5/01/2016

Good News and Bad News

These last few days have been full of good news and pretty darn bad news. The good news includes the success of my, "Career Exploration for Introverts," workshop on Friday, with seven attendees and four free half-hour career consultations scheduled. I will let you know how many new clients come out of the consults (I recently signed two new clients separately, as well!). I also learned a lot in this first round of offering this workshop, and I plan to continue refining and offering the content in the future. And the participants really connected with one another; so much so that I had to ask them to leave. For Introverts, as you might imagine, this is definitely unusual and a real accomplishment. :)

In other good news, my campaign to become a mother through California Conceptions just passed the $600 mark or 10% of the goal! I know a few folks who intend to make donations and a couple of them are close friends and family. If you would like to contribute, I would really be grateful. I am also offering "perks" of career counseling and/or resume review for various levels of contribution, which you can give to friends if you don't need it. If you write a blog and are willing to support me by posting about the campaign, that would be wonderful and sooo appreciated! If you contact me here or on my campaign page, I will gladly share a pre-written blog post that you could change and edit. Or you can introduce it however you like. I also am glad for all positive wishes!

I had fun and informative conversations with both the California Conceptions program coordinator and one of the doctors, and wanted to share a few interesting tidbits from those conversations:
  • They confirmed that they offer a refund if you don't achieve a successful pregnancy after three tries, assuming you meet the requirements of 28% BMI and a clear saline sonogram. I meet the weight requirement but am a little too close to the line for comfort, so plan to eat more carefully and continue exercising. I'll get the sonogram with them probably in a month or so.
  • My next steps - in addition to continuing to work on financing - are to get a physical and complete the list of blood tests. I can also move forward on seeing an approved therapist for one appointment to discuss the psychological/emotional aspects of donor embryos.
  • The doctor said there is a 65% chance of success each try, using one embryo, and 75% using two embryos. The chance of twins, while in a typical pregnancy is one in a thousand or so, with this process (due to using 5-day blastocysts) is 1 - 1.5% chance. So using two embryos, there is a 3% chance of having triplets. I think I got that right, but any math majors, please feel free to correct me! In any case, there is a much higher rate of multiples, which makes me reconsider my original intention to use two embryos each try. What would you do?
Last bit of good news...had a great "coaching circle" meet up with a few folks from my EOL program yesterday. A guy from the program developed this curriculum, so we are acting as guinea pigs but reaping the benefits of the Theory U material he is using and enjoying having a reunion with one another. We will meet two additional times virtually and possibly once more in person.

Ending with the bad news, which as I think about is actually good and bad news in itself. Good news is I'm alive. Bad news is that when I got my oil changed yesterday, the automotive place did not fasten my wonky hood correctly and it flew up on the freeway, shattering my windshield and blinding me for a few seconds. The policeman and tow truck operator both said I was very lucky, and that most people swerve or slam on the brakes when that happens. For whatever reason, I didn't do that, but instead kept driving praying I was in the lane, slowed down, realized I could peek through a crack where hood connects to the car and work my way over to the next lane and then onto the shoulder, at which point I burst into hysterical tears that lasted a good 10 minutes. It was pretty traumatizing - just the shock of it and knowing the danger. I was fortunate that the glass did not break out of the windshield frame, but instead cracked into thousands of pieces and send little shards of glass onto the seat and onto my clothing; the rear view mirror also flew off. I walked away unhurt. Thank God. I'm having the car towed from my house to a shop tomorrow and it looks like my insurance will cover most of repair, minus deductible, and give me a rent-a-car.

Thanks for hearing all my news. I hope your weekend had as much or more good, and way less bad than mine did!

p.s. I have had a couple positive conversations (all things considered) with S and will share about these in my next post...

4/21/2016

Significant Developments

This will be a very significant and eventful post for me. It may seem sudden, but what I've realized is that this suddenness is connected to the fact that I was waiting and feeling "on hold" for the last 7-8 months. Waiting for S and my relationship to progress. Waiting for him to come around and become clear on wanting to be a parent. Waiting for the worst of his treatments to be over and for him to be in a place where this could be a priority. And not only was I putting my dreams of motherhood on hold, but also my hopes for a deeper commitment.

