Tag Archives: internet

Maybe she’s born with words… maybe it’s insanity.

According to Salon.com, the old “definition of insanity” adage is “the most overused cliche of all time,” which makes me laugh, because I’m about to do it again.

I started by googling “crazy is doing the same thing” to find out who actually said it and quickly learned that it wasn’t crazy that I meant, but rather insanity. So I started over again… “insanity is doing the same thing” and found that in that respect, the Internet went wild re: attribution. As the Internet is wont to do. Maybe it was Einstein who said it. Maybe not. But as Salon suggests, lots and lots and lots of people have repeated it, myself included.


They say that the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.

They who? I don’t know. The all powerful, ever present “they,” I suppose.

But are they right? And should I discuss it with you? These are the questions on my mind at present.


I’ve told you my infertility story. Dramatically recounted it in excruciating (to you, I’m sure) detail. So as I sit here, at the cusp of doing it all again (where “it all” = IVF)… I’m left wondering what to do about the words.


A while ago, there was a Twitter campaign associated with the hashtag #WhyIWrite. My response:


To let the words out. Some people really liked my response. Liked it enough to reach out to me personally, and that was really cool.

Honestly, it didn’t seem that profound when I put it out there. It was just my truth, but I can see why it resonated with other writers. They must, like me, at times get so over-stuffed with words that the release of writing is the only way forward. I’m not sure that this was ever truer than when I went through IVF the last time. The wild swings and crazy ups and downs filled me to the brim and blogging through it was incredibly cathartic for me. The release was exactly what I needed, the words on the page helped me to shape the thoughts in my head and explore the feelings wrapped around my heart, and the support I had through all of it from you, my dear readers, was phenomenal. It was so important to me, so valuable, and I feel so fortunate that writing, sharing, connecting in this way is a part of my life.

BUT. The definition of insanity…

We have decided to do IVF again. Just one more time. As I mentioned previously, for reasons beyond the blog-o-sphere, our chances of success are… what’s the right word?… low doesn’t quite do it justice… unlikely seems too bouncy… dismal seems a bit over dramatic… I’m not sure what the perfect turn of phrase is here, so I’ll borrow from our mutual frenemy Effie Trinket — the odds are not in our favor. Not now and definitely not in the future, so if we’re to have any chance at all of doing the baby making thing in this way, this is our shot. And we’re taking it. One more time, and only one more time. Given the poor odds and our previous experience, however, I have to wonder whether this is truly me bordering on the brink of proverbial insanity. And as such, what right do I have to run wild and free through Internet land talking and whining and ruminating again on something that may be just as insane (stupid/silly/dumb/wasteful/pathetic) as my inner mean girl (and the maybe-Einstein quote) would have me believe?


So… by way of long and twisty explanation (always)… I’ve been really back and forth about whether or not I should write about any of this again. Lots of self-deprecating cons (e.g., this is insanity, right? do people really want to read more about any of this? how much more could I possibly have to say? won’t it get repetitive?), but then the single, most important pro came to mind and it changed my mean, mean, mean mind: infertility is a big part of my life and IVF is where my head and heart, and by extension my words, are going to be for the next couple of months. That’s where I will be, where I am, and where I am is the only place from which I can truly connect with people, with you. So that’s where my words need to come from.

Ultimately, the point of my writing, and therefore Under the Tapestry, is to connect. And connections is, as I recently identified, one of my three core values. One of the things that really drives me, gives me purpose.  Connection, grace, and humor. So, here we go again — pull the lever, Kronk!



But seriously — maybe you would hate to read even one more single infertility related word? If so, tell me now! Uterus? Did I lose you? Granted, I have a feeling that I’m going to be gushing about a certain marathon in the very near future too… so there’ll be other thingzzz. I just think I’m probably going to say some things about my uterus too. Cool?

Unity, Uniformity, Unicycles, and Unicorns

Hey, friends! How were your collective weekends? Wonderful I hope! Want your Monday to get just a bit better?

Ok… this:


Thank you, beautiful Internet! Thank you, Google Image search! Thank you, unicorn on a unicycle (with a unibrow) for being so very, very awesome!

Not really the point though. Just awesome.

The real point is unity. And I’d like to juxtapose it with uniformity.

I started thinking on this line of thought at church this weekend. The priest was trying to make a similar distinction during his homily. To be perfectly honest with you, I wasn’t really buying what he was selling. So I re-wrote it in my head and now I’m bringing it to you– get ready for church, y’all!

