Wednesday, December 28, 2011


We head out of town tomorrow to go visit my side of the family. We'll spend almost a week with my parents - the longest we have been there in a looong time. I sincerely hope it goes well and that no one wants to kill anyone else by the time next Wednesday (ahem, 4 AM next Wednesday) rolls around.

I'm feeling grumpy today about my diabetes. I normally just suck it up and deal, even if in my head I'm rolling my eyes and thinking "seriously, why me?" It's now second nature to me to calculate the carbs in whatever, even though I know that no matter what I do - no matter how carefully I track what I eat - I *still* cannot predict what my fasting sugars will be. I can eat the same exact thing two nights in a row and my sugars will be 20 points apart in the morning.

Anyway. Those frustrations aside, I do usually suck it up. But recently I've been more annoyed by it than before.

Issue #1 - my mother in law. *sigh* I think I've written here that she was diagnosed with diabetes last winter. Not terribly surprising - she is not a small woman, and quite frankly, their diet sucked. She used to put sugar (~1/4 cup) on the salad. Yes, the salad. I could never figure out why having a 1/2 plate of salad with dinner would result in really high fasting sugars the next day. Ahem. Apparently, sugar on your salad does NOT lead to a low fasting sugar. Go figure! Anyway, since she was diagnosed she has taken an extreme approach to her diet. At first - thanks to her idiot of a primary physician - she ate only fruits and vegetables. No protein. No complex carbs. After I and her other DIL found this out, and got her to ask for a referral to a diabetes nurse educator, she did add protein and some carbs back in. But she *still* takes a holier-than-thou approach to eating...and it drives. me. nuts. This year's comment, when my husband said that I'd been baking and asked what she was doing? "I don't think a diabetic should bake." To which I want to reply, bite me!

Issue #2 - One of my tests of kidney function fluctuates wildly. Apparently it is affected by vigorous exercise. So, here you have my least favorite DM-related catch-22: vigorous exercise helps keep my body weight down and my fasting sugars lower, to say nothing of the mental health benefits. However, vigorous exercise ALSO raises this test value into the not-good range. I work out vigorously for at least an hour 6 days a week. Including all week days. So any day that I am going to get my blood drawn, it's likely that this result will be high. Anyway. Two recent values were high, which means I have bought myself a 24 hour urine collection. :P I know it's nothing major - really, it's not the end of the world, not nearly - but it's just annoying.

Issue #3 - We're going to visit my parents. My mother also has dm, as does my brother. (Yay, bad genetics.) My *father* (note: the one nuclear family member without dm) feels the need to weigh in our dietary and lifestyle choices. He does this with my mother, especially, which drives me NUTS on her behalf.

So I'm going to have to work on biting my tongue and sucking it up.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Bits and pieces

Wow, my 100th post. Weird. I know I'm trying to post more but it still doesn't seem as though I've written THAT much here.

Random thoughts at the end of a semester that was more brain-draining than I realized...
  • Huh. I really like teaching. I don't know if I am GOOD at it yet, but I enjoy the interactions with the students, figuring out how best to present the information, figuring out whether they've learned anything, etc. This is reassuring to me - I worried that I would actually hate the teaching part of my job, since it was the area in which I had the least experience. (Which would be, ahem, NO experience.)
  • I am on a baking binge. I am hoping to try a soft sugar cookie this afternoon to make up for the fact that my last experiment went horribly awry. I look at the pictures of the cookies and just laugh and laugh and laugh. Because mine look NOTHING like the picture. Usually I'm in the ballpark. Not. Even. Close.
  • My mother in law - again - is driving me batty. She has this holier-than-thou attitude with the diabetes that makes me insane. So, last time we were up there, it was about her fasting sugars. Which, admittedly, are good (in the 80s). Then, of course, she asked ME about mine. I can't lie - never have been able to - so I said that mine fluctuated between 100-120. This is actually good for a diabetic - and my post-meal spikes aren't that high, so I wind up having a really decent A1C. HOWEVER - she clearly interpreted this as a win for her.
  • Anyway - sorry this is now 2 bullets - my husband commented that I had been baking and making Christmas cookies. Her response? "Oh, I don't think *diabetics* should be baking cookies." And then my head exploded. The thing is, I don't know if this is conscious on her part or not. And I have no idea why she would do it consciously. At the same time, these types of responses and comments are part of a larger pattern of behavior - one in which she always - ALWAYS - comes out ahead, smelling like roses. I have a very hard time ignoring that.
  • I'm still going to make the damn cookies.
  • I spent an hour on the phone this morning with a financial representative, working on moving some old retirement accounts. Then I spent another hour on the phone with an old friend and mentor. I also spent an hour on the phone last night with my childhood best friend. And I have to go to the holiday get-together for my husband's department tonight. This is waaaay too much interaction with other people. My introverted head might explode again, thanks to all of the talking and questions and answers and...agh! My goal for tomorrow is not to talk to anyone. This might be difficult, though, seeing as I have a meeting at 11:30, and I need to finish some shopping.
  • Winter break is already going too fast. We're 3 days in to week 1 and I feel like I have accomplished nothing. Well, some non-diabetic baking, and clearly a little bit of blog-writing, but nothing else. *sigh*
  • I had my first massage yesterday. It was actually very enjoyable. No talking- well, minimal talking - and no exposure, but I clearly carry my tension in my back and shoulders. Ow. I'm still a little sore today, but it's a good sore.
OK, back to work. Or maybe baking.

