Tuesday, December 28, 2010


Oh, my. It's been a long time (again!) since my last post. The end of the semester was insanely busy. I took on more responsibility towards the end for teaching and grading and all sorts of new things for me. More grant applications, more relationships to develop, more things to *think* about. Sometimes my brain hurts from all the thinking. On the plus side, I haven't been bored!

In amongst everything else, there have been holiday-related things. Cards. Visiting my in-laws. A planned visit (starting tomorrow) back east, to see my parents. We got the cards finished - and mailed - by Christmas Eve, which I thought was pretty darn good. We had a lovely low-key visit with my in-laws, which was a first. My brother-in-law flew in, and we really enjoyed ourselves, long and snowy and sort-of-scary car ride up notwithstanding. We're happy to be going to see my family - and happy that it will also be for a short, defined period of time.

And then, in among everything else, I got blindsided. An invitation arrived for my cousin's wife's baby shower. Baby #1. The one I wrote about several months ago - because I was glad that we weren't going to have to be home to face all of the giddiness and questions firsthand.

I sucked it up and RSVP'd 'no' to the baby shower - I truly can't make it. And again, it's one of those things where I am glad that we live so far away. Glad that I have this insanely busy job, that prevents me from going back for a quick weekend visit. Glad that I don't have to face all of this in person.

Then I realized that I had to get them a gift. *sigh* My mother suggested getting something while I'm in town - which, honestly, is a pretty reasonable option. Just in case, though, I decided to check out the baby registry.

It's a boy. No one told me they knew that.

And, good grief. The ... stuff ... they registered for. We never got to that point, obviously. And though I have gotten presents for many babies over the years, I'm not sure I have ever seen another registry this ... big.

And, this seems really stupid, but it's also like there are so many dreams and hopes and wishes tied up in all that stuff. Baby joggers. Bottles. Little t-shirts, and sleep sacks, and blankets. We never got to the dreaming stage.

This is the first time it's been hard for me to look at all that stuff, and figure out what small token we should buy for a new life. Maybe it's because it's the first time it seems real that it will never happen for us.

I've been on edge a bit recently, too. There have been multiple stories of babies and children being abandoned, treated brutally, even killed. Those always hit me hard. Why is it that some lowlife can kill one of her many children in a fit of rage, and we can't have one? And, my best friend from childhood again asked about what we were 'doing' about my infertility. At times I regret having said anything to her - she asks every few months, usually when someone else's children come up in conversation. This time, it was her sister in law, who delivered at home in the woods at age 40, after conceiving her 2nd child without any help whatsoever. Seriously, could I make this stuff up? I wanted to yell into the phone that no, I am not her, and no, it's not going to just 'happen'. But I stayed quiet, and just got off the phone as quickly as possible.

Well, this was rambling. That's what I get for keeping things bottled up, and forgetting I have this as an outlet. I am hoping to make it through this visit back east with minimal inquiries into the state of my uterus and / or ovaries. I am hoping that I can keep it together. And I'll be sure to update again here when we get back.

Friday, November 19, 2010

My brain is too full...

...and I have not been here nearly enough for everything that has been going on. *sigh*

*Three* months since I last wrote. And I have enough topics in mind to write for a really long time. But I don't have the time to do so right now. Maybe next week, when we are on break at the University, and I might have more than 5 minutes to dedicate to myself and my mental health. Because that is what this blog is about, for me. A safe place to dump the contents of my (usually overflowing) brain, and process what is going on around me.

A smattering of the things I've been thinking about:
  • The friend who had twins at 25 weeks following donor IUI
  • Another 'friend' who had twins at 25 weeks following donor sperm IVF (oh, this one's a doozy)
  • Running in to one of our reproductive endocrinologists at a meeting last week
  • Hearing the same person's name in another context, and desperately backtracking to find a way to explain how I know of her without revealing how that came to be
  • My disdain for people on Twitter and Facebook ... and how I sometimes use the sites as mechanisms to make myself feel better (another doozy)
  • A little bit of weight loss - just enough to make me feel like I might be able to lose a little more, but not enough that I feel like I actually accomplished something
  • The (@#%(*%* IUD
  • The holidays
  • Some (extended) family drama
Oh, and so much more. New roles at work, grant applications, and on and on and on. I'm just trying to survive this semester and improve on my time management and other skills next semester.

More, hopefully, this weekend or early next week. In case anyone's out there. :)

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Perfect Storm

Wow, this week is really kicking my rear end. It's like a perfect storm of issues/announcements/*things* designed to mess with me.

My husband is home this week, because he is starting a new! job! Monday. A local job. One that does not entail driving 3+ hours one-way and staying away from home Sunday through Thursday nights. It's also going to be pretty challenging for him, which is good. I have learned that, with N, a bored N is a crabby N. And not a lot of fun to live with. So, whew. It worked out quite well - for him, and for the company he'll be working for. Fingers crossed that it goes well once he gets started, too!

So next week will be insane - he starts his job, I start orientation (!!!) for my job, and we're *still* trying to get the basement renovations finished. It's pretty exciting, to be honest.

But this week...oh, this week. It's just one thing after another for me. Nothing huge, but the fact that all of these little things are occurring at about the same time makes for a difficult week for me.

The cramps from hell started on Saturday, heralding the arrival of PMS-week. What fun! I've become resigned to the fact that I will have cramps for a week before the actual arrival of my period, at least while I still have the IUD. Appointment set for next month, so I will bring up my issues then.

Then, my cousin and his wife announced that they are pregnant with their "first child". Sigh. I knew something was up when my husband walked into the kitchen at dinner time, and said "I just got an email from [cousin's wife]." We never, ever get emails from them, so I just knew what it was about. I said "Let me guess, she's pregnant?" and he said yes. Of course, we are happy for them. But it is really hard for me to deal with, too. They got married about 2 months after we started trying to conceive...I remember being at their wedding and not drinking during the reception. I was still in my no-drinking-at-all phase then, thinking it would make a difference in our chances. Another cousin mentioned that I wasn't drinking, and made some comment about how I must be pregnant, or trying to get pregnant. If only. Anyway. Memories. One of the harder things was the way she set up her email - it began with a sentence about how one of the lovely parts of being a member of such a nice - and big-ish - extended family is how wonderful it is to be able to add to that extended family. *sigh, again* All I could think was, you have NO idea how difficult it is to be the member of that extended family who will not be adding to it. I'm sure people wonder. It helps that we are not local, and that we see the whole family rarely-if-ever. The other hard part is that this is the cousin who is the next youngest, after me. And, oddly, I think that all of the cousins so far have had kids in age order, if that makes sense. So the oldest cousin was the first, then the next in line, and on down to me. Where things came to a screeching halt. So I have officially been skipped now, which is painfully obvious to me. One of the congratulatory reply-all emails (from another cousin) mentioned the "long time" since there was a new baby in the family. I'm sure it wasn't a barb directed at me...but it was still hard to read.

Bright side? We won't see them while she is pregnant. We won't see any of the family, actually, except for my parents and brother's family. One good thing about living where we do - and I knew that before. It's just that it was brought home to me by this announcement.

Then...oh, goodness. I can't think of what was next. A series of small annoyances - idiots at the grocery store; the person who cuts my hair kind of spacing out during the cut while she told me this horror story about her dog being hit by a car. Terrible, terrible story - the dog is fine, by the way. But I didn't really get the hair cut that I wanted. A phone conversation with my best friend from childhood, in which she talked for an hour straight about her new job, their trip to see some family members, the kids' swimming lessons, etc. etc. etc. Then, at the tail end of the phone call, she asked (in a rather perfunctory way) what we were up to. Feeling like your life is not as important/full/interesting as others' lives is never a good feeling. Yesterday, I took the dog to get his nails trimmed and found that the groomer was having "personal problems" and wasn't in yet, even though I'd gone an hour after they were supposed to get in. Someone tried to clip his nails, but he wasn't a pro, and while he didn't hurt the dog, he did not do a great job. And my parents are coming in for the weekend - and their flight is already delayed almost 2 hours this morning.

It's just a week that started badly with the pregnancy announcement, and the PMS and cramps, and so every little thing that happened seemed bigger than it really was. I recognize this - and I knew it was going to be a stressful week. I just need to push through to get to the other side. Writing it all out here helps, since I know no one with a connection to any of these stories will read them.

Friday, August 6, 2010

Lazy? Not so much.

Well, that last post was a bit of a downer. Sheesh. I do have a terrible body image. I know this. I do have a difficult time figuring out what clothing looks good on my body. And I do obsess over trying to lose weight and burn enough calories every day.

On the other hand, I know I am quite good at what I do in my job. I can be funny when necessary. And I can even be social, if the occasion calls for it. (Fortunately, it doesn't call for it very often...) I am pretty darn happy in my life - which is busier and busier, the more responsibility I take on.

I start my new job in less! than! 2! weeks! This is not really a *change* for me - I will be staying at the same institution, but will be making the transition from a post doc to a faculty position. So I will have to go to more meetings. I will have to interact with more people. I will have to make BIG decisions about what grants to apply for, and who to collaborate with, and how to spend my time. I will have to teach. (*gulp*) But I am so excited about being a real person, with a real job. After all the bouncing around I did in my 20s, and all the difficult decisions we made in the last 6 years...I finally feel like this is it. This (with a few minor tweaks) is what I am meant to be doing.

And yet...sometimes I (still) wish that I could build a bit more down time into my schedule. I feel like I always need to be doing-doing-doing. My husband is better at relaxing...at tuning out...at dinking...than I will ever be. I worry that I will not be able to balance the demands of my new job with my need for a mental (and physical) break.

