Posted by: alegra22 | April 20, 2009

Poppyseed and the Ghostline

poppydorothy1This week I turned off the internet with the idea that I was going to storm through several chapters. I had a Big…no…Grand reason for this decision to unplug and focus. But we’ll get to that.

After I received the acceptance letter from the magazine I was feeling like God had placed a delicate votive candle down to float in the new calm of my mind. I’ve a good excuse for letting anxiety sneak in to hyperventilate all over that wonderful little flame. I’ve a good excuse for hiding in the early seasons of Grey’s Anatomy when I realized I had to chop up and reorder the first chapter and go back to a few difficult plot questions.

My reasons are this:

1) an episode of American Idol triggered my “I don’t have what it takes to write this novel” anxiety
2) I cried at several commercials that shouldn’t have made me cry. I sobbed in fact, a sort of compulsive sob that ended as quickly as it began.
3) I found myself sniffing at laundry and pushing away a plate of waffles because I could still smell the down from the chickens that were once sitting on the eggs that went into the batter…in fact, maybe the entire chicken coop

So I did what any woman with a list that reads like the above would do – I went and bought a magic stick and peed on it. I knew that technically it was too early still for a result but there it was, a ghostline. The pregnancy test instructions tell you to wait at least three days before testing again and since I have such great self-control I tested again the next morning. Within 24 hours, that ghostline was no longer a ghost, it was a bold, “Ready or not, here I am!”

And we are ready. We wanted this, we just didn’t expect it to happen so instantly. We had hoped, but didn’t expect. It is perfect timing. The other night I was drifting off to sleep, thinking about the life beginning inside of me; right now it is the size of a poppyseed but within a week he or she will already be developing organs, filling out the blueprint of an entire body. I imagined that poppyseed as a pinprick in the fabric of reality where each of my children have slipped into the world. I thought about how we all began as something so tiny. An entire universe unfurling. If that isn’t cause for awe, I don’t know what is.

I have never believed in waiting until the twelve-week safety mark with pregnancies because 1) I can’t keep my mouth shut 2) I believe in loving with full commitment from the moment of conception 3) I believe the more love being sent to the baby and me from the very beginning the better and 4) there is no ‘safety’ mark, once you become a parent, at whatever stage, your heart is on the line

So this week I had the grand idea that I would be racing the nausea with my wordcount but instead I disappeared for a few days. I wouldn’t say that nothing was acheived because that is being mean to myself, I just didn’t get done what I had planned. Now I am back on track.

I did manage to keep up with my exercise, including consistently doing weights. I ate well. I rewrote a short story for submission (thank you Adam for your editing help, you’re a superstar). I also worked out some of the plot issues that were a problem and re-sketched the first two chapters, clarifying the past history and connection between the characters. I will make up for my Grey’s Anatomy indulgence.

This week:

1. Go to doctor to discuss the betablocker I am on (this was also a cause for my crash this week, besides first trimester fatigue – I cut back on my medication and my body was adjusting)
2. Rewrite Chapter 1 & 2, rough draft of 3
3. Annotate Bibliography
4. Commute schedule sorted
5. Keep up the exercise!

How did all of you go?
I love hearing from you every week.



  1. I love KeMari Jr. T

    Also, you were allowed not to get done what you had planned. Doesn’t mean you weren’t productive. In fact, in your condition, I’d say you were quite productive 🙂

    I don’t have any goals this week. Or if I do, I’m not thinking of them yet. But if/when I do, maybe I’ll post them…either here or at the new really lame blog I have 😉

    Love you darling little poppy seed and poppy-seed-mama.


    • You showed up, you superstar!

      Yeah, I was giving myself permission to slack off but part of the slacking off was letting some niggly doubts get to me. That, and the nausea is already starting to show up. I don’t know how I managed to convince myself that the nausea only lasts for four weeks – it IS two months. Durr. But it is all for a good cause and I have to trust that I have always done some of my best work when swimming in hormones – I have alwasy been in school during the first trimester, but usually I have also been painting a house, moving, etc. Literally. With both Sol and Zaviera we had to strip wallpaper and paint and do major shifts during that first trimester while I was swimming in puke factor. This time all I have to do is get on with getting on.

      Post your blogs! Here! It will be supporting a good cause because it seriously inspires me. A writing goal, once a week, um..okay, I have nothing witty to say. Just post. Have you posted more blogs?


