All posts by Kate Pentz

I'm a Bend Local. Born in July of 1981. I'm a pie maker, massage therapist, ballet dancer, nanny, and wife. I have Jack Russel Terrier, Pony Pentz. I care about Justice, about Community, and Hospitality. I love Jesus the Messiah.

Cause the weeds are high where the corn don’t grow

I’m feeling really judgy as I overhear the brunch chatter this fine Thursday morning. The complaints are all 1st world problems that have really easy solutions, and the pains these women express are so shallow. Stuff like how hard it is to fit a run in when you have kids to feed, and how many times a day they miss a photo op of their kids being cute because they left their phone in the kitchen. Why can’t I tune them out and enjoy reading the book I’ve packed, the book about shame and vulnerability and our culture.  I start journaling to see if I can glean some kind of lesson from my irritation, and find that I’m going to have to ask my bestie for insight so I text her. Do I think my pain is more validated than theirs, are my complaints any less 1st world than theirs? It comes down to this: they are moms. Since they have the one thing I want most they can’t complain at all.  The guy who grumbles about a work trip to Hawaii in February, the person who gardens in the valley and says its so hard to keep things from overgrowing, the person who loves to fish but has so much chinook salmon they can’t eat it fast enough. See you are irritated now too aren’t you?

We think we would happily trade problems with people who have something we want. I have an response to every whine a mother makes: None of your clothes fit because you haven’t lost the baby weight yet? Trade you my size for yours if I could have great kids like you have. You never have time for yourself? All I have is time with myself. There’s snot on your shirt and crackers ground into your backseat? I can and do wear white often and it looks clean at the end of the day.  Your teenager is ungrateful and disrespectful? Yeah good luck with that.

There comes a point where you have to humanize the villain in this story, after all being a mom is the job I want. I have my things I’m sensitive to and careful about in social settings, my soapboxes,flippant talk of suicide, chemicals in food, being a parent are a few of my things. I made up some stories about who these brunch mama’s. Once I got creative giving them really hard lives that they couldn’t discuss at brunch I was suddenly compassionate of these strangers. I talked with Josh about it for a while and he helped me guess what their things might be, maybe one has a mom who was a world class athlete and she lost her foot in a tragic plane crash so now this woman wants to run to fulfill her mother’s dream, maybe one had a house fire when she was 10 and all the cute pictures her family took were incinerated so now she wants to do what her parents couldn’t and have zillions of photos backed up on the cloud for her kids to cherish. Yeah I gave them a lot of credit, I hear what your saying that its not realistic. But now I want to cheer for them and hope they can  reach their goals, so it was a good mental exercise.

They couldn’t have known that within earshot was a person struggling with infertility. We need to learn to be more sensitive to the invisible pain around us, at least willing to admit that the world is filled with people who are in the fight of their life. I need to be slower to judge people as shallow or vapid, and gently teach what wisdom I have extracted from the 36 years I have been on planet earth. So much goodness can be drawn from being teachable too, knowing that there is much to learn. I do grow weary though, do you sometimes want to quit being soft and strong and teachable? Hard times are real and there’s dusty fields wherever you go. (Yes, I have been listening to Waylon Jennings )

I’m tired of writing and being raw with you all, seeing you at the grocery store hearing you kindly say “I read your blog, how are things going?” It’s hard to be known and seen, it’s hard to report that we aren’t pregnant yet. I’ve been eating beans and corn and hash browns sometimes, I’ve gone days without taking my vitamins, I did yoga only 2 times this summer, and I am hardly interested in reporting data on my fertility tracking app. I’m choosing to have a little more grace with the journey and be less unyielding with my expectations of when and how. We have looked into IUI which is the less invasive way of “helping” to get pregnant (its what you do before IVF) and its not covered by insurance.  I’m told that the IUI procedure is likely to increase our chances of pregnancy by 20%. We may have to go through a few cycles of it and that’s not in the budget right now. The simple joy of eating corn is likely to increase my chances by 20% too right? Corn is in the budget so we are going to back off from the strict paleo way and be mostly healthy with some corn. Here’s to hoping that joy is as valuable a health tool as discipline.

 

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mexican street corn from Spork, my favorite!

