Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Kinda grumbly

It's been that kind of day...Starting with me getting up, doing all of my early-morning tasks (take the dog out, check fasting blood sugar, turn on phone, fill dog's food dish), going upstairs to change for yoga, and stepping on the scale. Good grief. I weighed in at almost 7 more pounds than I weighed a week and a half ago. SEVEN POUNDS?

I was all motivated to get on the scale, too - I think I want to run another full marathon in June (what on earth am I thinking?), and I would like to drop 8-10 pounds before I start training in February. Well, 8-10 pounds from the weight I thought I was.

So. That was depressing.

Not to use the oldest excuse in the book, but I'll just say there's probably some significant water retention going on there. I suppose I'll weigh myself every 2-3 days, just to see what the fluctuation is. Hopefully next week I'll lose some of that water weight and have a better idea of what my "normal" weight actually is.

I would love to eat less - but I have a very difficult time with that. With the whole diabetes thing, I am supposed to eat meals and snacks. So I typically eat breakfast, 3 hrs later eat a snack, 3 hrs later eat lunch, 3 hrs later, snack, and 3 hrs later, dinner. Followed by a small bedtime snack. And my fasting sugars are good. I just suspect that my snacks could be a bit smaller. As could my meals.

So. Trying to get back on track with that. I've bumped up the intensity of my workouts, and I am hoping that helps, as well.

Anyway, I got completely off track here. So I had my grumpy weigh in. Did my yoga DVD. Applied for a faculty job (yikes!). Ran in to campus to pick something up in the lab. Stopped and got chips on the way home. And then took the dog (ha, I just typed "god"...he really *does* rule this house!) to get his nails trimmed. My plan - to drop him off, run next door to BB&B to use two coupons and a gift card, then come back to get him and pick up his treats. I was thwarted by the surly groomer. Who said "No, just wait for him, it'll just be a minute." Me "Buh, buh...*sigh*" I mean, it's not the end of the world (dude, far from it) but I was grumpy.

Then I shoveled snow for 45 minutes. Heavy, wet snow. With slushy ice crap underneath.

And we didn't get any Christmas cards in the mail.

Okay, I'm done grumbling now. I think.

On the plus side:

I have eaten Julia's almost instant tomato soup for the past three non-breakfast meals. Oh. My. Goodness. It is SO good. Low-fat, no weird things, lots of flavor. Thank goodness my husband dislikes tomato soup. More for me!

I made my mother's gingerbread cake. This could go on the negative side, but I'm choosing to remember how yummy it is, and ignore the calories. My husband will be home tomorrow, and I'll make sure he eats most of it. :)

I was actually productive today.

Tomorrow we'll sleep in, since the gym doesn't open til 8. I'm thinking I'll be really indulgent and sleep until 6. Whoa.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009


I realized today that I need to work to make things a little less stressful for myself. Not that my life is high stress, really. Just that I don't react well when I try to do 10 million things at once, and surprise! Things don't go so well. Case in point - yesterday, trying to walk the dog, juggle the mail, enjoy the sunshine, and...well, you know how *that* went.

So today, I decided to stop and get the mail on the way home from a lovely lunch with a colleague. No packages - but some magazines, which are hard to carry while corralling a dog. Once I got home and enjoyed my greeting from the dog, we took a walk. And I tried to just enjoy the walk and the sunshine. And it was so much more enjoyable. Instead of stressing out about how long it was (it only takes a 1/2 hour, tops, and he enjoys it SO much), I enjoyed being in the sunshine and watching him shove his whole head into snow drifts (hilarious, btw). Being calmer seemed to make the dog calmer, too. He pulled less (or maybe I was pulling less...), he walked nicely, he didn't lunge (well, after his initial, yay, we're on a walk! lunge that he *always* does). It was so nice. So much less stressful.

Then we came home, I changed, and he played with his new toy and took a nap. And I got SO much done in the last 2.5 hours.

I mean, duh. Try to be calm and organized, and things tend to be calmer, and more organized. Who would have thought?

Monday, December 28, 2009


I have such big plans for this week - no scheduled meetings, plenty of time to sit in my yoga pants and work on the concept paper for the next grant...and now Monday is almost over and I feel like I haven't accomplished anything. I *know* I did, but I have a hard time believing that right now. I should probably just take a day off - I baked and cleaned on Christmas, and throughout this weekend. As I usually do. And I am running errands and meeting a colleague for lunch tomorrow, which is pretty typical for me. And I'm going to the gym, and taking the dog on walks, and making dinner, and...Yeah. I think I need a day off. A day to do nothing but sit on the couch, read, and enjoy my husband's company. Maybe we can swing that on Friday.

I've found that I get frustrated very easily when I don't have my husband to talk me down from the ledge. Today's case in point - getting frustrated coming back from our walk because I had a dog who was pulling on the leash, a big (unexpected) box and two magazines from the mail, and a poop bag. And it was slippery, and windy, and my hair was in my eyes. Oh, and it was cold. So I was NOT happy when the dog was pulling and then stopping right underfoot and then leaping off again, and then I dropped the mail and nearly dropped the box and should have dropped the poop bag instead, and then I yelled at myself when putting the dog in the house so I could get the trash can, and instead the dog thought I was yelling at him, so I felt even more terrible, so I swore at myself as I closed the door to go back outside and when I came back in he was cowering near the entry.  And that's not fair to him. So I spent 20 minutes snuggling with him, talking to my mom on the phone (another computer problem) and convincing him to eat his food. And then doing more work. And then more snuggling. And then more treats. And now we're snuggling on the couch again.

But I really need to make better decisions in these situations...I could have left the damn box in the mail box (it's locked) and gotten it tomorrow. I could have tucked something under my arm differently. I could have stopped, gotten organized, and then finished the walk. I could have made several *better* decisions than I made. And it's times like this that I think it's probably a good thing that we can't have kids - and that we're not going to pursue the technology necessary for us to even have a chance. Because if I can't take a deep breath and get over a walk with the dog??? I'm pretty sure I'm not cut out to be a parent.

Sunday, December 27, 2009


We had a very quiet Christmas here. My husband came home on Wednesday, instead of Thursday, which was a nice treat. We stayed put Thursday and Friday, in part because of the absolutely disgusting rained! in the Midwest! on Christmas Eve! I mean, really. Bleah. It switched over to snow by 9 on Christmas morning, though, and since then we have gotten 6-8 inches of fluffy, powdery snow. Which made up, sort of, for the icky rain.

It was just the three of us on Christmas - we chose not to go to my in-laws', as we had just been there a few weeks ago when my brother in law and his wife were in town. I wasn't up for another trip up there, and the potentially sketchy roads made the decision rather easy.

We slept in, ate snacky food (my favorite thing about the holidays, to be honest), and enjoyed each others' company. We played with the dog - who got the most presents of anyone - and talked to our families. We shoveled and snow blowed and took a few slippery walks around the neighborhood.

It was a lovely holiday weekend, and I'm already looking forward to another one in just four short days. We always go to sleep before midnight on New Year's Eve - part of our traditions now, I suppose. But on New Year's Day we eat more snacky food, watch HGTV, and try not to work. (Although, since both of us worked for 6-7 hours on Christmas Eve, that might not be possible this year...)

And then - in the midst of my enjoying-my-solitude-for-a-few-days, about-to-get-a-glass-of-wine haze, an old friend called. She's pregnant. By IUI. Donor sperm. It's twins. She's due in the summer, and will probably have to move, as she's not sure how she can continue at her current job with two babies. Oh, right - she's not married. I have no problems at *all* with women choosing to have children on their own. It just seems like unnecessary roughness on the part of the universe for some reason. I'm just now starting to come to terms with this whole child-free life thing. I'm just now starting to realize that we won't have to save for college, or worry about a vaccination schedule, or all of those other things that parents do. And instead - the universe throws *this* at me?

Time for that wine. Since, you know, I'm not pregnant.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Onward and upward

It's college basketball season, my favorite time of the year! Oh, and it's the holidays, too. But I really love BB on almost every's still many months til the Final Four, and anything can happen. It makes me happy on cold winter nights.

Speaking of cold winter nights, my husband started a new job in a city 200 miles away last week. Which means that he spends 4 nights a week there, and 3 nights a week here. I really can't fuss, though - this job is a significant move up for him in terms of compensation, responsibility...everything. We hope it will position him for executive level positions when he decides that this job is not where he wants to be anymore. So, it provides the opportunity for him to move up - significantly.

Of course, the potential drawback is that this is a new company. And new companies fail ALL the time. That was actually the thing that made me most nervous about him accepting this position. What if? [I'm great at the what-ifs...] So we have decided that since he is making more money, and we were squeaking by just fine before, that we would save a LOT more money just in case. It's also a bit easier because my earning potential should increase significantly in the late summer, when I take a faculty position.

His taking this position has generated some interesting responses from people we know here in town. At my place of work - where they are quite open about wanting me to stay as a faculty member - several people have expressed concern, and have asked whether I need to move to the city now that N is there most of the time. I guess because we have done the long-distance thing many times in many different iterations, I find this surprising. It's not like he's being deployed for 18 months. It's not like he's flying to India every week. He gets in his car and drives 3 or so hours, and then he stays at an apartment, works like a demon, and comes home to us on Thursday afternoons. Which, quite honestly? Gives me LOTS of time to get work done. And then we can enjoy each other's company Fridays through Sundays. I mean, don't get me wrong - it's an adjustment (particularly for someone who is not really fond of being alone in the house...thank goodness for the dog...) but it's not like our lives are falling apart.

