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...