Friday, April 1, 2011

moving things around

I'm sort of blog happy lately.

In order to try and get some actual "gigs" I'm making a blog just for my music. You can find it here.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

How Death and Dying is Like Labor and Birth (an assignment for my doula course)

My Grandmother died almost exactly one year after my first vaginal birth after cesarean. She was the most accepting and loving member of my entire family. I do believe that she chose to die the way she did in order to give us all time to accept her death and to say goodbye. She spent three weeks hooked up to machines before she passed. It was probably quite a harrowing experience for her but it gave us, as her family watching her, so much peace to be able to see her and hold her hand and say goodbye.

My birth with the Explorer, my second born and my first vaginal birth, was very similar. It took three days of labor to birth him. I feel like I needed those three days, as difficult as they were, to come to terms with what was happening in my own body. When the Explorer was born, I was so tired and so happy to be done. Obviously I was happy about my new baby, but the prevailing thought in my mind was relief that the pain and exertion were over.

I feel like my Grandmother, when she finally passed, felt some relief. She had rheumatoid arthritis since age 13 as well as lupus. Most of her life was spent in pain, ever increasing until she died. I was living in San Diego at the time, 2000 miles away. I flew out to spend the three weeks watching her in the hospital and finally flew home after that three weeks. She died while I was on the plane to San Diego. I was very sad at her going. I still miss her every day. But the part of me that worried about her being in pain, or being sick, or being unhappy, that part of me is glad for her. Just as I felt relief when the Explorer was born, I feel relief that my Grandmother is no longer suffering.

It was a struggle for my Grandmother to live and it was a struggle for her to die. She had to labor, there in the intensive care unit, we all had to watch her and know that we were powerless to stop it all. In the same way, my birth team at the Explorer's labor and birth could only watch and support and know that it all had to happen. I had a team of family, neighbors, midwife, and doula to support me. My Grandmother had a team of family, neighbors, doctors, and nurses to support her. I got a baby at the end of my struggle. My Grandmother got peace. We both got a reprieve from pain and suffering. We both got to rest.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

a million wondrous things...

Wonderful things are happening here in my life. Career wise things are blooming profusely. Bet you didn't know I had a career. Well, turns out I do. For many years , since the Artist was a wee babe, I've dreamed of one day becoming a doula. I even attended doula training (with DONA) back in 2000 when we lived in San Diego. I had the hardest time finding clients and babysitting so I never did become certified. I attended Birthing from Within mentor training in 2002. Still, could not find clients. Then we moved to Indiana. I briefly toyed with the thought of putting myself out there and planned two birth art workshops. No one came. But I had two beautiful baby girls and felt pretty busy as a mother of four. We moved to Wales where I spent my time getting used to having a house full of children and enjoying the beautiful Welsh countryside. (I wake in the night still with a deep longing for it.)

So then we wind up here. The last place on earth I wanted to move to. Maybe not the last place, but certainly toward the bottom of my list. When I had been here about 8 weeks I met a woman, a doula, who had also been here about 8 weeks and had attended 8 births! She supported her family doing birth work! She said all the doulas she knew were way overbooked and it would be very easy to find work in this town. This information inspired me. Months later when recounting this story to my best friend, Candy, she suggested I just call this doula up and offer to do paperwork and filing for her so I could kind of get to know how to start my own doula business up. So I did. It has been an eye opening experience for me. I feel like my doula mentor (because really that is what she has become to me) is getting the short end of the stick! So I told myself, once I find suitable childcare, then I will pursue training. Suitable childcare has been found! So I told myself again, once I find funding then I'll begin training. I was awarded a scholarship through Birth Arts International and am now training with them.

So I'm seeking doula clients (if you know anyone). I've also put together a six week course for parents planning a vaginal birth after cesarean. I'll not post the links here because I feel a little weird putting my location out there for anyone to see. Those who know me are free to contact me for more information if you want.

I'm sure you've noticed all the singing videos I've put up. I'm putting myself out there for sure. I brought a demo cd to a local coffee shop yesterday and have been singing open mics here and there when I get the chance.

Things are looking good. I am deeply grateful for that.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Gluten Free Chocolate Chip Cookies (with a rice free option)

Seems like some folks have multiple allergies, not just issues with gluten, but also with other grains. This recipe takes that into account. So far I have only used rice and sorghum flour, but I imagine one could use others as well. I'm also going to mess around and see if I can come up with an egg free version. Right now I have a batch in the oven for a Valentine's Day party at the Artist's play rehearsal tomorrow, so I'm reluctant to do too much experimenting for this batch.

1 3/4 cup rice or sorghum flour (or a blend)
1/2 cup corn starch
2 teaspoons xanthan gum
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup sugar
1 cup brown sugar (packed)
1 cup (2 sticks) butter
2 tsp Kahlua (or vanilla extract, I keep Kahlua around to use in baking as I prefer it sometimes.)
2 eggs
2 cups chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 375 Fahrenheit. Mix the butter and sugar. Add the eggs. Add the xanthan gum, baking soda, and salt. Add the rice/sorghum flour. Add the cornstarch. Add the chocolate chips. Drop onto an ungreased cookie sheet and bake at 375 F until it just barely shows a little brown on the edges. You do not want to overcook these!

Alternately, you can make a sort of log out of the dough and freeze it for later. I brought a plate full of these made from frozen dough to a playdate and it was promptly gobbled up. (And nobody noticed that it was gluten free.) If you want to bring a plate of these somewhere but hope to have a few left over for midnight snacking, you'd better just leave a few at home because you are unlikely to bring home anything but an empty plate.