 

Like a band of gypsies we go down the highway

When its raining, but only kind of spitting, and the wipers make that awful sound on the windshield I can’t stand it. A rain sensing windshield is my dream, because I am unreasonably mad at the over wiping of the wipers. How about if the rains just stop coming now? C’mon May flowers!! Speaking of May we found a new place to call home and most of our belongings are there now. When should we start sleeping there? We treasure every “last” here on Delaware Ave. We drank Manhattans as we sat on lawn chairs in our empty living room and looked around at our echoing space remembering all the good times here. I don’t know why I’m so emotional about this move, the memories come with us wherever we go. By the time I was 15 I had moved probably 15 times or more, we then moved into the first not apartment we had lived in. At that time we made our mom promise that we could stay still in that house until we finished high school. I’m super adaptable and good at moving, I like the change of scenery and the opportunity to pare down the items you possess.

The Lafayette house is twice the square footage we live in now, it has a dish washing machine and garburater and a garage. In a lot of ways we are really moving up into a better place, even the landlord is super cool and has allowed us make some changes to the place to suit our style. Win after win, but I’m so sad to see our itty bitty blue house go. I think I pictured bringing our babies home to this house, and the babies are nothing but a twinkle in our eyes at this point. Its a reminder that the thing I want most in this life is outside my control, and hasn’t happened yet.

Josh worked like a hoss in March and April and he lost more than 25 pounds Which I wrote about here. We hope this means his fertility numbers are improving, we hope that some babies will find their way from the twinkle in our eyes to the 3rd room in our new house. We already set up room number two for our annual hosting of an intern this summer. We have so much to look forward to in this space, so many meals with friends, and dance parties outside, and such a great view of the fireworks. I’m real thankful, just incredibly grateful that we found somewhere when we needed to.20170430_185646

I will not wax philosophical about putting my belongings into a boxes and transporting them across town, I know how my readers hate philosophy talk. (this is a joke…obviously) The Prius is packed full of the kind of things that don’t make it into boxes, and it is strange to think of all my stuff and how little is has to do with who I actually am. In my trunk:  I have a bag of tutus and a fedora and my kitchen aid mixer a pair of pants that is passed furtively among 3 friends and some oranges and onions. I don’t normally feel defined by the things I own but moving makes you really consider what you possess. I moved no less than 6 vases of dried lavender! What?!? Who am I? OH yeah, I’m Katharine raised by an often single mom in lots of different places taught to say what you mean and that if people don’t like you that’s not your problem.  Well for the next 2 years I shall be Kate of Lafayette, and hopefully future blog posts will not be written from the bathroom. (The bathroom is the only grounded outlet in the house my laptop won’t plug in elsewhere) Eyes still twinkling.

Last Man Standing

“Rest your head on your mat, open your eyes, see the mat.” I see it. I has tiny circles separated by capital letter I’s and inside the circles are little squares. My eyes get blurry like I’m looking at a magic eye picture from the 90’s, but i don’t see a hidden picture of a dolphin appearing. This is of no consequence to anything. At the end of class he says “open your eyes, meet the eyes of the people sharing your practice today, see each of them” I prefer seeing people to seeing my mat. They have eyes and expressions and they sweat with me here today. Baptiste Power Yoga is hard, and I feel like I am building something when I’ve finished. Daily yoga is my Lenten commitment. I cry every day because they say “happy baby” which is a pose you do towards the end while lying down, and the hot tears drip into my ears. I’m not totally sure why I chose this for Lent. I know that I didn’t want to give up anything since my diet is already paleo and very restricted, and I feel like I have a lot of loss in the balance of my life. So adding something felt like a safe choice, turns out an hour a day commitment is still a sacrifice. Shrugs.

