Tuesday, September 30, 2014

October is Miscarriage, Stillborn and Infant Loss Awareness Month

I didn't know last year that October is Miscarriage, Stillborn and Infant Loss Awareness Month. This year, I know and part of me wishes I didn't.  The other part of me is so grateful for the tribe of parents I've found on the other side of this grief.

One of those ladies is Brooke Henze, a good friend of mine. Brooke has been there for me sharing her experience, encouraging me through the low times and helping me to have a perspective of thoughtful memory.  As founder of Swell Forever, Brooke has set aside time and energy to promote awareness about October's happenings to that parents across the US know they're not walking alone. Today she began a series of blog posts and I'm featured as one of the contributors - When the Heart Breaks.

Here's a small excerpt:

"I also cringe at the verb, to miscarry. It sounds as though I failed at my one job to carry the pregnancy. In football terms, I fumbled. I had it in my hands one moment. Then the next, dropped it. In reality, I feel like my budding motherhood was stolen from me. It was ripped away by a cheat who wasn't playing fair. But I don't have a life referee that can blow the whistle and set things right. There's no recovering that particular ball. No having that particular baby. It's lost forever. Miscarried into the great unknown, far away from the mother who loves him."

This photo is one of a handful of "bump pics" that we snapped during our trip to Europe this summer.
I plan to write a few more posts reflecting on this experience to include a book review post with 5 or so books that I've read and some of the spiritual journey I've been on.  I also plan to join Brooke and several other contributors on October 15th for a Light the Night virtual memorial.  More info about that coming if you'd like to join in lighting a candle or luminary and share a photo with the rest of the community!

Friday, September 26, 2014

Friday Finds - Camel, Carmel, Caramel?

Whatever it is, Amy Adams campaign for Max Mara has it going on in spades. Gorgeous, warm, autumnal - have I mentioned I miss Autumn on here? Yeah, maybe once. Or a hundred times.

Here's to the Septembers I remember, the herald of harvest time. TGIF!

Clockwise from Top L:
J. Crew - Stadium-cloth Hooded Zip Coat
Nordstroms - Voluspa Citron Vert and Vanille Candle
Sephora - Urban Decay Naked Palette 1
Bloomingdale's - Max Mara Satchel Large
Design With Reach - U Turn Swivel Chair in Saddle

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Retro Redesign - Telegraph Hill Parlor

Telegraph Hill is a gem of a neighborhood, perched high above the city fray. Do you know the story of the wild parrots there? Fantastic documentary - Netflix it!

For this week's Retro Redesign, we're taking a look at a condo high atop the hill. The nature of the hill is really evident in this picture with the cars parked in front at a comical slant. I want to say it's under a million, which is a total feat in the city these days.

This is the parlor of the condo in question. The room itself is gorgeous. Hardwood floors, original trim, fireplace, fabulous window, with a view!

But ... whoever staged this property was stuck in 1990's contemporary Crate and Barrel hell. It's one thing to mix new and old. It's another thing to ignore the character of the place and dress it in not-quite-vintage stager's leftovers. Boo on that.

Instead, I found this dreamy inspiration photo on Houzz.

Look at how the chandeliers, the tufted furniture, the seating areas are concentrated around the fireplace as the focal point in the room. For our room, it's all achievable working with the structure in place instead of against it.

I think these items speak to the historical nature of the building, but don't feel too Victorian-uptight with the clean lines and modern palette. The pale yellow wall paint has got to go! Thought not shown, I would choose something in the greige family like Benjamin Moore's Grey Owl, that still has some warm notes in it.