Thursday, December 15, 2011


Ha, I almost typed "Whirlwine", which sounds like a lot more fun than a whirlwind. Which is what I've been caught up in the last week and a half. End of classes, start of holiday parties, grading grading grading, all-day meetings before our grades are handed in (seriously, what?), oh, and right! the holidays. Excuse me while I go curl up under a blanket somewhere.

While I've been stretched to the limit, and seemingly losing brain cells by the minute, I've also been hit - again - by our childless state. It's getting easier - I think - every year. But still - every time I open cards from family and friends, there is a picture of the kid or kids. Or the grown-up kids. Or the grandkids. There is some reminder that (nearly) everyone we know, who wants to have kids, has kids. Which leads to our current discussion (ahem) regarding cards. N wants to do a photo card or letter. I would rather do a postcard or simple card. His take is that we have a lot to talk about- vacations! jobs! dog! - and my take is that nothing's changed (for once), other than the fact that we took a vacation! [Side note: we have been together almost 8 years - and this is the FIRST year that neither of us has moved or changed jobs. Sometimes all 3 in one year. I think this is a worthy accomplishment on our parts, but I think it can be summed up with one sentence on the cards: For the first time in 8 years, we are living in the same house, with the same jobs, as when we wrote you last year. We will attempt to re-create this feat for next year's card, as well. Happy Holidays.]

Anyway. I don't think anyone really wants to read about the double-income-no-kids weirdos who live in the Midwest with their dog that they talk entirely too much about and their big house that is way too big for two people and ... yeah. Huh. Maybe I worry too much about what people think. Although I think I've known that for a long time.

I've also had the fun - um, well, maybe not 'fun', exactly - of being called out as style-less TWICE in the last week. At holiday parties. With my colleagues. Um, yay? At the first get-together, I complimented a colleague on her knee-high boots, then commented that I don't think I could pull them off because they would require wearing either skinny pants (I don't -do- skinny pants) or skirts (I don't do skirts in -winter-, particularly 'round these parts). Her reply: "Oh, yes, you could! You know, you would be the perfect candidate for What Not to Wear!" Me: jaw drops. Other people: nervous laughter, not sure how to respond.

Second instance - with the same person at yesterday's event: She apologizes, I accept (even though, admittedly, it did sting). We're standing in line, and one of our bosses is ahead of us, with two other people from our department. We're not paying attention to her conversation, until she turns partway around and says "I'm surrounded by the three most stylish people I know!" Then she looks at me and says "Not you, no offense." Me: tries not to let jaw drop and/ or tears come.

Here's the thing: I have NEVER been a stylish person. I know this. I can't decorate houses, and I certainly can't decorate myself. I count myself lucky if my clothes kinda sorta fit, and if I'm wearing earrings. Oh, and if I have pants on when I leave the house. That's a good day. I am just not good at putting "looks" together, whether for me or for a living room. And here I thought that my brain - and the fact that I work in academia - would speak louder than my clothing choices. I guess not.

So, yay for the holidays. Right now I admit I'm feeling rather grinchy - not at all able to keep the holiday spirit from a few weeks ago going. I feel beaten down by work, sleep-deprived, and grouchy. I keep saying to myself, if I can only get through x, I'll be better off. All week my goal has been getting through tomorrow...a day-long meeting, oh joy. But I still have grading to do - and grades are DUE by Tuesday. Which means my weekend won't be as cookie-filled as I had hoped.