  2. Yah! Congratulations! Oh, this is so exciting! You are superwoman!

    How are the babies (not really babies, but hush) handling the news?

    • Nina!!!!!! Yay!

      Well…with Sol we have been slowing working him up to understanding the whole ‘baby growing in Mommy’s belly’ thing for the last four months or so. It started with his birthday coming up. He didn’t ‘get’ his birthday and needed to have it deconstructed all the way back to conception. This is typical Sol, not only does he need to look at the blueprint of the arc to understand the flood, he has to go back to the lifecycle of the trees used for the wood to build the arc and the animals that go on the arc. When I told my mom about the pregnancy she said, “Oh, I can’t wait to hear you try to explain this to Sol…” It is going to be a constant, relentless “But mommy…(insert really difficult to answer question)?”

      And, no way am I superwoman. Like you, I have an amazing husband and, I have to always be multitasking ;o).

  3. Wow, ghostlines are exciting and promising! It’s interesting how turning off the Internet can lead us to being more productive as well as being more in-tune with our emotions. This happened to me a couple of weeks ago, and the time away from it helped me to write more but I also thought more about everything going on in my life. This week’s goals are to work on revising and editing the manuscripts for articles I wrote during that time away from the Internet and to check my facts using the Internet now 🙂 Enjoy this special time for you!

    • Yes, I was really surprised at how much it focused my mind to switch off the internet. What I have begun to realize is that I will write for a burst and then pause, get lost in checking email etc. and then I have to reorientate myself to the flow of the writing. If I don’t have that option, I still get up every 15-20 minutes to do something but my mind stays with what I am working on – as if I am continuing the conversation of the story in my head. I think the internet is a little like entering a crowded room and starting up brief dialogues with different people.

      I love revising and editing – I find it is always easier to work with nearly complete material. What are the articles about?

  4. Congratulations : ) !!!

    Wow, this is exciting!! I love your self control, I am the same way.. if I am told to wait a week, I of course do so until the next day.

    I don’t know how you do it all!!

    Well have you watched the Britains Got Talent videoo circulating on Susan Boyle?? If not I would recommend looking that up on Youtube. And then looking up Paul Potts on there as well. Both were laughed at when they stepped foot out on the stage but when they opened their mouths to sing, it was amazing. Both made me cry.

    • I am allergic to anticipation but Dan thrives on drawing things out. Sol is like Dan, if he has a treat, he wants to ‘save it for later’, whereas Zaviera and I will tear into that treat like “why wait? We could be dead in the next minute!”

      We are really thrilled and it is all perfect timing. The baby will be due right about the time I finish my masters. And you know me, I am thinking, “Well hey, if I am working on the master I might as well be gestating too!”

  5. Wow Alegra! Awesome news!

    If I were any happier for you I’d be a field of sunflowers at the beginning of springtime as the beekeeper next door began smoking his charges out to apply their talents to Mother Nature’s favorite season.

    Congratulations in the biggest, largest, hugest, most outrageous way!

    Please pass our wishes on to Dad as well. Tell him that the children will soon outnumber the parents in the Clarke castle; much fun and excitement will therefore ensue with furious abandon to all sense of the physical requirement of sleep.

    Good on ye mate!


    “100% honest is too funny/sad. 0% honest is…0% honest.”

    • Dan is over the moon, he was so committed to having a third that when we originally began discussing the possibility he agreed to take on that first year of newborn late night feedings. Seriously, he is just that good, a born daddy – I always call him the ‘clucky’ one in the family.

      And yeah, it is going to be chaos in the Clarke household. Merry mischief and antics 24/7.

      Although you know this puts a damper on plans for wine and rowdy behavior in Auckland!

      • Hey – no worries! Remember the really quite clever “life getting in the way of Life” quip I authored? This applies.

        That doesn’t mean you can’t come out for good food and conversation though. And now I certainly MUST have the opportunity to buy Dan a beer! It’s required. ‘nuf said.

        C’mon Clarke – don’t make me beg! LOL j/k. But this is a fine reason to toast to your health & happiness. Would love the chance to do so in person 😉


        • We are definitely coming! I just might be a bit woozy and not my usual chaotic self. I am going to email you tomorrow to confirm up some plans.
          You’ll have to buy Dan a gingerbeer, that’s the way he rolls.