Fortunately, my parents are coming to visit next week! I'm so excited - they were last here the December that I graduated. It was 20 degrees (+20, though, which is something) and it was snowing. This visit, it will be at least 80, and definitely *not* snowing. I hope to actually take a BREAK while they are here. I'll let you know how it goes. ;)

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Body Image

I realized after writing that last post that I (still) have a terrible body image. But now, instead of just focusing on my physical appearance, I also have difficulty with the ways in which it seems my body has betrayed me. Infertility is just one of those ways, to judge from my last entry.

I think I had a good body image in high school - helped by the fact that I was thin, could pretty much wear anything I wanted, and that my body would do anything I asked of it. That changed when I got to college - I still remember stepping on the scale after my freshman year, and finding out that I had gained the freshman 23, fueled by lack of exercise, big chocolate chip cookies, Snackwells "fat free" cookies (yes, but not calorie free, you dumbass), and ... did I mention the big chocolate chip muffins? That wasn't a very pleasant realization. I have never managed to consistently keep my weight down from that point, although I do think I am in better shape now than I ever was in college. I did start exercising again consistently after that - not always at a high intensity, but I was at least doing *something*. My body and I settled into a kind of detente.

When I worked nights, I didn't gain much weight, despite a not-so-healthy lifestyle (eating out several times a week! an obsession with Diet Coke! eating lunch/dinner at 2 am!). When I worked on the West coast was when I really started exercising in earnest. I started running again. I started hiking. I started biking. Rollerblading. Walking. I never noticed a significant drop in weight, but I felt better. I did finally drop weight when I went to camp for geeks one summer, and exercised twice a day - running in the morning (usually 30 minutes) and then a 1 hour aerobics class in the evening. Insane? Maybe. But it was either that or go crazy from the amount of information I was trying to learn in 8 short weeks.

Since then, I have been a consistent and sometimes obsessive exerciser. It's gotten worse since my diagnosis of diabetes 2 years ago, because now I don't feel like I can even take a day off. I do one day of yoga/pilates a week, and even that is pushing it for me. And I usually make that the day I clean the bathrooms and take the dog for a long walk, so that I get a little bit more movement into my day.

I think I eat more healthily than I ever did 10 years ago. Scratch that - I *know* I eat more healthily. And still - I am the heaviest I have ever been. Easily 10 pounds heavier than I was after freshman year of college. I really could stand to lose 20 pounds - and yet, despite my healthy eating, and my near-daily exercise, I cannot make the scale budge.

I'm sure I'm eating more than I should - working at home has its drawbacks. But if I have to read one more magazine story about someone who lost 90 pounds by cutting out fried food (done that!) and walking 20 minutes a day (um, yeah), I might scream.

Now, with infertility, and diabetes, and asthma, and a possible heart murmur...I feel like my body is failing, slowly.

Infertility, in particular, blindsided me. Infertility, for me, meant that no matter what kind of effort I made in terms of taking care of my body, my body would not respond and do what it is *supposed* to do. What it is *biologically* supposed to do. Infertility meant that my body failed me, even when I gave it my best. I don't think I have failed at anything else that I meant to do in my life. And yet...I cannot have children (without significant intervention). Up until that diagnosis, I could do anything I put my mind to.

So now, my body image suffers. My external, physical body image, and my internal body image, as well. It's like my body is laughing at me - no! I won't lose weight, no matter how far you run. No! I won't get pregnant, no matter how well you take care of me, or how much you want it. And so, most days, even though my body pretty much does what I ask of it, still, most days I hate my body. The inside and the outside.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Seriously, pancreas, what the hell?

This is a non-infertility (well, mostly) related post, primarily because this is driving me stark. raving. mad. and I have to write about it somewhere.

I mentioned before that I have type 2 diabetes, courtesy of some crappy DNA. This is...frustrating, at best, because my lifestyle and even my physical appearance do not fit most peoples' perceptions of individuals with type 2 diabetes. I could stand to lose 20 pounds - but I am not obese. My cholesterol levels are better than most people my age. I don't smoke. I eat more fruits and vegetables than nearly everyone else I know. I exercise seven. days. a. week. I am more active than nearly all of my friends. And still, still! My pancreas pulls this crap on me.

I never know what to expect - which, for me, is like a mild form of torture. I like to plan. I like to know how things are going to turn out. I like to visualize my day, and plan how it will unfold, and then *make it happen*. I can't DO that with my blood sugars. Case in point: Thursday evening we had veggie burgers, onion rings, and salad for dinner. I had no bun with my veggie burger, a small number of (baked!) onion rings, and a huge salad. For dessert? A skinny cow mini fudge bar. Saturday evening, we had friends over for dinner. I had: a hamburger (on a [whole wheat] bun! the horror!), corn on the cob, and a big spoonful of pasta salad. Oh, and strawberry pie for dessert. Friday morning's sugar and Sunday morning's were...1 point apart.

I'm even *more* frustrated now, because we finally decided to apply for life insurance for me. We're dumb, because we should have done this when we got married. But it's not exactly top of the list for most people - and it wasn't for us. I'll be 35 next week. When I did the health interview, I just knew that my quoted premium was going to go up. Ha.

According to them, my diabetes, asthma, and heart murmur are what caused my premiums to increase. Yeah. My well-controlled diabetes (at least my endocrinologist thinks so). My exercise-induced asthma, which requires that I take an inhaler before I run. And my "heart murmur", which was thoroughly worked up this year, over the course of three months and umpty-zillion tests, and was found to be a) completely benign, and b) not even audible, depending on who you asked.

So, my premiums? One for term, one for whole life? Went up 282% and 164%, respectively. I nearly threw up.

In comparison, the best info I could find for a person who smokes? Is that their premiums will go up 100%. I am mortified, and also kind of appalled.

The thing I hate most about this is how unhealthy it makes me feel. I know that I am a healthy person, that I make good choices. Hell, I wear sunscreen every day. I avoid the sun. I make my own bread just so I know what goes into it. I know I can't select what parts of my DNA will express and which will not (seriously, why couldn't I get the flat chest from my dad's side of the family??). But to be punished, every single month, for things that are outside my control, well, that makes me mad. And sad.

I suspect I would pay less if I were a sedentary, obese, smoker vs. an active, healthy person who happens to be diabetic.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010


  • I am so brain dead after our weekend away and a couple of crazy days at work, I'm going to try to catch up a little by using bullet points.
  • I got my hair chopped off on Monday. I love it. Even though I said I would never ever do short-short hair again. Apparently 10 years is long enough for me to get over my previous trauma. [n.b.: my previous involved bangs...heavy bangs...and clippers were frequently used on the back]
  • I survived the reunion. There was a general comment / question about any pregnancy announcements. I was pretty obviously drinking a beer at that point, so we did not feel compelled to volunteer that no, I was not pregnant.
  • One of my husband's friends is a bit of a sanctimonious twit. We (husband and I) were responsible for the cookout on Saturday night. You know, burgers, brats, hot dogs, use the grill at the park, etc. Throw in some chips and cookies, and maybe some fruit salad? It's like every bbq out there...except that we have it in a park. So, afterwards, this friend comes up to me, says thank you to me for putting it together, then says "We weren't sure you were going to be able to pull this off, since you don't have kids." Um, what? What on *earth* does hosting a bbq have to do with being a parent? I just turned away. Seriously?
  • Another friend (this one a bit of a blowhard) also insulted my profession. Thanks, blowhard! I will never understand why some people think it's okay to insult the profession - or other choice/characteristic - of someone standing right in front of them. Again, what is up with that???
  • Despite that, I had a good time. I always get along better with the husbands at this gathering. Probably because I wouldn't understand the other women...as I'm not a mother. ;)
Life has been busy since we got back...house renovations on track, husband wrapping up the long-distance job, and me taking on more responsibility even though my new job (and associated new salary) doesn't really start for a month.

Wednesday, June 30, 2010


Random thoughts buzzing around in my brain...

I have returned from Stats Camp - a.k.a., camp for nerdy adults. Seriously. Twenty years ago, if you had told me that I would be voluntarily spending a week learning about an analysis approach for something I hadn't even learned about yet, I would have thought you were completely nuts. I can't say that it was my most favorite week of my entire life, but it was certainly enjoyable and challenging. And apparently that is what I like these days.