I guess the only thing is to move onward and upward, though. There's really no other choice - and the nuttiness has to end sometime, doesn't it?

Monday, December 5, 2011


We're not doing so well, maintaining the momentum from last weekend for the holiday season. Unless you count listening to Christmas music while eating breakfast on the weekend. We do well with that (no effort! lots of reward!). We are still dithering about a tree, and lights, and etc. I think I'm going to look for a table top tree or two - that way, we could have a "real" tree, and we wouldn't need to worry about putting up a big one. Especially when it's just the two of us - and we'll be gone for Christmas weekend - and then we head out of town over New Year's as well. So, stay tuned. There might be some Christmas cheer around here yet.

I was thinking the other day about what an insufferable prude I was in high school. Not sure what brought this on - maybe Facebook? - but, my goodness. I like to think I am a fairly tolerant person, in my actions if not always my thoughts. I was definitely NOT that way in high school. And I was rather smug and self-righteous, too. Part of that may have been due to the fact that I had never really failed at anything - the brief "cheating scandal" was I caught up in in 7th grade life sciences was quickly debunked (I hadn't cheated, although one member of our group had, and that meant that all of us were under suspicion for a few days...); I nearly always made the honor roll, if not the distinguished honor roll; I was a teacher's pet (and had the sucking up skills to prove it); and I was involved in as many activities as I could handle. I don't think I wasn't a nice person back then, but I hadn't had to face failure - I hadn't had the opportunity to see people in really dire straits dealing with the crappy hands they'd been dealt by life - I hadn't been exposed to the nasty, random things that happen in life.

I'm not saying my life since high school hasn't been good - it got me where I am today, and that is (in my opinion) a pretty good place. And I'm not saying that I experienced terrible failures. Anything I've had to deal with in my life has been fairly benign, compared to what many people go through. But my academic success in high school did not translate to similar success in college. I encountered professors who made me step up my game and achieve what THEY wanted me to achieve. I chose the wrong graduate program the first time around. I couldn't get a job after I graduated, for 6 long months (and then it was a temp job). I switched graduate programs, then was told at the end of my first semester that I seemed apathetic. Nothing life- or earth-shattering, but for someone who had done pretty darn well from K-12, and who thought life would continue that way, it was a bit disconcerting.

Even after I righted myself academically - now on my third swing through graduate school, I think I've done okay in that regard - it wasn't always sunshine, rainbows, and bunnies. I was rejected by several places where I wanted to work post-first-grad school. I ran into people who simply didn't like me - usually in the workplace - and there was nothing I could do about it. I was remarkably bad at having an adult social life - dating, having friends, enjoying being young. I held on to bad relationships from college way too long. Little things - that didn't all come at once. But looking back, I see that the expectations I had for myself when I graduated high school were hilariously lofty. I didn't hit many of the goals I set for myself. And yet I'm so happy with where life has taken me.

I haven't had to overcome addiction, or tragedy. I was born in a place and time that gave me more options than women have had at any time in history. I have a wonderfully supportive family. My stumbles have been just that - stumbles. I haven't fallen all the way to the bottom and pulled myself back up - yet.

But I think I have learned from my missteps along the way. When you see the worst that can happen to people and families...when you see what others have overcome, and you are ever more grateful for what you have...when you see just how easily a life can be derailed, through no fault of the person whose life has gone off track...when you see just how random and capricious and vicious the world can be... I think you come to realize that things can change in any moment. At any time, this could all be taken from me. Nothing is guaranteed. I like to think this has made me more compassionate, more aware of the world around me, more sensitive to the possibility that someone has had a much worse day-week-month-year-decade than I can ever imagine.

Of course, this doesn't mean that I'm not judgey - we've covered that. It doesn't mean that I don't have nasty thoughts when the person behind me on the bus snorts for the millionth time in 10 minutes (for the love of god, people, TISSUES). It doesn't mean that I am anywhere close to a good person (well, maybe some of the time I am a good person). But I like to think that this awareness, that has evolved over the past 18 years, is making me a better person today than I was when I was a naive, self-absorbed high schooler. At least, I hope it is.

