Tag Archives: peace

I blew out my flip flop, stepped on a poptart.

In 1998 my family went to Disneyland and Universal studios. I got it into my head that I was going to come off this trip with a very defined flip flop tan line. Did anyone tell me “that’s crazy you can’t wear flip flops the whole week” or “you’d have to wear the exact same pair of shoes, don’t you think you’ll get tired of that” or “that is impossible” I don’ t think anyone did say any of those things, there were no Nay-Sayers. I bet my mom said “Okay  Katharine” and let me pack just the one pair of shoes. Isn’t the story better if someone was contrary, and not agreeable? Well everyone was agreeable…I mean we fought about lots of things but not my choice of footwear. You guys my flip flop tan line was legendary. Some would say that’s nothing to write home about, but man was I proud of myself. I did get a plantar wort presumably from exposure to gross cooties in theme parks. I was not congratulated I don’t think, all though my mom Tina is my biggest fan and celebrates most of my miniature achievements with fervor.

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This was the beginning of my obsession with tan lines. My friends didn’t try to get cool tan lines, no magazine told me it was cool, I am not even sure who gave me the idea as I can’t recall anyone showing off a rad tan line. I had epic chaco tan lines on my bare feet at my wedding which no one thought was cool except me and Josh. I came home from Mexico with a wedding ring tan line, which I have ALWAYS dreamed of. It’s faint but when I take my rings off to give massages I can see it and I feel like a real champ. I did not come home from Mexico pregnant.

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We were at a Portland cafe the morning after we got home sipping oat milk cappuccinos and sharing a gluten free peach sage sausage scone, typical northwest cuisine familiar and happy to be slowly returning to real life. BLAMMO real life hit hard, and as I was unprepared for lady times we had to purchase products. I hate spending money on disposable lady things, wasteful and uncomfortable. #divacupforlyfe We consoled ourselves with the purchase of gluten free everything bagels (that taste like real bagels) and grass fed salted butter. We went home and made food and acted like normal people whose Mexican vacation dream was reduced to tan lines. I’m sorry, that’s too dramatic because our vacation was a spectacular escape from reality and so dreamy. We rested, and read books, and ate guacamole at every meal, and we laughed, and explored, and learned, and rode the bus. Real good time, its just that this return to reality was not the cushy welcome home we had hoped for.

“Maybe next month” we say to each other. We hug, and move slowly, and load up podcasts of the Moth Radio Hour to hear someone else’s story for the 3 hours it takes to get home over the mountains. Sometimes we numb the pain of loss with busyness and episodes of Unbreakable Kimmy Schmitt because we just want to laugh. Sometimes we drown in the sorrow of 28 months of failing to make what we want out of our love. We let it knock us down, and lie there listening to the single beating heart in each of our bodies, we cancel all the plans we made and mourn. Both are ways to grieve, and both require reintegration to society. I’m allowed to be sad if I want to, but sometimes I do not want to be sad. I like fun, you know, I like happy songs and sparkly scrunchies and cartwheel races.

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I’d like to give you permission to write home about your tan line, or maybe to write a blog about 20 years later. Get excited about whatever you want, and be sad if you think it’s a good time to do that. I don’t know if I have the courage to hope that I’m pregnant this month. Just being honest. I have given myself permission to take breaks from hope, and allow my friends and family to hope in my place. I think energetically it works out the same. We make up rules for ourselves that are nonsensical, and I think we just need permission to be our actual selves.

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ps. All the photos are for my mother and mother in law who have requested to see more photos from our trip. I mixed them in with my writing just for you lovely women.

 

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Everything is everything, after winter must come spring

With the power vested in me by the understanding of basic logic I would like to dispel some common myths for you my lovely readers. Firstly “when it rains it pours” is simply not true, sometimes it just sprinkles. Next “never look a gift horse in the mouth” is bad advice; just because something is free doesn’t mean you should just take it, an unhealthy horse is going to be a budget killer you might want to know about before you accept this gift horse. Lastly “3’s a charm” I’ll be the one to tell you that the 3rd time you try something you may not get the result you want. (side note what is a charm?)