(Oh man, I sound like I have a total God complex or something now.)

So here’s my homily.

I’d never really thought about the difference between unity and uniformity. They both mean same-same, right? (That’s what my friend Emily used to say when she was real little, we’d look for ways we were same-same. And it reminds me of the movie Return to Me when David Duchovny’s super lame date says “green green, matchy matchy!!”)

Except now that I think about it, it’s same-same, but in a different-different sort of way.

Uniformity is the jeans from the Limited Too (omg, do you remember that awful, awful store) I wanted so very, very desperately to fit into so that I’d be like the other girls in my grade. Unity are the girls who didn’t care whether I fit into them or not.

Uniformity is getting just enough wrong to still get an A, but not an A+ (of course Rachel Vonck got an A-plus!) or an A- (oh my gooooosh, Rachel Vonck got an A-minus?!) to try to avoid being made fun of. Unity is having an AP Biology study group made up of people exactly. like. you. A-pluses all around!!

Uniformity is going through the motions and trying to get ahead. Unity is blazing trails for yourself and others.

Uniformity is doing anything and everything you can to fit the mold. Unity is recognizing and embracing the ways in which you stand out.

Uniformity is what governs the Mean Girls world of middle school. Unity is what probably should.

Fortunately, when you get over the need for uniformity at all costs, unity kind of comes naturally. And it feels oh so very, very much better.

The priest basically said that uniformity is rote, unity is choice. I can kind of see that, but I also kind of disagree. Because I think they’re both choices. Uniformity is the choice to squeeze into awful and tiny pants because the label is right, to not perform to your full potential because you are afraid to be teased. It’s about what’s on the outside, instead of what’s on the inside.

Unity is about what’s on the inside. On the inside, I’m a unicorn with a unibrow riding a unicycle. I’m a t-rex eating a t-bone in a tent. I’m a muggle practicing magic against the Ministry’s wishes. I’m an a-hole whose too fond of alliteration to accept that this has gone too far…

Wishing you a happy, happy Monday! (Unless you had the day off– then I’m jealous and I hope your day was merely happy.)

A missed opportunity, a happy ending, and a 1001 BOOK CHALLENGE!

I’ve mentioned a few times my failed attempts at friendship in the recent past. Kite flying in San Francisco, anyone? It was awkward… and kind of pathetic… but I don’t regret it. Because that was not a missed opportunity for friendship. Granted, it didn’t develop into a friendship either. At least I know! Because missed opportunities for friendship? SO MUCH WORSE!

Lots of wind-- perfect kite weather!
Lots of wind– perfect kite weather!

I earned my undergraduate degree from Michigan Tech way up in the UP. I was a chemistry major and really liked my program, except there were very few women (although that applied to most programs up at Tech) and I often often felt like something of an outcast. It’s not that I didn’t like the people I had classes with, I just didn’t really know how to be friends with them and I spent a lot of time nursing hurt feelings over sexist comments and awful nicknames. (Belgian Vixen– really?! what does that even mean?!) But there was one girl I had a lot of classes with named Nicole. She was COOL, you guys. Like real cool. Everyone talked to her, people didn’t make fun of her, she wore cool shoes and her clothes were all “I’m walking around being confident and cute in something you couldn’t even have dreamed of putting together” and she even had super great curly hair (and this was waaaay before I had tamed mine). I wanted to be her friend. Like for real.

At this point you’re probably feeling super bad for me. But don’t! It’s not like I didn’t have any friends. I met some seeeriously awesome people in the dorms my first year and made a lot more friends working in the Writing Center and  elsewhere around campus. So it’s not like I had the urge to stalk or kidnap Nicole or anything. Really. I wasn’t that desperate. I just thought she was real cool and would have loved to have been friends with her, especially since we were both in chemistry.

But I never said anything. I never even tried. To this day, I can remember where she sat in Inorganic Chemistry (oy, that class… what kind of chemistry professor covers up the periodic table during exams?!)– a few rows to the left of me. Opportunities day after day after day as we filed in and out of the classroom, as we did dangerous (horrifically dangerous, truly) things in the lab, and as we commiserated over the ridiculousness that was that class in the chem computer lab upstairs. (Seriously, I hated inorganic so much– more than p-chem, analytical, instrumental analysis and FORTRAN (yes, I had to learn FORTRAN90, I know, pointless) combined). Enough about Inorganic Chemistry! Get out of my brain!!