Fun update: we went to the naturopath on Friday morning for our most recent fertility results. These results have to do with my dear sweet grooms body not mine, and so I asked him yesterday if its okay for me to write about. “This is our journey, Kate, not mine. Be as transparent as you need to”. Our culture has taught us that one’s manhood is tied to his performance and sperm count, I challenge that to say this guy’s manhood is tied to his response when asked to be vulnerable with his numbers. Together we have done so much work to improve our fertility, and now we embark on a new leg of the journey towards being parents. ( I doubt anyone really watches my song links, but I literally listen to this song everyday. it is the title of this post. Last Man Standing )

In November I wrote about the odds being stacked against us for natural conception, here are the details of that, and the fantastical new plan to beat the odds. The swimmers need to be at least 60% quick and zooming, we’re at about 30%; We need at least 20 million of them and we only have 16 million, lastly only half of our guys are normal the other half have two heads and coiled tails and stuff like that. Upon receiving this news (on his 37th birthday) he had his game face on and was ready for the next step, our ND calmly asked “how hardcore do you want to be.”  “Very” was my champions answer. She explained oxidative stress like this (3 minute animation)  and told us that  carrying some extra weight is the main cause of his oxidative stress. Well he has been hitting the gym an hour or more a day, 5-6 days a week since November and while he has lost some weight he needs something more dramatic to jump-start his metabolism.

 

Drum roll please….

Enter the HCG diet. Daily injections of this cool hormone will cause him to burn fat cells as energy, and somehow survive on 500 calories a day. Don’t worry guys its only for 3 weeks and then he can resume normal (is paleo diet normal now) eating. Did I almost pass out at the office when I heard about this, and saw the price tag, and comprehended the commitment level? You bet your buttons I almost did. So I’m in the waiting room looking at the patterns in the carpet and sipping water and being told to breathe, and my bad-ass groom is getting the instructions to take injections at home and how to count calories and scheduling weekly followups with our ND.  My head is spinning. Sally you will be proud of how Dr.Science this post is, the rest of you might be rating this post high on the EW! scale.

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Here’s us on our wedding day

I honestly don’t even know what to expect in the next 3 weeks, but did I know what to expect the last 3 weeks? NO one could have known that we would be sad and mourning the loss of a perfect little baby in our family, and it felt like I couldn’t breathe at some moments. Today I showed up though, and I might show up again tomorrow. Its a daily thing. We wake up grateful and put one foot in front of the other, we look each other in the face and try to see one another. So far that’s what I’ve learned from yoga-show up and see. We do not know what will happen in the hours and minutes we spend on this earth, sometimes its awful and unbearable and we feel crushed. The man I have married is so clearly the best partner for me in this journey. He is grounded and focused and kind and compassionate and also really tough. We are sharing our story so that you can see into us, and can lament and rejoice with us at the appropriate times. If you have experiences with this diet or infertility or grieving lets talk about those things and learn from one another.

 

 

 

 

 

 

In these arms of mine

When you are grieving the world is filled with landmines, spending time with anyone who is not grieving is eerie and wrought with danger. You must eventually return to the land of the living, but when, how? You wake up, you make coffee, you take a shower because that is what you do. The vacancy is loud and every crying baby is a reminder of what is missing. Today my dear nephew Braxton would have been  months old. We look at pictures, we talk about getting memorial tattoos, we say his name a lot. We look at the list of names of people that gave dollars to help with the expenses*, we say we should write thank you notes but we don’t know how.  This is what I’m listening to (blog title at 1:10)

I’ve told you before that I come from a big family. I grew up in my Mom’s house with one brother, and all my littler siblings grew up in my Dad’s house. (They range from 6-13 years younger than me) I have allowed myself to believe there is a separation because of our age, or because of our cross town households. I guessed that they thought of me as other, and I didn’t come around much because I focused on our differences. This week crying and praying in the waiting room, listening to the “CODE BLUE” on the intercom in the hospital, mourning and wailing : there were no differences.  They ushered us into a private waiting room and said “Now, this is just for family” and we all proudly rose and marched into that room. There were 15 of us in there, and we were family.

I have come to recognize the hot breath of the enemy on my neck. If there is a voice whispering “you don’t belong” or “you are not good enough” or “you’ll never fit in here” its not a voice worth listening to. In this strange land of mourning I will watch for the accuser of brethren, the last thing we need is to become divided.  I would encourage you to watch out in your relationships too, the family unit is under attack in this culture. Have you been unnecessarily critical and nit picky of someone you love, have you been holding onto your “rights” in disagreements with them, are you like me shushing the voice that says “your not worthy”?  As we learned in the movie The Usual Suspects “The greatest trick the devil ever pulled is convincing the world that he does not exist”. Calling the lies what they are is often enough to silence them.