After 3 years in relationship and 5 years since we first became romantically involved, I felt we knew each other well enough to move forward. At the beginning of this year, S asked me for patience around that. So I waited. Along the way, I felt him opening up and, if not yet embracing, becoming willing to accept becoming a parent with me. We had several talks, as I've mentioned on this blog; one in which we talked about whether we might go the donor embryo route or the donor egg route. I was surprised to hear he felt drawn to the donor egg route, if I was open to it.

All this to say, when we had our second big conversation about becoming parents last weekend, I anticipated us continuing to discuss options and process his concerns/fears about his age and about finances, but ultimately to get on the same page to work together towards a common goal or goals. What I was not expecting was for him to begin the conversation saying that he had come to a decision that he did not want to become a father again due to those concerns. That he had made up his mind. I later learned he had come to this decision over a month ago (!), which helps explain some of the dynamic and fighting between us during this time.

You might recall he has a history of making unilateral decisions and keeping secrets, then blindsiding me once he feels clear and has judged the time to be "right" to tell me. It has never gone well. When we had those processing conversations back when we ended our relationship the last time and when we got together again last August, we discussed that pattern and I asked him to be honest; to not keep secrets. I believe secrets are toxic.

In any case, last weekend when he said he was clear he did not want to be a father again, I was completely blindsided and went into shock and abandonment grief. It felt like a betrayal and that he was saying he did not want to be with me. Knowing how much this means to me and then to say he absolutely doesn't want it felt like he was breaking up. We parted ways pretty quickly after that without talking about it in more depth. We have exchanged a couple of emails and have plans to talk Friday or Saturday. I'm not sure if there is any way through for us. I am open to talking about but I can't imagine having a child and being with him but he not participating in caring for the child. And I don't intend to give up my dream.

So... fueled by the many months of waiting and re-committed to my dream - and also encouraged by several special online women friends who have been supportive through my many years of trying to have a child - I took some big steps this week, which include...
  • Updating my application for the California Conceptions donor embryo program, a program I had researched and considered three years or so ago.
  • Starting a fundrazr campaign to hopefully raise half the cost of the program - $6,000. 

My business has grown and it's likely I'll have counseling hours at a college again starting in May/June. I will know more about this next week and take further actions at that point. I'm also meeting with my bank to explore financing options. But both because I think I would likely only qualify for a few thousand and because I don't want to start a family too much in debt as a likely single mom, I am asking for support to cover some of the expense of the California Conceptions program.

I realize some of you reading this may not agree with this method of covering expenses, and I respect that...I ask that you also respect my decision. I have considered this carefully, and I feel in alignment with crowd funding as a partial support. In part, because I have supported others campaigns to help them achieve their sacred dreams, and I do feel this dream of mine is sacred. I've felt called to be a mom for over 10 years and spent time reflecting and researching and even taking steps back and not pursued it for some time while I looked at my motivations and healed from past hurts. I am a spiritual person and believe that God has guided me to become a mom; I feel it is part of my purpose and part of who I am.

Which leads me to a request. If you feel drawn to support my campaign, will you consider making a contribution and/or sharing my campaign with your circle of friends? I would be deeply grateful. If you don't feel comfortable with either of those actions, wishing me well is enough and also means a great deal. If you're still reading, thank you for hearing me. I will write updates on this blog as things progress.

With Gratitude,
Kristina

4/11/2016

Exhausted, sleepy, and hopeful...

I just assisted at an intro. weekend for my business marketing group. We gain benefits in terms of connecting more with staff and others in the program who are assisting, but are also paid several hundred dollars towards our current debt or future programs with them. So, it's well worth it for me, as I now, after working this weekend, owe them less than $1000! I wrote the powers that be an email asking if there was any way I could do their next level "Speaker" program in June/July, which would help my inner confidence continue to grow AND give me tools to speak on stage and make program offers. I hope she says yes, but it's likely she will say no. If it's a no, then I'll assist at the intro. weekend in September and hope to join that program then. The problem is that the Speaker events I want to attend only happen in June/July of each year, so I would have to wait over a year to take them (there are other awesome events with that program, too, called "leverage"). Even if I don't do the Speaker event this summer, I still plan to speak to groups and give workshops to the best of my ability; I just know that my ability would be far greater with this program. We will see what happens.