On a related note, I spent the entire week with a colleague who, by the end, was driving me slowly nuts. Well, on second thought - maybe it didn't happen *that* slowly. I have been trying to pin down what was so frustrating/annoying/aaargh-inducing, and I have a few thoughts:
  • She presents her opinions as facts. Not "I think [blah de blah de blah]...". Nope. She states what she thinks - that is what it is - and disagreeing is frequently pointless, as she will not change her opinion. I got better at this by the end of the week, but man.
  • We have very different personalities. I try very hard to blend into the background and just do my work (Just Do It! as my mother would say). She, however, seems to try to be in the foreground at all times. Regardless of whether being in the foreground is appropriate or even helpful. Example A: She talks. so. loudly. Seriously. I never realized how quiet our home life is, but now that I know? I revel in it. We are quiet. The dog is quiet. Our neighbors are quiet. I like this. A lot. I do NOT like noise. I tried the trick of speaking more and more quietly, in an effort to get her to tone it down. It didn't work. Example B: Drawing attention to herself for the oddest things - such as stiff shoulders from working on a laptop at a conference table all morning. You know what? We're all stiff. You don't need to make noises while you stretch, and grumble about needing a tennis ball for your sore shoulder (at TOP VOLUME), and stretch your arms above your head umpty-million times. Gah.
  • She is s-l-o-w-m-o-v-i-n-g. I walk pretty quickly. Always have. Likely always will, until I can't anymore. But she is significantly overweight, has breathing problems, and is terribly out of shape. Which = slow walking. Which = slowly driving me insane. Again.
  • Did I mention the loud sighs?
  • Oh, and this was the topper. During one presentation, there was a *very helpful*, *very valuable* topic that the presenter was discussing. As in, this could be very useful for my future research. She turned to me - *while he was speaking* - and started talking about how cool this was, and x, and y, and z. I said "Please let me listen to him." No response - kept talking. This time, I put my hand out - like a traffic cop, for Pete's sake! - and said please, let me listen! No response - kept talking! The next time I just said "I need to listen to this - please be quiet." GAH. Talking while the teacher/presenter/lecturer/whomever is talking is one of my least favorite things EVER. And to ignore my request for her to be quiet? Was for me, the height of rudeness.
There, I have that off my chest. My husband will be happy. He was getting tired of me talking and talking and talking (quietly, of course) about my interpersonally frustrating week.
Oh, but there was the awful, awful driving. I think I mentioned that before. Good god. I feel lucky to have gotten home in one piece. Let me just say that *standing* on one's brakes on the highway is probably not a good idea. Just fyi. I'll leave the rest to your imagination. But picture someone with no visual memory, a loud mouth, and a heavy brake foot driving 6+ hours - mostly on highways. Yeah. Where are those Men in Black memory wiper things when you need them?
The basement renovations have started. My husband will be home next week on vacation. And he is resigning from the job that requires him to travel 4 hours away each week and stay there Sunday-->Thursday. I am not at all broken up about this - the owner completely misrepresented not only what my husband would be doing, he also misrepresented the company's finances. So. Moving on. I will be glad to have him home during the week.
On a related topic - I need to learn, when there are guys coming to work on the house, that I need to shower asap, instead of waiting until after I eat breakfast. Because then I run into the issues I'm facing right now: it's almost 9, I am unshowered and rather stinky, and I am fairly sure that the minute I step into the shower, someone will need me for something. Or someone will show up to do something. I suppose I'll just have to bite the bullet and go clean up.
Next weekend is the annual college reunion. With my husband's ridiculously fertile college friends. We are the only couple left without children. And I just know that the topic will come up next week. I am dreading it, with a capital "d". I like these people - more than I thought I might. They are friendly and warm and oh-so-midwestern. But I think I confuse them - and the childless thing isn't helping matters. And my emotions regarding this have been rather close to the surface lately. So no, I'm not looking forward to this.
On a related topic, it is now high summer, and the rain has stopped for now. So we are seeing more of our neighbors. Sitting in the driveways, around fire pits, at the pool. Always - always - with their children nearby, running around catching fireflies. Or playing tag. Or jumping in the pool. Or riding little Fisher Price cars around. And here we are - the childless couple. It's even more obvious when the weather is nice. *sigh*

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Autonomy and Adulthood

I attended 'camp' this past week. Not a *fun* camp, mind you - statistics/methodology camp, for my research. While it wasn't fun in the traditional sense, it was particularly helpful in clarifying what I can and cannot do with my data, certain issues surrounding data collection and analysis, and other bits and pieces that are finally coming together as I learn more formally the methods I was apprenticed to for my dissertation.

And boy, does that sound boring. ;) It really was a fun week, for a nerd like me.

Well, the learning part was fun.

Having to spend 4.5 days in a classroom with 20 other academics? Not as much fun.

Having to spend my time with a colleague who I enjoy in small doses, but apparently not in large, week-long doses? Tiring and periodically dispiriting.

Having to ride with said colleague as she terrorized me on the six hour drive to and from camp? Probably took about 5 years off my life.

Returning to my quiet, peaceful home? Priceless.

I've realized recently the value of adulthood and autonomy. Other than actions required for my job - of which there are many, but few that I don't *want* to do - really, no one can make me do what I want to do anymore. This has become particularly clear as I have realized that I do not *have* to watch friends' children for them, unless I want to. I do not *have* to have a meal or drink with someone I do not want to spend time with. I do not *have* to attend extended family gatherings and be made to feel guilty about our continuing childlessness.

I will grant you that my well-developed sense of guilt frequently compels me to do things that I feel a bit wishy-washy about. But for the most part? The things that I am doing...are things that I want to do.

And sometimes? Sometimes I revel in the fact that our schedules are (mostly) our own. That we do not have to worry about child care, or summer camp, or the elementary school calendar. Sometimes I can enjoy that freedom. Other times, I wish our schedules were more crowded. That we had the joy and difficulty of balancing soccer-gymnastics-scouts-campouts-family vacations-visits to the grandparents like so many of our friends and neighbors do.

But for this weekend - while I recover from the past week - I am going to enjoy our unscheduled, relatively unfettered life.

Thursday, June 17, 2010


Well, that was freaky. I couldn't remember what email I used to log in to this blog. Whew. I'm glad my brain finally kicked into gear - otherwise, I was afraid I was gone, never to return. Double whew.

It's been busy here - I am preparing for a week away, starting on Sunday, and my lovely husband will not be home until Wednesday. Sulky puppy will have to be boarded starting on Sunday - which is not exactly a hardship. Let's just say it includes being carried around like a baby, and daily peanut butter. Neither of which he gets at home. ;) But I will miss him - particularly the readily available snuggling - which would be quite welcome, as I am going to statistics camp and might not have much brain power left by Friday.


I have been doing a lot of thinking about context recently. After all, that *is* what I study in my real life. And thinking about how our infertility is not *such* a big thing in the context of how we are living our lives. Most people know that I am on a big-time career track - tenure track, to be precise - and I think it doesn't necessarily surprise them that we do not have children. Of course, they do not know that it's not really by *choice*. But that's okay. The story they tell themselves probably makes a bit of sense, given my career inclinations.

I confess - I am glad that I have too many degrees, and that this is where my career has taken me. I am glad that I no longer work with kids on a daily basis (although that might change, as I develop my faculty practice position). I am glad - this is a little weird - that we are not LDS members. I can't even imagine struggling to have children in the context of being a member of a church that places such a heavy emphasis on family and children and LARGE families. Comparatively, I have it easy.

Sometimes I am glad that we don't live near my family. They were the ones who talked about grandchildren, and talked about when we were going to have children, and what we were going to do. Being distant from them - while difficult - means that our day-to-day context does not include those conversations.

I've been having some difficulty, recently. With the idea that we're done. With the fact that we're not going to try anymore. I suppose it is a process - one that I need to work through, and that my husband needs to work through - but knowing that does not make it any easier.

I think part of my difficulty is that I cannot relate to other peoples' experiences. It just so happens that one of my colleagues studies breastfeeding. I don't have firsthand experience of this, obviously...but I am expected to comment and critique her grants. And her breastfeeding experiences are SUCH a big part of her life. So many of my professional discussions recently have focused on this, and I just stay quiet. What do I have to add? But it's hard. I study kids, but that doesn't mean that I *have* kids. I study cancer, but that doesn't mean that I *have* cancer.

Another difficulty...neighbors are relocating back to their old city. They (like many of our neighbors) have 3 kids. The husband posted on facebook earlier this week about the going away party held by the neighbors at the pool. A party that we were not invited to. An invitation that I suspect was not extended because we are the only family in the neighborhood without children. I don't know that, but I do know who was there. And I know who wasn't there. And that is the main difference I see.

I'm going to have to learn to deal with this, obviously. I guess I just didn't think that my childless status would be hitting me in the face so often - at work, particularly. I expected it in my life at home - we live in a neighborhood full of children, so it's kind of hard to avoid it. I need to learn to lose the defensiveness. To remember that we (at least at this point) have made *this* choice, to remain childless. To remember the good in our decision.

Sunday, June 6, 2010


I don't really even know what to write right now...I have been busy at work (preparing for a full! time! faculty! position!), busy outside of work, getting ready for summer, preparing for renovations to the house, and on and on and on. I do wonder what on earth life would be like with a child, since I seem to have difficulty finding time to do everything without one.

I've had a hard time, recently, with the whole no-kids thing. It seems to come in waves. There was a wave of people asking about kids when I accepted the position here - as if, now that I will finally have a real! job!, we would move right ahead with having children. It came up during interviews, too, although it's not supposed to. I didn't mind the *topic* so much as my answers to the questions. And while I thought having the IUD would help me overcome my sadness at not having children, it hasn't really worked yet. Part of the problem seems to be that I am still getting my period - it's lasting a whole lot longer - and I'm having horrible cramping (bring-me-to-my-knees cramping, which is unusual for me). Which makes me think of things like endometriosis. My potentially abnormal-although-maybe-not tubes. Ectopic pregnancy. Etc. So while I know that I can't get pregnant, I don't think my subconscious has quite caught up with that knowledge, yet.

I still haven't pitched the ovulation predictor kits. They're expired now.

I don't know. I'm having a hard time - this in-between time - in part because I haven't yet started my real! job! so there is still time to think what if... Also, in part, because we don't yet have the money to travel or do any of the things we said we would do since we're not going to have children. Also, perhaps, in part because the other incoming assistant professors all seem to have families, and the one person who doesn't is... troubled.

I don't know what the point is of this post...other than to try to gather my scattered thoughts from this point in my life before I lose them. I hope that I adjust to the thought - the reality - of a childless life. I hope that, eventually, the questions about when we are going to have kids fade. I hope that one day the onset of cramps before my period doesn't send me into a frenzy of ectopic-vs-endometriosis-vs-who the hell knows what.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Some random thoughts

Ah, spring. We had rain all during the weekend, and then yesterday it was cloudy and gloomy and last night it rained again. But we needed it. Our baby landscaping (put in last year, so it's still rather...small) really needed it. I swear some of the plants have grown since yesterday.

