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As you guys now know, because I confessed it in my confession post, Ben and I have been trying to have kids for seven months without any luck.

Most women I have talked to in my adult life tell me they cry around the time of menstruation. PMS, I am universally told, has the power to throw hormones out of whack and turn an otherwise reasonable woman into a weepy mess. Throw in cramps, bloating, the stress of keeping the whole bodily event discreet, and a whole host of other uncomfortable symptoms, and you often have a disaster on your hands each and every month.

When, on top of all these things, each bout of menstruation means you have still not succeeded in having a child,  you have what I call “a veritable tsunami of emotion” to battle every month.*

How do I deal with this?

By being ridiculous.

After another exhausting weeping episode last night, I decided perhaps it was time to introduce you to my “other” family. I already posted this on Facebook, but not all of you are my Facebook friends, so I figured I’d recycle some of my material today.

These are my gnomes. I’ve been collecting them since I was eighteen. They ordinarily live indoors with me and Ben, but this summer I took them outside for a photo shoot. I hope you give them a warm welcome.

Meet Phil and Milton. They are permanently glued to our deck. There once was a third one, Stan, but he went to go live with Jesus a few years ago. In fact, his death is what prompted me to glue the other two down.

(Requiem in pacem, Stan).

Milton has been decapitated once but I successfully reattached his head with crazy glue and he has been fine ever since.

This is Bradley. He and Edmund (the squirrel) have been together since before I knew him.

Meet Bruce. He was my first gnome! A gift from my mom for my 18th birthday.

This is Chad. He was a gift from Ben for my 19th birthday.

This is Charles. he brings some much-needed summertime spunk to my gloomy winters. He was a Christmas gift from Ben two years ago.

This is poor Douglas. He lost both his finger and his right leg in the taking of this picture (I kinda dropped him on the sidewalk). He leg was fortunately reattached with rubber cement but I’m afraid his finger is gone for good. Now he will be forever pointing into destiny with a little stump. *sad face*

This is Kenneth. I left him inside for the shoot after Doug’s tragic accident.

This is Dennis. Can you believe he doubles as a watering can? Those holes in the mushroom cap are the spout, his spade is the handle and he can be filled with water from his back. Awesome!

Dennis was a gift from Ben. My darling husband left him on my pillow to find on my 23rd birthday. Awwww.

This is Gary. Many people think he looks scary but he is in fact quite jolly and good-natured. Ben gave him to me for the first Christmas after we started dating.

This is Geoffrey. He likes to hold candy in his mushroom cap to serve to guests. My friends all feel obligated to rub his nose before they take something from him. I don’t know why — Geoff has never demanded it.

Richard. He too likes to provide guests with candy. Or pens.

This is Raymond; I got him from my mum-in-law as a birthday gift. Doesn’t his body language just say “Hakuna Matata”?  And we could all use just a little more Hakuna Matata every now and then. Or at least I could.

Reggie. A gift from my cousin Barb. He actually lives in the flower pot, like the Twiddlebugs (Remember the Twiddlebugs? Sesame Street? Ernie and Bert’s window box?? Kind of like that.)

This fine-looking gnome is Tollers, and the newest member of my gnome family. Aside from him being the best-looking guy out of the bunch, he is special because he was given to me by my awesome friend Sue . . . for no reason at all! Is there any better reason to receive a gift than none at all? I submit that there is not!

I named him Tollers because that was the nickname of C. S. Lewis’s friend, Tolkien. I gave him a symbolic “friend” name because he was a gift from such a good friend.

So there you have them: my alternate family in all their gnomey, gardenny glory. Probably, I will write some more serious posts later this week. For now, I hope you enjoyed the family meet-and-greet.

*Why do I tell you about all of these personal things? I have no idea. I feel compelled to, somehow. Sorry.

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I know you all just want to know who the winner of the confession contest is. But I’m going to make you read all this other stuff first.

New! Email Subscription.