As is true after all of these weekends, I'm super exhausted today. I slept in big-time and can't believe it's after 4pm already. I haven't even eaten lunch... I did learn a lot and connect with other folks. Watching our program leader "dance with concerns" was definitely inspiring. One of the biggest reasons I joined this program is it wasn't about sleezy sales; it actually has a spiritual foundation and prioritizes people being "aligned" in a yes or no, versus trying to win them over to a yes no matter what. And that is translating to the consultations I am doing with possible clients. I am better able to talk with them about their worries and not collapse into just saying, "Okay, no problem, that's fine for you not to work with me," or "Okay, no problem, I can reduce my rate to a lower amount." Instead, I hold my own value and alignment and support them to make an aligned decision for themselves; one that they don't regret. I don't know if this makes sense as I'm explaining it, but it's a different approach and I feel grateful to be learning and practicing it.

I have eight clients now and several more consultations on my calendar and a workshop coming up at the end of the month. I would still like to pick up part-time college counseling hours again to support me, at least for now. I heard back from a couple full-time applications that I did not get interviews. Still waiting to hear back on three possibilities for part-time work, which would be my ideal.  Fingers crossed.

A last thought about S - he is continuing to do well with his treatment but it's uncomfortable and aggravating, and hard to sustain for so long over these last few months. I'm doing my best to be supportive and hold onto the bigger picture, but sometimes I just want him to be more loving and for us both not be in limbo waiting to feel normal again.

3/26/2016

Happy Easter! and family/work updates

I'm not sure if this post will be cohesive, but wanting to share some happenings, so here goes...

It's Easter weekend, and I'm feeling a little sad not to be spending it with a little one. I told S that I wanted to spend this Easter with a child - my nieces and nephew or his grandchild - but it's not working out unfortunately. His daughter and son-in-law did make the move out here. She has a job already, and he has been interviewing and is close to landing one. They sent their one-year-old to her grandma's house in another state during the transition, which I don't think that I could do, but it sounds like she's happy and thriving. The grandma has been a caregiver for her since birth, so that does make it easier. She should be arriving in a week or so - can't wait! - but we're missing Easter with her.

Instead, I'm meeting S to watch the UO bball game (go Ducks!) this afternoon out at a sports bar somewhere, then going to dance tomorrow morning for the first time in over seven months - my knee is doing great with daily use and working out but I'm planning to take it easy - and meeting S afterwards for Easter brunch. Looking forward to our plans, but I'd still rather be with my brother's kids right now dying eggs!

S and I have been doing pretty well. We hit a bump in the road a week or two ago around his jealousy rearing it's head again and my frustrated attempt to set a boundary which then triggered him, but have moved through it in part thanks to the NVC couple's group we've been attending. We still plan to see our counselor to work through it further but are feeling close now. He's in his last round of chemo treatments and doing well so far, but we still have a few months to get through. As a reward for getting through it all, we plan to travel to Ireland in September! His step-son is getting married near Dublin. Woo hoo! It will be my first time traveling there, though I do have some roots in my ancestors, the Dunlavy's.

We have also had further conversations about becoming parents and made headway. We talked about different options, and I think he's coming around to donor embryo or foster adoption, but it's another thing we plan to discuss with our counselor. He's understandably worried about finances and the long-term responsibility piece. He makes a very good salary at this current job and honestly I'm not sure where it all goes and why he can't save more than he does. I know he has some credit card debt, but as I'm writing this I wonder if he's paying alimony to his ex-wife. We have had some money conversations but haven't gotten that far, yet.

My business continues to build slowly in fits and starts. I have a couple more career consultations this week so wish me luck. I'm also still waiting to hear back about two college counselor applications I submitted. My ideal is still to land a part-time counseling gig and continue building my business. There is a chance that I could be re-hired and given hours at my previous college for summer/fall, so I'm keeping an eye on that, as well. My marketing/client attraction program just formally ended with the final intensive last weekend, but I'm assisting at the next event in April and plan to stay connected, hopefully doing their speaker and leverage programs in the near future. I would definitely love to publish an e-book and get some videos or a home study program online! I officially joined my BNI local networking/referral group last week and am super excited about the potential there to get a steady stream of new clients. We are meeting for a second time next week.