Apparently, spring is also when people I find kind-of-annoying are either pregnant or trying to get pregnant. *sigh* One is a colleague from a position I had a few years ago. She is a few years older than me - I think she is now 37? maybe 38? She has a one year old, and when she was trying to get pregnant with him, she was fussing that she wasn't getting pregnant after 4 months of trying. Yeah. At the time, we had been trying for over a year with (obviously) no luck. Guess what? She's pregnant again. Yeah. Due in July. I was very good and didn't snort audibly when she told me. Oh, right - she told me via email. So I guess audible snorting would have been okay. Darn.

The other person is...my husband's ex-wife. They were college sweethearts, but never should have gotten married. When married, they never wanted to have children. Which was fine with my husband - he actually never wanted kids until we got married. Anyway, she remarried a few years ago ... to a guy my mother's age ... and now she wants to have kids. So they are doing IVF. And she is venting to my husband and my mother-in-law. Yeah. I'm kind of still processing that one.

I feel like by going back on birth control, I had to hand in my infertile card. We have a get-together with (our amazingly fertile group of friends) every July, and this year we are in charge. Last year, when we volunteered, the consensus was that we should 'host' before we have kids of our own. Neither of us said anything... but both of us were, of course, thinking that that would be between 'not going to happen' and 'never'. I'm sure someone else will mention it this year. And what do we say? "We can't have kids"? "We're not going to have kids"? *sigh*

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Thanks for validating my non-marriage

I had to get this one out - it has been driving me nuts all day.

We are having a same-sex marriage "debate" in my state. *sigh* I'll just state for the record that I am among the most liberal of liberals - and I hate the fact that there is even a "debate". It's actually kind of a forced "debate", anyway. But I digress.

Periodically, because of this, there are letters to the editor on the topic. Today's gem was from some woman, somewhere, who opined that marriage is between a man and a woman ("mates"), for the purpose of mating. As in, producing children. And that this is the only reason for marriage.

I have heard this before - I have also heard this refuted many times. And it just makes me sad - and discouraged - that, in the eyes of these people, my marriage is seen as "less than" because it has not resulted in the production of the next generation.

I want to write back to her, and ask her whether infertile couples, or those for whom having children is an emotional or financial risk too big to take, or older couples long past the point of reproduction...whether they shouldn't be married either. Because, you know, the whole point is to create the next generation. To populate the earth. And without reproduction, my marriage is, according to this woman, a fraud.

Now, I'm sure she would not agree with all I have typed here. I'm sure she thinks that it's just fine that my husband and I are married but unable to have children. After all, I have two X chromosomes, and he has an X and a Y, so our marriage is just fine. But it's arguments like these that get my blood boiling on two points: 1) that two men or two women shouldn't be married (gah...) and 2) that reproduction is the ultimate point of two people getting married.

I'm being much less coherent than others have been on this same topic, but...it just makes me mad. We don't choose our paths in this life. I wouldn't have chosen to be infertile. People who happen to be gay don't choose that path, either. You take what you're given - you try to partner with the best match for you, whether that is someone of the same sex, or someone who is infertile - and then you live your life.

I won't be writing back to what'shername. She doesn't deserve another minute of my time. But I still need to deal with the feelings that her letter brought up in me...that feeling of being "less than" because my marriage isn't typical. Because my parts are apparently not in working order. Because I can't have the kid(s) that we so desperately want(ed).

Regularly scheduled programming

I won't talk about my skin today, promise. Except to say that I made an appointment with the dermatologist for next week. We'll see what they say (it's an academic medical center, so seeing multiple people...medical student, resident, attending...is pretty common). I'm actually a bit intrigued to see what they say - since I don't think my skin is typical acne-prone skin. Anyway...I'll leave that alone for a few days. :)

So, we have decided where I will start my career as a faculty member...and it will be right here, in Small University Town, where we are as happy as we have ever been. Whew. It was a long, strange trip to get to this point. Last year, I was even thinking of not looking at other schools, since I was so certain that I wanted to stay here. But the more that I thought about it, the more I realized that I owed it to myself - and to my husband - to look at all the options. So I did. Well, within reason - they were the options that I would even consider professionally, and that met our (long list of) criteria personally.

Funny, then, that after all the travel, the interviews, and the angst over making the decision - that we decide to stay put. That this place is *the* place for us, at this point in our lives. I'm so happy with this decision - so happy with our choice - and I can't wait to get started with the next phase in my professional career.

I hope the transition is smooth-ish, since I have already been here in multiple different roles over the years. I'm sure there will be some role confusion - I've been a student, now a post doc, and will be a faculty member. But I know that we can work through that, too. I just can't wait to get started!

One of the factors that did come into play was medical care. I have a chronic condition. I receive excellent care here. It's not overcrowded - yet - and we can see the care providers we prefer, usually without a really long wait. (See: obtained Derm appointment for 10 days from day of call to scheduling, above.) And, as two friends who know of our struggles with infertility pointed out, this is a) a good place to raise children, and b) the place where all of my records are, with providers I trust, if we decide to pursue IVF in the next few years. I am not saying we *will* - but it is nice to have the option if we so choose.

This workplace is also very family friendly - and it's not just family friendly to those with children, although most people do have kids. There is a recognition that everyone has a life outside of work. The building is quiet after 5 pm. There are few people there over the weekends. If you are working on a grant, then of course it's not unexpected that you will be there a few late nights, or a few extra days a week. But working from home is accepted. Taking time off is accepted. Even (gasp!) going on *vacation* is expected and accepted. It's a nurturing environment, and I need that at this point in my career.

More tomorrow on the questions about family and children that I encountered during the interview process...they opened up some old wounds, but I also surprised myself with how little I let them bother me, at least during the interview days themselves.

Monday, April 19, 2010

On a completely different topic

Oh, my goodness. Can we talk about my skin for a minute? I'm completely obsessing over it - without seeing any results, unfortunately - and it always helps to write things out here.

I think I actually mentioned it in a post on birth control options - but my skin looks worse than it ever has. I never had acne this bad as a teenager or young adult. Never. It has gotten progressively worse over the last year - despite trying prescription treatments, and coordinated OTC "treatment systems", and doing nothing. I'm at the end of my rope - it is not cool for someone in her mid 30s to have such horrible skin! And I don't even know what to do next. *sigh*

I wrote out everything I have tried over the past year this morning, and it's a little sobering. I've spent waaaay too much money trying to get it to clear up. I've tried heavy-duty treatments and I've tried just washing and moisturizing. I've tried different brands. I've tried different products for different skin types. I'm at the end of my rope here.

My husband suggested going back to the dermatologist...but since the stuff they prescribed last year a) stopped working after 4 months and then b) led to my facial skin literally peeling off, I'm not so keen on that suggestion.

I'm done whining - for now - but it is so depressing to look in the mirror every day and see...this. This horrible skin. These red and angry marks. This woman whose self-esteem is taking a huge blow every time she has to go out in public. Or see her husband. Or go to work. All of which I do on a regular basis. It seems so... trivial, in the grand scheme of things. Acne never killed anyone. My appearance is not me - I know what I am capable of. But it certainly can make life miserable, and it makes me feel horrible, and it never seems to get any better. *sigh*

I took pictures today with my Blackberry. I am currently in "do nothing" mode, figuring that everything I have tried has my skin up in arms and reacting horribly to any intervention. I hope to keep this up for at least another 2-3 weeks, just to see what happens. I'm going to make an appt with the dermatologist for May (I need a mole check, anyway) and if it's not better by then, well, we'll see what they say.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Searching high, searching low

The other thing that has been keeping me - and us - busy is the job search.

I am in the 2nd year of a post doctoral fellowship. This means that I am now on the market for tenure-track faculty positions. Which, to be honest, scares the living you-know-what out of me. Seriously. Me? On faculty? With responsibilities and expectations and all that sort of thing? Yikes!

I can't quite figure out sometimes how I got here - how I got from the nerdy freshman in college who (despite studying lots and lots and lots) didn't ace everything...to the mid-20s practitioner who finally found her niche...to the 30 year old who loves academia so much she doesn't want to leave...to now, when I stand on the edge of a whole new part of my professional life.

It's a little scary, to be honest.

I have spent the last month+ selling myself to four different schools in four different cities, in an effort to find the best match - for me and for them. It's been more enjoyable but also a lot harder than I ever imagined it would be.

Option 1 is my current home - the place where I earned my degree (albeit long-distance); the place where I am completing my fellowship. It's a comfortable and nurturing place. I don't doubt that I would do well here...and that we would have the lifestyle to which we have become accustomed (small town setting; university town; Midwestern; etc.). But - in the middle of all this good stuff - the thought comes creeping in that this might not be the *best* place for me to launch my career. Nurturing needs to be balanced with opportunities...and I'm not sure that the opportunities here are the best for me.

Option 2 is closest to most of our friends. It's a school in the Northeast, but it has a very different philosophy and make up than the other schools I am considering. I would be in the minority there - most people focus on things other than straight-up research (which is what I do). That, and the fact that the students were almost universally referred to as "challenging", make this option fall down a few spots on the list.

Option 3 is a vibrant urban school with lots of energy and possibilities. It's also my alma mater for my undergrad degree. Which means there is a lot of emotion and other "stuff" tied into this one, as well. I loved my interview day here - it was busy, but challenging, and I could see how I would fit. On the downside? Very very urban. Our way of life would likely change significantly. And I don't know how I would do back on the East coast, in a *city*. I know, wimpy. Also - while the school has some nurturing qualities (we want you to succeed!) it is also cutthroat and competitive. I could not be a shrinking violet here - I'd have to grab on and, well, lead the way. As cheesy as that sounds.