I was five days late this last cycle, five days of hope that left me crushed and almost unable to peel myself off the floor. Our 3rd IUI was not charming, and having only been 1 day late in the last year I was exceptionally certain that our dream had come true. Instinctual reaction is “hope costs too much, stop buying into hope” but a few hours of crying later I defer to logic and realize that trying to conceive with no hope is foolish and sounds boring. So how to balance is the question I ask, where on the spectrum of hope should I situate myself.

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Here is a strangely lit selfie we took the day before our hopes were crushed. You can see the hope and fear in my dorky expression, and the patient waiting and supportive endurance my darling Joshua has in his expression.

Last week I was practicing tree pose in a yoga class, this is a one footed balance pose like a flamingo, and the teacher suggested we close our eyes. So yeah we all fell over and laughed at ourselves, and how surprisingly hard it is to balance one footed with no vision. Go try it….hard huh? Her nugget of wisdom was this : balance is not about being still, its dynamic. I mentally argued with her. When you are balancing two scales (viz: lady justice) you know they are balanced when they are level and still. Maybe she means the process of balance is not still, keep adding to one side until its too much then take some away and so on until you find just the right amount to keep it level.

The advice I most often receive is “stop trying and it will happen” which is pretty bad advice. You wouldn’t tell your friend who wants to be a musician to stop looking for gigs and their career will take off, or your friend who wants to move to Oregon to stop looking for affordable housing and a landlord will call with a great offer. Were supposed to go after what we want in life, and sometimes that means pursue your dream as a side job until it gets to a launching point. I’m not mad at anyone who has offered this advice to be clear, I know its hard to know what to say.  A sweet friend recently sent me a little video with 7 things not to say to someone struggling with infertility, with an apology if she’s ever said any of them.

I am floored with the compassion and tenderness my friends have shown me, so much kindness and I’m sure deeply thought out words. I have friends who invite me to their baby showers as if I wasn’t a fragile hopeful parent, or sent me an announcement with their precious child’s birth date and weight on it.  THANK YOU! I love being seen as someone who can operate in society even though my dreams make me borderline crazy.  I have had friends who have put off telling me their good news because they don’t want to hurt me and while this is incredibly generous, please know that I am so happy for you and I promise not to fly off the handle and freak out at you. It is my nature to celebrate good news with those I love, and Beyonce. I can politely decline to attend your event if I find that I am not up for it, but you can trust me to make that decision.

I’ve been trying to surrender control, knowing (because of my propensity towards logic) that I have never had any control anyways.  I wrongly perceive that I can solve this dilemma with more data, smart decisions, more dollars, and a really positive attitude. All of those things are good ideas and I will keep pursuing them, but I’m letting go. Hope is a muscle that gets stronger when you use it more, and when it fatigues and then you rest it, and get back at it. I’m not giving up on my dream, I’m going after it with a new kind of agility. I’m closing my eyes, and working through not being balanced yet, and not getting mad at myself when I topple. You know when Alice falls down the rabbit hole and is pretty scared at first but then her dress catches air and makes a parachute of sorts for her and she can look around and experience the free fall with a little less fear? I think my skirt just caught and I’m attempting to enjoy the ride not knowing where it leads.

I would like to report that half of our fertility expenses have been funded by generous donors, and this is a huge relief to us. Its so helpful to know that people are with us in this weird one footed thing we are doing. If you feel inclined here again is the link. Give

Cause I miss you babe, and I don’t want to miss a thing.

You can’t start a letter to your (hopeful) child by talking about it’s conception! It doesn’t care if it was conceived in a doctors office, or because its parents were doing it, kids don’t want to think about that-especially if it was foggy that day. I’m already failing at parenting. *face palm-rolls eyes*

That last post was terrifying, I almost took it down after 47 minutes but a hot shower and a somewhere to be prevented me. Transparency is hard, and I feel like I’m toeing the line between vulnerability and oversharing. I guess if you feel like I’m saying to much you just won’t read it. No one is making you. Just go back to facebook scrolling and forget about this nonsense.

Now its just us? Okay can we get real and talk about refried beans please. Holy yum, I love the beans at Los jalapenos! In high school I asked my prom date if we could go to Los for Prom, he said no, but I’ve long been loving their beans. You nice people saying all the nice things, I love you too.