Still waiting to see what happens with my housemate/living situation, but she couldn't pay rent on time this month, and I'm wondering if she might be on her way out. Considering that factor plus negative responses from the college district nearest S, it looks like it might be a good thing for S to eventually move in here. More shall be revealed soon, hopefully, on that front. Guess that's all the news for now...Hope you have a very Happy Easter weekend!


3/12/2016

So Annoyed

I just received a letter saying my equivalency application for one of the local college districts was denied. WTF?! I have been working in another local district for the last several years, and on top of that my equivalency application for yet another local district was very recently accepted. As I understand it, these standards are uniform across the state so why am I being denied by this one district? Argh! I have had nothing but bad experiences applying for schools within this district, so I am beginning to think that I am not meant to work for them.

Also, it's stormy, wet, and grey here, and I have a big case of PMS. So. Annoyed.

Thanks for listening. Hope your weekends are going better so far.

3/02/2016

Liminal Hopes and Dreams

I'm feeling kind of lost today for some reason... I'm sad to say I had another shocking confrontation with my housemate a couple nights ago. Not as bad as others but still very disturbing to my psyche and peace of mind. Not surprisingly it had to do with sharing what she thinks of as "hers," i.e. the tv which she owns.  *Located in the middle of our living room, the fact of which makes it seems silly to buy another tv but perhaps that's what I should do.

Synopsis: She was gone at a family gathering for a couple hours during the academy awards. I was watching it when she came home and it was literally at the last three or four minutes when they reveal best actor and best movie, which they build up to all night. I asked to have a few minutes longer, which I think most reasonable people would understand and agree to, but she stood there angrily in her robe. The show actually went overtime and cutoff so I left. I came back in for a moment to let her know what the recording time where she had left off watching earlier and she erupted in rage and again called me a "Taker," and also said, "I don't know who you think you are, but you're not that person."

WTF is that psychological abuse? Trying to get in someone's head and make them question who they are? And she's supposedly worked as a therapist. So yucky and disturbing. I pay half of the cable and give her wide berth in watching it when she wants. The fact she's gone two to three nights per week at her daughters has made this situation tolerable to begin with, but she's coming back this afternoon and I feel the oppressive energy of that fact. So. Done. With. Her.

I really do like this house very well, in all aspects but the bathroom which the owner didn't renovate when he did the kitchen. The kitchen is large and nice and new, with tiling and lots of counter space, etc. The location is pretty nice, as well, within walking distance of this small town's downtown and near two nice parks. S and I have talked about him taking it over when she leaves so I'm trying to stick it out. She said she wants to leave and plans on leaving but it's now March when she initially said the beginning of the year.

There are other situations unfolding which play into where we live (we are talking about us living together wherever that may be) - including if and where I land another counseling job. If it's at the college near where I live right now, then the situation mentioned above is the one we would go for. I think we would pay Marilyn off in some way or try and negotiate with the owner. I don't have confidence she would want to help us at all, but I have found that money talks to her. I would even help her find a place, as far as sending her leads. I think she should live in a mother-in-law unit or apartment near her daughter in a city that's about 45 minutes away.

Anyway, that's one scenario. The other ones are either that I get hired up north in S. Rosa full-time or in the E. Bay (near bkly and oklnd) full-time or part-time. The first option would lead us to move up there, the second option we could stay here or move closer in, finding a place with a yard in a walkable pocket neighborhood. Zoey of course is a huge factor. She's worth it but she adds further considerations, mainly that the place is dog-friendly and has a yard, which hugely limit the choices. I do NOT like long commutes, however, so I would work to avoid that, unless BART worked super well for the location.

In the meanwhile, I do feel lucky right now that I have an abundance of time to work on my business. Honestly, sometimes I get stuck and am not sure what I should even be doing, but at those times I just need to go back to making lists and prioritizing... sometimes I wish someone would tell me, "This is the most important thing to work on right now, then this and this." ha I have to be the grown one and direct myself.

My introversion, while a strength in many ways, is holding me back on the networking front. I have every intention of going to a networking event, but then the time comes and I just don't have the energy or motivation. Sounds lame saying it. I am totally and 100% committed to attending a networking group next week, which may or may not lead to a solid referral network, fingers crossed. Looking for other ways to inspire and butt kick my way to attending other events, like committing to going with someone else. Also, finding events close by seems to really help energetically.