Option 4 is kind of a weird blend of options 1 and 3. It's in an urban area in a mostly rural state. It is in the Midwest. But it's not a typical big university - it's a small university, in an urban setting. The options there are intriguing...but again, I'm not sure the fit is right. This one is more similar to option 2 in terms of how I would *fit* there. And that is becoming increasingly important to me as I sort through these options.

So, what am I going to do? Oh, right! I'm married! I have to consider my husband's needs, concerns, and wishes, too. And the dog's. ;) I have no idea right now which option will come out on top. None. I want my husband to have options wherever we end up, as well, and that is one big drawback to option 1. But he loved option 2, which isn't the best choice for me. *sigh* So there will be lots of conversation and back and forth and thinking.

And, of course, I only have an offer from option 1 at this point! I might be putting the cart before the horse, as there are no guarantees that I will be offered positions at the other schools.

So, ponder ponder.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

What, exactly, are we trying to prevent?

So, the other thing I have had on my plate the last few months is our decision to use more...long-term (I don't like the term "permanent") birth control.

Yes, that seems completely counterintuitive. We can't get pregnant (despite multiple attempts), so we probably don't *need* to use something. And why on earth wouldn't we welcome a child who results from an unplanned pregnancy?

Except that is one of my biggest fears right now - the unplanned pregnancy.

To be honest, about 50% of this is fear regarding my professional life. I am starting a new - and potentially very stressful - phase in my career. I will be getting on the tenure track. And, depending on where I choose to start my career, I will be going up for tenure in 6 short years. Six. Years.

Granted, most places are quite equitable now, in terms of granting time off the tenure clock, reducing teaching expectations for new parents, and that sort of thing. But. But. But. Given my personality - my perfectionist tendencies - and the possibility that we may be moving back to A Big City (depending on which jobs I am offered, and which one I choose)...well, it's just not the best time for us to have an unplanned pregnancy.

The other 50% of the fear is due to the fact that I am not exactly following recommendations for women who are trying to get pregnant. I like a glass of wine with dinner - or a beer with lunch on Saturdays. I am careful but not overly so about what products I use. I am not in the careful mindset of someone who is thinking about gestating a growing embryo/fetus/child. And I have seen too many things go wrong to risk an unplanned pregnancy *when I am making potentially unhealthful choices for a growing embryo*. Note that I didn't say they're not unhealthful choices for ME - there is always room in my life for a glass of wine. But I do not want to...what's the word...stick a kid with these choices. It's not fair. I'm more careful than that.

And, a teeny tiny part of me - maybe bigger than I'm giving it credit for - is due to the emotional impact of being infertile-yet-not-giving-up-hope. It's the part of me that thinks, yes! I *could* be one of the lucky ones! And to be honest? Having that hope every.single.month, and then losing that hope every.single.month (or, to be honest, again - every 21-25 days) was wearing on me. I know people deal with that for longer than I did. But to have my hopes dashed every month...to think that THIS TIME, it might have worked? I couldn't deal with that any more. Particularly given the potential for the time on the tenure track (wow, that was alliterative) to be emotionally difficult in other ways. It's not fair to me - or to my husband - to add hope (and despair) over failed conception to the mix.

We decided that an IUD would be the best move. I'm not yet ready to jump into something permanent - who knows what could change in a few years??? But this is the next best thing. It's relatively mindless. I don't have to take something every day. The hormonal effects are local, not systemic. So, good choice all around.

I spent the insertion talking about our infertility and the choices we had made with the attending and the nurse, while the resident placed the IUD. That was interesting...I've become much more adept at talking about it, even when I don't want to.

But the aftermath...good grief. The same part of me that thought "maybe we'll be one of the lucky ones!" also thought "maybe I'll be one of the people who has no bleeding, no cramping, and no periods!" Um, yeah. No. Cramping for a week+. Bleeding now for a week+. Feeling like my insides were being twisted like a towel is wrung. Laughing at their suggestion of back up contraception for two weeks because, a) remember, I can't get pregnant? and b) why on earth would I want to have sex feeling like THIS????

My husband is overseas for a week or so, then working (as per usual) in the Big City until coming home for Easter weekend. We'll go to my in-laws' (sigh). So we'll probably be abstinent for most of a month after the insertion. Which is good. It's...it's a little icky right now. Here's hoping it gets better. The cramping has improved remarkably...I am hopeful that the bleeding is next.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010


Goodness, it is a small world out there. Particularly in my line of work. This has been really evident during the FOUR job interviews that I have been on in the last month+. I'm not complaining - no, really, I'm not. But it's kind of hilarious to realize that I have only really been in this part of my profession for...not quite 9 years? Actually - not even that. Let's go with 7 ish years. And I knew someone at every single one of these Universities. Now, that may be partly because I chose these places knowing that someone I know (and, generally, like) is already working there. Who better to give me the lowdown on what is actually happening there? But it was still kind of funny.

Also - people tend to know other people in my line of work (e.g., "Oh, I know [your advisor]! Please say hi when you get back home!). This should not surprise me - but it also serves as a reminder to a) never act like a jerk (not too difficult, I hope...) and b) never, ever, ever, under any circumstances, if I can help it, should I burn a professional bridge. And I do mean Never. Ever.

So, now I am juggling all of these options and trying to make a decision and making spreadsheets and pro/con lists and even lists of the intangibles, which, my God, who does that? I already have the gut feeling it will come down to choice A or choice B...but I need to get there in a couple ways - by going through the data, and by exploring how I felt when I interviewed at each place.

The problem is this - I know I could do great work both places. I know I would work with wonderful people. I know I would advance in my field. But choice B (which happens to be my alma mater) is just a little bit more than choice A. Choice A (which happens to be my current location) is a great school - but it's just a smidgen 'below' choice B on the ladder of most-influential-and-scary-places-to-do-good work. Also? Choice B - I would be one of the only people in my specialty. Choice A? I'd be (at least for the time being) with a group focused on that topic, and I would be one member of a team.

I've been likening choice A to a pair of yoga pants. They may not be perfect, but boy, are they comfortable. And they fit. And they flatter nearly everyone. And did I say that they're comfortable?

Choice B is like make up and high heels. Every day. Have I mentioned that I am *not* a makeup person in my personal life? My husband would laugh his head off if I characterized myself as such. But in my professional life? With all the weight that carries? Do I want to be at the place that forces me to be a little better than what I would be on my own? Do I (as an adviser said) go to the place where I can do the best science? or do I go to the place where I feel comfortable and happy?

AUGH...the choices. And this is just my opinion! Imagine how much fun this will be when my husband finally returns from overseas (work trip) and we sit down to work through this together.

I suspect lots of wine will be consumed.


The other aspect of all of this that I haven't really thought about is - that we don't have a really integrated network of friends here. So even if we went with choice A - the comfortable choice - I'm not sure how our lives here would play out in the long term.

I feel like I am constantly on the outside looking in with the people I have met since we moved here almost 2 years ago. The people I knew from before are now each other's best friends - they talk multiple times a day. I don't have the time or the patience for that -so I don't really begrudge them that. But how nice would it be to have a local best friend? Someone to meet for lunch, or shopping, or just getting out of the house? (I just typed "hose"....maybe I'm secretly Canadian?)

And I don't fit in with the neighborhood women - all married (well, I am, too) and with at least one child. Most have multiple children. And many stay home. So I don't really fit in with them, either. I mean, they're polite to me, but we have nothing in common that I can tell.

I'm not really connecting with many people on the Internets, either. In part because I am just naturally an introvert (comment on blog posts!?!?!? Why would I do that??) and in part because...well, it's more comfortable not to put myself out there.

So, I wonder. Would our lives change substantially if we stayed here? Probably not. Am I happy with that? I think I am.

Would our lives change substantially if we moved elsewhere? Probably not. We're introverts. We love each other's company. We don't mind not going out with people every 3rd weeknight and every weekend...But sometimes it gets lonely. I'm just not sure how to break out of my shell, whether it's here or elsewhere.

Sunday, March 21, 2010


So, a month or so ago, we had another one of our talks about birth control. I know this seems like an odd topic for a couple that can't get pregnant, no matter how much they try, but it's an important topic for us. We actually don't want an unplanned pregnancy. To be honest, I am not abstaining from all things that I should when pregnant (*cough* wine *cough*), and we are not at a point in our lives where an unplanned pregnancy would be a good thing (lots of time apart, busy work lives, extensive travel for the next 6 months, a likely job change for me, possible move...etc.). So. We decided that we should do something more than haul out a condom whenever we were enjoying each other's company, so to speak.

We were both tired of the condoms, and the fact that as a monogamous married couple, they seemed kind of...adolescent. I had been on the Pill for years and years and years. Loved what it did for my face...not so sure about the potential side effects of systemic hormones. Not to mention, I'm nearing the age barrier of 35, and I wasn't sure what the doc would say about that choice.

After consultation with my family doc (side note: I looove having a family doc, where I can discuss my father's new diagnosis of arrhythmia, my toenails with the possible fungal infection, and my long-term birth control choices all in the same visit), we decided that the IUD was going to be the best choice for us. Hormonal, yes, but long-term, reliable birth control, with localized hormones as opposed to systemic.

I scheduled the insertion and didn't think anything more of it.

Until I started scheduling my interviews. And realized that insertion came 3 days before interview #4 - the final interview. Gah.

I thought this would probably be no big deal. I'd had an HSG and other diagnostics for the infertility work up. This would be nothing.

Um, yeah. Well, it wasn't so bad the day of. I loaded up on Advil, took myself off to my appointment - after a stop at the office, because, you know, I was *there* - and made it through as a "rock star", per the attending's opinion.

