Missing my miscarriage

As women, we’re taught there’s only one thing to really fear — the missed period.

I’ve missed a few periods in my day, all were unexpected misses. And all, but the last one, were missed dearly. I never thought I’d miss my period as much as one does in those panic-filled hours and days as you pray that you’re not pregnant, then resign to being pregnant only to learn you are in fact not pregnant.

In my life I’ve missed other things, too: appointments, people, boyfriends, friends, classes, the sunset over the lake. The list of missed things in my life is probably the most varied list I could come up with. It’s also quite long.

Now, I get to add another thing to that list. Missed miscarriage.

See, about six weeks ago, I began bleeding while on holidays in Cuba. As it turned out, that bleeding was the start of a miscarriage. However, the miscarriage never finished. Which means technically, I have a missed miscarriage to deal with.

It’s almost unfair, isn’t it? I had the worst of both worlds: bleeding for about three weeks straight, and now I still have to go in for surgery to get the fetus — who wasn’t strong enough to survive, but is strong enough to cling on to my womb for dear life — removed.

Like the first half of my miscarriage that happened while my husband and I were away on vacation in Cuba, this part couldn’t come at a worse time, as my husband and I plan to move cities this weekend.

I lost my baby at nine weeks. This Sunday would have been when I hit nineteen weeks, had I stayed pregnant. It’s hard to wrap my brain, and my heart, around that this thing inside me has been not alive longer than alive. And that it’s still with me.

Life is a funny thing sometimes. I never really wanted to be a mom. I never really thought I’d really know how. Sure, I’ve warmed up to the idea, but being a mom is still something that terrifies me. My miscarriage has been a rough time for sure. It rears its ugly head at inconvenient times, but for the most part I count myself lucky. I’m sad about what has been lost, but am also able to see a bright side.

I don’t know what tomorrow will bring. I’m scared, but hoping this is the final step to saying good-bye to this part of me that just won’t let go. I know there is a brighter future ahead. And that’s what I’m holding on to until tomorrow at 9:15.

Cleaning out our closet

As I mentioned last week, my husband and I are currently knee-deep in the process of moving.

We get the keys to the new house tomorrow, and I’m bringing the first carload up on Wednesday night. I can’t tell you how excited we both are to begin the next chapter in our lives. Until then, we’re just anxiously awaiting this chapter to end already. Why can’t things move faster? Why are we waiting?

Since I finished work nearly two weeks ago, the majority of the packing has fallen on my shoulders. I don’t really mind that. I like packing things in boxes, labelling them and shoving them to what will be referred to as the box room until we vacate later this week.

It gives me a chance to go through our things. A chance to decide what we’re keeping and what we’re tossing. A chance to see that I actually have five water bottles, and a whole bunch of mugs that don’t match. This morning, I found the set of mugs I got when I moved into my last bachelor apartment. They’ve held up well seven years in, and I’ll be sad to drive them  over to the Value Village down the street.

As my cupboards and drawers are emptied, I also think about what lays ahead for me and for us. Life is full of unknowns, but this next chapter feels even more unknown. It’s a weird feeling when you’re moving across the province, as opposed to across town.

“The city’s not going anywhere,” our favourite bartender at our local pub told me yesterday when he asked if we were getting excited.

I know he’s right, but there are still things about the city, and Toronto especially, that I know I’ll miss. While my husband and I aren’t really city people, we’re saying good-bye to the only place that we’ve called home together. What comes next, we just don’t know.

Time to return to packing, I guess.

The image above is from Getty Images.

It’s not how fast you read, it’s the distractions


Image Copyright Moyan Brenn

Recently, new research emerged saying we don’t read things online, we skim them.

From an article in the Washington Post:

Humans, (cognitive neuroscientists) warn, seem to be developing digital brains with new circuits for skimming through the torrent of information online. This alternative way of reading is competing with traditional deep reading circuitry developed over several millennia.

The Post story talks with a woman who agrees that the digital plethora of content out there means she finds herself skimming content, then if nothing interests her moving on to the next link, the next story, her next fix.

Now, researchers and word lovers alike are asking us to go to a “slow-read” movement, whereby we take the time to invest ourselves in what we’re reading, and get lost in it the way we used to. After all, skimming a novel for enjoyment is one thing, but what does it mean to a generation of kids who have to read and comprehend what they are reading in order to get their education?

I can’t say I’m immune to skimming text. I’d say I’ve always been a skimmer. I’m a natural fast reader, and tend to be able to blow through a book in a couple of days. However, I also get distracted by the digital explosion of content all around me.

I moved from paper books to an e-reader back in 2010. I love my e-reader. I found I began reading more on it, than I ever did with paper books. Sure, I bought a lot of books, but many of them sat on my shelf unread. That wasn’t the case with my e-reader.

A year after receiving my Kindle, I bought myself an iPad. I thought it would make me more productive. I’d be able to read on it, and blog, as well as check my email, Facebook and Twitter, plus I could play Angry Birds. So much win.

But here’s the thing, I couldn’t read on my iPad. I tried, but I kept getting distracted. I’d start reading the book I was in the middle of, but then float over to Twitter to see what people were talking about. Then back to the book. But wait, didn’t my friend’s wedding pictures just get posted on Facebook? Oh right, the book. Then a notification flashed that I had a new email.

You get my drift.

My tablet soon fell out of favour with me. There were just too many distractions. I went back to my Kindle full-time. I preferred that it only let me do one thing — read.  I can’t say for sure that I’m comprehending more or less by reading e-books as opposed to paper books, but I am reading more.

