this beauty get into my body.

I cannot help but think of that other world. The world of Europe where babies are born to hunger, stunted growth, breasts dried up with anxiety and fatigue. That is part of the picture too. And I sometimes think that while my body in this idyllic spring creates a miracle, forces are at work which within twenty or twenty-five years may be preparing to destroy the creation of my body. My own sweet, the war takes on a terrible new significance when I think of that…

Your father  thinks parents ought to get down on their knees and beg forgiveness of children for bringing them into such a world. And there is much truth in that. But I hope you will never feel like that. I hope you will never regret the life we have created for you out of our seed.

To me the only answer a woman can make to the destructive forces of the world is creation. And the most ecstatic form of creation is the creation of new life.

I have found myself, even though I haven’t yet conceived, already noticing the world more acutely in these last several months. Grass seems greener, flowers sweeter, and the air more ripe with magical potential. The world feels alive with kinetic energy and movement, and I feel a renewed sense of childlike wonder and joy. Yet at the same time I have reflected more on the pain inherent in the world, and like Jessie I have wondered whether the world will be a dangerous or even deadly place for our future child in, say, twenty or thirty years — or even sooner.

But who knows, really? And while Jessie’s letter echoes some of the sentiments I feel are still relevant about the world today, I do not agree with all of her statements. I disagree, for example, that parents should beg forgiveness of children for bringing them into the world as it is. Begging forgiveness implies that life in this world may not be worth living, and for all the hate, pain, and suffering there is in the world, I believe there is infinitely more goodness and kindness.

I also would prefer the word “person” or phrase “man and woman” used in place of woman in this sentence: “To me the only answer a woman can make to the destructive forces of the world is creation.” Semantics aside, I like this idea, one that states that while we live in a world that can be volatile and cruel, we can focus on changing the things within our own sphere of influence — and the most miraculous thing we can create within our sphere of influence is another life, one that is taught to love, nurture, and care for others. We can fight destructive forces gently by creating a force for good. And then comes the most joyous phrase in this passage, in my opinion — that “the most ecstatic form of creation is the creation of new life.”

Ahh, yes, that’s why we’re doing this.