Anatomically correct is the way I like to explain things about our bodies to children. When my nephew was 4, he is 8 today, I taught him that the heart muscle says “lub-dub” and we would put our hands on our sternum and pound out the heartbeat rhythm saying “lub-dub” together. I think I explained to you what the IUI procedure we are doing biologically achieves here and also here.

What I may not have explained is that it has a cost that is not at all covered by insurance which is why I offered you a link to give.  Except that I did not get the link in there right. OY! *face palm agian* Each time we go in for an IUI our chances increase, and so does the bill. We have tightened the budget some but its costing us quite a lot of dollars. Once the kid moves in we both will be covered by our pretty awesome insurance that Joshua’s job gives us.  The prescription that I take leading up to the procedure isn’t covered, the ultrasound to confirm the prescription did the thing it was supposed to do is not covered, and the bill for the IUI is not covered.

Here is where you can click to help us with these expenses.

It is a mystery to me that this medical thing is so expensive and necessary. I know of a lady with several children that she grew in her body and she took drugs during her pregnancies, like hard drugs…everyday. God confuses me with this kind of thing. When Jesus was born there was a King who was threatened by him, and killed all the baby boys born then so as to ruin this rumored baby King’s chances of overthrowing him. Jerk King! Why didn’t Jesus father, the creator of all mankind, put a stop to this? They were told to go to Egypt, the land of their oppressors if I remember right, and hide from the murderous King. What the what? As Christmas approaches I can’t stop thinking about this part of Jesus birth story. Did God really think this was the best way to save him from Jerk King’s wrath? Also the wise men were spies of the Jerk King, which was not how the story was told to me, so many surprises.

Jesus story was filled with plot twists and unexpected answers to questions, best friends that betrayed him and time spent alone in the desert. I can’t figure out why my story is going this way, or why the world is filled with darkness. Whatever the cost I’m going to hope again and again that redemption is at hand, and look for the coming light. It gets hard to imagine light sometimes, don’t you think? Remember July when the sun didn’t set until like ten pm or something, all those glorious hours of daylight. Starting Friday we will be on the way back to them.

Revised Letter to my hopefully baby:

Dear baby, I like you. If you exist now you will be born in the summer, and everyone loves a summer baby. You don’t have to hurry, but please don’t take your time.

ps. friends: I promise to tell you when we are expecting, so as to save you from having to ask.

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A sunny day in winter, they do exist!

I don’t want to close my eyes

It was 28° and foggy the evening you were conceived.  (Is this how you start a letter to your child?) We left the doctor’s office with stars in our eyes.  ¡Champagne! We exclaimed in agreement. We picked up Lebanese food because its a comfort food, and we told you (if you existed) that trying new things would be important. Your father lectured you about cultures and kindness and spicy food. There’s no snow yet, its December 8th & your great grandma’s birthday.  I hope you are a quarter of a day old, and that you like being in this family already.

Isn’t it crazy how dark it is right now? The shortest day of the year, the winter solstice, is next Thursday and it is 9 hours less daylight than than the longest day of the year. I know a lot of folks who are really feeling the dark this year. I’ve got a friend who is divorced and learning to celebrate all by herself, a friend who lost their brother and is learning to be an only child , and a friend who is getting sober and learning how to enjoy the holiday without drinking. My brother and sister in law lost their baby son 10 months ago and they are facing that darkness this year. No wonder we put up sparkly lights and cheer ourselves with decorations.

We will know by the solstice if our 2nd IUI resulted in a baby person. Last month our two week wait ended right before thanksgiving dinner when we learned that we were not pregnant. It was only our first IUI , I wept bitterly as we passed the gravy and my family was pure grace around the table.  I have decided that the second week in the TWW is shark week. It seems to me that I should know before I find out, like some innate mother instinct. I don’t want to miss any part of the 40 weeks I get to share space with this kid. Thinking I will know before I know is unreasonable to expect of myself. Its very shark-fin-above-water-swimming-around sort of looming and now you see it now you don’t. Here’s what I look like when I’d dodging sharks in the high desert.