And even over the next two days, it wasn't so bad. But, unfortunately, insertion coincided with the onset of (duh duh duh...) my period. And the cramps have - off and on - been almost incapacitating. I *never* get cramps this bad. And the bleeding has lasted almost a week this time. I knew that I would likely bleed more than usual. I was even prepared for weeks and weeks of off and on bleeding. But the cramps. My goodness. I don't think of myself as a wimp, but I really hope they are on the way out.


In other news, I'm trying to make peace with my face. Good grief. It's been *awful*. Philosophy products do NOT work for me. This I now know. My face has never been this bad.

So I woke up the other day, and thought, hm. Throwing all of these products at my face every day - benzoyl peroxide, retinol, salicylic acid - seems to make no difference. So, I decided to give it all up - except for washing my face, using retinol every night, and moisturizer. So far, actually, not so bad. It's certainly not *worse*. I started this on Friday - we'll see how it is in a week and a half.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010


How is this even possible? That I haven't written here in more than a month? Argh...

So much to catch up on...so many thoughts rattling around in my brain...so many decisions to make over the next few weeks. Not small ones, BIG, hard, difficult decisions.

We have already made some decisions regarding our reproductive future. Perhaps it wasn't the wisest decision I've ever made to make those decisions at the same time I am going through the job search and interview process. That might not have been the best thing for me - but the decisions were made, and we followed through on them, and now it is (almost) over. Except, of course, when the universe decided to laugh at me today, by having a friend (several years older, with a one-year-old conceived after 6 months and "lots of worry") tell me about her current pregnancy. She is due in August. I, personally, am not convinced that this is fair, but there isn't really anyone with whom I could lodge a complaint.

Who knows what decision I will make regarding where to work, and with whom, and whether we will have to move after settling so nicely into this community a few years ago. I could do desperately with some counsel regarding that decision - neutral, wise, helpful counsel - but I have managed to apply for jobs at the very places where my (within-specialty) mentors work. Which kind of precludes me contacting them for help in making the decision. So, argh to that, as well.

We are both so stressed and so anxious about where we will be living, what we will be doing, and how all of this will play out, that we are having some difficulty - not for the first time - being kind to each other, and supportive of what the other needs and wants at any particular time. Perhaps this is being exacerbated by distance? I knew the long-distance relationship thing (even for 3.5 days/week) was going to be difficult...but I didn't realize that it would alter our interaction patterns, and make it more difficult to get through these rough patches. There is something to be said for being in the same physical space to help get through difficult times.

And now it is springlike here...in the 50s...with sunshine and warm breezes. We are, of course, supposed to get a rain/snow mix on Saturday, so it will not last forever. But for now, the dog is happily ensconced on his porch. The sun is shining. The kids are on spring break and are outside playing. And it is almost happy hour here in the land of difficult decisions. A glass of wine may not make everything better, but it is very nice to look forward to at the end of a long day....long week....long month.

I'll write about all these things in the next days. I just need to...gather...myself before I do. So many emotions, and hard choices, and indecision rattling around in my brain.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Brain dump

Wow, it's been a while. I hadn't realized just how long until I came back here and looked at the date stamp on my last entry. Almost a month! Goodness. It's been crazy busy around here, so that has eaten into my down time, but that's no excuse. Time to dump some of the things that have been rattling around in my brain, if I can remember them. ;)

I'm starting my job search - well, really, I'm kind of in the middle of it now - and it's getting to the nervewracking part. I am going for tenure track faculty positions, and I have interviews for four schools. The first one, at my current school, is this coming Weds. There is another one next week. I'll probably get a break of 2 weeks before the next one, and #4 hasn't been scheduled yet.

I have my job talk all prepped, and we've been very careful about my top choices of schools. My husband is going to come with me to the other interviews away from home, to get a feel for the area. We're going to meet with realtors. We're being as careful and deliberate as we can possibly be. That's just our nature.

But the *process* is nervewracking. I had my first anxiety dream last night - that I was late to the interview at my home institution. Something about how I arrived that morning in "comfy clothes". Ha. Can you imagine? Anyway, anxiety dreams and job talk nerves aside, I am feeling okay. I would like to only focus on the job search right now, but of course, life goes on.

My father had an "episode" when my parents left for vacation a few weeks ago. As in, he lost consciousness on the plane, and they had to turn the plane around. He spent a few days in the hospital - thank god, no major problems, and the loss of consciousness was likely triggered by an easily-avoidable behavior. But in the course of his workup, they found an inherited arrhythmia. So guess who bought herself a cardiology appointment this Friday? I started with a family doc, who did an EKG, but given my family history; heart murmur; occasional PVC's; and slightly abnormal EKG, she felt more comfortable sending me along to cardiology. I hope I'm the healthiest person they see in clinic this week. You know, just a little extra anxiety on top of the job search.

I'm feeling rather antisocial these days, and I'm not really sure why. Too much going on, perhaps? I just feel like it's one more thing I have to deal with, and my plate seems rather full these days.

It's going well having N away from Sunday through Thursday. We both get a lot of work done. We miss each other but really enjoy our time together over the weekends. I think he misses the dog. I know it gets lonely about Wednesday night - but then, he's coming home the next day. It helps that we have both been crazy busy. He is going to be traveling a lot - for my interviews, and for work - and I am, of course, working on grants and job talks and everything else that I need to do during my post doc. So, it's working. We're happy. No matter what other people think (and I think the majority of them think that we're weird for being okay with this...).

I really don't want to move from our house and our neighborhood - and I need to get over this while I go through the job search, so I can keep an open mind. It's more leaving our lifestyle than anything else. I worry about where we would live in each town - what the commute would be like - how I would structure my life - etc. Here, I have things set up so that they work well with my schedule and my life and everything else. But elsewhere, who knows? I've had this before - and I just need to get over it. Hopefully, traveling for the next interview next week will help me see beyond what we have now, to make sure that we make the best decision for us going forward.

I haven't had any time at all to think about our childlessness, or those ovulation predictor kits *still* sitting in the bathroom drawer. That's probably a good thing. I'm sure the question of whether we have kids will come up during these interviews -whether it should or not. And I know how I will answer. It's just that...I hope it doesn't hit me the wrong way, particularly when I am on an interview and I need to be professional. Maybe it's best that I'm having the interview at my "home school" first, after all.

I'm sure I have more rattling around in my brain, but that's all I can come up with for now.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

I could never...

When reading - usually a newspaper article, wedding announcement, or obituary - I often say to myself "Wow, I could never..." I never really realized it before - but there are a lot of things that I think I could "never" do.

These include (in no particular order...): living in Manhattan (I always, always think this when reading the wedding announcements in the NYT...I know it's Manhattan-centric, but every time I read that A, a lawyer, and B, a VP at a financial firm, have tied the knot and live in Manhattan...I get a little twitchy. It might be all big cities - I've only lived in one and outside of another, really, and I'm more of a small-town kind of girl - but the very idea of living in Manhattan, well, it gives me hives. And wow, this is a long parenthetical...); having 12 children (frequently seen in local obits); living one's entire life and dying in the same town in which one was born (again, a relatively frequent occurrence in the local obits); being a member of 8 bazillion social organizations; and working in the same job for one's entire life.

I don't know if these "I could never"'s are merely a reflection of who I am - and if I am becoming more and more familiar with myself and my preferences - or if I am becoming, in some ways, a snob? Is it just that I like my life, or that I don't want to consider other ways of living?

It's starting to spill over into the having children thing. The more I read about children and messes and illnesses (usually barfy illnesses, if we're being honest here) and tight schedules and interrupted sleep...the more I start to think that maybe this child-free thing isn't so bad, after all.

Either that or my mind is trying to play a trick on me.

 In other news, we are sort-of debating becoming a two-dog family. There is a 7 yr old Beagle mix at the shelter where we adopted our fantastic puppy dog. She was brought in because her owner couldn't care for her anymore. :( We don't know why she has been there so long - but we are debating going to see her this weekend. She might just be the missing piece of our family.

I am really, seriously considering training for a triathlon. Today I swam for 60 minutes with minimal breaks. Woo hoo! I still smell like chlorine, too, which I secretly love.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Things that are driving me crazy

I feel like I've been doing a pretty good job of keeping a lid on my occasionally quick temper recently...particularly with N working far from home. This week we're going on 8 days with him gone - he had a big meeting last week on the West coast, came back Saturday, and just stayed at work, basically. He'll be home Weds.

Usually, when he is gone, I find myself kind of losing it after a few days. When he is gone, many of the little things that usually roll off my back really get to me. And then I find myself doing weird things like screaming in the car (actually, a good place to scream...), or taking it out on the dog (not physically, good grief, what do you think I am?), or slamming doors. None of which are good for my mental health or the dog's.

So with this extended absence, I have been trying to keep it under control. And it seems to be working. Sometimes I feel even a little bit zen. :)

But there are some things that drive me crazy, and I just have to get them off my chest. Which is why I am here. Because where better to list them, than on an anonymous blog? Yay, anonymity.