And this has also opened up worlds of opportunity for me. Waaay back in 2008 (ha!) when we were figuring out where we wanted to move when I finished my degree, we chose this area because we could both have long-term jobs in a small town with good schools. Now that we have decided not to pursue IVF, well, to be honest? The good schools are more a painful reminder of what we *don't* have, rather than something we will need in the near future. N was fine staying in his job - dead ends and all - if it meant stability, relatively good income, and health insurance. But again - not having kids means that we don't really need to focus on those things. I mean, sure the health insurance is good, and it's nice to have a stable income. But he didn't need to tie himself here to get those things. He was able to move on and up and into a new job opportunity that provides him with a lot of opportunity for growth. I have also decided to open up my job search - so that I now have 5 potential universities instead of just the one where I am currently. Even nicer? Two of those other universities are interested in interviewing me. So we are both positioning ourselves to move onward and upward in our chosen fields - something that might not have been possible (at least to this degree) if we had chosen another path last spring, when we were told that our only option was IVF, and even that wasn't a certainty.

I don't mean that we aren't still mourning the fact that we will be a family of two...or that our lives will be very different from what we had planned two short years ago. But there are some positives in this. Maybe I'm trying to be Pollyanna - maybe it's the season for that - but I'm going to try to find the good in this situation. Otherwise the negatives weigh me down, and that gets exhausting after a while.

We're going to have a quiet Christmas at home. We're not even doing gifts for each other - he gave me a heart rate monitor, and I gave him a Bluetooth earpiece for his BB when we were at his parents' the other weekend. We have some gifts for the dog - and I have a card for him. But we're just going to hole up here, enjoy each other's company, and try not to do work for a day. That's going to be the hardest part. ;)

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Conveniently forgetting

I have a tendency to conveniently forget those things that make me uncomfortable or sad, if possible. I guess I'm more of a conflict-avoider than I knew... Funny how life helps you learn more things about yourself, even when you think you know it all.

Anyway, I wrote about how my college roommate flaked on me and went out of town when I was *in* her town, with a primary purpose of seeing her and another friend. She (the college roommate, not the other friend) had baby #2 in late August, and I was so looking forward to seeing her for the first time in over a year, meeting baby #2, and seeing how kiddo #1 (because he really is not a baby) had grown. I set up my visit as far in advance as possible - knowing that I might not have another visit to their area for a while. I looked back (because I am that way) and found that I had emailed her the information for my visit in July. As in, dates. And she was still pregnant. And she told me she put it on the calendar.

Fast forward a few months to a week or so before my planned visit, when I emailed her and my other friends to finalize plans. And she emailed back that she hoped I meant that I was coming that weekend, not the *next*, as they had made plans to go see her grandmother in two weeks, since she hadn't yet met the baby. I was floored. No, I wrote back, I was traveling in two weeks, not one, and I wasn't able to change my plans since, you know, I'd made plane reservations three *months* before. Could they possibly leave a little later on their planned departure day (my planed arrival day) so I could see them for a few hours?

Oh, she wrote back. Well, they couldn't change their plans. Too bad.

I didn't even write back. I couldn't find the words. I knew she was juggling two kids, and maternity leave from work, and whoknowswhatelse. But still. We've been as close as sisters for 16 years now, and she finks out on seeing me for the only time all *year*?

I went on the trip, and I saw other friends. I played with their kids, caught up with them, and thoroughly enjoyed myself. But I was so sad, knowing that I was within an hour of my roommate's house for the first time in so long, and knowing that I wouldn't be seeing her.

And then I didn't call her for over two months. She never called me - balancing home and work and a new nanny and a household is likely enough to keep anyone busy. And I was still hurting.

I finally caved earlier this week. It's the Christmas season, I figured. I should call and set things right, even if I just called to talk about normal things. So I gathered up my courage and hit the right number on my phone. And got...not her voice mail. Definitely not her voice mail. Hip hop music and a message in Spanish? Definitely not.

This sent me into another spiral. Did she change her number and not tell me? Did something awful happen and no one tell me? It's amazing, I'll say, where the mind goes when it doesn't have enough information to draw a reasonable conclusion. I talk to my patient, loving husband, who suggests that I send her an email. Maybe I can get in touch with her that way.

I sent the email, and waited. Not long, as it turned out. Hi!, she wrote. We discontinued my personal cell phone since I have one for work, and I have too many devices as it is.

She called while I was on the phone with a prospective employer. I called her back and we talked about everyday things. My husband's new job. How big her baby is getting. How the nanny is working out. No mention of the fact that we hadn't talked for two months. No discussion of what had transpired during those two months. So I don't know what to think. I've decided that I have too many other things to think about right now, to devote any time to figuring out the nuances of this relationship. I'm glad to be talking to her again. I'm ignoring the fact that this relationship may have changed irreparably in the last few months. And yet, I think (don't we all?) that maybe *she* thinks that our child-free life is so different from hers, that my life trajectory has deviated so much from the traditional path, that maybe we cannot continue to be such good friends as we were.

One of the unexpected pieces of living a child-free life, not by choice, is how often the *issues* pop up in my everyday life. A day does not go by that I don't realize the impact of these choices on every aspect of my life. Someone makes a comment....I talk to a friend after a long silence....a phone message from another friend makes me think that her attempts to get pregnant with donor sperm (she is single, without a partner) have finally been successful....friends who had a baby in November post pictures of their adorable newborn on FB. It just....slaps me in the face nearly every day. And yet, on the surface, I am moving through my life - my husband and I, together. He has taken his new job. I am talking to people about jobs for next year, exploring all my options and not just those with good school districts. But underneath, I am the woman who can't have a child and who is not willing to risk her emotional and physical health to pursue all interventions necessary to correct that fact.

Monday, November 30, 2009


I should write here more often, and about more topics, but sometimes life gets in the way. When that happens, I wind up with a backed-up brain, full of things that I need to talk about, but which pile up when I'm away from this space for a prolonged period of time.

Things have been good, overall, but there have also been some issues that have been niggling at me for a while...Among them (and potential fodder for future blog posts - hopefully this week, although I'm not holding my breath): the fact that I haven't talked to my best friend in nearly 2 months; my disclosure of our infertility issues to my other best friend in early November, and the outcome of that; a new job for my husband that will require 4 days a week in a city about 200 miles away (=4 nights alone for me each week); needing to decide what my top options are for my *next* job search (didn't I just finish the last one?); and, finally, my continuing thoughts on what it is like to live as a childless couple.

I hope have more time to write this week. I just had another article accepted for publication, this one in a journal that is important in my field (yay!!!) and I am still working through the third dissertation paper. I have so many ideas bouncing around in my head that I am having trouble keeping track of them all. Professionally, I feel like I am starting to hit my stride. Personally, I feel like I have been keeping multiple balls in the air, and I'm worried they are going to start crashing down around me.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Inadvertant radio silence

I didn't intend to step away from here for almost a month...In fact, this was a month during which I probably should have written more often. But it's been busy, and I've been stressed, and finding the time to put my thoughts and feelings on screen, as it were, seemed an insurmountable difficulty.

I had a fantastic time visiting family and friends during my trip back East. exception. I will probably write a whole 'nother post talking about how my college roommate completely flaked out on me and went to visit a family member, thereby scuttling my plans to visit her and her family (including a new baby). I was, and still am, very upset about that. But that's fodder for a different post.

Visiting my family was also difficult because it was the first time I'd seen some of these friends since we decided not to go any further down the IVF/infertility route. And, as luck would have it, two of them have new babies. One has twins. I know that those twins were conceived with the help of some ovulation stimulation and IUI...but it still doesn't make it any easier for me, for some reason.

We've made a point of not telling very many people much about our difficulties...and several of those that we told about our problems (mostly around the time of my surgery last year), we have not gone on to tell about our decision to step off infertility road. That, to me, is a more personal decision than the whole "we're having difficulty but we're trying different things". I mean, you can be vague about that. It's difficult to be vague about "we've decided to stop all of the interventions". And even then? I hedge. I hedge a lot.

I'm rambling. Anyway. Two of three friends know nothing of our issues. The third (sister to one of the other two; I know, confusing) I told of our problems on this visit. I had not told her anything, despite the fact that I have known her so long that I can't remember NOT knowing her. She's that kind of long-term friend. Part of my difficulty was that she has managed to get pregnant - and stay pregnant - at the drop of a hat. They have three children and are pondering #4. It's not that I begrudge her her ability to's just that it's really hard to talk about this sort of thing with someone who has no idea where you are coming from. She and my sister in law are pretty similar - people who decided (with their husbands, of course) "Okay, time to have a baby!"; went off birth control; and got pregnant the next month. I'm not even kidding. It happened to my SIL for both of her pregnancies.

She was shocked, I think, to hear of all we had been through. She brought it up , too. I guess it shows how connected we are. Just as I was thinking (on the way back to her house from visiting one of the other friends) that I needed to bring this up (it was a goal of mine for this trip), she asked whether we had thought any more about having kids. (I had told her, hm, maybe 2 years ago? that it was something we were talking about...that was, of course, before we found out that I'm defective in some unknown way.) Anyway, she was shocked, and being a physician, and the daughter of an OB/Gyn, she tried to think of all sorts of alternatives that maybe we hadn't considered. Except, of course, we had considered them. Then we got into the adoption/foster care debate, so I told her my feelings on that. It was a long and draining conversation. I was glad I told her, but after that? I really needed time alone. And I didn't really get it. It was psychologically exhausting for me.

Later in the week I met up for dinner with a friend who is pregnant after 1 IVF (covered entirely by insurance...lucky duck) and another friend who also got pregnant the first month she tried. They know that we have stopped all intervention...but they are convinced that "someday" we will be parents. So as good as it was to see them, it was ALSO exhausting for me.

I find that I don't want to say "NO, we're DONE. This is IT." In part, maybe, because I'm not ready to go there in my own head. But I think the other part of it is not wanting to hurt the person I am talking to. So I spent a lot of the week hedging; answering questions with "Well, we'll see" and "I guess we might feel differently at some point in the future". But really? I think we're past that. As much as I have wanted a child - it's not going to happen for us. We deal with that Every birth announcement on g-d FB. Every picture of every kid that is posted. Every time someone posts that you never know *real* happiness until you're a parent. Every time someone says that you never know *real* fatigue until you have a child. In so many different ways. These friends? It's not staring them in the face all.the.time. They go back to their normal lives - to their families. We come home to a house that will never have children. As sad and bitter as I am about that, we live with it every day. That blunts - or numbs - the pain, at least for me. But it doesn't mean that I'm not sad when I get my period. It doesn't mean that I'm not torn up that I can't get pregnant - that I'm not mad when my mother tells me about a 22 year old having her third baby. But for us? It's an ongoing thing. For my friends? It's something they think about when I am there with them, and when I talk about it.

I was going to talk about our career decisions, but this post has turned into a longer rant than planned. More on that in another post.

Monday, October 19, 2009

I love...

...coming home again after much too long a trip
...having a sort-of-lazy yet productive weekend guys (human and canine)
...the feeling of finishing a half-marathon! twice in the last 2 weekends!
...breaking my PR in the 2nd half-marathon! (of course, since the first was my first...but I still cut 10 minutes off my time!)
...FALL! leaves changing, sunshine, blue skies
...thinking about the possibilities
...when my husband cooks his chili for dinner
...those crescent rolls in a tube (mmm...)
...crossing things off my to-do list
...friends' new babies
...smiley 6-month-olds

(I just feel like I have been too negative recently...will be rehashing everything from my trip soon, but it's just so good to be home and in my routine, I had to write this first.)

Tuesday, September 29, 2009


Well, re-entry was as difficult as I thought it might be. We had a lovely time at the wedding - helped by the fact that we spent very little time with my in-laws, and the time we did spend with them was in a larger group.

My husband had a realization recently - maybe it was last night? Anyway, I was asking when he wanted to go visit his parents, and he said that he doesn't think they look forward to/anticipate our visits. I like to think that we're not bad houseguests - we TRY to clean up after ourselves, and sometimes even throw ourselves bodily in front of the sink to clean up our own dishes. We don't hog the bathroom (they only have one), as far as I can tell. We eat what they want to eat (even when it gives us stomachaches). It's just...I don't get that vibe that they look forward to our visits. I dunno...they also won't come visit us and stay overnight, so maybe it's just them?

Anywho...all this to say that being with them can sometimes be difficult and draining. I find it hardest not knowing when the latest drama will erupt...and what the carnage will be. Most of the time? I'm completely oblivious to whatever it is that sets them off.

I got totally off track there, so anyway... this trip was lovely in that we were able to spend time off! together! in a fun place! Why, it was almost...a vacation (shh, don't tell). The wedding was in wine country, so we toured a few vineyards, and saw some exhibits, and enjoyed the scenery and the people watching. We stayed at a fancy resort (courtesy of my brother-in-law and now-sister-in-law) that had fancy things I've never seen before, outside of movies. You know, the fancy bathrobes? The slippers? The toiletries that you can't take home - but you can *buy* them if your little heart desires it? We reveled in the luxury of it all, extremely grateful to my brother in law that their generosity allowed us to stay there. The thank you note has been purchased and will be in the mail tomorrow, if I have anything to say about it.

The wedding itself made me think about our wedding. While I loved our wedding - it was very traditional, with a few non-traditional quirks - I would do it completely differently now. Completely. As in, I would strongly suggest that we elope. This was a small wedding - about as small as you can have without either a) limiting it to immediate family only, or b) eloping. It was also non (a?)religious.

I haven't talked about this much on this blog- and probably won't get into it in this post - but I have essentially lost any faith that I might have had up to this point. Big time. I have always had a hard time with overtly evangelical "crusaders", but up til now? I always had some form of faith. Now? Not so much. Is it too much time in science? Too much time thinking? Too much time without the touchstone of a regular church? Too...well, I don't know. I'll come back to that some other day. But I really enjoyed the fact that this was essentially a civil ceremony. There was no singing. There was no praying. There was no praising of some higher power for bringing these two together. (Of course, in their case? that would be the internets...) I really enjoyed that part of it - it was very freeing for me.

It made me a little sad that the wedding we had was - in hindsight - probably more for my mother than it was for me. But it made her happy - it made me happy, at the time - and that is all I can really ask for. Hindsight really is 20/20.

ANYway, I keep getting off track. Lovely wedding, lovely people. I had an introvert moment on Friday evening, when I excused myself from the late-night bar gathering in favor of a trashy magazine in bed. Talking to people...interacting with people...getting to KNOW people...can completely exhaust me. N and I are both introverts - but he does better in these kinds of situations. I do better when I am with a group of people I know well. But this was...tiring. So I took my time, and I was the better for it.

Re-entry into our regular lives has been rough. The dog was completely off his schedule. The house was fine - but there was the mail and the general travel detritus to go through. We finally got the house organized this past weekend, and I realized that next week? I leave for a week out East. So it won't last long.

Overall? I suppose the drama was less overt than I was expecting, although there were the typical weirdnesses along the way. I'm ever so grateful to have my husband - even though my in-laws come as a package deal with him. Really, though - we haven't traveled alone together since our honeymoon, and it was nice to know that my/our enjoyment of that week was not just a one-off. We really do travel well together. So it'd be nice if we could get a smidge more vacation time, so we could practice a little more.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009


My brain is a mess recently...Trying to work through issues related to the age old question of what DO I want to study now...still coming to terms with the whole infertility thing...going to my brother in law's wedding this father having vague symptoms that don't seem to connect to anything but that make me think the worst (of course)...

Sometimes it is very tiring being in my brain.

And then, when the thoughts cross? Watch out.

I'm grateful we don't have kids because I don't know what kind of mother I would be right now. I'm angry at the pregnant women I see smoking on the edges of hospital property, because *I* would do a better job while pregnant. Nearly every time I have a twinge pre-period, I wonder whether I got pregnant against all odds. I am looking forward to getting away this week - but not to the work that awaits when we return, or the dysfunctionality (is that a word?) that my in-laws bring to each family gathering. I know what I want to study, but I'm having a hard time articulating it. I'm anxious about the tenure track, and I'm not even on it! I worry about my parents getting sick and living 1000 miles away. And on and on and on...

Sometimes I just want to turn my brain off. I'm grateful that these thoughts don't keep me up at night, but sometimes they keep me from being very productive during the day. Perhaps writing about them more would help? I suppose that is one reason I have this blog - to work through some of these conflicting and consuming thoughts. I don't feel disorganized - my to-do list is up-to-date and detailed - but at times I feel like I am going to lose all the threads of my life if I don't keepupkeepupkeepup...

I hope that this trip helps calm me down a bit... I want to enjoy it, but of course I am taking my computer. *sigh* All those years of never being really disconnected from it all...I think they are still influencing how I go about doing things.

Time to rewrite my to-do list. Time to clear my head. Time to get away for a bit.

Monday, August 31, 2009


AKA, Happy Birthday to Me.

I had one of the best birthdays I've had in a long time on Saturday...just me and N and the dog. We went to lunch (and drank wine!), we took a drive, we took the dog to the d-o-g-p-a-r-k.

But the only people who called were my parents and my brother. Not my best-friend-from-forever, not my college roommate (otherwise known as my other half, or the female version of my husband)...and I went into a major MAJOR sulk. I just felt...ignored. And I wondered whether the distance (they each live about 1200 miles away) between us was getting in the way of our friendships. N was sympathetic, but I just needed to wallow. So I did. And I felt badly that I had ended this perfect birthday that way.

Friend one (we have known each other since before we can remember) called Sunday. Her sisters had been visiting, with their spouses/spouses-to-be, and there were new babies and talks of weddings, and she hadn't been able to call until they left and the kids went down for naps. I forgave her, obviously. Duh.

Friend two called this morning at 0630 our time. She had her second baby at 0300 today (well, 0259, if we're going to be picky about these things) and was calling to say happy belated birthday and hey, look! You have a new honorary niece! and I forgave her, obviously. Duh.

I wonder why I feel the need to fuss about WHEN they call. After all, isn't it more important that they DID call, and they DID remember, not that they called a day or so after my birthday? I am not the most important thing in their lives...but they still love me and want me to be happy.

I don't know where I am going with this, just that I hope a) I am a little less self-centered about this kind of thing the next time it happens, b) I don't ruin the next birthday with a pity party, and c) I do a much much MUCH better job of remembering other peoples' birthdays.

On a side note, it was the coldest birthday I can remember. I had to wear long sleeves, and jeans! Usually I am in shorts and a t-shirt. It was just a lovely, lovely day. I am so lucky.

Friday, August 28, 2009


And, a happy early birthday to me....on a gray, gloomy day (the 3rd in a row)...and the day I figured out they changed a grant deadline so that it's not the letter of INTENT that's due next week. No, it's the whole grant. And I missed the letter of intent deadline. What the he**?

I am so frustrated right now. It feels like I can't do anything right this week - hell, it feels like I can't do anything right this month.

It started with the wedding, and the not-so-covert glances at my very-not-pregnant stomach. Moved on to the vacation-that-wasn't, and the frustration caused by my family. Segue to an inability to concentrate, a looming tuition bill, books for the semester that will cost in the neighborhood of $500, a checking account that has seen better days, and now this? I know it doesn't seem like much to people who are struggling with *real* issues, but these are *my* issues, and they seem real enough to me.

I've been avoiding phone calls from friends, suspecting that they are pregnant.

I've have been crying at the drop of a hat this week - first at the (early, very early) arrival of my period (woo hoo, not pregnant...AGAIN), and now at the changed deadline dates of a grant that I think I had a very good chance of getting this year.

Why would they want to bring me on faculty if I mess up on something like this? I didn't check the webpage again when I got the email that it was up - I had already checked it, several weeks before, and written down the dates. I had downloaded the relevant information and forms. I had a scheduled worked out. I was working on the background and the significance arguments, with a plan to move on next week to the methods section. Plenty of time before September 25th.

Stupid stupid stupid.

Oh, and I scared the dog by yelling a Very Bad Word when I re-checked the webpage for something (the email of the person for the letter of intent, I think?) and saw the changed dates. So now he doesn't want to be near me.

Can I have a do-over? Maybe for the whole month?

Friday, August 21, 2009

Hatin' on the girls

I feel the need to get this out there - although, quite honestly, I'm not sure whether anyone else really wants to know about this. But here it is - the ugly truth: I hate my breasts.

I really do.

You may be asking - What about self-love? What about all the functions they're supposed to serve? What about, you know, exulting in the female body, blah blah blah?

And to that, I say - you are not living with them.

I'm sure that, in many peoples' opinions, it's not that bad. I mean, I can see my feet. I can do the things that I want to do. I don't have grooves in my shoulders from bra straps. And thank goodness - I don't need to buy custom-made bras.

But...and for me, it's a big but... They make my life so much more difficult. [Here's the whining part, if you'd like to skip...]. I am a runner. I like to think of myself as an athlete. They get in the way. They hurt. They make it hard to run. It is really hard to find sports bras when you are not a big person in other ways - but you need to contain breasts that are larger than "normal".

It's hard to find regular clothes that fit well. If something fits over my chest, I can guarantee it's too big elsewhere. I wear baggy shirts because I don't like drawing attention to them. On my rest days - when I read the paper in my pjs? - I actually put on a bra before hand because it hurts to have them unsupported.

I've never been able to wear cute tops like my college roommates, or cute bathing suits, or any of that. It's been all about the industrial "nun bras" (as my mother calls them). The bathing suits with high necks. Trying to find tops that conceal and cover but don't make me look like I'm 2 sizes bigger than I really am.

And don't get me started on the week before my period.

Last night, I realized that they impair the forward and back motion of my arms. Like when I'm in the shower. I need to bring my arms out to the side to accommodate them. And when I lie on my back? They are big enough to sag into my armpits.

Even worse, it's not like they're doing what they were put there to do. I can't get pregnant. It's not likely that I will ever need to breastfeed. So at this point? They're big, honking reminders of the fact that my body has failed at this most basic of functions - ensuring the continuation of the species.

I remember complaining to my mother at some point in my late 20s, how they're irritating, they're too big, why didn't I get her smaller chest? She mentioned that she'd been like me when younger, but then she breastfed, and poof! Her boobs shrank. I held onto that statement like a frickin' lifeline. I'm serious. I thought, well, if I can just get pregnant, and breastfeed for as long as possible, maybe they'll shrink? And I won't need to go through the rest of my life embarrassed, in pain, and always seeking THE sports bra that will keep them from flailing about without, you know, squishing them up to my chin.

And then, not to be able to get pregnant? It's just another one in the long line of blows that came from that news. A small one, perhaps, to someone looking from the outside. But when you live with it gets old after a while.

There's not much I can do. As I said, this is my personal opinion, which is not likely quantifiable and insurance-coverable. I don't meet other peoples' criteria for 'wow, how bad is that?' so unless we hit the lottery, I am going to have to learn to live with them - and what they will never do for me. Right now, that's pretty hard.

Sunday, August 16, 2009


I've been mentally whining to myself for a few days now, and I'm not sure why, or what triggered it. Side note - I love the British (? I assume it's British?) term "whinging". But if I typed that, I probably wouldn't remember what it meant years later. Anywho...

I have been having a hard time recently with the idea that we aren't actively trying anymore. And circumstances have been such that it seems the whole world* is against me, too.

Exhibit A - the diabetes study that I was going to be in - three years, experimental medications, not allowed to get pregnant? Yeah, I'm not eligible. Turns out that my dm is under good enough control - so I can't be included. I didn't make the cut off. So, poof! There goes that idea of being productive and contributing to society through ways OTHER than having children.

Exhibit B - the state fair. We went yesterday - first time to this one for both of us. And Oh.My.God. It seemed like everywhere I looked, there were pregnant people. Hugely pregnant people. But the best was the pregnant 20 year old (well, she looked 20), who was not only a) hugely pregnant, but b) had a 10-12 month old on her hip, and c) was smoking. Yeah. That didn't sit too well with me. It's all I can do to keep nasty thoughts from rising up at the thought of that.

Exhibit C - I think 95% of the people I know right now are either pregnant, trying to become pregnant, or contemplating another pregnancy. And it's getting really hard. The two other people from my old job who were having trouble? Both pregnant and doing well. Which, absolutely - great for them. But for me? It's just a little hard to swallow. People at work? Pregnant. High school classmates on FB? Pregnant.

Maybe I just need to wallow for a little bit - remember why I enjoy our life together as it is. But sometimes I feel like I am trying too hard. And then I get down in the dumps again. It just feels like I can't win right now.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Things I saw

Life is picking up speed around here, as the students come back for the start of the fall semester. Two short weeks...and I know they will fly by! Yesterday, I went downtown for the farmer's market - a truly frustrating experience, both in getting there and in trying to get lettuce and tomatoes. That's it! Lettuce and tomatoes. I came away with tomatoes, zucchini, eggplant, and green beans. Hm. And had to buy lettuce at the grocery store. Hm.

Things I saw in my travels...
  • A post-fender-bender car blocking both lanes of southbound traffic on the road I was using to exit downtown. Seriously? If the car can be driven, get it out of the way!
  • A bumper at the curb in a neighborhood on my way home. I always wonder about this - did it just fall off one morning?
  • Some of the worst parking I've ever seen - although, quite frankly, the design of the parking lot leaves a lot to be desired. Why would you - on purpose - make the spots not line up with each other?
  • Pedestrians with a clear disregard for their own lives and those of others. My goodness. If I had a nickel for every one who walked right out in front of my car...
It's state fair week here - and we are going for the first time. Food on a stick! Rides! Cows and pigs! I can't wait - it should be a blast.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009


Ah, finally. I am (finally) home, with my husband, and my dog, and my calm and wonderful life. Until this most recent sojurn East - and the longest period of time spent with my parents, brother and his family for...a long time - I did not realize just how much we had made our own life out here in the middle of nowhere.

Seriously - I always thought that my life was pretty much a mirror of my mother's. At least, I always thought that about our home life. I do a lot of the "indoor" chores, my lovely husband does many of the outdoor things - similar to the way my parents split chores. We (my mother and I) clean regularly - do wash regularly - have high-ish standards for the appearance of our homes. Etc.

But now? Having spent a week+ with them, and my brother and his family? I can safely say that we live very differently from the rest of my family.

I am kind of glad that N wasn't with us for the week (he was only there for the cousin's wedding the first weekend) - because he probably would have died a little bit each day.

It was bad enough that we shared a room (a "suite") with my parents the night of the wedding. That deserves its own post. The next week, my parents very nicely treated us to a week at the shore - something that N and I, certainly, will not be able to afford for many many years. And I'm not saying I don't appreciate their treat.

But the sharing of the bathrooms - and other personal space - and kitchen. The mess. And the noise. And the people. And...good grief. I didn't realize how much I enjoyed our quiet lives - our adult conversations and our calm and peaceful home. Not to mention our clean bathroom (even when it needs to be cleaned, it's tidy), and our peaceful evenings.

I also didn't realize just how much I disagreed with my brother and sister in law's childrearing practices. I saw our niece and nephew much more frequently when they were babies - and they were sweet, adorable, funny, biddable babies. (Tangent...what a funny word, "biddable". But anyway...) Now? Now they are 5 and 7 and my god...I am really glad they are not my kids.They don't listen. They laugh when asked to stop something irritating and/or dangerous. They yell. They say "It's not fair" constantly. I know a lot of it is developmental...but at the same time? A lot of it is a lack of discipline and structure. I knew my brother and sister in law were "unstructured" in their parenting - and I always thought that the kids would turn out just fine regardless. But now? I'm not so sure.

And this time? All of this hit me a lot harder than it has in the past. I think the whole infertility thing - the realization that we are not going to have biological children of our own - made it all worse. I used to think - well, at least we (N and I) will raise our child(ren) differently. At least we will make different parenting decisions. But now? We will not have that opportunity. And the closeness I felt with my niece and nephew has pretty much evaporated. Part of that is distance - and time - and their ages. But part of it? Is that I don't really want to spend as much time with them. I get stressed out - and I don't enjoy it. And that is an awful, awful thing to say (which is why I am saying it here). I always thought I'd be the fun auntie. But until they get a bit older - or a bit better-behaved - I will have a hard time being the fun one.

If someone is reading this - I know that there are people who will say that I don't *have* children of my own, and I *can't* make these kind of judgments about other peoples' kids, because I'm not in their shoes. To them? I would say that I observed these kids fairly regularly for the first four years of their lives - we're talking at least monthly. And I know parenting styles - even if I am not a parent myself. I also know child development. I have spent my professional life around children from birth to 22. And I know that these kids? Are not being raised the way I would raise a child...nor do they act the way I would expect a child of school age to act. And how very frustrating that is - knowing that I will not have that chance. Knowing that the next generation will not include OUR child...

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Anticipation vs. dread

So, we head to my cousin's wedding this weekend, followed by my Week of Guilt with my family (instead of here at home with my vacation-deprived husband and dog). I can't decide whether to anticipate or dread seeing the extended family.

We see everyone about once per year - we're talking aunts, uncles, cousins, cousins-once-removed, etc. In a non-wedding year, this means we're together on Thanksgiving (and in those years, we miss the get-together because we refuse to fly on Thanksgiving). However, weddings are pretty much de rigueur in my family, so in wedding years, we can't escape the gathering.

I'm particularly dreading it this year because of the whole "When are you going to have kids?" thing. My family is not known for its tact. Not at all. And if I saw them more frequently, I might think of this as an amusing little quirk. But we don't see them frequently - and quite honestly? *the question* really gets to me.

I don't want to get into what we have tried and haven't tried. I can't decide on a proper response. My husband thinks I'm completely overreacting. And I'm wondering why I can't just get.past.this.

I've pondered saying "We can't have kids", but people know almost too much about infertility and IVF and other options these days. I'm sure that if I said that, I'd just hear a thesis on why we CAN have kids, and have we TRIED this? or that? or, maybe we haven't seen the right person?

You know what? This is a decision reached after much deliberation and anguish on our parts. I don't WANT to be questioned on this decision - I want to keep it to ourselves - as it SHOULD be - and not deal with peoples' questions or worry or earnest "help". Would it be easier if I could get pregnant but not stay pregnant? Maybe. I have cousins who had multiple miscarriages, so that is familiar to most of the family members. But someone who just can't get pregnant? Not in this day and age!

So, I need to be working on getting stuff together for this trip, but I'm completely unmotivated. Add the dread of seeing the family to my guilt at staying for the week, and it's a wonder I'm not completely immobilized by negativity.

I guess I just need to focus on the positive - wedding! family! fun! open bar! - and hope that people are focused where they SHOULD be - which is on the bride and her groom.

Friday, July 24, 2009


We have not had a lot of calm in our lives over the last few years...multiple moves, lengthy separations, and the stress of school and work combined to make life pretty frenetic. But this summer...this summer is different. For the first time in our lives together (5 years! wow!), I feel like we have had a peaceful summer.

That's not to say that we haven't been busy - we have. But interspersed with the weekends away, and the visitors, and the daily grind, we have had many evenings where we simply sit on the screened porch in the evening and listen to the neighbor kids create their imaginary world. (No, really - that's what they're doing. We love listening to them discuss how things are going to be in their world, and what they need next....we suspect that we are essentially invisible to them - the grown ups next door - and we love that, since it allows us to eavesdrop on their goings-on.)

It's just so peaceful to sit out there - beer or gin & tonic in hand - discuss the day, watch the birds, pet the dog, and

For the first few years we dated, summers were our time apart. I had to work - 1000 miles away. We could only take long weekends to see each other, and those were frequently disrupted by travel problems (ORD....oh, how I loathe thee). To spend most (if not all) weekends together - to spend less time in airports - and to just enjoy our house and our dog and being together....I think that is what I will treasure most about this summer.

I suspect that this joy might fade over time, as the memories of those difficult summers fade. They were foremost in my mind this week because I happened upon a trove of emails from that time, and I couldn't help but marvel at the (good) changes in our lives. No, we are not going to have children - and that will likely be a constant source of grief for me. But we have a good life together - a happy life, and a peaceful one.

Of course, the emails also highlighted just how...businesslike...our morning emails to each other have become. Where they used to contain phrases like "can't wait to hold you in my arms again...", they now contain things like "I think we should hit Tar*get this weekend". Romance? Maybe it's in the background now. But I'll take what we have now, and where we are now, any day.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Guilt, grief, etc

I never know what is going to set me off re: not being able to get pregnant. I thought I was doing pretty well - last night, watching TV, I even commented on how cute a contestant on America's Got Talent was, without the pang of "I'll never have a cute child of my own" that I typically get. And I thought to myself - wow! You're doing pretty well! Maybe you're over it.

Yeah, um, no. This morning, I saw in FB that a friend had registered for her first baby. She's due in October, and there is a big family shower coming up at some point. I looked up the registry, to see if there was something we'd want to get for them. And that? That simple action? Nearly sent me over the deep end.

There were all the little things that I'd dreamed of getting someday - the Boppy, the changing table cover, the strollers and car seats. Instead, I'll be buying them for my friends as they have their first, second, and sometimes third babies. I'll never be the one who picks out the fun Boppy cover. I don't have to worry about which bottles are BPA free. I don't have to have my husband research car seats to determine which is the safest.

So I'm not over it. Not by a long shot.

Even better, since I'm feeling so crappy about this, we get to go to a family wedding next weekend! Full of extended family members! Who we see about once a year! Who will certainly notice that I am not pregnant! Gee, doesn't that sound like fun? And THEN, for good measure, I get to spend a week with my family, but not my husband.

And I just know - I KNOW - that pregnancy, babies, etc. will come up, somehow, at some point, during that week. The way I'm feeling now, I'm not sure how I am going to react. My brother and s-i-l don't even know that we gave up - only my parents and a few close friends do.

I'm also feeling guilty because my husband has next to NO vacation time - thanks, draconian company policy! - so he does not get to go on "vacation" with my family. Granted, we are going to his brother's wedding in September...but I still feel guilty that I will be gone for an entire week. Leaving him with the dog and the house and work. I'm going to take my computer - I will need to do some work while gone - but that is not making me feel much better. I am very good at the guilt thing - but not good at letting go of it.

Gee, it's going to be a fun day!

Monday, July 20, 2009


I know I shouldn't complain - but good grief, it's been COLD here in the mornings, the last week or so. I should be reveling in the low humidity, the joy of running outside, the fact that we don't have to put the a/c on...and instead I'm sitting here shivering. Brr.

I'm also worried that this will either result in an unseasonably hot October, or else a really effing cold winter.

Nothing like living in farm country to make you obsess about the weather. My favorite feature in our local paper is the accounting of how many "good" days farmers had the previous week, in terms of sunshine, rainfall, etc.

I'll just say that running in shorts at 55 degrees is a bit chilly, and leave it at that.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

2nd 5k of the season

Alas, my "Beef Days" 5k shirt does not have a cow on it...but I am amused by the fact that it was sponsored by one of the local funeral homes. Heh.

I had a personal best time in this one - yippee! Under 28 minutes. I need to train at that pace for the half marathon in October, so it was a very good run.

While I was there, my fantastic husband hit the farmers market and picked up our CSA, some extra veggies, and the BEST cookies I have tasted in a long time. Thank goodness we live near the Amish...they can beat anyone in cooking!

We have a relaxing yet fun weekend...cookout at the neighbors' tonight, hoping to go to the dog park, and enjoying the coolest July temperatures in decades. I'm contemplating putting on a sweatshirt...brr...

Thursday, July 16, 2009


Had lunch with a friend who is pregnant the other is always fun to catch up with her, as she is one of the funniest - and most insightful - people I know. Spending a few hours with her always helps reset me in some way.

She is due in October, and is kind of over the whole pregnancy thing. And yet, they'd been trying for over two years when she finally got pregnant - so she is feeling guilty about not loving every.single.minute of her pregnancy.

And that got me thinking - about our current status of NOT trying, and learning to be okay with that. This past weekend was spent with good friends - and multiple small children. It was lovely - it's so much fun to meet the new babies (there are 3-4 every year, it seems), and see how the older kids have grown, and learn what everyone has been up to. But this year, N and I decided that we would just do what we wanted to do, and really try to enjoy ourselves. Since we're not getting a big vacation together this year, we thought of this as our mini vacation.

And boy, did we have a GREAT time. We visited a place I'd wanted to see for years. Found a cave that we didn't know existed - and had a fantastic hour-long tour there (220 feet below the surface! rock formations! stalactites!). And then found a new place for lunch, where we relaxed, had a glass of wine, and enjoyed each others' company and the gorgeous view. At one point, N looked at me, raised his glass, and said "You know, there are perks", and I knew just what he meant. We had left our friends and the multitude of children behind - it was quiet, and peaceful, and so much fun to spend time with each other.

So why do I feel guilty for enjoying our child-free state? There were times last week - when I still thought I could be pregnant - that I actually had negative thoughts about possibly being pregnant. It's almost like my brain has finally accepted that this is not going to happen for us - and it's moved on to making sure I enjoy our life as it is. So I don't think I should feel guilty...but sometimes I do.

From an outsider's perspective, I imagine we seem rather self-indulgent. We don't have college savings accounts (although, quite frankly, since my earning power is rather reduced at the moment, we barely have a regular savings account). We don't have to work our schedules around small people. I can choose which day - and time! - I am going to do particular chores, and those choices aren't derailed by a cranky or sick child. The one variable in our lives is the dog - and quite frankly, he's the

I'm not sure whether the guilt is a vehicle for helping me realize that I can make an impact in some way - even if we *don't* have children? Or whether it's guilt imposed by society in some way - that we are expected to have children, and if we don't, we're not contributing? So it's a weird struggle - trying to accept that we are not going to have children, at least at this point, then feeling guilty about enjoying our child-free life.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009


It's amazing to me, sometimes, how different interactions and/or events can change my mood, and switch a normal, boring Wednesday (get up, exercise, clean bathrooms, wash towels, water plants, shower, start work...) into a really good day.

Usually, these are things that are external to me - an email from a colleague who has good things to say about a manuscript we are working on; a cheerful email from my parents discussing good things happening in the lives of family friends; even just the sunshine and nice breeze after a cloudy and strange day, weather-wise, yesterday.

And it makes me wonder...I've always thought that I was in charge of my own happiness. That I didn't need to depend on others to make me a good, happy, and productive person. I still believe that. But it's very strange to me that others' actions can have such a profound effect on my mood. It's not that I was in a BAD mood before I got these emails this morning. It's just that now I'm in a smile-at-the-wall kind of mood.

Off to take advantage of my emotional boost and need for productivity today...

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

I'm getting old and grumpy

No, seriously. I think I am. When circumstances and situations converge in a particular way, I am definitely old and grumpy. *sigh* I knew the gray hair didn't bode well...

See, we were at my husband's college for a reunion with a bunch of his friends this weekend. It takes place every summer - and for 3 of the past 4 years, we've gathered at their alma mater. Although prices have gone up in just that short period of time, it's still relatively cheap, there are lots of things to occupy all of the families, and we get to hang out for a couple of days in one of the most beautiful places I've seen.

We were stuck in a traditional dorm again this year, which makes it hard to hang out. There are townhouse-style dorms that make the hanging-out easier. We're going to try to get those again next year -we keep getting bumped for other groups. N and I are in charge of the 2010 get-together, so we'll see how we do. Anyway, being stuck in the dorm = free tickets for breakfast in the cafeteria. Hey, free food! Even if it IS cafeteria food. I mean, how bad can it be?

N and I skipped out on Saturday and went to a local place for a killer sweet roll. But Sunday we joined the rest of the crowd in the caf. It was, not surprisingly, one of the most carb-heavy meals I've had in a long time. Would it kill them to have some hard-boiled eggs, cheese, or non-French Toast options? But I digress....

We were there early (as we are childless, and therefore move faster than the rest of the group). Sat at a table for 8, thinking that others could join us as they drifted in. And we were close to some empty tables, so that could work out nicely. Until a family of 5, there for a church group thing (aka, Super-Christians, as N and I call them), just plunked themselves down at our table. They didn't ask, they didn't even gesture and raise eyebrows while pointing at the empty seats. Nope - just plunked down and made themselves at home. Not a word to us. Yay, Super-Christians. Way to be...super-annoying and super-self-involved. Sheesh.

So we got up and waited for friends to navigate the lines with their two small children. While waiting, I saw a young girl - there for a different Super-Christian camp thingie. She was wearing those cotton short-shorts that all teenage girls seem to wear now? You know, with the writing on the rear? Except, instead of saying "Juicy!" or "Hot!" or whatever stupid thing is typically written on there...hers said "SPATULA". Yes, a kitchen tool. On her tush. What on earth is up with that??? And of COURSE no one else saw it. But I swear, it was there.

See, I'm getting old and grumpy.

Fortunately we had a lovely weekend with friends, got to catch up with people we only see once or twice a year, and were never asked point-blank when we're going to start popping out some kids. Whew. Bullet dodged. And more on that later. I need to go be grumpy and do some actual work.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Daydream believer

I'm a daydreamer. Not in the "Get your head out of the clouds and get your work done!" sense, no, I've never had a problem focusing and finishing what I need to work on. No, my daydreaming occurs when my mind is not occupied with other things. When I'm cleaning, for example, or running mindlessly on the treadmill at the gym. Or riding in the car when I don't have to drive or navigate. Those are the times my mind wanders.

I was daydreaming yesterday while I was cleaning the bathrooms. My favorite mindless activity. It really is...tangible results, minimal effort, clean bathrooms. What's not to like? And, like so many times before, I daydreamed about being pregnant. See, after last month's wacky cycle (21 days, no obvious signs of ovulation [o.s.o., for short], etc.) I have been having a much more normal cycle. I had o.s.o, AND we managed to get busy pretty close to then.

So for the last two weeks I've been caught up in a game of "maybe this time". Maybe THIS time, things worked out timing-wise. Maybe THIS time, my defective tubes/ovaries/whatever kicked it into high gear, and we'll get our miracl. Maybe THIS time...and on, and on, and on.

Yesterday was particularly bad...I managed to daydream myself into a March due date, having to figure out how to tell family members when we have a family wedding next month! and I'm spending a week with my family! and then seeing my husband's family in September, for another wedding! And we're seeing my husband's college friends this weekend! All occasions during which much alcohol will be consumed.

This morning I was a bit more realistic. I have my typical PMS signs - ravenousness (with no discernible effect on my blood sugar...I hate my dm), klutziness, and now, within the lats hour, cramps. *sigh* I also took a hpt this morning, just to be sure that the beer I've been drinking over the past few days (Michel*ob Ult*ra, best low-carb beer I've found, and it comes in an Amber version) wasn't pickling a potential youngster. Totally negative. Really really negative.

I knew that was the case, of course. If we couldn't get pregnant during my lovely regular cycles, with IUIs targeted to the proper date, why would I think that having .... you know... maybe kind of close to the right date would work? Why do I let myself go down that road? And it's not just the family gatherings...I thought about the half-marathon I signed up for this fall. Christmas/Thanksgiving travel. My post-doc, and my need to begin looking for faculty positions. I was, and the whole time I knew it was just a daydream.

I don't know, I think I need to talk to my husband again about our current approach/lack of an approach. We're currently in the "do nothing, hey, maybe we'll have a miracle!" pattern. And I don't think it's working for me. I think I need to say, you know what? This is not going to happen, and we need to do something to make sure it's not a surprise during a time when we are not ready for this. I think I'm ready to come down on the side of *never* being okay, and *maybe* moving on out the door. I think.

Of course, maybe the whole problem is that I was never homecoming queen...maybe that would have solved all my problems.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009


We had friends visiting us this weekend - using us as a home base for seeing other friends in the area. It was so nice to see them - even though I have only met them a few times, they are lovely and their little boy is just a delight. One of the questions they ask him (when he's acting up) is whether X is a "good choice". So, for example, was it a good choice to refuse to put on your shoes to go outside and see fireworks? And he usually gets it, which is impressive.

It was great to see them for a few days, for me to get to know them better (they are college friends of my husband), and to know that we'll see them again next weekend before they head home. I like to think that as we settle in here, we'll have more fun weekends with friends from near and far...although it is hard meeting people when you are a) not in college, b) not in school, and c) boring (we're pretty boring, we know this, and we're okay with it). It'll be interesting to look back in 5 years or so to see whether and how we've managed to build a friend and support network here. Choosing to be friends with other adults tends to be easier, I think, when you have kids who are the same age, or who are in the same class at school. For those of us who are childless, it's a little more difficult to encounter those who may become good - or even just casual - friends.

We even had some time to ourselves, which allowed us to make some good choices as well. We took a nice drive up to a local lake that I had somehow missed seeing in my time here. It was hot and sunny and beautiful. We drove around the lake, and through the countryside, and gawked at big, beautiful houses and random farms right near town. I can't believe I hadn't seen some of these places before - it makes me want to keep exploring our new-old town, just to learn more about what is out there. It helps that N has a new car and is perfectly willing to take drives in it, too.

I think the only thing that was missing from the weekend was a trip to the Dairy for me to get some ice cream. That will have to be remedied sooner or later.

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

A window into others' lives

Driving to the local co-op today (I needed fruit), I realized that my love of bumper stickers and other car adornments is likely because they provide a glimpse into the lives of the people driving those cars. Or not, I suppose, if someone bought the car and then didn't bother to remove the stickers, magnets, trailer hitch decorations, etc. I'm a naturally nosy person - just ask my husband! - so I love reading multiple bumper stickers on cars that are plastered with them. Sometimes? I just have to wonder.

Like the guy in front of me today, who had a lovely pair of fake testicles hanging from his trailer hitch. Really? You thought that was a good idea? Are you demonstrating where your brain resides? Or compensating, in some small way, for some of your shortcomings?

Or, my favorite sticker of the day: Eat Beef. The West wasn't won on salads. Hah. You'd never see this sticker back where I grew up - which I think makes me love it more. :)

I've seen several of the Republicans for Voldemort stickers, and I'm confused as to whether they are on cars driven by a) Republicans who have a keenly developed sense of irony, or b) Democrats who want to point out that Republicans haven't done much better than Voldemort in choosing their recent nominees (and, ahem, president/vice president).

And on that political note...because my husband doesn't really want to hear my diatribes against those who publish on the Opinion pages of our local paper...We had a column yesterday written by a self-described "Christian apologist", who proceeded to attempt to debunk the arguments for gay marriage using some...awkward and rather insulting metaphors. I know that these guest columns are open to those with different and opposing viewpoints, but I can't begin to tell you how sick it made me to read this drivel while drinking my smoothie.

I also find it rather...what's the word I'm looking for? Inconsistent? That people who want to be left alone to raise their families the way they see fit (with guns, spanking, and all sorts of things "those liberals" hate) don't want all families accorded this same courtesy. I may not like the way you parent, but I'm also not going to confront you about it unless my child is a guest in your home (see, guns) or you're injuring your child (see, spanking). So why do you care if a child has two moms or two dads?

And now my brief, inarticulate foray into political speak has ended. Back to work.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

First 5K of the season

My first 5k of the season was yesterday...a local run for the Festival for July 4th. On June 27th. I guess they don't like to bunch all of their activities together? Anyway, it's been hot as blazes all week - and humid, to boot - so I was desperately hoping for temperatures in the 70s at 8 am. I think I got my wish - it was also a teensy bit less humid - so it was less like running in a washing machine, and more like just running in humid weather. Whew.

I managed to break 10 minute miles - pretty good, considering the foot injury that had me out of running for six.endless.weeks. And it was a hilly course - good practice for the half marathon that my brother and I plan to run in the fall.

We had a productive weekend, including selling an old car, buying a new one (which we will pick up this afternoon), cleaning up around the house, preparing for guests next weekend, and hanging out with friends on our screened porch yesterday. A nice weekend - the only thing missing? Ice cream. *sigh* I'm an addict, I know it.

This week promises to be mildly busy but not crazy, like last week. We are not heading out of town for July 4th, so need to figure out what we want to do on the day itself. We will have houseguests, but they are using us mostly as home base for their visit to the area, so I think we'll be on our own for fireworks, etc. It's so weird to think that tomorrow, a year ago, we were closing on this house. It's even better to think that I don't have to pack again for at least another year. After 4 moves in 5 years together (wait, let me count again...1 (N sold house), 2 (partial move back East), 3 (full move back East), 4 (move to rented townhouse out East), 5 (move to this house)...) shoot - make that FIVE moves in FIVE years, it's a bit strange to have a year off. Huh. More time to do actual work, I suppose!

Onward and upward....without packing boxes in tow, at least for this year!

Tuesday, June 23, 2009


Good grief, it is HOT here in the middle of the country. According to this morning's paper, our high density of land planted with crops is not helping the humidity. Huh. I didn't know that "crop transpiration" could actually affect the dewpoint and humidity levels. You learn something every day!

We are doing a CSA this year for the first time - a half share, since the dog doesn't really eat vegetables, and the full share is intended for four people. It's been great so far - although I've had to look up what some things are (and, um, use Goog.le Images to determine which is the broccoli rabe and which is the arugula...) and what I can do with them. Garlic scapes? Had no clue. But apparently they taste really good, so we're looking forward to trying them.

Picking up the CSA also means getting to go to the farmer's market on Saturday mornings, which was not part of our routine before. And gosh it's fun. They hold it on the bottom level of a parking ramp - shade! easy parking! - and everyone walks around with their coffee and pastries (or, um, egg rolls...not into that, I can tell you). It reminds me of what vibrant communities University towns can be. Sure, there are all the political and town/gown issues. But it really is a fun place to live, particularly in the Midwest. Small town, but lots of cultural events, and a tuned-in population that pays attention and wants to maintain the quality of life.

Makes me glad we left the world of $750,000 "fixer uppers" and moved back here...

Friday, June 19, 2009

Dear, revisited


Dear Pep*to-Bism*ol,

You know, when you're not feeling so hot, and you really feel the need to chew on a chalky, pink, sort-of-minty, sort-of-not tablet? The LAST thing you want to do is wrestle with your packaging, which seems to have been designed by a sadistic plastics engineer. Seriously. It's 2009. Could you PLEASE make it so that multiple attempts are not required to access the actual tablets? What's up with the seemingly impenetrable plastic? And really, who wants to go find scissors to get to the Pep*to??

My gut thanks you.

Thursday, June 18, 2009


Dear gray hairs,

I know I can't stop you from coming in; after all, I'm getting older by the day. But do you really have to be a completely different texture than the rest of my hair? And do you have to stick up and out at weird angles, so I look like I've stuck my finger in a light socket?

I'd appreciate it if you could rethink your position (ahem, literally).


Dear general public,

I know the Midwest can be confusing, but really? The states are not interchangeable. There are actual differences between them. Shocking, I know.

It'd be nice if you could figure out that just because Ohio and Iowa both have four letters, three vowels, and a consonant, they're not the same state.


Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Mostly calm...chance of showers

I made it to and from my international conference with no major glitches...I even managed to get myself around a foreign city and country with no problems. The traveling alone skills returned rather quickly, and I actually enjoyed the time to think and be quiet with myself. Not to say that I wouldn't have love it if N could have come along...but it was a good week. I saw some sights that I never would have seen otherwise, and once I got over my nervousness at talking to people (ahem, "networking"), I had a very good time at the conference.

Having lived in large cities on the East coast, as well as this small town in the Midwest, it's always interesting to me to see how people respond to my answer to "Where are you from?" When I say I'm from here, they seem to assume that I am some kind of...bumpkin, for lack of a better word. But when I said I was from "near D.C." (where we lived before), they seemed to assume that I was a *big city person* and that I would have *attitude*. It's just interesting.

Side note - the dog is wagging his tail in his sleep. Aww....

I also managed to figure out where I think I want to go for my next grant. And, after meeting with various mentors and faculty over the past week, I think they are pleased with my new direction as well. I am very excited - I think it's an area that I could do a lot of very good research in. My post doc advisor (she's in charge of our grant) said that I'm "in the right place, at the right time", to which I wanted to reply "Great! Then I'll have a job when I'm finished with the post doc?" :) There are no guarantees in life...but I am hopeful that good ideas and a willingness to be open to new directions will help me go places on my chosen career path.

While the conference was good, the ideas were flowing, and I've had a busy but good couple of weeks home, I've also had it kind of thrown in my face that hey! We don't have kids! And we likely never will! So, *sigh*. People are clearly well-meaning, and duh, they don't know what we have been through. But still, it hurts when someone asks whether children are "in the picture". What do I say? No? No, but not by choice? I don't want to give a blow-by-blow of our difficulties, but I also feel like I am shortchanging us if I just make it seem like no, we don't have kids, and we didn't really want kids. Today, a college kid came to the door and asked if I was "the mom". I thought the phrasing was kind of weird, but said yes. Turns out he was shilling for some study guide company? I don't know what one? But he clearly was not interested in talking to me, since we don't have small children. I'm also worried about what to say when we get together with N's friends later this summer...we are the only couple without children, and I just know that it will come up in some way, shape, or form over the course of the weekend. We've briefly talked about how we would answer these questions, but...well, again. Do we want to get into the gory details? Do we want to just leave it at "oh, we'd love to have kids some day"? This isn't something you can really Google, although hm, I might try that.

I am also trying to get over myself and my focus on our infertility...I don't want this to be my defining characteristic, much as I didn't want the quest for a child to be my/our defining characteristic. I need to broaden my life, make new friends, and try new activities...make connections that don't rely on the presence of children for them to flourish...and learn more about what I want to do with MY time over the next however-many years. I need to mourn the family we didn't have, but I also need to live the life that we do have. It's a pretty good one.

Friday, May 29, 2009


I head out of town tomorrow for nearly a week. International travel, for the first time in, well, a long time. I'm a little worried I've lost my mojo - not only for traveling internationally, but for traveling by myself. I used to do it all the time...but I worry that now I've become too used to traveling with my husband and letting him take care of things. I imagine it'll be good for me - in a place where I know no one, where I don't speak the language, and where I'll need to figure out how to get around on my own. I have a feeling, though, that I will be ready to come home once the conference is over!

My imminent departure has led to a great shifting of "stuff" around the house. Working on projects I want to finish before I go (time-sensitive things, like potting plants), piling up clothes that I think I want to take, doing the same with toiletries (good grief, the toiletries...I consider myself relatively low-maintenance, but it seems as though I'm taking more stuff than I could possibly use...), doing the laundry, etc. etc. etc.

I've also been trying to shift the focus of my research interests, with minimal (at best) success. The grant I was planning to write - for the past year, at least - focused on a topic that seems to be on its way out. And the agency has funded multiple studies on this topic just this fiscal year. Sooo....perhaps it's good that I am headed out of town - and to a work conference, no less. I usually get some good ideas by listening to others talk about their work, and I'm hoping that this conference will spark some creativity on my part. I've been worried, because I feel like I am spinning my wheels trying to find the next.big.idea...but maybe I should just let it go for a week. It's not like I won't be working - I will - and letting my brain relax a bit could be the spark that I need.

We're also considering getting a new car. N's car is almost 7 years old - American made - and is one of the brands that are being dumped. So its value as a trade-in will be nearly nothing if we wait much longer. But...the car we are thinking of getting is most definitely NOT a family car. It's tiny - would fit us, the dog, and a duffle bag - but not a carseat. Like moving N's office into the putative nursery, this is one of those shifts that I'm finding I need to work on. I can't feel overjoyed about the prospect of a new car if it's one that a carseat won't fit into. Not yet. I need a little time, still. I feel like, well, we made the decision not to go forward at this point, shouldn't I feel happy and relieved and...yeah, not so much. I think I'm still grieving my vision of "family", even though I know that my current family is pretty excellent. Time, I guess, will heal (or at least scab over) all wounds.

Monday, May 25, 2009


We've had a very nice - and productive - long weekend. Full of chores and things around the house and getting some tasks done that we were putting off. Washing windows, potting plants, and hanging out with the neighbors. All good things that we've thoroughly enjoyed. The best part is, we haven't gone that far from home all weekend - the farthest was my trip to SuperTarget yesterday. Boy, do I love my ST. Really. I stock up there for weeks at a time - and fill in with trips to the farmer's market or the local stores for produce.

Today it's drizzly and cool - quite a change from the last few summer-like days. My lovely husband mowed this morning, while I cleaned up some books in the middle bedroom. Because our plans for this afternoon included moving his desk and office stuff into the middle bedroom. That would be the one that I thought was going to be a nursery. It's well-placed (right next to our room) and small. Close to the guest bath (which was to eventually become the kid's/kids' bath). It was perfect. And now it's N's office.

I'm okay with this, but I'm also a bit sad. I wouldn't go so far as to say I'm grieving the "loss" of that room, but it is difficult to realize that there isn't going to be a baby (or babies) living in this house for a very long time. That there won't be nights when I stumble down the hall, to get to a crying child. That the bathroom will stay nice and neat and tidy for guests - and we won't have to fish bath toys and crayons out of the tub when people come to stay. I worried about whether the room was too close to the guest room - you know, when people come to visit, they might not want to hear a baby crying.

Instead, it now houses my husband's truly beautiful desk (and I mean that sincerely), our new bookshelf, and the stuff that has lived in the corner of the family room for almost a year now. Since we moved in.

But it's like a friend said when we told her that we were planning to do this - you can't let the fact that you can't get pregnant stop you from living your life. I see that more in the big things - I'm going to meetings, we're traveling, we're trying to enjoy our childless lives. But it's in the small things, too. Like moving a desk on a rainy summer holiday.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Crabby, Tired, and Sad

I know, such a lovely title for a blog post. But it's not like anyone else is reading this, anyway, and this functions more like a journal for me than for anyone else's enjoyment. And if anyone is reading (most likely, my husband, although I doubt even that!) he or she already probably knows that I've been in a crabby mood the last few days.

You know it's bad when you get frustrated with the dog...the sweet, loving, lazy dog. That's how my day started, when he wouldn't willingly come downstairs. Then, he had the gall to get up while I was exercising downstairs (I know!...also, I do know I was totally overreacting) and I had to move him to the couch. Really - it sounds ridiculous as I type it, but this morning, it was sending me over the edge. I capped the morning by not only dropping the butter container, cracking the bottom, but also getting my period.

Ahhh...PMS. I don't get headaches or cramps or anything, I just get totally crabby and completely klutzy. More so than usual. And, this is the first of many months where we're not actively doing anything to try for a pregnancy...and so it's very sad, too. Isn't it bad enough that we haven't been successful in the pregnancy department? I mean, do I have to have nasty cramps, the crabbiness, and the klutziness, too? I hope that this gets better as time goes by...I thought I was okay with stepping off the infertility treatment train, but if I get like this every month it is going to get very old, very very fast. As in, it's already old already.

Is it that I haven't given myself enough time to deal with our decision? I don't know. We just decided not to pursue other options a few weeks really hasn't been that long. Maybe I'm still in the mourning process, for lack of another description. It certainly doesn't help when I am confronted with pregnant people literally everywhere we go...from good friends, to neighbors, to friends-of-friends. And I'm still having a hard time with the sad thoughts when I do encounter someone who's pregnant.

Work has been busy - for both of us - which is good. But in the back of my mind, there is always the thought that I'm going to become what I never wanted to become - someone like my first "real" boss, who was bitter and angry and self-centered, and who hated women who had children because they decided to put family first and not their careers. I always thought I'd show her, by having a family AND a great career. So much for that. So while it's been busy - and a bit mentally draining - recently, it's also difficult to realize that I'll never have to balance work and young children, or maternity leave, or any of that. Even the fun stuff, like showing pictures of my kids to colleagues at meetings.

So maybe it is that I'm just going through the mourning process. Maybe it's good that I'm leaving for a work-related meeting next Saturday - in Iceland, of all places. Maybe being somewhere differnet will help get my mind off of how I feel like a failure for not being able to get pregnant, and for getting off the treatment train before we'd exhausted all the options available to us. It'd be nice if clarity and peace came in nice, tidy packages that show up when we need them most...I'm still waiting for mine.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Competitive lawn mowing

I've never lived with my husband in a place where we've had more than 10 square feet of lawn that is our responsibility. Before he moved in with me, he lived in a lovely house about 30 minutes away, and I knew he took great care of his lawn and garden. It always looked nice, and tidy, and well, I liked that about him.

Then he moved down to my condo so we could live in sin, and the association was responsible for the lawn. We then lived in an apartment - no lawn - and a townhouse with the aforementioned 10 square feet of grass. When he came back to the Midwest last summer, leaving me in the townhouse for a couple of months, I cut it with the weed whacker. That's how small it was.

So now, living in suburban heaven, it's hilarious yet slightly scary to see him take up competitive lawn mowing. We now have neighbors on all but one side - well, and the front, where the street is. Duh. And they all take wonderful care of their lawns. Mowed regularly, treated for weeds, edged, trimmed, etc. And my husband is more than keeping up with them. He mows, and edges, and trims, and weeds. He has the lawn service come out. He carefully removes any dandelions that might dare to intrude on his patch of grass. And he does all of this, every week, without asking for my help. And I love it.

He also claims to hate the outdoors, which I have now reinterpreted to mean as "camping" (i.e., having to pee in the woods and go without a shower). Because clearly, he doesn't hate the outdoors when it means he's out there taking care of the lawn. I love that he cares so much.

And on a different topic, completely...Neighbors just had their third kid in 5 years; the women across the street from them (right across and then across-and-down a bit) are both pregnant with their third kids. And we just found out that it is not going to happen for us. We've decided not to go through with IVF at this point, although we could always change our minds. But I don't see us doing that. It's been a sad few weeks for me, trying to come to grips with this. I don't think it's going to happen overnight...but why does it seem as though everyone is pregnant? And all I see are pregnant women?

Wednesday, May 6, 2009


So, there's a kid who rides the 7:30 bus with me a couple of times a week. He uses it to get to the local high school - a nice option, if you ask me. Seeing him gives me flashbacks to high school - which feels like it was about 15 minutes ago. He's so...awkward. Never looks anyone in the eye. Never says "good morning" to our bus driver (which seems to be de rigeur when it's the same woman driving the same people to work every thing I love about this town). Never acknowledges that there are other people on his planet. So very, very teenager-y. I watch him get off the bus and trudge off to what must seem the most boring place on earth...the high school. There's something about the set of his shoulders that makes me feel sympathetic, and helps me remember that high school isn't always the best time of anyone's life. And then I think, thank goodness! I'm done with that! I have plenty of degrees, and I don't have to go to school anymore (although I love it so much it may be tempting...). And I also think, woo hoo! I know how to interact with people, and talk to them, and saying "good morning" to the bus driver doesn't give me the heebie-jeebies.

But then I realize that I haven't left it all behind...I didn't go to the spring clean up weekend in our neighborhood because my husband wasn't home, and I feel shy and awkward around most of our neighbors. Particularly when there are lots of them in a group. I occasionally skulk past the offices of our area secretary and program associate, because some mornings I just don't want to say "good morning". I read on the bus. I don't make eye contact. And sometimes I think that I haven't left the awkwardness of high school behind at all.

Thinking about how we're navigating through all of this infertility stuff also makes me feel awkward... They want us to consider IVF now, since they haven't been able to figure out what, exactly, is our problem. And I have to be honest - as much as I want a baby, as much as I want to see my husband become a father (because, really? he'd be a fantastic father...) - I have to say that I'm seriously leaning towards not doing IVF. I'm not sure I'm up for going through all that we would have to go through - and not be sure that we'd have a baby at the end of it. But I feel awkward saying that. So many people out there on the internets seem to jump right in to IVF - not without thinking, that's not what I'm saying - but with more gusto than I can gather right now. Is that because they've already gotten past this point? That once you decide, you *just do it*?

I'm also having a hard time finding other people who are talking about this point in their decision making...whether it's IVF yes/no, or IVF+ICSI yes/no, I can't seem to find people talking about how they have decided to go for it (whatever "it" is) or....stop. So, who talks about the stopping part? Where are there people who have decided that, for them, this is where it ends? And how do you talk to other people about that?

Wednesday, April 29, 2009


I went to Toronto last week for what turned out to be a fantastic meeting. I was to say this nicely? I was anticipating that the group, currently on its 11th gathering, would be less-than-welcoming to new participants. And I found the exact opposite, which was such a pleasure. It reinforced my interest in my dissertation topic, and prompted me to start working on developing contacts in another clinic in the hospital here.

I also had one of the better travel experiences I've had recently (which means my trip to my parents' house next weekend for a cousin's wedding shower is now doomed). Cookies on the flights (woo hoo, NWA/Delta merger!), exit rows, on-time departures and arrivals, and a bag that arrived on both the outbound and inbound segments. Seriously fantastic.

I love airports. I love people-watching, and airports are one of the best places to accomplish this. I could sit in an airport for days, likely, and not run out of people to observe, discuss with my husband (if available; I feel fortunate that I married another unashamed people-watcher), and remember.

This trip, people were mostly normal. There were a few who stand out, though:

  • To the gentlemen who felt compelled to clip his nails in the Toronto airport, while waiting to board the flight to Minneapolis: Seriously? Ew. You couldn't find 2 minutes to do that before you got to the airport?
  • To the four people who a) took up about 16 seats, in a very small boarding area, and b) removed their shoes: Really? You can't keep your shoes on for 1/2 an hour in the airport? Do we all need to see (and, in some cases, smell) your bare feet? I repeat: Ew.
  • To the woman who I nearly accosted in MSP, trying to find out if she was at the meeting (long story - I thought she had been there, and she mentioned my town on the flight to MSP, and I put 2 and 2 together and thought, potential collaborator! Alas, not so much - she was not at the meeting. *sigh*): I apologize for practically stalking you to find an opportunity to ask you whether you had attended the meeting. And thank you for being so lovely and Midwestern, and actually having a brief conversation with me, instead of pepper-spraying me.
  • To the family I saw, whose child appears to have the condition I used to work with, extensively: I hope your child is receiving excellent medical care; she was one of the cutest kids I've ever seen. I didn't approach you because, well, I'd already hit my quota of uninvited conversations for the day. But I've been keeping you in my thoughts, and hoping that all is going well.
Also? The recorded voice in the MSP airport, the one that tells you when the "moving walkway is ending"? Has a British accent. In Minnesota. What is up with that?

I am happy to be home, but drifting a bit as I figure out what I should focus on this week. Paper #1 resubmitted, and waiting for a final verdict. All fingers are crossed, which is seriously hampering my ability to type.

And, one final note - April? You have been rather icky, thanks. I'd appreciate it if you could give me some sunshine and warmth here in the last two days you're on the calendar. [I missed the nearly-record warmth last week while in Toronto...]

Sunday, April 19, 2009


It's a gloomy weekend here, although the promised rain has not yet materialized (and it doesn't seem like it will come at all...). Yesterday I had plans to plant some seeds for this summer (literally, vegetable and herb seeds) and maybe do a load or two of laundry. But N had other priorities. Since we are going to be apart the next three weekends, he wanted to do something fun.

So off we went to an antique mall about an hour away.

I know, I know...does that sound like fun? Well, to two nerds (like us) who love to look at old things, and laugh at a) what people collect, b) what is an "antique", and c) some of the hilarious items that human ingenuity has invented over the years, it was a fantastic idea.

We had a great time. We found a bookcase of the type that N had been searching for since childhood - it is currently in our family room, having booted the piano from its wall. We plan to display some of our favorite items in there - it's a glass-fronted bookcase, so perfect for some of our ships-in-a-bottle (N's grandfather made them) and other knicknacks.

But my prize find was a pile of old Life and Women's Day magazines. Oh, my goodness, do I love old magazines. And now N knows my weakness (which I managed to successfully hide from him for five years). The ads, in particular, make me snort with laughter. I am going to have to share some of them here - they are just too good to keep to myself. We had fun last night paging through some of the magazines - looking at the stories as well as the ads. Good times.

Today was a bit more mundane. I, and the rest of the local population, went to SuperTarget for our BIG shopping. We stock up there on frozen and pantry items - it is soooo much cheaper than the more local grocery. Went to the local grocery for things that ST doesn't carry (oddly enough, soy cheese? at least in the varieties we prefer? strange...). And then went by the pharmacy, only to be told that one of the most reliable and established topical acne meds requires prior authorization from my insurance. Apparently they don't approve it for acne if you are over 35. Because, you know, a) I'm not over 35, and b) what? people over 35 get acne. Thanks, stupid insurance company. So now I know that when I turn 35 in a year and a half, I won't be able to get coverage for this medication. Which, I might add, is available in cheapo generic form. I wonder if it's worth writing them an email, questioning that decision. Anyway, so a very irritating stop to end my errands.

Friday I wished I had someone with me as a sidekick all day, due to the amusing things that popped out here and there. The construction crew blaring (yes, blaring) "Lady in Red". Very manly, guys. If only you were singing along, too. The license plate "N Abler". Not quite as bad as "Stalker", but do you really want to be advertising that, too? The fact that two days after I wrote about rarely running into people we know around here, we ran into one of N's college classmates at the park where we ate lunch on Friday.

This week I have to submit an article revision (let's hope they accept it...) and then travel to Toronto on Wednesday for a Big Scary Conference. Time to go practice my presentation again...