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A friend recently said to me “I read your blog” and I think she was saying that she is glad I write, her follow up sentence was “is that weird when people say that to you?” Most days it feels like I have this flash mob of very excellent humans surrounding me and hassling God on my behalf and doing song and dance numbers that are very inspirational. Other days I want to ask the person saying they read my thoughts and feelings to say something vulnerable about themselves to even the field.

Friend: I read your blog

Me: Cool thanks, how much do you weigh?

Its my choice to publish my experience and it is mostly very helpful to know you guys are out there, that some of you feel encouraged by my rambling. My dear friend suggested that I put a Pay Pal button on my blog so that if anyone wanted to contribute to the expense of fertility stuff they could. I stewed on this and decided it couldn’t hurt, so its here if you were thinking you wanted to toss us a couple bones. She’s a smart friend with her own fertility journey and the fundraising she did was very encouraging to her. This is your chance to get vulnerable I guess. I’m not sorry that I invited you all into our story, it will make the victory that much more glorious and flashy.

Fun fact about week two of the TWW I am a grumpy, snippy, punk of a woman. I get so freakin mad at things that are tangled, you can’t even believe it. I should laugh at how mad I am, but I am too mad to laugh. I was trying to switch some laundry and the spaghetti strap of a camisole had wrapped around some leggings and was a muddled labyrinth of lunacy. I responded by threatening to tear the garment limb from limb until it behaved like a respectable shirt and pants. I threw it on the floor all discombobulated and jumbled and stormed down the hall to sit on my bed alone. I want to crush my computer for being slow, and I want to honk at anyone not signalling out of a round about. I have the smallest amount of patience for inanimate objects and will not tolerate insubordination. Great parenting skill are no doubt being forged.

Take each day as it comes

Isn’t it the worst when you tell your friend you have good news and they get really excited like its going to be THE good news? The news that everyone is hoping for you to have, the news you have been looking forward to for 20 something years, the news she is hoping you have has already lit up her face with joy for you and she holds her breath in anticipation. Now you get to reassure her that while it’s not THAT news its still good. Josh’s sperm count has grown by 4 million, and those lil buggers are swimming faster than the last two times he tested.  The category that is the most difficult to improve in is morphology, which evaluates if some of them are morphing in to werewolves in the moonlight or are they all regular hardworking un-morphed classic sperm. There was a 140% improvement in this number (curtsy & bow) so we popped some champagne because our guys are average looking and mostly fast swimming.

We had made this plan that if we didn’t get pregnant on our own this month we would make plans to try our first IUI (intra uterine insemination) but this news has made us think again about that plan. Now that we have more champions should we forego the intervention and stick to the DIY method? Ive got a lot of voices in my head trying to guide me. I can hear the voice of fear telling me that I’m getting older everyday and we don’t even know if IUI will work so we should start trying everything we can while we still can. The Christian voice asks “can I really prompt the beginning of life by hiring someone to sort our sperm and place them in an ideal place to meet an egg?”  The hippie side says go natural take more supplements see the acupuncturist regularly it will happen when it’s supposed to happen.  The mother in me says “where are my children”, and “do they know how much I want to meet them, how I hope they are kind and generous and smart and able to be honest and vulnerable with those they love; do they know I pray for their spouses and for the leaders of the world they will live in, for their health and inner peace as they face life’s struggles?”

I had hoped that by writing out all my inner voices I would see a clear answer rise to the top but they all have valid points.

And now its time for a reading break, here’s a song.

My friend recently told me that when she got engaged in her 30’s she was first happy then sad, real sad to be leaving behind her friends who were still single. She described it as survivors guilt, “why me, why not them too”. They were all in this little life boat together encouraging and affirming each other in their singleness and quest for contentment with this stage of life, now she’s in a married boat with her new favorite person and they are happy for her (probably). I was asking myself if I would feel that way when we finally do get pregnant. I don’t have a boat of people who wish they could have babies, I have people who love me and think they understand my struggle and I would be lost without these souls. Infertility is a boat only Josh and I are floating in. Its lonesome, the water is constantly rocking us to and fro and we have to go to work everyday and contribute to society and to our friends and families lives. As my fantastic Stepmom would say we have to act like something, and some days I feel like I can while others I want to step out of my own narrative for a while and watch as a substitute me acts like something.  Should I join a support group so I have a boat to leave when I become a survivor? I would like to say that the man in my boat is exceedingly generous and so available to me. There is no comparison for the selfless way he joins me in this struggle, how he cries when I cry, and passes a hanky sometimes, and lets me roll my eyes at our friends accidental babies even though that is detestable behavior.