Back to Nicole. This story actually has a super great ending. No. A super great re-beginning! So keep reading!

You see, thanks to the miracle that is the modern internet and to Mark Zuckerberg, inventor (maybe– have you seen The Social Network? It’s good!) of Facebook, Nicole and I have remained in touch. As in, sometimez she posts cool stuff on FB and I’ll “like” it if I’m feeling brave. But then! THEN! I got really brave, and I wrote this blog, and Nicole got really brave (turns out we’re so nervously and cowardly alike that we would have totally hit it off in college had anyone had the courage to actually do something!) and commented on something I posted and we talked… and talked some more… and dang! What a chance to make up for a missed opportunity! And get pumped, because something really, really cool is coming out of it!!

Have you ever heard of the list of 1,001 books you need to read before you die? I hadn’t either… Nicole brought it to my attention. Just like she brought a reading challenge to my attention in the first place. Because we like to read, Nicole of Brash Biochemist, Dawn of Cups Running Over (another missed-opportunity-followed-by-internet-reunion-friend), are linking up to bring you the NEVER ENDING BOOK CHALLENGE– a challenge to read (or at least try to read, it’s ok to not finish a book if you’re really not digging it and if it’s something you’ve given yourself permission to do) all of the 1,001 books on that list!

Want to play?

Great! Here’s the deal:

I used the list available here to generate a list of all 1,001 books in a Google docs spreadsheet. (It’s public– feel free to check it out here.) Every time we’re ready for a new book, the three of us will take turns picking… either randomly or not (picker’s choice) and we’ll all read the book du jour.

I went first. I used a random number generator to choose a number from 1 to 1,001 (because I really don’t trust myself to be unbiased) and got the number 814. Number 814 corresponds to Robert Louis Stevenson’s The Master of Ballantrae (available free on the Kindle!!). So here we go!

As we read, Nicole, Dawn, and I will post about the books and our experiences and we’ll also add our names and the date the book was completed to the spreadsheet. If you’re reading along, please feel free to do the same! We’d love to see lots of names and dates… all of us reading together!

I suppose the moral of the story is this: Learn from me, nerds! It’s so worth speaking up! The response isn’t always ideal (see kite example above), but it’s better than missing an opportunity altogether! Granted, there’s always the internet and over a thousand books to make up for it…

Let’s read!!!

There must be some toros in the blog-o-sphere…

Do you like blogs?

Hint: the correct answer is YES because unless you hate the internet, which you obviously don’t, there are tons and tons of blogs out there and there’s bound to be at least one that’s just right for you!  For example, Under the Tapestry.

(See how I just linked you right back here?  Clever, girl*…)

Personally, I looove blogs.  Some because they are written by people I love.  Some because the content is absolutely fascinating to me.  Some because the people are so different from me and incredibly knowledgeable about something that is otherwise very foreign and I find them completely engrossing.  I love different blogs for a lot of different reasons, but every day I think I am becoming more and more blogophilic.  (I’m hyrodphilic too– always thirsty.)

For that reason, I thought I’d share some of my favorites from each of the aforementioned categories.

I know lots of people with awesome-dot-com blogs.  (Awesome.com is a trademark of one of my former labmates.  It’s his, totally his, I can claim no credit for that excellent turn of phrase, but I use it anyway.  Hopefully, he’s out there somewhere, like beantown, saying dang, dang, dang.  Because then we’re even.)

First and foremost is my good friend Chris Lema over at ChrisLema.com.  He’s a big WordPress guy and knows pretty much everything there is to know about the interwebs and how to make it work for you, plus a little bit (ok, a lot) about everything and anything else.  (Except being a mom.  His wife is waaaay more knowledgeable about that.)  While his subject matter truly boggles my mind, he speaks my husband’s language, and he’s married to the most amazing woman on the planet, so I follow him.  Every once in a while I learn something– you know, like how to pay for lunch.  (True story: TWO times, I have managed to pay the check while out for a meal with Chris.  I’m still waiting to hear back from Guinness Book, but all signs point to a world record.)

My cousin Holly has a great blog too (well, she’s my husband’s cousin’s wife, but cousin works here I think… we have the same last name).  It’s called Mom Taught Us and she shares all sorts of amazing and delicious kitchen creations.  Yes, I’ve actually had some in her kitchen.  Jealous?