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I have a lot of questions for my maker, don’t you? I have some doubts, and I’m kinda mad right now at him. I will not be deceived in this painful time to thinking that God is not for us. I can’t understand what the cuss he is doing in this scenario, but do I understand how the stars were made, or the oceans, or big fat ugly spiders? No ma’am I do not. I’ll keep being me, and let God be who he is, let him make all the hard decisions and not fill me in on the details. I know he loves me. I also know he loves baby Braxton. He loves you too dear reader, I’m absolutely positive of this. Lets be together in this nonsense and let love be the guide through the maze. Cling to these truths, hold fast, and call a friend if you think there may be a lie rolling around in your piles of thoughts and feelings. I love to bust lies, I’m a ferocious slayer of falsehoods so call me for battle okay. We can wrestle doubt together.

*HERE is the link to give if you feel so inclined. even $5 makes a difference.

You knock me out, I fall apart, and I thought I was so smart.

I was writing this sentence that I thought was going to end in an exclamation point, but it ended in a period. I write, but am I in charge of my story? There’s ice on the streets and sidewalks, there’s no leaves on the trees. Snow is my friend, ice not so much-because danger. I’m as much in charge of the seasons as I am of my story. I wake up and experience what this sentence, this chapter, this season is going to show me. This week it was a period.

I went to this thing, for women. There was food and wine so that’s how they got me to go, plus I got to sit by teenagers so that’s kind of my jam. I met all these chicks who are not the same as me. I’m going to tell you why that was cool in a minute, but first let’s talk about flowers. I came home to flowers on my porch and a post-it note saying “your heart is true” with a heart drawn. Guys a paper note, on my porch.(jaw hanging wide open)  I also got a paper note in the mail recently which said essentially “you and me, we are impatient. God is not”. Paper notes are the thing man, I’m like wicked encouraged by this stuff…and flowers in winter (deep breath in, long long sigh out) all the feels.

Okay so I’m a whiny little cry-baby-punk-sissy-wimp when it comes to christian women’s events. Why? Because!! Women complain about all the same things, and its so cliche and the conversation is so tired. Plus I’m like little miss vulnerable and I’m exhausted from being so heart-on-my-sleeve-ish. Like I said they promised wine and food and hanging out with guaranteed not moms at my particular table, so I said yes to the thing. I met people who I didn’t understand, who’s struggles were real and heavy and they were in it. Up to their elbows trying to get a grip on life and not fall on their faces, these girls were like me.

I listened in on some stories and I was humbled, just brought low. Some people are widows, some are fighting against self hate and depression, some have loved ones that are addicted to drugs and live on the street, some are told they are not allowed to dance, some try not to yell at their children all day. One lady lived through WWII in an underground bomb shelter her dad built, listening to explosions all day in the dark. One lady hangs out in dressing rooms at strip clubs in her hometown (Tampa, which btw has more strip clubs than Vegas) so she can be a friend and light to girls in the sex trade.  My ill behaving uterus seemed of little consequence when I heard these stories. Guess what though? These girls cried with me about my vacant womb, they hugged me and assured me that my struggle is real too.

I’m lighter tonight. I will still cry at the origami gum wrapper commercial (watch if you dare), and my favorite Hamilton song (listen here, you will not regret this), and when the brownies go so so well with the wine (paleo brownie recipe here). I’m still a mess, I’m still in pieces, I’m totally undone. I met a girl who tried to conceive for five years, and she asked me all the right questions and guessed all my insecurities, and loved me in this embarrassing mess where I am. So my things are in perspective now, I remember who God is and who I am. I remember the most important thing is that we are all in this together. Want to have coffee?20170204_221051

When our children tell our story, they’ll tell the story of tonight

Does anyone else pronounce chicken pot pie “chicky pie-pie”? Just me?  Okay. Well…happy comfort food season. What’s my favorite comfort food?  Every Single one of the bananas. Who me?  As for me I’m not pregnant. (Yes I am watching SNL watch the clip here) Good news:I’m not a 3D printed woman, I’m a real woman.  As a real woman I’m going to a women’s march Saturday. Wait…what the what- this post just got political. If you call human rights political then…I guess so.