Saturday, December 3, 2011


Our weather today is about as disgusting as December gets around here - rain, instead of snow, and a high of 38 or 39. Bleah. It is so gross that I ran at the gym - again - instead of outside. This might be the last weekend when the temps are warm enough for an outdoor run, but I just couldn't fathom the thought of running in the pouring, wind-driven rain.

I almost titled this post "Crunch Time", forgetting that I had used that title before. Whoops! Clearly, end-of-semester tasks and requirements are on my mind. This weekend will be spent in a haze of house cleaning (as per usual), grading, and studying. I'm looking forward to next semester, when I don't have to teach classes as well as take them.

Illness seems to have hit a bunch of people, too. I overheard the woman in the office next door leaving early the other day to retrieve a kid who was throwing up at school. I promptly sanitized my hands and shut my door. Then, someone I work closely with was out all week with presumed mono. I was fortunate - never had it in high school or college, and hope never to experience it. She was completely exhausted and feeling crappy all week - not fun. And then my husband turned his run of the mill cold (the usual congestion, sore throat, + snoring like a chainsaw) into a perfed eardrum the other night. What fun to be woken up at 2 am (I get up an hour and 45 minutes later, just for the record) to my husband telling me that blood is leaking out of his ear. Eeks! He starts antibiotics today, and I hope that the other ear calms down. Poor guy. Thank goodness we don't have to fly for a few weeks.

Maybe I'll just close myself in my office with a bunch of Purell and face masks. Because, so help me, if I get sick in the next two weeks, it's going to be ugly. Two finals, two holiday gatherings for work, grading 3 assignments for the course I am teaching, and ... oh, right, doing all the OTHER things that I typically do. I guess it's time to get started.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Crunch time

As lovely as Thanksgiving was - in particular, the lack of meetings and other work-related obligations - the end of the holiday weekend means that it is crunch time for the end of the semester. I think this is why I struggle with feeling sufficient holiday spirit - in the next two weeks, I need to wrap up the classes I attend AND the class I teach, take two tests, grade three assignments, and (I'm just guessing here) talk a few students off the ledge when their final grades are not what they expected. Oh, and two holiday get-togethers for work, a potential open house for my husband's staff here at our house, not to mention Christmas shopping and cards and...

Maybe I shouldn't think about it all at once. One day at a time. I might get down to one hour at a time by December 16th. I do appreciate that there IS an endpoint. A light at the end of the tunnel. Let's hope they're Christmas lights this year - I want to keep the good feelings from the other night's concert going as long as I can!

On a totally random note, I'm extremely curious about why our neighbors walled off (and insulated, from what I can tell) a corner of their screen porch. Hm. He sided it, too. My husband's guess is pantry. My guess was cold room / canning room. They're too nice for it to be something sinister - although isn't that what the neighbors always say? :)

Monday, November 28, 2011

Starting off on the right foot

I'm hopeful that my efforts to de-Grinchify this year are off to a good start. We went to a holiday concert last night - on a WORK night, at 7 pm! (we're such crazy people) - and it was super awesome. There was an orchestra, and some beautiful singing, and then they had us sing along. So. Much. Fun. Now I want the Christmas CDs in the car, so I can sing along when I have the car (which is not that often).

We also managed to catch Gnomeo and Juliet on TV Saturday night, after a full day of watching college football. I could probably watch football or basketball all the time, but my husband is not as enthralled with watching teams that he doesn't really care about. So we try to find a balance. Anyway - he found the movie while I was cleaning up from dinner, and we kept it on. It was hilarious - the perfect ending to a lazy, chilly, rainy day on a holiday weekend.

I have three more weeks in the semester, including finals week. This year will be a bit more complicated, as I have to balance grading and feedback for my own students with two finals for classes I am taking. My students are collectively freaking out about the paper due Friday, and they have another big project due next week. I have a feeling I'll be spending a lot of time answering panicked emails this week. On the other hand, I don't have to teach next semester, so I'll have more time to put into my own projects. And, wow - only three weeks left in the semester. At the beginning of each one, I think we're never going to reach the end. Then we hit week 3 or 4, time speeds up, and before I know it we're posting final grades.

I'm ready for our winter break, but also realize it will be a busy time for me. Catching up on papers and projects that have been on the back burner all semester, and trying to find some time to clean up and organize around the house. Oh, and going to see my family for 5 days. And if I'm going to maintain our momentum for being in the holiday spirit, I should probably think about decorations and lights and a tree and...maybe I'll just start with the Christmas music.

