To donate to Liz’s Bike to Build Fund, click here.

Pinch me, I think I am dreaming. I do, however, want to wake up because I have complete faith that things will continue to get better. Why do I feel like I am dreaming? I will offer you three very good reasons, which all occurred this weekend.

Before I mention the three reasons, I must mention that I am not used to having my name in ink (which is both good and bad). While I am fortunate I have never ended up in the newspaper in the police log or obituaries, neither have I landed in the paper for writing an award winning play or novel or making some earth shattering scientific discovery. If my memory serves me right, the few times I have made it into the local papers included: sports related recognition for basketball and soccer in high school; a photograph taken of me painting a fence outside of a condo complex while working for McSharry Bros in 10th grade; proudly accepting a check from Abington Savings Bank for our first annual North-School Fair when I was in second grade (as I was one of the class treasurers…scary I know); and a photo with a few sentences about my mom and I when I was a first grader, as I was helping her put up bulletin boards in her classroom shortly before the school year started. Are you asleep yet? That’s it folks…those were my only moments of fame prior to today, so now onto the three very good reasons…

1. Cady Vishniac’s Patriot Ledger article entitled, “Banking on Social Media.”

2. Paul Kandarian’s Boston Sunday Globe AMAZING article entitled, “Quincy Woman Embarks on Career Change.” Thank you Paul!

3. A highly unanticipated comment on my blog from an owner of a well-established preservation carpentry company specializing in historic preservation and renovations (who had read Kandarian’s Globe article), asking to speak with me about my interest in working for a preservation company. The name of the company and owner will remain nameless until anything materializes with this.

I share all of this, not because my hat size is growing, but because I am twice blessed because I am blessed and I know it. As soon as I stopped trying to force things to go the way I wanted them to go  (ie: me with a pregnant belly housing twins), magical events in my life seemed to unfold one after another. The innate soul yearning to have children has not left me, but I accept now that the stork will deliver a child in a different way than I originally planned…and I am totally at peace with that. In fact, I hope the magic continues soon and Justine is graced with a pregnancy. Until then, I will continue to surrender to the BIGGER PLAN and let go of trying to force solutions.

To donate to Liz’s Bike to Build at NBSS Fund, click here


If you would like to contribute to Liz’s Bike to Build fund, click here.

Having worked in and around the addiction recovery community for many years, I have often heard people say that if they wrote a list of goals they wanted to accomplish at the beginning of their sobriety, they would have sold themselves quite short because they far surpassed the goals they had for themselves. While this certainly sounded encouraging, if not inspiring to me; I did not believe this was going to be the case for me.

For the greater part of the last three years, I had written down only one goal. This goal was written literally in my daily journal, was sent silently and audibly to my Higher Power in my prayers, was said aloud to dozens of close friends and family members, was scribbled on small pieces of paper and put in my prayer box, and the successful completion of this goal was visualized hundreds of times. I had only one goal…and this was to get pregnant and have a healthy child.

If I sold myself short with this simple goal, one would think I must be like the old woman who lives in the shoe by now, who has so many children that I don’t know what to do. NOT EXACTLY. So does this mean I didn’t sell myself short? Definitely NOT.

The emotional roller coaster of early sobriety is comparable in some ways to the abrupt highs and lows of infertility because

  • your body is totally out of whack from chemicals
  • feelings fluctuate drastically by the microsecond
  • everything feels out of your control and yet you want to control everything
  • your mind plays tricks on you because one day you feel like you’ve had enough and are all done, and the next day you want to do it again just one last time
  • you feel like you are the only one going through this even though nothing could be further from the truth, and
  • the last thing you want to do is reach out to someone for help and yet that is the best thing you could do.

I would have to say the last year of infertility treatments was “my period of early sobriety.” Emotions had hit an all time low, and I was losing all hope of ever accomplishing my one goal of having a child. Equally as bad, I was losing all faith that I would ever be restored to the person I was before infertility. I no longer recognized myself because the happy-go-lucky, laid-back, and naturally optimistic shadow of myself had been replaced by her despondent, jaded, and resentful twin.