  6. Awesome! I’m doing the snoopy dance for you here in Colorado!

    • I totally visualized that :o)

  7. i’ve been reading for a little while now, but don’t know if i’ve commented yet.

    i had to tell you congratulations! i am jealous! i’ve had a bit of baby fever lately, but probably wait a while longer before i start deciding i can handle another.

    wow. congratulations! amazing how news like that from someone you (i) don’t even know can brighten your (my) day so much!

    • I am so glad you commented! And thank you :o)

  8. EEEEEEEEEEKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKK!!!!!!!!! I’m so excited!!!! I’m going to be an aunty again, again, again, again, again. . .well, you get the point. . .
    Plus, it’s a little bit scary – you have a son who’s around the same age as my “blood” niece, a daughter who is around the same age as my “blood” nephew and my sister-in-law is pregnant with her thrid now. . . .If you have the opposite gender to her this time around – I’m introducing your kids to my babies when they are older (and then we can start planning their weddings, LOL)
    I’ve realised why I don’t comment on your blog that often – I end up feeling like an underachiever. . . I think that the only thing I actually achieved from the last time I posted was to be nicer to my flatmates. . .
    Big loves and MAJOR hugs!!!

    • Ha! I can’t wait for it to be YOUR turn ;o). We are so excited about this and I am really going to relax and enjoy this wild ride since it will be our last. We can’t even imagine what a third is going to be like because it seems like Sol and Zavi have hoarded all the personality genetics, as in, they are both larger than life! I am not even going to try to wish for a mellow baby, because it just isn’t an option.

      You should ALWAYS come comment…durrr! I really don’t get that much done – unless you are talking about some of the other comments and the lists that follow because some people’s lists make me quake! Plus, being nice to your flatmate is a major “well done.”

  9. This is so friggin awesome!! Sol and Zav are such amazing little humans I can’t wait to meet the next in a lineage of neatness. ugh, I’m getting baby fever too – damnit. That’s alright, I’m hoping once I finish my phd and get a stable job that I’ll be able to convince Luke (he’s mostly there, just needs a little more).

    I remember meeting you when you were pregnant with Zav, and for the short while that I couldn’t remember your name, you were ‘that pregnant lady’ lol! You are such an amazing person and from your stories, you are one kick-ass mom. So yay!! excitement!!!!!

    Goals, eh? Well, I got virtually nothing done last week because of death and things, but trying to pick back up the reins and mush forwards. I’ve finally wrapped my little head around what a phd is supposed to be and what my role is (more or less) vs the supervisor’s, so I think I might finally be ready to let myself dive in.

    I had an interesting discussion with Lisa (my supervisor) yesterday about the phd, and she made an interesting point that because I’m missing those phd classes and exams, I’m not learning enough. I asked her how kiwis learn their theory without these courses (because they seem to do so well with tossing them around), and she said they don’t. She can be a bit extreme or radical, but it gave me pause. So our research is in a way supposed to be a two-fold learning curve – the topic and the theory we’re missing along the way (or at least that I am). So I’ve picked up a friendly “Derrida Reader” and I’m hoping this will be the start of a productive time (which in a movie would be one of those put-your-nose-to-the-grinder-and-study-the-hell-out-of-something-to-prove-to-your-teacher-that-you’re-not-just-a-punk-ass-student-but-that-you-can-make-something-of-yourself-that-would-make-your-momma-proud-because-you-finally-passed-a-test-which-in-reality-still-wouldn’t-be-enough-but-hey-this-is-a-film-so-passing-one-test-is-enough-to-pass-the-class-because-you-have-a-teacher-who-believes-in-you-and-you-finally-gained-the-confidence-to-really-try-at-something montages) .

    Goals for the week:
    1) Finish Zoteroing notes
    2) Finish tutorial on drafting & proofing essays
    3) Read “Atrocity Exhibition” and write 2,000 words on materiality and structure
    4) Continue working through Derrida (for a little light reading in the evenings)

    Ok, I’m out. Sending many bouncing-but-not-so-bouncing-it-makes-mommy-throw-up-baby hugsies.