Maybe you are not the kind of guy or gal who wants to bother with an RSS reader to manage your blog subscriptions. That’s cool – I didn’t until quite recently either. But maybe you are the kind of guy or gal who would still like to stay up-to-date with Project M without having to check back on the site all the time. Well guess what? Now you can, with my new email subscription option! WordPress, which hosts my blog, just offered this new feature, and I jumped at the chance to add it to my blog! Now, if you sign up, you can get my blog posts sent to your email as I publish them! Just click on the new button in my sidebar to the right to sign up. Let me know how it works out for you — is it a cool feature, or is it lame? Either way, thanks for reading!

Clarification on PDA’s.

I just want to be clear: in my last post, I’m not saying by any means that married people ought not to show affection, or go on dates with their spouses, or flirt on Facebook. I’m just saying I don’t particularly enjoy seeing it, so I wonder why people don’t do it more in private.* But this probably says more about my own neurosis or the blackness of my heart than it does about the value of affection and flirting. It’s an issue of personal preference, and I just thought I’d throw it out there, in case others felt the same.

*For example, Facebook has a perfectly good inbox system, which couples could use to send each other private love memos if they feel compelled to communicate digitally. I’m just sayin’ is all. But then, I don’t understand the whole “wall” thing to begin with, even between friends. Why do everyone’s private conversations have to be broadcasted to their whole social network all the time?

Thanks for the Nominations.

A number of you nominated my blog to be listed on the “Top Ten Marriage Blogs” list on the Marry Blogger. Thanks, guys! I really appreciate it! The really exciting thing is that it has already brought some new traffic to my blog, and has connected me with some other totally rad marriage bloggers.  You might be seeing some guest posts from some other bloggers soon, so stay tuned. So thanks again for making that happen! I wish I could send you each a digital high-five. (Not a hug, though, of course. Blech). And guess what? you can still vote for my blog (or another one, if you prefer) by clicking here. It’s not too late!

Contest Winner.

Oh my goodness. I really wish I had predetermined my criteria for this contest. Like, I wish I had decided ahead of time whether I would pick “whichever confession makes me laugh the hardest and longest” or “whichever confession seems the most courageous” or something to that effect. But I loved so many confessions for so many reasons. It is very hard to pick a favourite when given so much awesome stuff. What is a blogger to do?

Before I announce the winner, I just want to thank you all for your wonderful contributions. For the people whom I already know personally, I learned that you are all a lot weirder than I had realized; and for the people whom I didn’t previously know, I think we can probably be friends, now that I know your quirky little secrets.

This was a really hard decision, because everyone’s confessions were so good. But I finally decided that Annalea ought to be the first place winner. I appreciated her vulnerability, as she offered up deeply personal and touching confessions, especially after her confession, “I have a hard time making myself vulnerable.” Thanks for your graciousness, Annalea! However, you pointed out that Tim Card would be useless to you in California and suggested that the runner up could take the prize.  I guess I’ll have to take your suggestion. But if I make it over to Detroit in the next bit I will buy an American Starbucks card and send it your way! You deserve it!

So my runner-up, who will actually receive a Canadian Starbucks rather than a Tim Card gift card is . . . Ike! Ike offered up ten confessions, varying from the absurd/disturbing to the sensitive/heart-touching.  Plus he made me think of Nacho Libre, in his enthusiasm to win the championship . . . I mean confession contest. My only question is: why? Why the leg hairs first? Why in God’s green earth do the leg hairs need to be wet before you can wash the rest of your body??? No wait, I take that back; I don’t want to know. I just need to get your address to send it your way.

Honourable mention goes to Josh for making me continue to chuckle to myself hours after I read your confession. Oh my goodness Josh you have issues.

Thanks again, everyone, for making me laugh this past week! I appreciated all of your contributions! Have a fabulous weekend!

(By the way, if you haven’t read Ike’s confessions yourself, they are under my “Reminder” post, below, and not where they actually belong. *Still shaking head disapprovingly*)

UPDATE: I just looked into it, and it turns out Starbucks cards are useable internationally, so I’m actually going to send Annalea and Ike each a gift card!