I do not feel courageous or brave I feel like I am getting out of bed and showing up for myself and not very well sometimes. It is against my nature to be inauthentic I only know how to wear my heart on my sleeve (people put that thing inside their chests?) plus I think I’m looking for any other tiny dinghies that might be out to sea surviving this kind of storm. I hope that by saying something I create a little light for them, that gives them hope when hope feels foolish.  It’s a familiar absurdity to grow a person inside you, or to take on the task of turning a baby person in to a full size human that acts like something. Raising a teenager is a terrifying feat, and as we all know but constantly forget adorable babies turn into teenagers and hate us for a while. I have contributed to the parenting of many babies and toddlers and even teenagers, I know what nonsense lies before me. I know that it will challenge and stretch me in ways I did not know existed, that parenting will refine my marriage and my career like a fire that burns away impurities. What’s funny to me is that I know all that and the steadfast desire to have my own story remains unswervingly the course I choose.

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I had coffee with a dear friend recently, she became a parent this month. She reminded me who I am, and how I was made, is not something to apologize for. I kindled this fire as a small tiny woman long ago. I have been naming my kids since I heard that was the custom for parents to name their kids. Today as I try to choose between intervention and not intervention this fire feels like a wildfire that is threatening to make me evacuate my home. You know what it actually is, the fire that heats my home and I will not be afraid of it.  I will lean in closer and be warmed by the dream of my babies in my arms. This requires courage, but I think I have a really heroic partner in my boat and between us we can muster the strength necessary.

 

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We’ve got a million miles ahead of us

You bet I’m listening to Justin Beiber <I used to believe we were burnin on the edge of somethin beautiful> I still believe that Justin! <Don’t fall asleep at the wheel, we’ve got a million miles ahead of us> Okay, I won’t! Also watching Tim Burton’s Alice In wonderland. The flowers are so mean to Alice, am I right?  “She’s not even wearing the right dress” they gossip about her as she passes by. Then Absolem says “You are not hardly Alice” everyone is against her! I have loved the story of Alice in Wonderland since I was a small girl, I think it’s all the other worldness. It’s certainly not the rabbit that makes me love the story, rabbits are all together  untrustworthy. At least the Hatter believes in her from the start; she has some friends, some help in her journey.

I have felt so incredibly loved by many of you kind humans. You have gingerly and tenderly asked if you can ask the state of things in my womb. Your nice, all of you so nice; not at all like the gossiping flowers. Yes you can ask, and I promise to tell everyone everywhere when we have succeeded in our dream to have a baby. In the meantime we are plugging along trying to stay paleo and stay active and healthy, taking our vitamins and such. I’m focusing on gratitude and staying positive.

This time last year we were preparing for 3 days in the hospital. I was making cookies for the nurses and visitors, and getting my Christmas all in order, and making plans to lay low and recover for 6 weeks (an eternity). I will spend next week baking and gathering with friends, working on choreography to teach in December, and going to yoga. I love to look at the passing of time, don’t you? We get further from the things that were painful, yet new potentially painful things are on the horizon. It gives hope though to look back and see how you have used time.

“Sometimes I have believed as many as 6 impossible things before breakfast” Alice says this to cheer herself into doing something impossible. Here’s why movies are so great, 90 minutes in she is much more muchier and she’s absolutely Alice. She isn’t confident that she knows who she is or what she was brought here to do, but she’s got a hunch and a few fans. We have some news that the odds for natural conception are stacked against us a little bit, but we aren’t giving up. Thank you all for cheering us on, and believing in our dreams with us. Seriously, when this kid gets here you are all invited to party like its 1999 with us. (I hear that party=naps to pregnant people so be ready for napping fun times) Till then, pop the champagne we have so much to be grateful for. Would you comment telling me why your grateful? (even if its your nice new baby, I promise to be grateful with you instead of being envious) I’m grateful that I’m not about to get operated on. Your turn.