Sunday, November 27, 2011


We had a lovely, quiet Thanksgiving with friends and family, which went much better than I expected. Just goes to show that my anticipatory anxiety over how these sorts of things will go usually doesn't lead to bad outcomes. Whew.

We are still working our way through leftovers - one drawback of not having kids, I think. :) I also indulged my husband and made him a couple of his favorites on Friday that were not on the menu for Thursday. I indulged myself, as well, since one of my favorite activities is cooking, and I didn't get to do nearly as much of that on Thurs as I had hoped.

And now we move into the Christmas season. And I have to be honest, the last few years I have been exceptionally Grinchy. I think it has something to do with balancing the end-of-semester insanity / sleep deprivation / grading with having holiday cheer. I do think that we are at a disadvantage, not having kids. We don't have to put up a tree - the dog doesn't care either way. We don't even have to give presents to each other - in fact, this is another year in which we've already given each other our gifts, leaving nothing to open on Christmas itself. We don't go to church, so we miss out on the Advent build up.

Despite my recent history, I'm going to make an effort to be less Grinchy this season. We are going to a Christmas concert tonight by a big name group. There will be singing along, and a visit from Santa. Given the size of our town, there will probably be people we know there. And there are other fun things starting up next weekend - some of which I hope to actually DO this year.

One difficulty is that my husband and I feed off of each other's Grinchiness. We'll make plans to go to a concert (one for which we do not need to buy tickets in advance; hence, we're not obligated to go), and then cancel them last-minute. We'll talk about putting up a tree - artificial or real - and then time will get away from us and it's the weekend before Christmas and neither of us feels like taking the time. Breaking out of that cycle will take some work, but I think it's do-able. I need to start by changing my attitude, which may be easier said than done. On the other hand, recognizing my lack of holiday spirit in the last few years, and vowing to make an effort to change that, is probably the first step.

Please note, however, that these steps do NOT include going to the mall. At all. I hope. I'm not that nuts.

Thursday, November 24, 2011


I've been griping about the Facebook meme in which people post what they're grateful for every single day...but was reminded by my other half that that probably wasn't the best reaction. And, reading their posts, I've seen that we all have a lot to be thankful for. My FB friends, though, seem to be mostly thankful for their children - their children's antics - their children's good health - their children's teachers - etc. I'm sure you can sense a theme there. It can be difficult to ONLY see gratitude related to having children, so I've been thinking about what I am thankful for / grateful for despite my lack of offspring.

  • I'm thankful for my husband, every day. He makes me laugh, he supports me in whatever I do, he makes me rethink my entrenched positions on certain things (ahem, see response to FB meme, above), he reminds me that our lives are full and fulfilled without children. I am a better person for having met him and - thankfully - married him.
  • I'm thankful we are able to live where we do. I love living in a smaller town. I love living in what the rest of the country considers "flyover country". I love living in a University town, and having a commute that 3 short years ago - when I was riding an express bus 45 minutes to and from work every day - I could not have dreamed of. I'm thankful that we're able to get by with one car, thanks to where we live.
  • I'm thankful for my job and the people I get to work with. Even given major organizational changes this summer - the variety of (ahem) personalities that populate academia - the difficulty obtaining research funding in the current climate - there is nothing I would rather be doing. I never thought I'd end up here (both in this type of job and in this particular geographic location), but now I know that it is the best job that I have ever had.
  • I'm thankful for my family, even though they're 1500 miles away and we won't get to see them until late December. I'm also thankful for how understanding they are of our inability to attend the major extended family holiday on Thanksgiving. They make it easy - or, if not easy, at least tolerable - to be the non-attendees among the 30+ extended family members who gather for a day of gluttony. ;)
  • I'm thankful that I get to live in a country with a holiday dedicated to Thanksgiving - that we can all share in, regardless of our religious beliefs (or lack thereof).
I debated writing about my efforts to be less Grinchy this year, or my dawning realization that I think I have body image issues. But I'm glad I ditched that plan to reflect - at least for a few minutes - on how lucky I am, and how much I have to be thankful for.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011


No posting for 6 months, and then I decide to do a "what's frustrating me now" post to jump back in? I guess if I can't do that here, then where can I do it? I've noticed that my fuse is much shorter recently, and I attribute at least part of that to the fact that I have stopped writing here - stopped keeping what could be a journal for me to dump my thoughts and (yes) frustrations. In an effort to keep things a bit more even-keeled...well, we'll see. I can't promise posts, but I can try to post more frequently, get out the things that are driving me nuts, and move on from there.