So here, in no particular order, are the things that are just driving me mildly crazy right now...
  • The blogs I read. Most of them are by women who have children. Which is fine. But most of them also focus exclusively on the children. It doesn't help that many of them are by women who have dealt - successfully, obviously - with infertility. So I spend some of my time - in more recent months, probably 30 minutes a day - reading blogs by women who have chosen a different path than I did. And who are now raising what seems to be a ridiculous number of children. I think I need to update my Google reader. The problem is that I can't find a lot of blogs like Holly's Nothing but Bonfires. Huh. Maybe I should check out her blogroll. I'd also love to find more women who have gone down the child free path after dealing with infertility - which is where we are, and what we are doing - but the blogs I have been able to find are either a) really religious (just not for me); or b) not being updated. *sigh*
  • Commercials. Two in particular: 
    • The Staples one with the "Wow, that's a low price!" guy. It makes me want to stab my ears. With a sharp knife. Seriously - this one even irritates me when it's on mute at the gym and I'm seeing the closed captioning. 
    • The Chevy commercials with Howie Long. Maybe it's the tone of his voice? The "you idiot, buying a Honda or Toyota, when you could get a better deal on a Chevy!" The worst one? The one with the irritating (although cute) little girl. Who's a big girl, and she's going to tell us that until our @#(%#@(* ears bleed. Gah. 
  • Religious extremists. Of all stripes. And I will leave it at that.
  • People who paint others with a broad brush, and who usually make sweeping generalizations about a) women; b) health care providers; c) Democrats; d) families without children. Obviously, I fall into all of the above categories. And sometimes it just burns my cookies when people overgeneralize and they're doing it about me. Or a group that I belong to. 
  • Our refrigerator. I should love it - it's stainless steel, relatively new, and has a water and ice dispenser (so fancy! I've never had one before!). But (okay, nitpickiness and first-world problems coming up) I can't fit much in it. It's soooo narrow. And, even worse, we can't get the drawers out to clean, because the door bumps up against the doorjamb to the slider in the kitchen. Argh. 
Okay, that's all for now. On the good side? The dog. My husband. That we live in a beautiful and warm house in a safe neighborhood, surrounded by good people. We have jobs. And health insurance. Our families are (relatively) healthy, even if they occasionally drive us nuts. We have plenty of food to eat, water to drink, and usually some wine. Or even homemade hooch. I'm busy and fulfilled with my job. Really? We're quite lucky. Which is why I sometimes need a reality check, that the things that are annoying me right now are pretty superficial. Some of them could be fixed by a quicker finger on the Mute button. Others? By removing myself from a situation, or not reading a blog that is driving me crazy anymore. I've been getting better at that. When I read something and I'm rolling my eyes more days than I'm enjoying what I've read? Time to move on. It happens to all of us.

And now, moving on to some actual work...

Thursday, January 14, 2010


So, for the last 8 months (since we stopped seeing the RE) I have kept ovulation predictor kits in my bathroom drawer. It occurred to me a few weeks ago that I should see whether someone wants to use them, since we are not going to before they expire.

I emailed a friend - she has a two and a half year old - and asked whether she would like them. (They expire in May and June.) And then I thought, hm, I should tell her that she can just ignore me if she wants, since this is kind of a personal topic. At least for the normal people among us. I could talk about opk's til the cows come home (what brand? how did it work? did it vary according to the time of day? and on and on...). But I figured there might be some kind of line there that I was crossing by asking if she wanted to use these.

She doesn't. They're waiting a little longer before trying for another baby. So she won't use them by the time they expire.

Now I have opk's sitting in my drawer, unwanted by me or the only other local person I can think of who might have a use for them. And I don't want to throw them out. It's some kind of denial, I suspect. If I have them in the drawer, then there is always the chance that I could use them one month, that we could time things properly, and poof! we would succeed where we have only had failure. But I know that won't happen.

On a kind-of-related note, I am trying to figure out what to do about birth control. I know, I feel like a complete idiot deciding about birth control when it's not like I really have to worry about pregnancy. I've been off of b.c. for two and a half years now, long enough to get a diagnosis of unexplained infertility, and to have a lot of cycles slip by without two pink lines. But I'm getting fed up with the irregular cycles, the acne (oh, the acne...),  etc. etc. etc. So I'm debating whether to go on the Pill, or the extended cycle Pill, or a hormonal IUD. We shall see...

Sunday, January 10, 2010


It's funny what pops into mind when I am working on something relatively mindless. Yesterday, it was switching the shower curtains. Moving the one from our bathroom to the guest bath, and putting in a new one in our bath. [I had to move ours because I washed it in hot water and bleach thanks to a small mildew issue...and then the curtain and liner both shrank so much that they weren't doing the job in our stall shower...oops.] Anyway, there I was on the bathroom floor, threading hooks through the holes in the shower curtain, when I flashed back to my old boss and something she used to say quite frequently.

She was old-school feminist. And by that, I mean that she was one of the first women to go to her medical school. She did not want to change her name. She does not wear a wedding ring. She seems almost...angry...when someone asks after her husband. Part of this is personality and part is, I think, a product of the era in which she came of age.

Part of her set of core beliefs was that women who choose to have children - and who then integrate raising their children with a career - are shortchanging their careers. She chose not to have children - and she thinks that *all* career-minded women should make the same choice. That this woman specialized in a field with children boggles the mind. But there it is.

Anyway, I used to listen to her ranting about the latest pregnant employee, or lamenting the fact that so-and-so would never be the same now that she had a child, or being downright angry that an employee had the *gall* to get pregnant and now required (gasp!) maternity leave! I mean, really!

I always kind of protested in my head, but I kept quiet when she went on her rampages. There was nothing to be gained from engaging her, and I knew that I wanted a family and a career. When I got married, I added my husband's name to my own. I'm now exclusively using my married last name professionally and personally. I don't think that this reduces me in anyway, or that it means I have lost my identity.

But my inability to have a child...in a weird way, it makes me feel like I am agreeing with her. And I don't. I really, really don't. I think that the beauty of feminism is that women are free to make their own choices. Some women choose to have children - some women do not. Some women choose to change their names after marriage - some women do not (or their husbands change their names, or both parties change their names). Some women choose to work after having children, other women do not. I have made my own choices - career, taking my husband's last name, etc. But I feel like the choice have children was taken away from me.

In part, I think I have these feelings because we have chosen not to pursue other avenues for having a family.  Again, each family chooses what is right for its members. For us, right now, it does not make sense to pursue other options. That is the choice we have made. But because we are not barreling full-steam down the path of different reproductive options, or pursuing adoption, I...feel like we didn't want it enough? I'm not sure how to articulate this. We really wanted a child - we were willing to do some interventions to get there - but not knowing what the problem is, or what the outcomes would be of different, more expensive, and more intensive interventions was a problem for us. But we were not willing to sacrifice our emotional and financial security to have a child. And because of that - because of a choice that my husband and I made consciously (albeit reluctantly) - I feel like I am a bad infertile. Or that we didn't want this enough.

And knowing how my old boss feels - that women *shouldn't* have children if they also want to have a career - I feel like I have bought in to her mentality. That, if she could see me now (and I may cross paths with her in the future), she would be *proud* that I do not have children, and that I am instead focusing on my career. And I don't want that - this is not a choice I wanted to make.

It makes me think of all the variables that are known to the people making choices and decisions, that aren't known to everyone on the outside looking in. We can never really know exactly why an individual or a couple makes a particular decision. But maybe we can believe that, whatever the choice or decision, that individual or couple has weighed all the evidence available, and has come to the decision that is right for them. Life - and its associated choices - is hard enough.

Saturday, January 9, 2010


I did it again...

The friend who is pregnant with twins by donor IUI? I didn't call her on her birthday. I haven't emailed since then (it's been a little over a week) and I am having difficulty getting up the gumption to even text her. *sigh* I've done this before with friends who have gotten pregnant - I think I've even written about it. I....distance myself, for lack of a better word. I don't like it - I usually realize it within a few weeks - but then I have trouble getting myself out of that no-contact rut.

Is it because she's pregnant? I really don't know. I know that's at least part of why I'm having trouble contacting her, even now that I have realized that I missed her birthday and that I am reluctant to email/text/call her. It wasn't an easy pregnancy to achieve - I think she had 4-5 IUIs - and she has had some bleeding.

I don't think I want to hear about it either way...If the pregnancy is going well, then I will need to be happy with her. If she lost one or both of the babies, I will have to help her work through it. And in the back of my mind will be one thought - that at least she *got* pregnant. At least she has been there once -  and, presumably, she could be there again.

More and more, I think the most difficult thing about this whole infertility journey is that I have never been able to *get pregnant*. I would not wish miscarriages on anyone - but I would like to know that my body is capable of at least achieving pregnancy. And on this most basic of human actions - the ability to carry on the species - it has failed me.

Maybe that's why I'm starting to push myself harder in my workouts. It's not just that I would like to lose some weight. I think I want to see that my body can do what I ask it to do. Of course, it can't do the one thing that I thought I wanted most in the world. But if it can't do that, maybe it could do another marathon. Or a couple of half-marathons. Even a triathlon.

I still get irritated with my body every month when, yet again, I am reminded of my inability to achieve pregnancy. Maybe if I realize just how much it *can* achieve, that will help me work through this.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010


I feel like I (and we, as a couple) have a very hard time making friends. I don't know why that is. I do seem to gather people as I move through my life, as does my husband, but we have also tended to wind up living far from those we are closest too. I think part of the problem is that we are both introverts. Well, technically, I'm on the border between intro- and extraverted, but I think that stems mostly from my comfort with people when I *do* know them well.

Most nights will find us (or me, if he is away for work) hanging out at home with the dog, watching some TV or maybe a movie, or reading. And I don't have a problem with that! I love sitting on the couch with the dog, reading, or talking to my parents on the phone about one of their many computer-related questions. But I feel like we should have a broader social circle, that we should maybe be going out to dinner or hanging out with other couples. And we don't have that.

I do think that not having kids contributes to this pretty significantly. We don't have kids - so we don't have the opportunity to meet people at kid-centered activities. I don't go to kindermusik, or gymnastics, or need to set up a baby sitting co-op. I don't carpool to take kids to school, or need to set up play dates. I met people when I was in school, but now, in this post doc? I don't know quite where I fit in.