This afternoon and evening are quite busy starting with an appointment with the counselor I and we have seen in the past. I want to explore how to let go or give less weight to the idealization and fantasy around my "first true love." I realize that's what I've been subconsciously comparing every relationship since then to...I went back and read blog posts from when I gave it a second try with that person. What a nightmare in so many ways. From feeling bored and distant, to insecure when he was checking out my sister, to abandoned when he headed up to keep drinking when I wanted to call it a night during my brother's wedding weekend, to retraumatized when he made a unilateral decision to abruptly end things as he had more than two decades ago.

The "one thing" that was great was our base physical chemistry. He did not even kiss well and was not a great lover. But I felt physically drawn to him and comfortable with him in that area. I have researched and found out that this is "a thing" to idealize and be hung up on your first true love, and I want to contextualize it and get help with managing it and giving it less weight. Can any of you relate to this dilemma?

After my counseling appointment, I'm heading into the office to meet with a client, then I'm meeting up with S for our Val.entine's dinner romantic makeup dinner. He had the stomach flu that night, so we never ended up going to that awesome restaurant I was talking about. Tonight is our do-over! Should be really fun and connecting; I love these type of dinners with S.

Happy March to you! Hopefully, I'll have some good news to report on the job or business front next time.

2/22/2016

Expanding Business and Family

I just attended another weekend intensive for my business marketing program. Whew, my Introvert is once again exhausted! I'm glad I went, though, because I am now re-inspired to keep the momentum growing with my business.

I also had a moment of insight that I hope will continue to unfold and positively affect my energy and the flow of money in my business.  It happened near the end of the last day when the program leader did another "break-through" session with an attendee that helped them heal from a block holding them back. We then went through an exercise that could potentially heal the same block in us... basically, letting other people's criticism and ways they had hurt us hold us back from expressing our gifts and living our life fully. I initially thought that my "issue" was around a frat guy kind of archetype being critical of or hurtful to me - which I have had some unfortunate experience with and which my dad resembles in some ways - but then during the exercise I became emotionally triggered when my partner looked away at someone else in the room (we were taking turns doing dance/movement for the purpose of taking our power back). When she did that, I felt my power immediately drop out of me and I couldn't recover it, ending the exercise feeling sad.

On reflection, I realized a core issue for me is letting others define whether I am important or "good enough." It may sound simple, but it feels significant to pinpoint. It's odd because I have felt scared to be "seen" at time with putting my business communication and messages into the world, but I think underlying that is a fear that I will put my heart out there and create something I care about and want to share with others and no one will be interested or want it. So, I think that leads to me playing it somewhat safe and not wholeheartedly putting myself out there in my work and daring to care or become attached. Something like that. I'm still figuring it out. Anyway, I feel grateful and plan to discuss it in my business coaching session because I think it will lead to growth. This program places importance on both the "inner" and "outer" game or work we do, which resonates with the way I view my own work with clients and is a big part of why I joined this program.

S and I are getting along well and have had fun together lately, as well as sharing some productive and loving conversations. After struggling with my judgmental side coming up again strongly in our relationship, I made a shift in which I changed the question to "how" versus "whether." In other words, focusing on how to be in the relationship and deal with my judgments versus whether to continue in the relationship considering the judgments, which I think is a positive boundary for me. My mind definitely has the tendency to fixate on something and drive me, and others, crazy at times. He is being very helpful and supportive with my business, which feels awesome.

Lastly, his daughter, son-in-law, and granddaughter are definitely moving out here in a month or month and a half. His granddaughter is only one and a half and a smart and adorable little girl. We will spend time with them regularly, I think, and be part of their support system. S will more than me, but I see both of us being involved, especially considering my thus far very positive connection with his daughter and the way S and my relationship is heading. Wow, just thinking about that is exciting! And I can enjoy it without reservation because S is supportive now of my own desire to become a mom. So, I don't feel like it's one or the other or in place of having my own child.

Oh, and S is recovered from his stomach flu and finally getting back to regular strength after his surgery. I know he has more treatment to come, but it's nice to have some time where he is feeling good!