In no particular order...
  • My best friend from childhood. Who works 3 days a week, supporting a family of 5, who makes at least 3x what I make in a year, whose husband can stay home full time with the kids, who has three children she managed to conceive at the exact time she wanted to get pregnant. The last time we talked? She complained constantly about her work schedule, the call schedule, things around the house, holiday coverage, and on and on. And I was tempted to say, you know what? So many people would love to have this life. You make more money than I will ever EVER make. You chose a profession that you hate because your father wanted you to. You have a beautiful family and a cushy life, and you aren't happy with any of it.
  • And then she said the phrase that I hate to hear. First, she asked me "how things are going" with our infertility. I swear I've told her over and over again that we aren't doing anything right now. That we have no plans to go back on path of intervention, that we aren't even trying to have a baby. It's not the right time for us - and I don't think it will ever be the right time. For me, stopping treatment and getting off of that path are essential to my mental health. And I can't figure out how to tell her that without upsetting her or insulting her or I don't know what. So after I - again - told her that we're not actively pursuing anything right now, she said "I just want to say that I really admire how you've dealt with this." Well, what would the alternative be? I can either constantly mourn the life that might-have-been, or I can get out there and live life. I can renew and grow my relationship with my husband. I can figure out things that I enjoy doing, and people I enjoy doing them with, and pursue things that make me happy. Pursuing infertility treatment - even for the short time that we did so - was not making me happy. It was making me a crazy angry person whose fuse was...short. I think I replied with something along the lines of, "Well, you do what you have to do." *sigh*
  • The Extremely Fat Family at the gym, hereafter known as the EFFs. I should step aside here, briefly, and mention that I am not a very nice person. I am judgmental. I can be mean (in my head). I get frustrated when people do dumb things. Knowing that, it does not surprise me that the EFF now showing up at my gym is driving me up a freaking wall. Three of them showed up a few weeks ago - what seemed to be a couple and one of their fathers. The couple is probably 40 something - wife extremely overweight and husband morbidly obese - and the dad is verging on obese. Over the last few weeks, they have continued to add EFF members, to the point where now 6 or 7 of them show up, take over (and break) the elliptical machines, and then move on to the weight machines, where they proceed to SIT without actively lifting anything. In the meantime, I'm trying to get my workout in and get home in a timely manner. Today I bit the bullet and got up 15 minutes earlier (for those keeping track, that means I am now getting up at 3:45. AM.) to try to avoid them. I didn't succeed entirely, but I did manage to get through about 2/3 of my weights workout before some of them were wrapping up their cardio. I mean, I should be happy that they are moving, right? But I get so annoyed when my routine changes (I know, I should probably get help for this), and I'm having difficulty seeing the good in their gym attendance since it's messing with my routine. Anal much? It doesn't help that they are ... well, they're loud and they yell at each other and they talk on the phone and swear at each other's just really disruptive. I'm at the gym to work out, not witness your family drama. Thanks. I hope their zeal wears off in the next few weeks. Holiday seasons are good for that.
  • Feeling one-upped. I hate feeling like others are trying to one-up me or us, and it seems like my BIL and SIL do it without even trying. As in, last year they got my MIL and FIL a trip over spring break. Plane tickets, condo, food while they were there, the whole shebang. We got them...I think we got his dad a book and his mom some crafty things for her home business. This year? We've got his dad covered, and we thought we had his mom covered, but then had to return what we got for her, when we realized it wasn't the right choice for her. Then, my BIL tells my husband on Sunday that they're going to get my in-laws an iPad for Christmas. Seriously. I get that they have a lot more money than we do. And I'm okay with that, most of the time. But ... we are constantly hearing how HARD they work and how MUCH they work, and how much they deserve their (seriously) sixth vacation of the year. Meanwhile, we are pinching pennies to try to take one major vacation every few years. And clearly we don't work hard. *sigh* again.
Those were the biggies for now, I think. I'm sure I'll think of something later. And then I'd like to move on to actually, you know, documenting our lives. Because there are some good things that we are doing - some fun things - and I think it would be nice to remember those down the line.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Brain dump


I need to get a few things out before I try to have a really productive Monday morning. Sometimes that is just the way it is.