It's probably going to be worse with my husband working in the city and only coming home on weekends. He works all the time when he is there, so I don't anticipate him gathering a group of city friends anytime soon. When he is home on weekends, we spend most of our time together. We don't go to church - we don't really have a desire to. And while we are happy with our lives, and content with the extent of our socialization, I can't help but feel that ours is a pretty lonely life, and that we might benefit from a broader circle of friends.

If something happened (let's hope it doesn't, but work with me here...) I am not sure who would help us out. Neighbors have offered to help if I can't get the snowblower started when N is not here, or to check on our house when we are away. But that doesn't translate into dinners together, or even just hanging out.

Why am I even worrying about this? Is it some sort of societal mandate that we all must socialize x number of nights per month? Is it that I read in my fluffy magazines about people going out to dinner, making plans with friends, and "entertaining" regularly?

I think I started thinking about this - again - when we visited my in laws for Christmas. They have very few...well, really, *no* friends. If family friends hadn't made the trek to our wedding, they wouldn't have had any non-family members there. And from my perspective, I do not want to end up like that. I want to have people I can call if I need to - or meet for coffee if we want to - or just hang out with. I just don't know how to go about gathering those people in this phase of our lives.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010


It occurred to me this morning that there are several things I've 'discovered' over the past year that have made my life easier, in some ways, and just more pleasant. I admit to being a late adopter - but once I've made a change for the better, I tend to really embrace it.

A few things I don't think I knew about last year (or, if I did, I hadn't yet leaped over the chasm of my-god-do-I-change-my-routine???):

- The razor blades with the built in shaving stuff. Seriously. How did I miss this for so long? No more juggling soap and razor, usually dropping both. And it's faster, too. I feel like an idiot for ignoring them for so long - the higher cost is definitely worth it!
- Purity face cleanser. This was one of Amalah's Advice Smackdown recommendations. People on that site have consistently raved about the cleanser, but again. Late adopter here. It's been two weeks. My face is no longer peeling (Cetaphil, I'm looking at you); my horrible zits (likely due to overdrying my skin) are resolving; and I made it through *that* week of the month with minimal damage. Those zits that do show up are much smaller, not nearly as irritated, and disappear much faster. How can a face wash be a life changer?
- Vitamin D. I started taking higher doses after...huh. I can't remember who recommended it. Maybe the family doc I finally saw after putting it off for years? Anyway, I'm taking 2000 mg/day and whether it's that or some other change I made in my diet or lifestyle, my headaches are much more infrequent; I have much more energy; and I no longer fall asleep on the couch at 7 pm. Well, most nights. I need to make sure I drink enough fluids during the day (kidney stones - not something I am aiming for!), but other than that....
- My Blackberry. Okay, I admit it. I did NOT want this thing. But my husband got suckered in by one of those buy-one-get-one mailings, and now I don't want to give it up. Having internet/email/twitter access while traveling? Priceless. With N now working 200 miles away during the week, I love that I can text and email him easily from my phone. Some might call it nagging, I call it love...
- HDTV. I didn't want this either. But my god, have you *seen* basketball in hi def? It's amazing. Now, honestly, I probably don't *want* to see every overly tanned pore on Roy Williams' face. But the clarity of the picture is astonishing.

Now on to do some actual work...

Sunday, January 3, 2010

New Year's Eve Review

Pulled from Sundry's blog, which I love and read, but never comment on.

1. What did you do in 2009 that you'd never done before?
      Let's do bullet points...I love bullet points.
  • Ran two half-marathons
  • Published THREE papers as the first author
  • Made a lot of new recipes
  • Turned 34
2. Did you keep your new year's resolutions, and will you make more for next year?
  • I don't really remember resolving anything at the beginning of 2009, so let's call it a clean slate. 
  • For 2010, my two resolutions are: 1) to try not to overthink tasks and chores (as in, if the house needs to be dusted, for God's sake, woman, just *dust* it...nothing was ever gained through overthinking/dreading a task), and 2) to take a deep breath before I overreact to something (usually something I have done to myself)
  • Oh, and a fitness-related one or two: 1) to run two more half marathons (and break the 2 hour mark), 2) to run one more full marathon, and 3) to do a triathlon of any distance
3. Did anyone close to you give birth?
  • Perhaps the more appropriate question would be, did anyone close to you *not* give birth? 
  • Two people from my wedding (college roommate, baby #2; childhood friend, babies #1 & 2) (one more is pregnant, with twins, although it's early days yet)
  • A friend here in town (baby #1)
  • A friend from where I worked in DC (baby #1)
  • Seemingly every child of my mother's friends (babies #1 through, roughly, a gazillion)
4. Did anyone close to you die?
Good grief, not that I can remember. Isn't that awful?

5. What countries did you visit?
  • Ooh, a fun one! 
  • Canada (I know, I know, but I needed to use my passport, okay?)
  • Iceland! (for a conference) (but I did fun stuff too)
6. What would you like to have in 2010 that you lacked in 2009?
  • A "real job" - one in which my taxes are assessed *for* me
  • Oh god, it's so terrible, but a little more money would be really nice. We have a very nice life, but...we run a little too close to the line for my comfort. 
7. What dates from 2009 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?
  • May, in general, because that is when we decided not to pursue IVF or other, further, infertility treatments. 
  • December 14 - my husband started his new job
  • January 20 - the (FINALLY) end of an error in Washington 
8. What was your biggest achievement of the year?
  • I think I had a couple: publishing those three papers and surviving; presenting my data multiple times (and surviving!); and, generally, learning how to be a calmer person
9. What was your biggest failure?
  • Also learning how to be a calmer person. Because I think I failed a lot more than I succeeded.
10. Did you suffer illness or injury?
  • Oddly, yes, since I am generally a very healthy person. But nothing serious!
  • I injured my...I think it was my LEFT foot. I swear it was a stress fracture, but I was told it was just an "overuse injury". Six loooong weeks of no running. I hope never to repeat that feat. Ha. 
  • Official diagnosis of type 2 diabetes. Thanks, mom. 
11. What was the best thing you bought?
I can't believe I am going to admit this, but I think it was our new TV. Which I can actually hear. And which is a joy to watch movies on. Other than that, we really didn't buy much.

12. Whose behavior merited celebration?
This is a hard one for me. I would say the President, because I am an unabashed fan, but even he made me cringe a few times. My husband, for sure - he puts up with me on a daily basis.

13. Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed?
This is a much longer list...and because I am in a snarky mood, we'll go with: organized religion; opponents of same-sex marriage (seriously, why? why is this STILL a debate?); various pseudo-celebrities who exploited their 15 minutes of fame for another 5; opponents of science and rational thought... I believe I shall stop there.

14. Where did most of your money go?
Mortgage, food (although doing better on that now), and Target.

15. What did you get really excited about?
My progress in my chosen career field, and the realization that I can *do* this!

16. What song will always remind you of 2009?
I'm always a bit behind, but I'd have to say that Cat Stevens song from the phone commercial. And I can't even remember the name. Gah.

17. Compared to this time last year, are you:
– happier or sadder? Happier. I think.
– thinner or fatter? The same. But working on becoming thinner.
– richer or poorer? Poorer, definitely. Hoping to swing this in the other direction, and soon. A real job will help.

18. What do you wish you'd done more of?
  • Engaging with the world around me. 
  • Just *doing* things instead of overthinking them (e.g., I never went skiing last year because I overthought driving a hour to go to the closest hill...).
  • Having more pride in my appearance and accomplishments. 

19. What do you wish you'd done less of?
Random dinking on the internet. Come to think of it, I'm going to add that to my list of resolutions.

20. How did you spend Christmas?
At home, with my husband and the dog. We opened a few presents from my Aunt, skyped with the family, and hung out. I baked and cleaned the kitchen. Oh, and I think I did laundry.

21. Did you fall in love in 2009?

22. What was your favorite TV program?
LOST, Amazing Race, NCIS, How I Met Your Mother, and the Big Bang Theory.

23. Do you hate anyone now that you didn't hate this time last year?
Um, no?

24. What was the best book you read?
I really liked the Lost Symbol, and I'm in the middle of the Vince Flynn CIA books, which I am enjoying immensely.

25. What was your greatest musical discovery?
Networked iTunes libraries. Oh. My. My husband has the BEST music.

26. What did you want and get?
First-author publications! I now have 3! :)

27. What did you want and not get?
Pregnant. Also, a reason why I can't get pregnant.

28. What was your favorite film of the year?
We're a little behind in our film watching. And honestly? Nothing is standing out. *sigh*

29. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?
I'm going to have to look back at my calendar. Oh, right. We went to lunch and shopping in a little town nearby. I had fantastic tiramisu, as well as a HUGE salad. It was fantastic.

30. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?
An improved ability to just take a deep breath, and then let (whatever) go. Also, the ability to *not* eat everything in front of me.

31. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2009?
Nonexistent. Yoga pants at home, a variety of sweaters and jeans at "work".

32. What kept you sane?

33. Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most?
Um, none?

34. What political issue stirred you the most?
Same-sex marriage. Seriously people. It's legal here now. Get over it. We have bigger things to worry about. And honestly? Has ANYTHING changed? No.

35. Who did you miss?
My college roommate. We didn't talk nearly as much as we used to. I miss her.

36. Who was the best new person you met?
This is a tough one... I don't meet many new people. I'll say the new post doc who arrived in September.

37. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2009.
Just keep moving. Standing still is not an option.

38. Quote a song lyric that sums up your year.
I'm terrible at these types of questions. Sorry.