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If you haven’t already read/contributed to the confession contest below, please do! You have until the end of today (Friday)! I have been enjoying the confessions immensely. I bet you will too!

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This post has nothing to do with marriage. But lots of other themed blogs that I read often include stuff that has nothing to do with their themes so I’m following suit. Plus, The Internet seems to prefer lists over stories, so for once I’m doing that here too.

After reading my friend Susie’s recent blog post on confessions, and after I commented up a storm saying that “confession” is one of the primary functions of a writer, I became inspired to write out a list of my own confessions.  I figured I ought to practice what I preach. (You can see the whole interchange here). My argument basically centers upon Anne Lamott’s claim that writers have a “moral obligation” to tell the truth, so that readers can be set free from the “terrible sense of isolation we all have.”

The items I’ve listed below are the things I am embarrassed of. They are some of the things that make me silly, or an idiot, or worse – evil.  Some things I’m less embarrassed of than others. The list could go on and on but I am told people don’t like to read long posts on the internet. *grimace*

Please don’t hate me for them. Maybe you’ll even see yourself in some of them a little bit and feel a little less weird or sinful yourself? Here’s hoping I don’t just humiliate myself by sharing them.

I’m also having a contest where you can win a $5 Tim card if you post a comment. See details below.

Here’s my confession list:

  • I’ve tried to read a book while driving a car before.
  • If I’m honest, the three things I want most in life are (a) clear skin (b) to be recognized as a writer (c) for people to think that I’m interesting. I would probably sacrifice my health, and, in my worst moments, several aspects of my character and some of my most valuable relationships for the sake of these things.
  • I routinely have witty, imaginary conversations with people when I’m sitting on the john. I’ve done this my whole life. And I almost always have a British accent.   My most frequent interlocutors are men on whom I have crushes, and without exception I demonstrate why I am too good for them.
  • My biggest fear in life is that I’ve never had an original thought or impulse in my life. In my most private moments, I have to face the reality that I am profoundly unremarkable.
  • The low traffic stats for this blog have brought me to tears.
  • Overall, I’m embarrassed of the person I am. But I don’t like to let on that I am embarrassed, so I hide it by using impressive Latinate language and by making fun of my friends – whom I love and cherish and couldn’t live without – behind their backs. It makes me feel better about myself.  It makes me feel cool. The fact that I had to use the word “Latinate” here bespeaks the depth of my arrogance.
  • I’ve had a crush on Matt Tiessen since 2001. The same year I met and fell in love with Ben. When we watch Relient K music videos together it takes all my willpower to keep from sighing wistfully breathing out “. . . I love you, Matt.”
  • I’ve been trying to have a baby for seven months. I’ve been so upset about my inability to get pregnant that I once spent a whole morning curled up on the stairs, crying. I then went on Facebook and hid every one of my “friends” who is either pregnant or a new mother so I couldn’t see their status updates any more. And now I don’t know how to un-hide them.
  • I sometimes think that if I just have autistic kids – which is quite possible considering Ben’s gene pool – maybe I would rather not have any kids at all.
  • I take immense pride in being the only person in my church to have an MA and to have been the first one to get a BA (outside of Bible college). I feel threatened by the fact that a number of very smart young people are now attending university, and I secretly hope they don’t surpass me in education. If they do, it better be in the sciences.
  • I have considered doing my PhD exclusively for the status.
  • I composed this entire list while driving a car.

Here’s the contest: post one of your own confessions in a comment. I’ll give you until the end of the week (that is, until Fri, Nov 27). You can leave it anonymously, so that the only person who will know your identity will be me (And how can you be embarrassed to let me see them after the mortifying confessions I’ve offered above?). At the end of the week I will pick my favourite, and since my readers seem to be almost exclusively Canadian, I will personally mail the winner a $5 gift card from Tim Horton’s. (If you are American? I’ll work something out. Starbucks?).

One last confession: this contest is primarily an attempt to get more comments out of you. I want to know who my readers are.

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