My friend Dawn has a beautiful, beautiful blog at cupsruningover.com.  She’s.  Flipping.  Fascinating.  You will love her, she’s impossible not to love.  Go read her blog, be impressed, be inspired, but then come back and love me too!  (The fact that we recently reconnected at this moment in time is absolutely bizarre and I can’t wait to write all about it in some sort of super special feature sometime very soon.  Plus, we wear the same size shoe, which means I automatically love her.  Without giving anything away, it’s larger than average, to be sure.)

Another grad school friend, the very talented doctor Lara Lacombe is a real life writer– of romance novels!  How sweet is that?!  (Yes, I am technically a writer for a living, too… but my writing is significantly drier than Lara’s, to say the least!  Except one time I did write a case report about a woman who suffered a stroke as a result of sexual intercourse.  Decidedly un-sexy.)

Last, but most certainly not least, is my favorite day-job client and friend Dr. Rajan Kanth.  His website is full of all sorts of wonderful medical and self-learning tools!  Dr. Kanth is always teaching himself new things and I love it when people love to learn!!  Also, before I met Dr. Kanth, the only thing I knew about Nepal was that it was the location of Mt. Everest.  Now I know that Dr. Kanth is from there, too 😉

Then there’s all those other people.  The internet people that I don’t actually know, but that I absolutely adore.  For example, I’m pretty sure that if I saw CaitlinHTP on the street I would give her a hug, behave as though we’d been best friends a while, and then be hauled off to jail for being the biggest creep ever.  Seriously though (the other part is only not serious because I am not much of a hugger by nature), Healthy Tipping Point is a revelation.  I love it.  I also love Bridget from Stumbling Towards Perfect because she makes me smile and makes me cry.  It’s heartfelt, nearly local, and gorgeous.  I love Jeannett at Life Rearranged because she’s totally mom-spirational, even though I don’t have any kids, and I love her take on life in general.  Her Sunday Smiles are 100% inspirational 100% of the time and InstaFridays are genius!  Same goes for Tsh & Co. at SimpleMom.  Speaking of amazing mom’s, I can’t forget the Crappiest mom of all.  Seriously, go read her Target post, catch your breath, and then come back.

Did you read it?  How hilarious is she?!

And the subject matter people.  They are amazing too.  I wonder if I could ever write something so meticulously researched, so very expertly explained.  (But then again, that is my day job… which is precisely why I don’t do it here.  It is really, really nice to write without citing, to just say whatever you want with the justification of “because that’s what I think.”  I don’t think most reviewers would buy that.)

My favorite ever is Dr. Yoni Freedhoff of Weighty Matters.  Dr. Freedhoff is an MD and when I say MD, I mean it like he’s an actual, practicing physician who isn’t trying to make money selling you the latest miracle weight loss drug (ahem, “Dr.” Oz).  He presents the radical notion that the best life to live is the healthiest one you can enjoy and I love him for it.  If you know me, you know that weight is a thing in my life.  Something that plays on that dreaded second track and cultivating a positive attitude toward myself and others in that respect is paramount to me.  Dr. Freedhoff has a great perspective if that’s something of interest to you.

Other subject matter experts I love to follow include Oh She Glows (even though I am far from Vegan), PhD Comics (because Jorge Cham gets it), PostSecret (because yes, I consider Frank the world’s leading expert on the subject of secrets), I F*ing Love Science on Facebook (I learn SO much!), and the list goes on.

If you’re a friend of mine and blogs have never really been your thing, I would encourage you to branch out and try subscribing to one or two.  Perhaps even this  one 😉  I used to use Google Reader to subscribe to blogs, but switched to Feedly when they shut down.  Feedly is super simple… I highly recommend giving it a try.  But there’s also the email subscription option (see the box on the right).  If you subscribe by email, every time I update, it will come straight to your inbox.  I’m nothing if not convenient.  (And begging for subscribers.  Is this begging?  It might be begging.  Subscribe.)

If you’ve been around the blog-o-sphere for a while and you find me somewhat intriguing, then I am truly delighted to be part of your life!  Thank goodness for the internets, yes?!  Bringing people like you and me together since… ummm… what year was it when I first started IMing via AOL?  It’s been a while anyway.  (I wonder if I still have an away message up…)

So glad you’re here!!


*Clever girl… that’s what the dinosaur hunter says in Jurassic Park when he realizes that the velociraptors** teamed up to hunt him.

**Trust story: I look an awful lot like a velociraptor when I run.  Ask any of my high school cross country teammates.