Whatever gender or race my baby is  I think I want to invite them to a world where they matter as much as anyone.  I don’t mean to protest anyone, mostly to stand up for those I think deserve justice. From the march’s website “We stand together, recognizing that defending the most marginalized among us is defending all of us.” That’s what Jesus did, that’s why I’m doing it. “We don’t stray away from good doctrine or truth by focusing on justice and compassion for those in the margins – rather, we find Jesus and truth in the margins.” My pastor Ken Wytsma said that in his book The Grand Paradox.

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Ever since I was a 2 year old this fine country of ours has celebrated the birthday of a one Martin Luther King Jr. He was an incredible leader in Civil Rights, the rights of all humans to receive equal treatment, and I’m inspired to follow his lead. He said “in the end we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends.” Not this friend, I’m going to speak up. Happy Birthday Dr.King, I hope you like all the streets we named after you, I hope you see us from heaven as we march on some of them this weekend. Cheers to you. Raise a glass to freedom, something they can never take away.

While we are talking about taking stands, and believing in things I would like to say that I am a Work In Progress. Many of my opinions are still be formed, I’m still thinking through some of the facts that I have come across. Social Media forums prompt us to make a statement about what we think and feel, we end up sounding very absolute. What about properly executed discourse, words exchanged, non extremist “OH I’ve never thought about it like that before” kind of comments.  If we can’t talk about things without flames coming out our ears how will we ever repair anything? We need a rap battle I think; you know a little sass, a little grit, some rhyming to get the conversations flowing.

I finally started listening to the Hamilton Soundtrack  when my first intern came to visit in September and taught me how to use spotify (thank you Shlubz). I feel that I can not stop listening to it because it is the most patriotic music I’ve ever heard, and it reminds me of a time when this land was being built. We are still building it, I suspect we may never stop. Also reminds me that the founding fathers were humans, they were flawed. I grew up idolizing them, but they were people who cheated on their wives, and stole cannons, and owned slaves. Our country is still run by humans (not 3D printed guys who say”you are making a sunglasses guy like me laugh from my face”) sometimes we get it right, sometimes we do not. We should be talking to each other about these things. Sometimes, we should be marching together about them. See you Saturday?

 

 

 

gives us something to think about, something to drink about

We have this thing where we ALWAYS state why we are toasting when we raise our glasses, its in our vows. Today we said “here’s to whatever comes” (which is from fiddler on the roof) because we feel vulnerable and out of the control we often pretend we have. Were headed to a memorial service today for a young man and his wife who were killed tragically in a car accident. I feel a lot of things in response to this, I suspect I will feel different things in a couple hours after the service, but in this hour I feel vulnerable.

On the Facebook I keep seeing these posts like “enough already 2016” and how much 2016 took from us and how we all can’t wait for a new year to begin. Its a trick we are playing on ourselves that suffering knows the bounds of a year, that a the year itself is what is causing the pain. I don’t fault anyone for making these posts, we all do what we have to in order to get through hardship. For me being honest with myself is what I need. There will be tragedy and death in 2017, I can almost guarantee it. So what the cuss am I going to do?

Well for starters, I’m going to write.

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I’m gonna sit at the table with people.

For Christmas I received a gift from someone. She believes in my dreams so much that she gave me little leather baby shoes. Isn’t that so sweet!  I’m going to hope in the future, that those shoes will get put to use by my baby person. Hope is not a high-heels thing that makes you look like you have it all together. Hope is much more like bare feet braving rocky ground. Its a bit gritty, am I right? Its time to admit that we are afraid, that the darkness is blinding, that our inability to vault up sadness freaks us out. Then we follow that doubt up with hope, one foot in front of the other.

I’m going to show up in new ways this year, for people who need me to. I’m not totally sure what this means but I’m up for whatever comes. I’m going to be the opposite of silent, I’m going to stand up and speak out about stuff that deserves to be broadcast.  Lastly-I’m going to hold my hands open not clenched, because nothing is mine.  L’chaim