We had a super-productive weekend, despite the fact that it rained ALL DAY on Saturday. Persistent, cold rain. Nasty nasty nasty. I'm glad I went to the gym to run in my new running shoes (looove new running shoes) since they would have been decidedly NOT new by the end of an hour run in the rain!

We got so much done, though - planning for our vacation (!!), which starts next Monday (!!!), ironing (me), washing sweaters (me), financial stuff (husband), errands (husband), planting of annuals (both of us), stuff for the HOA (husband), baking and cooking (me). Whew. We were tired and sore this morning after so much productivity, but goodness does it feel good.

Of course, now I must have a super-productive week to help me get off on vacation on the right foot. :)

I'm really excited for this vacation - we are heading to London, and I have not been there for about 20 years. My husband has never been there. So we're going to be exploring an unfamiliar place together, for really the first time as a married couple. Everywhere else we have gone, one of us has been there before. I'm excited, too, because I hope this is the start of relatively regular vacations for us. That was definitely NOT the case while I was in school and then my post doc, and I know that for us, at least, travel is one of the things we keep saying we can do because we don't have children / don't have to save for college / don't have to worry about choosing child-friendly locations. I'm really hoping that turns out to be the case - when we started discussing trying to travel more, shortly after we gave up on having kids, I was not entirely sure that 'more travel' was something I would look forward to.

I'm really sad about our lack of local friends, and I can't figure out a way to fix it.

We had friends here - mostly mine from school + their spouses - but since we have been back and I have moved into a faculty role, and our friends have slowed down significantly in their own school paths and had children, we just don't have as much in common anymore. To the point where we are not invited to do anything with them anymore, and we don't invite them over, either. It's just...awkward.

For us, it's awkward to have them over because our house is SO not childproofed, and there is nothing fun to play with. And it's hard to pack up a kid and take him to an adult friend house. We know that. But we also know that when we were invited over to the houses of our friends with kids, then we were always the outsiders - the ones who didn't have kids at the birthday party, or the ones who had to accommodate when something went awry for one of the families with kids. We just...don't have much in common with them anymore.

This really hit home this morning - and, really, is what prompted this post - when I looked on Facebook and saw that a formerly-good-friend (the family with which we share our farm share, for Pete's sake!) had posted that she enjoyed celebrating her graduation (finally) and her son's fourth birthday with "good friends". Which, I'm thinking, means that we are NOT good friends, since we were not invited to anything. We were definitely closer to them before, when their son was much younger - and more portable - and when we had more in common. We stayed with them when we first got back to town, for a couple of nights before we closed on our house. We talked about how nice it was that our houses are 5 minutes apart. We talked about all the things we would do together. Now? Not so much.

Another friend called for the first time in MONTHS (maybe 6?) when her husband's mother died suddenly. I am honestly not sure why she called - they were heading out of town for the funeral, and everything was taken care of. I offered to do whatever they needed, but they didn't really *need* anything. So we sent a card -and offered, again, if they needed us to do anything - but haven't heard from them since.

I just... I don't know what to do. We've talked about this ad nauseum, husband and I, and haven't really come to any satisfying conclusions. We are not religious - we are not going to meet new friends at church, trust me. We don't have friends in our neighborhood - they are either a) older than us by 20+ years, or b) have multiple children. We don't really have friends from work - I am significantly younger than most of the other faculty, and I'm not so sure about the other faculty who started with me in the fall. My husband is in a management position and doesn't really want to socialize with other people from work. He is no longer doing as much music as he once was. We just.... we have no social life. And while I am not a social person, by any means (solitude!I love solitude!), it ...rankles? irritates? annoys? makes me sad? that we really don't have anyone we can turn to for a dinner out, or an evening of playing goofy Wii games and hanging out. Or, really, anything.

I said to my husband yesterday - this was following a study interview in which the mom basically said that she gets no support at home and that she doesn't turn to her husband for anything anymore - that I don't know what I would do without him. And that is completely true. If - I hate to even type this - but if something happened to him tomorrow? (or to me?) I just don't know who we would call, locally. Well, probably the backyard neighbor, because she gets things DONE. But we're not what I would call *friends* - we're friendLY, definitely. But again, they're 20+ years older than we are, and have a totally different life than we do.