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Such a lame excuse to say I’m tired, everyone is tired more or less

I make these little deals with myself, where accomplishing a strange task gives me some kind of bragging rights…with myself. Do you do that? I went to Costco for eggs and butter last week, I didn’t get a cart because if I can carry it all I won’t go over budget. So I’m in line with 4 dozen eggs, 2 lbs butter, 3 lbs of almonds, and a big jug of maple syrup. The fellow in line behind me offered me the extra space in his cart because I was balancing  all of this in my arms, I proudly declined stating that this was my workout. I walked out of there with my head held high, and my bicep quivering under the load.

I went to horse camp this weekend for a ladies retreat. I prepared myself to be out of my comfort zone since I’m not a “Horse Person” at all. The horse part was so wonderful, what fascinating creatures. My face hurt from all the smiling.  I went on a trail ride, and then had a lesson in the arena, and then another trail ride; I got to comb out the mane of a giant draft horse who I think really liked me.  I did not adequately prepare myself to interact with 50 or so women who are all moms. When I say moms I mean the majority of the women had 4-6 children and a few moms I met had 8 children and were pregnant. If you were not a mom at this retreat you were a teenager or you were me.

I came home with a very full heart. I felt both encouraged and discouraged. I felt that I had been given everything I needed, but also a very aware of the great big child shaped hole in my life. I lay awake in my bunk at night coiffing my inner monologue and speaking truth to myself. Its good for me to wrestle with these things, pressure makes diamonds right? Of course I want to be a sparkly diamond of a person, not a hard lump of coal. Truthfully I feel more aligned with the coal version of myself. I’m not proud of jealously and discontent in my heart, it doesn’t look good on anyone. However I’m going to be honest and acknowledge my less flattering thoughts because I want to heal them and change them. I don’t want to pretend I don’t feel sad.

I had a … procedure today. If you have had an HSG you can hug me next time you see me. If you haven’t I’ll spare you the details lets just say there’s a catheter and x-ray visible dye, as my friend Samantha would say “its not friendly”. It was my second time having the procedure so I was familiar with how it goes down, which did not make it more “friendly”. Anyways:Guts! The results were not what I would call super exciting, but the powers that be say its better than bad news.  My dear sweet groom was there for what should have been an hour, and turned into 3 hours. We were both late to work, and a little shaken up from the whole ordeal.

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Waiting room selfie

When I was waiting for it to be my turn to get married (which wasn’t till I was 32) I whined secretly to myself about all the good wedding ideas being used up. She walked down the aisle to my favorite song, those were totally my colors, I was going to wear basically the same dress, that venue was spot on with my Pinterest. Same sob story now with babies. As it turns out I got the best wedding I could have dreamed, best song-best dress-best colors-best venue-BEST GROOM. I wouldn’t change a thing, right down to the eleven week engagement. So why wouldn’t my baby story be just as deluxe?!?

I don’t promise to swear off fruitless acts of bravery and bragging rights to myself. I was once in the delivery room with a person who insisted on having a natural and silent birth. Why? There is no gold medal, no ten foot check, no news story to cover your amazing feat. You get a baby, same as anyone in the delivery room. I can’t decide if the unnecessary self sacrificing is worth anything, or if its just meaningless martyrdom. Maybe the small things we challenge ourselves to do (that go unnoticed) prepare us for the difficult things our story requires us to rise to. Maybe they wear us out so that we can’t elevate our actions to meet life’s asks of us. What do you think?

I do promise (not to you, but to myself) to be more aware of the nonsensical stories I pretend God is writing for me, and to call them out as such. I’ll re-read the incident log as having been written by someone who thinks I’m worthy. Shading the story I read (of my life) as a page turner with a victorious win at exactly the point it seems like defeat is lurking. I’ll try to say YES a little more, try not to isolate my experiences but share them with my community. Pay attention to the details that matter, will you join me?

If you listen to this…I’ll love you forever.

Stephen Kellogg: Lonely In Columbus (This Blog’s title at 1:18)

(side note, I could listen to this whole album on repeat for years on end)