    • I really want to talk to you about this whole PhD thing. Maybe a phone call is in order?
      And…I need to check out this Derrida and figure out Zotero. I still don’t have it mastered. Hey, maybe when we meet up in Auckland you could give me a brief tutorial? I am trying to organize with David but it is in early May I believe. I will email you.
      Who died???
      I really should just phone you. Going to email.
      big hugsies

  10. I’m watching and sending love to the poppy seed.
    There are people in the world who should populate the planet and you are among them!


  11. Yay! I am so excited for you!!!

  12. Wow, that was unexpected. : )

    Congratulations to you!

    Funny being a man, we just couldn’t know what it’s like.

    Many Blessings to you and your family and to your new addition.


    • Of course, I only got pregnant so I would have a great punchline for the blog ;o)
      Sorry, I have a bad sense of humor.
      Thank you for the blessings. And hey, even being a man, while you won’t ever be able to get it ‘fully’ once you become a dad if you are closely involved in the process you definitely get enough of a second-hand experience of it. Things to look forward to right?

  13. Wooooooooooooooooooooooooo! I’m so excited for you and Dan!

    • Dan is soooo thrilled. He really, really, really wanted this baby.

  14. Yippee!!! I hope, I hope, I hope that we get to be there for the first photo session!!!

    You and Dan make really wonderful little humans together and I feel mighty privileged to be loved by them…and you!

    Unka Cree and I are really looking forward to our visit.

    And…as for you and your list…take it easy sister and go at the best pace for you and your family. All will get done in its own time and if it doesn’t then it most likely didn’t need to in the first place.

    It all moves so fast, remember to keep your nose in the flowers as much as possible.

    Having said that, here’s my wacky list for the week:

    1. More family time.
    2. More Me time.
    3. Catch up on that Egyptian grammar.
    4. Write my long overdue paper on a particular set of Egyptian artifacts.
    5. Clean out my closet and donate old clothes.
    6. Pop a little something in the mail for Sol and Z.

    Guess that’s not such a bad list after all.

    Love and Very Big Hugs to You All!

    • When are you coming again? I think the sonogram will be early August but there is the possibility they might do more than one because of the complications I had last time – I am hoping that I will get a good midwife who monitors things closely.
      And yes, I am trying to relax in all areas regarding my masters, the pregnancy etc. I am trusting that I have always done well under pressure, have always been in school full time while pregnant and that things, even if I have moments when it seems I am not getting enough done, will get done. As you said, if certain things don’t work out it is because they were not meant to, in one way or another.

      I love you big sis!

  15. oh my goodness alegra!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! that’s amazing! 😀 congratulations on your future beautiful child!!!!!

    • Thank you :o)

  16. Straight from Alegra’s Boulders and Chewing Gum post:

    “Yesterday, as I was walking and reading – yep, I do that – I had the thought that writing a novel is like growing a baby; everything I do, eat, think, hear, experience, all of it becomes integrated into the developing life inside of me. I can map out my life prior to conception and how I imagine everything will go afterwards but that really has nothing to do with how it will all turn out.”

    I kinda had a split-second thought while reading that. Now that thought has been confirmed.


    I’m just going to go ahead and start rooting for a boy now, because I’m thinking this one will be the rugby player. He’ll be the one that Sol takes under his wing and aptly shows how to get into trouble without getting caught. The brick wall who thinks his main goal in life is to protect the family, especially his big sis.

    • Yeah, I have been spewing conception metaphors for the last two weeks…it should have been a heads-up!

      Another boy, and a RUGBY playing boy??? What are you trying to do to me? Boys are insane! ;o)

      Sol is like a sack full of athletic grasshoppers. I caught him the other day aiming a basketball at a basket high up on the shelf by the flatscreen. I managed to intervene but the minute I turned around he was poised on top of the couch ready to do a dive bomb onto a pile of cushions he had thrown on to the floor within 1.5 seconds.

      Crazy. Crazy. Crazy.

  17. I’ll e-mail you with the travel dates, details, etc.

    We’ll just be happy to see you all and if we happen to be there for a sonogram of the new cutie, then we’ll consider ourselves extra lucky!

    Love and Hugs and Happy Thoughts!

    • Yes, please do! And I would love it if you brought that research book you mentioned. I might have Mom pick up a few books/odds and ends to stick in your bags if that is okay (namely sugar-free hot choc)

  18. congratulations sweetheart! I am so happy for you and your family. sending you all lots of love!

    • Thank you Kami!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s


%d bloggers like this: