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...

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Small town

I'm not feeling very witty today. Close friends are expecting their first child, and a long-time friend (who's more like a sister) had healthy twins today. Wonderful news all around, but difficult when you're in the situation we're in. So, I need to pull myself out of this funk.

Some random thoughts...

I'm still not used to the small-town aspect of where we live...the tendency to see someone you know everywhere you go. It's not as bad for me as it is for some people who have lived here longer, but it still happens.

Last night we went to dinner with friends - hilarious friends, who always make me snort Diet Coke up my nose while laughing. We had a great time at dinner - and -only- saw two people that at least one of us knew. That was kind of a surprise - I thought we'd see more, particularly on cheapo wing night. Dinner was good, and they let us stay at our table for about 3.5 hours. That's about our average when out with these friends. Good thing we enjoy each other's company!

Walking around the neighborhood, I'm still not in the say-hi-to-the-neighbors mode. And I have a terrible habit of waving with the hand that is holding the dog-poop bag. Yeah. I'm sure they love me around here.

It is absolutely beautiful here today - of course, I'm still cold, but that's nothing new. Bright blue skies, sunshine, a little less wind than usual. In other words, weather that makes you think that hey! spring might actually come, eventually.

My wonderful husband is off getting his hair cut. His appointment was at 6. He left here at 5:35. The hair place? Is about...2.5-3 miles from here. It takes 10 minutes, tops. Now, maybe he'll get taken back early...but still, 25 minutes to go three miles? I don't think so.

The dog has bronchitis, and is on several different meds. I told him he was lucky we loved him a whole lot, because he's going to use up our tax refund on vet bills and peanut butter.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

No fooling...

It was an interesting week hereabouts...personally and in a broader sense.

We were traveling last weekend - I had a conference in Minneapolis - so we got to see many of my husband's college friends. It is always lovely to see them, but we hardly ever manage the four+ hour drive in between reunion-type gatherings. We spent Friday evening with several families we hadn't seen in many months, and it was just wonderful. Of course, it was also like stepping into the middle of a daycare on a crazy day, since there were 8 kids of various ages running around. But still fun - and great to catch up with everyone.

My conference went well - and my presentation was, apparently, quite good. So I am happy about that. I did a bit of networking, spoke with a higher-up at the institution where I completed my PhD, and enjoyed seeing some people for the first time in a few years.

I also got less than 6 hours of sleep both Friday and Saturday nights. Good grief. I thought I was good at the no-sleep thing...but apparently my body now prefers 7 hours of sleep, thank you very much. It took until Thursday for me to feel relatively awake again - after going to bed at 8:30 on Tuesday night. If I ever do manage to get pregnant, the sleep deprivation part will certainly be interesting.

My husband and I also talked a lot about dealing with infertility, the fact that we are in this for the long haul - children or no. And we started discussing what life might look like if we don't have kids. I have worried throughout this that he would think I am blaming him for our problems - and it was good to have these discussions and realize that we are on the same page. We both still desperately want a child (please? just one?) but also realize that it may not be in the cards for us. And if that is the case, we will still have a very happy life together. It will just be different from what we had planned originally.

Then, on Friday, our state Supreme Court decided that our current laws on marriage were everyone who wishes to have a civil marriage - and rights in the eyes of the state - the opportunity to marry. Wow. I knew, moving back here, that this was a possibility, and that the state is much more progressive than outsiders think. But this was just fantastic to hear. [And now, of course, if you have not been under a rock for the past 3 days, you know my state of residence...] I dread the possibility of a constitutional amendment - as opponents are planning - but I also hope that this becomes a non-issue over time...and that we all realize we have bigger problems than worrying about what people do at home. Stable families - recognition by the state - and legal options for all? I'm for it, and I'm so proud of my adopted home state for taking this step.

And now, the dog is bathed, the kitchen is clean, and the husband is vacuuming. I've sent an email about the next presentation, and I did some work yesterday on the article that needs revisions. I think it's time to read a trashy novel on the couch.

Friday, April 3, 2009

Up and Down

It's been an interesting couple of weeks around here...and I have so much rattling around in my brain, I'm going to resort to bullets.
  • I didn't think I would talk about this here, but I'm not pregnant. Again. For another month. This makes 18 months - and more than 18 cycles, since my cycles run short - of trying. The last 2 we've tried unmedicated IUI's, neither of which have been successful. We're to have one more - which I can't help but think will also be unsuccessful - and then we need to consider IVF.
  • We have some insurance coverage for this, but not a lot. And so our desire to have a family is tempered by the financial cost of creating that family. Which, quite frankly, sucks. I hate that having a child is, for us, tied so closely to our finances. We may not be able to afford IVF at all, or we may be able to afford one cycle. Our clinic is the only place where I can have any procedures done (insurance restrictions), and it is well-known for its one-embryo transfer policy for women under 35. So. We have one more chance to have a family...maybe two...and then that is it.
  • This has led to some major soul-searching on my part, as I try to reconcile what I always *thought* my life would include (marriage, house, job that I love, kids) with what it likely will include (marriage, house, job that I love). We have made many decisions predicated on the fact that we would -one day- have a child. Or children. Now? I love where we live, and I love our neighborhood. But it is full - literally - of children. On our street alone - which has 8 finished houses - there are 13 kids with another 3 on the way. We stick out like a sore thumb. And it's hard, quite honestly, to see all the kids running around, to know that this is a perfect place to have kids in this town, and to think that we will not be able to have a child.
  • I know, I'm probably putting the cart before the horse. After all, we still have at least one more chance! But it's getting increasingly unlikely that we will have a successful outcome - pregnancy - with so few chances left to us. And I know we haven't been trying -that- long, by many standards...but with our financial restrictions, this really is it for us.
  • Work-wise, I've spent the last two weeks dealing with someone who defines passive aggression. Wow. I sincerely hope that I am never like that in my professional dealings.
  • On the plus side, one of my dissertation papers was accepted pending revisions. So, on to the revisions! And they need to be finished in about 2 weeks, so that is even it shortens the time I need to deal with passive-aggressive woman.
  • Also on the plus side, I didn't kill the dog with a treat. Yesterday, I gave him a treat (which, shhh, also cleans his teeth). It was big. Too big, apparently, as he got it stuck on some of his back teeth. Multiple extraction attempts later, I finally called my husband in a panic. He suggested offering another treat (duh). Mission accomplished - and I learned that the dog will do nearly anything for a piece of pepperoni. So noted.
  • It is supposed to be beautiful here today and tomorrow; the antique shops are open; and we don't have to be anywhere or do anything. After last weekend - work conference for me, visiting friends for my husband - it will be nice to have a calm weekend at home.
  • Of course, then we're supposed to get rain/snow on Sunday. Ta da! April in the great Midwest.
  • And, last but not least, FINAL FOUR, BABY!!! Although I will be sad to see the season end...I love this time of year.

Thursday, April 2, 2009


The final ER is on tonight...and I'm a bit sad, to be honest.

I remember watching the show in college...15 years ago. I was just a baby nurse, had no idea what I was getting into, and certainly had no idea what the show did right...and wrong. Wow. I can't believe it's been that long. I haven't watched for many, many seasons...but I will watch tonight, for old time's sake.

I had a love/hate relationship with ER. The show's presentation of life in the ER is likely one of the best on TV. But the show's portrayal of nurses has always left me cold. A show with two nurses (or more...I don't know what has happened in the last few years...) who have gone on to medical school? Really? Because the nurses I know don't really want to be doctors. They want to be nurses. That always, always bugged me. It's a very doctor-centric show. They straight up admit that. But it still bugged me.

My mother hated how they would scrub with their masks down...If' I've heard it once, I've heard it a thousand times.

But ER ending reminds me more of how things have changed. In the time it's been on the air, I've finished my undergrad, gotten a master's degree, taken care of a lot of really sick kids, traveled across the US, found a new specialty, gotten married, and gotten my PhD. My goodness. In 15 years. How time has flown.