Flash forward a year or so to the present…and my one goal was not actualized…still no baby. However, I am not only back to the person I was before infertility, but I feel better. I have changed myself from the inside out over the last several months meaning that I have learned…

  • To not give up no matter how bad things may seem
  • That it is easier to let go and accept than to try to control and resist
  • That I did enough, I have enough, and I am enough
  • When I am so hyper-focused on my plan, I might miss my Higher Power’s Plan for me
  • As long as my heart is beating, I can learn and try something new
  • 40 is to be savored, not feared
  • When I reduce sources of stress and anxiety in my life, I feel closer to my Higher Power…and when I feel close to my HP, I reduce stress and anxiety in my life
  • When my mind is not weighed down with struggles and stress, I can accomplish great things
  • My body feels much younger and stronger when I feed it well, give it adequate rest, and exercise regularly
  • Losses can tear apart relationships or strengthen them
  • A problem shared is a problem cut in half, and
  • Service to others takes my mind off of me.

If you had told me a year ago that I would be 1) enrolled at North Bennet Street School for Preservation Carpentry for the fall of 2014; 2) administering a personal fundraiser to raise funds for my tuition to NBSS and for South Shore Habitat for Humanity; 3) writing my own Blog about my training, fundraising, and schooling; 4) getting into the best physical shape through cycling, dog walking and weight training than I have been in for more than 15 years; 5) networking with executives to try to spread the word about my blog and fundraiser; 6) sending letters to large corporations looking for sponsorship and donations for my cause; and 6) having an article written about this journey of mine in the Boston Globe…I would have told you that I wanted whatever Kool Aid you were drinking. Does that mean I would have sold myself short?


If you would like to contribute to Liz’s Bike to Build fund, click here.


If you would like to contribute to Liz’s Bike to Build to NBSS Fund, click here.

YES, MY BODY IS OFFICIALLY IN SHOCK! Not the kind when one witnesses some kind of traumatic, earth shattering, or life-threatening event…more the kind of shock your car might go into if you have been filling it for years with el cheapo gas from Paco’s Petroleum Stop and then inject it with Mobile’s high test fuel for a month. The last six weeks or so I have been trying to eat a little better…not a crash diet, but a lifestyle change if you will…the DASH Diet to be more specific. After turning 40, I started counting the years I have left and thinking about the changes I want to make with the time I am allotted…morbid I know. I thought of when I was first diagnosed with hypertension at 15 years old and my doctor recommended I try the DASH diet, a recommendation that was made dozens of times since. Unfortunately, their recommendations fell on deaf ears and I’ve spent years throwing whatever food I craved down my garbage disposal without a care in the world. Over the last two years, as the fertility Gods let us down repeatedly and the stork continued to evade us, I was eating ice cream as if my last breath depended on it. These eating habits with some resulting weight gain and a general lack of exercise, led me to the point I am in now…BODY IN SHOCK! Not only is my body wondering what the foreign green leafy substances are that have been greeting it at least once daily as of late, but it is reading me the riot act for the ambitious weight lifting I started this week. Did I mention that it has been at least two years since I lifted weights and exercised with any degree of consistency?

If you are picturing graceful resistance training with bands or even high-end personal training lifting kettle bells or balancing on yoga balls, that is not what I am doing. I am standing in front of my closet mirrors with my 1980’s barbells and dumbbells at 7:00 a.m. every other morning and doing my best to recall my high school physical education weight training exercises….bent over rows, bicep curls, overhead press, squats, dead lifts…are we done yet? It is a work in progress, as am I. I will add a few more exercises each week, and I will hopefully notice some definition by September 2nd when the NBSS doors open to me. Needless to say, I am not walking quite right this week!


The benefits of having a compulsive personality, even a recovering one, with a side of ADHD, are the enthusiasm and intensity with which I approach any task/challenge I am interested in. In other words, if I am in, I am in WHOLE HOG!For example, once I decided that I will be riding my bicycle to NYC to raise money for both school and charity, I jumped on the computer and downloaded training schedules, mapped out my route electronically and the old fashioned way, made lists of the items I need to bring and those I need to purchase, laid  out my daily exercise plan between now and August 15th when I set off on my journey, joined Adventure Cycling and Map my Ride, had my bike overhauled, signed up for Web Hosting Hub and then Word Press, listed a fundraising page on, started this blog, and advertised it all on Facebook and email. The bulk of this was done within the first 48 hours because that is how I roll…fast and furious, and the details have continued to be worked out since.