However, when I’m on my computer, I tend to get distracted again. I’ll click on an article and read a line or two, then give up. Sometimes, I don’t even read a link that I retweet. I’ve also been guilty of commenting on an article when I haven’t read it. Shameful, I know.

But I think part of the reason for all of this is there is just so much content at our fingertips nowadays. Heck, 10 years ago, I couldn’t have even imagined reading an article in the Washington Post, let alone writing a blog post about it.

The Internet has caused disruption in many parts of our lives, but it has also opened us up to a world we may not otherwise have experienced. I love that I can read an article from the New York Times or Wall Street Journal. I love that thanks to social media, I can interact with the people who write the articles and blog posts I like.

I don’t know that a slow-reading movement is really going to make things all better here. I think it comes down to finding content you like, and spending the time with it that you like. After all, if you really like a novel, reading it slower is not going to make you like it anymore, or any less. Personally, I tend to read faster when a book has captured my imagination — and that’s not new to digital formats, it happened with print books back in the day, too.

So slow down your reading if you must, but I suggest you find a way to read where the distractions are minimal. That’s something that we also used to do with paper books.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I’ve got to get back to the novel I’m reading.

Image used above copyright Moyan Brenn on Flickr. Check out his blog here

What Glee needs to do before it says good-bye

glee premier party (#0247)

Photo by Regan76 on Flickr.

Glee has faced a number of issues since the program started back in 2009.

No, I’m not talking about the social issues the show tackles, and attempts to tackle, in the program itself. Rather, I’m talking about issues the show faces generally. The biggest one being that Glee aspires to be a better show than it is.

Don’t get me wrong, I love that it’s a show about a bunch of misfits and loveable losers who don’t have status at their high school. But from the start, Glee has tried reaching to become so much more than that, and has fallen flat. Witness Quinn’s car accident (she survived being hit by a train) — a stronger show would have killed her off as the lesson for its viewers to take away about texting and driving (see The Good Wife and he who shall not be named. Similarly, a more daring show would have seen Karofsky’s suicide bid be successful, instead of not.

The weakest thing that Glee often does though is not follow through on a potential storyline or settle something that could be a multi-episode arc in a single episode. This is why I fear that a line uttered by Sam in last week’s Glee will never be revisited:

“Besides, Mr. Schue said we shouldn’t care  what people said, we should just be ourselves. What a load of crap, huh?”

A lightbulb went off for me at that moment. What if Glee  decided to be brave and showcase these kids going to New York to make it, and then they don’t? What if they discover that they’re not more special than you or I, but rather, they’re just like us?

Last week’s episode was the first episode of the gang in New York full-time (good-bye Lima losers!), and everybody is doing really, really well. Rachel is starring in a production of Funny Girl, which was her first audition in the Big Apple. Kurt and Blaine are happily attending NYADA, Artie’s at film school, etc.

Moving to the city is hard when you come from a small town. It’s even harder when you realize that all your dreams of the city are likely not going to come true. Sure, for some people it happens, but for many more it doesn’t. It can be defeating and it can be sad, but it can also be liberating to find out that success exists beyond the big city skyscrapers.

So Ryan Murphy, I’m asking you to be brave here. Return our Lima losers to Lima before the series ends next spring. Let them play in the big city, where some of them succeed, but let some of them not. I know the original ending to the series had to be rethought after Cory Monteith’s death last summer, but let Rachel still realizes she belongs in Lima, not on Broadway.

After all, most of us don’t find success on the Broadway stage, we find it right in our own backyards.

Packing up my life so far

It was around this time nine years ago I first heard Jann Arden’s song Where No One Knows Me.

I was 22 then, working at the weekly newspaper in Kincardine, a small town on the shores of Lake Huron. I liked it there. My family was there, I had a job doing what I loved, but I began to wonder if there was something else out there for me. I began to consider going somewhere where no one knew me.

I decided to go back to school.

I would be going to Toronto for school, or nowhere. I applied to Ryerson, York and U of T. I got into York, and the rest, as they say, is history.

I moved to Toronto that fall. Made friends, began to build my life in a city I was always terrified of as a child. First, I lived up near York at Jane and Finch, then I moved to Yonge and Eglinton in the best little bachelor apartment I had ever seen. I began to explore the city, seeing different pockets and neighbourhoods, with my friends, but also on my own. Toronto is a great city to discover by yourself.

Then I fell in love.

We moved in together a year after we met, we bought our first house together two years after that. Our house is in an area called the Junction, an area I spent a lot of time in when I first moved to the city because one of my first friends lived there. I remember each time I passed the junction of Dundas and Dupont en route to her house or the subway I always wondered what was beyond the train tracks to the north. As it turns out, our little house and neighbourhood was.

We got married a year after arriving in our perfect little house. We talked about starting a family, and about new beginnings. We both realized we were nomads in a way.

My husband is from Ireland, and has lived in Canada for pretty much 10 years. I’ve floated from my true hometown of Hamilton to Ottawa then to Kincardine, before arriving in Toronto. We wondered if the old saying you can never go home again was really true or not. We decided it was time to give it a whirl.

We decided to move home.

In 2005, I left Kincardine eager to find a place where no one knew me and I could reinvent myself, find myself and build a life. Now, I’m moving back to a place where it feels like everyone knows me. It’s exciting, but scary at the same time.

There is a lot I’ll miss about Toronto: my friends, awesome restaurants and bars, Blue Jays games, “real” movie theatres … I could go on.

But I’ve come to realize that life is an adventure. This move is an adventure for both my husband and I (and our cat, of course). I can’t wait to see what happens next.