Clockwise from Top L:
Ballard Designs - Beaudry Mirror
Pottery Barn - Clarissa Glass Drop Chandelier
World Market - Potent Purple Lumbar Pillow
Crate and Barrel - Clairemont Coffee Table
One Kings Lane - Elliot Velvet Cocktail Ottoman
Ikea - Liatorp Glass Door Cabinet

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Pinnacles National Park

After yesterday's heavy post (and thank you so much for your kind comments, personal messages and support!), I know I need a few days off to absorb and reflect what it means to talk about miscarriage publicly. I've been spending a lot of time outside thinking and processing where I am in my life and how I got here. In Celtic tradition, there are places in this world where the distance between earth and heaven is smaller - thin places. There, in the quiet, still and beautiful places we're just a bit closer. While this trip to Pinnacles National Park happened long before I miscarried, the memories as told through the pictures are still calming to me. 
Pinnacles is one of the newer National Parks and I was inspired to go after reading an article in Sunset Magazine about it. It's a day trip from San Francisco, though the area certainly deserves more than just a day if you have the time.

We did a 6 or 7 mile loop through the park with our friends. Mark, the Eagle Scout among us, planned out the route through some caves where we used headlamps to help guide the way. As a newcomer to hiking, this was extreme for me. However, I think everyone else was thoroughly convinced that our next outing should be a full on spelunking trip!

We got really lucky and saw a condor pair. After watching them fly for 15 minutes or so, we saw them seize a bite of prey and tear it's entrails out. The circle of life in living color. Despite this bit of raw nature, seeing them fly with their awesome wingspan was pretty cool. The preservation of these guys are actually at the top  of the list for reasons why Pinnacles became a National Park.

Monday, September 15, 2014

Miscarriage Reflections - 1

I thought I’d know what to say by now. That as I healed, the words would flow and I could write this story like I’ve written others. Pen and paper have failed me. Storytelling jumbles in my mind as my point of view changes daily. My feelings ebb and flow leaving me incapable some days and numb others. The only constant is the truth of a terrible and often unspoken loss.

I miscarried on Father’s Day.

After 8 weeks of the best ride of my life, the highest high … then I plummeted to a new, scary and completely overwhelming depth.

This summer ranks right up with the worst summer I’ve had and I’ve had some sh*tty summers. Summer 2010, my mother-in-law suffered debilitating strokes. Summer 2011, my father-in-law unexpectedly passed away. Summer 2012, we became caretakers for my mother-in-law. Summer 2013, I was unemployed due to the government sequestration. Summer 2014, I lost my first pregnancy AND became unemployed again. This doubles as my pity party list and context setting. I’m emotionally and mentally wiped out. I’m crying, “Uncle!” to God, the universe, whoever will listen.

Because summer after summer, winter has reigned long and dark within. The parallels to Game of Thrones aren’t lost on me. As any psychology major or literary theorist will tell you, we find ourselves in the story. My favorite characters are dying, the ass holes are in charge and winter is coming. And just like real life, I have no idea when the next book will be released. The story continues to be written. (Let the fist shaking against heaven and Martin commence!)

While waiting, I do the only thing I can do. Every morning, I put on my glasses and feed the cat. I meet with friends, I ride my bike on errands, I fold the laundry. I go through the motions of living and after a few months, life has finally started to feel more real again instead of like the foggy Claritin commercial. I’ll string together a couple of good days. Even think about writing our story. Then I sit down to write and my throat tightens, the tears well up and my fingers tense. It’s as though no words will ever do justice to the beautiful, little life that I loved and lost. So I close the computer and think I’ll try again another day.

There’s more to the story. I know there’s more to write. This is just the start of telling the story, of honoring the memory and inviting others into the struggle that has been so hard fought.

Friday, September 12, 2014

Friday Finds - Mixed Metallics

Flipping through the CB2 catalog this week, I tore out this gorgeous spread (pic in the middle below) featuring several metallics and a strong black and white graphic feel.  I love these warmer gold and copper tones as we move into autumn!  On the left are pretties for you and on the right are pretties for the home.


Clockwise from Top L:
Nipponeki Jewelry - Initial Tag Necklace
CB2 Catalog/Web Spread
CB2 - 3 Mixed Metal Canisters
Overstock - Baxton Studio Linen Chair with Nailhead Trim
Zappos - Anne Klein Buttons in Rose Gold