Now that I think of it, my body isn’t the only thing in shock….my mind is as well. Considering for almost three years I have hyperfocused on doing everything in my power to will myself to get pregnant, it is truly SHOCKING for my mind to have been relieved of that obsession. Whether or not I have been relieved of that obsession or have just replaced that with another one…well the jury is still out on that! Happy riding, lifting, and whole hogging it!

If you would like to contribute to Liz’s Bike to Build to NBSS Fund, click here.

weights 3


Click HERE to contribute to Liz’s Bike to Build at NBSS fund.

Its funny how life works…just a few months back, when I was firmly planted in the quick sand-like pit of despair, otherwise known as infertility, I would never have imagined that I would be feeling anything other than a host of D’s (despondency, discouragement, disappointment, disheartenment, and desperation). Certainly I could not have conceived that I would be graced by a deep sense of hope, calmness…and dare I say HAPPINESS. Just two months ago, and for the 33 months prior to that, I was chronically fixated on one thing and one thing only….doing anything and everything I could to get pregnant. I didn’t have much space in my brain for anything else. From the time I woke up in the morning until I went to sleep at night, the thoughts bounced around my head like a pinball machine. Initially they were pleasant and naive thoughts about baby names and how we were going to decorate the baby’s room. After a short time the focus shifted to picking new donors, insurance claims, prior authorizations, injection hormones, countless blood tests and internal ultrasounds. I became a walking acronym because if I wasn’t ordering IUI or ICI specimens or talking about PCOS, I was having an IUI or IVF done, and when I hit the lottery, the payment came in the form of ICSI with a side of AH (assisted hatching). I shed humor and light on the situation because laughter helps me heal. And after a three year long rollercoaster ride with steep downhill drops, I need laughter and I need healing.

So, as I said…how is it that I find myself largely free from these toxic emotions (fear, envy, resentment, and self-pity), which strangled me over the last three years? There is a long answer to this, which will perhaps reveal itself in future posts. The short answer is that I have turned the corner to see what is behind door number two. I have accepted that the door I always dreamed of entering…the one that ends with me giving birth to a baby girl or boy has closed indefinitely…and this has freed me up to see other possibilities and opportunities, which tunnel vision did not permit me to see. I have let go of the reins (for now), am trusting that we will in fact be parents in one form or another one day, and I am focusing my energy on my midlife career change instead.

During the last few years of infertility treatments, the one creative outlet that brought me the most peace was woodworking. I grew up in a family full of carpenters and I have worked at construction sites doing grunt work, but I have never really been trained in carpentry because I went another route professionally. However, while all jacked up on Gonal F, Crinone, Ganerelix, Lupron, and God knows what else, I was Rosie the Rivoter and I couldn’t get enough of saw dust, 2×4’s, and power tools. I mentioned I am a wee bit compusive, which is a trait I actually can appreciate these days because it is filtered in positive ways…(hence why I am blogging at 11:40 p.m.). For me, a brief example of compulsivity occurred when I got the idea to refinish furniture midway through my first summer of baby making attempts. Just like the acorn that sprouted into the oak, the refinishing furniture idea grew rapidly into making a coffee table, taking apart what was our office and turning it into a new workspace where I could do future carpentry projects. And how could I be expected to do carpentry projects if I didn’t have a workbench…so I must make a workbench…and of course I need to make a couple of cabinets with shelves for my tools…and since a new bedframe for our queen bed is way overdue, how about I just make one myself. Lumber coming in by the cord…nail guns, compressors, and compound sliding miter saws being delivered to the house…saw dust in every crevice of the apartment…oh yeah, I did mention that this is an indoor shop in a 3 bedroom apartment, right? My partner deserves a peace prize for the patience she displayed during these manic months of hammering, drilling, carving, and nailing. Alas, the end products weren’t so bad…she put up with the noise, dust, and my constant project preoccupation, and it paid off because we got a nice new bed.

bed before stain      dangerous with a weapon

my first bed

550280_4375082028191_1226818594_n        21101_4375080788160_1080077304_n

So I guess God had a plan for me all along. He/She gave me carpentry at a time I most needed comfort and healing. This allowed me to connect with my late brother, Derek, as I was using all of his tools to do my woodworking. And these projects led me to the doors of North Bennet Street School, which God so graciously opened for me….and God willing, on September 2, 2014, I will begin a new journey and help to carry on a family tradition. I AM BLESSED!

Click HERE to contribute to Liz’s Bike to Build at NBSS fund.