I don't know where this is going - this is really a brain dump in that regard - but I do know that it still makes me sad that 3 years into living here again, we are so disconnected from others in the community. And I just don't see a way out of that.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

A decision made, and a cautionary tale

I made an appointment with my primary doc back in...I think it was February, when I decided that enough was enough with the IUD. I finally got in to see her on Thursday morning. On the way there, I realized that I hadn't gotten a reminder phone call (cue panic), then thought that, hm, maybe I *chose* not to have them call me because I'm good about putting things on my calendar. Fortunately, I was right - they had me in the system, I wasn't going to have to wait two additional months, and phew.

In the waiting room, I saw a current doctoral student, who hosted the baby shower for a mutual friend (also a doctoral student) last Sunday (more on that later). She did not seem to see me, and I chose not to get her attention. This is one of the interesting things about living in a small university town, working at one of the colleges associated with the academic medical center, and choosing to get most of my medical care there. I tend to run in to people I know - or who know my husband - or who know my boss(es) - when I am there for medical appointments. So far, I've been able to make things work, and my only regret is that I cannot be friends with my providers, because I really like those that I have had. Well, except for the dermatology resident, but that's okay. I'd love to be friends with the PA I saw in reproductive endocrinology, before throwing in the towel. Her husband used to work with mine, which is the way things go in this town, and we had seen them at Lowe's when we first moved back to town. Kind of like how we ran into our current financial planner guy at the park when we were having lunch a few months after we moved back to town. Anyway, I digress.

I waited for about 25 minutes - long, but not unreasonable, got weighed (holding steady! soon it will be time to ramp it up again to lose an addition 8-10 pounds...) and blood pressured (also normal, as per usual) and then the doc came in pretty quickly. We determined that it was time to lose the IUD and find another method that would work better for me. And, as always, I was grateful that she did not say anything about an infertile woman choosing to be on long-term birth control.

She took it out right then and there (well, after I had gotten ready and on the table...) which was a HUGE relief. Sent in my prescription for my new long-cycle pills, and reupped a few of my regular ones for 3-month supplies, and off I went. Poof! Done! I feel better already - although, interestingly, I still have the aching / occasional piercing pain on my left side. I started the pills again this morning (Sunday start) so we'll see if that continues or gets better. I do wonder whether I have a cyst or possibly some endometriosis hanging out there. We shall see...

The cautionary tale came from one of my students this semester, who in addition to having a 2 year old, working full time, and going to school, has decided that THIS is the semester to have additional IVF cycles. This is her 4th. One child. I did the math, which = 2 failed cycles. Anyway, she developed complications during her stim phase, which included bilateral hydrosalpinx. Which was what they thought I had during my HSG, until they got in there and found normal tubes (which I have never understood, and probably never will. If I ever have a hysterectomy, I will ask them to do path analysis on my uterus and tubes because I want / need to know...). Her ova were retrieved on schedule, but she will need to have additional surgery this week to have a bilateral salpingectomy before they transfer the embryos. She will be fine - and hopefully will have a successful cycle - but it reminded me of the reasons why I got off the IVF train before it even pulled out of the station. Emotionally, I couldn't deal with the ramifications of unsuccessful cycles. Physically, I couldn't deal with the thought of unplanned complications. I'm a planner. I planned when I *thought* I would get pregnant. I plan my week as strictly as I possibly can. I don't do well with uncertainty - physical or emotional. So, I took it as a cautionary tale, and a reminder to me why I am staying on long-term birth control, even though I am 'infertile'.

The baby shower last Sunday was probably the best I have been to. No stupid games. No questions about when *I* would be pregnant. Just a bunch of nerdy women sharing their favorite children's books with the mom-to-be, and discussing them. Whew. I made it through - it was only about an hour and 45 minutes, and escaped to the grocery store, then made it home in one piece.

This semester is *finally* wrapping up (it's been nuts...) and we are planning a long-awaited vacation to LONDON at the end of May. I am so excited, I can hardly stand it. I'm not even going to take my laptop! iPad, yes, for emails and catching up on fun reading. But no laptop - no work - just fun and being tourists and being together. Perfect for our 5th anniversary. That's this Friday - we will share it not only with my parents (we were married on their 34th wedding anniversary), but also with William and Kate. Hilariously, my mother and I also have sapphires for our engagement rings. Not, however, the size of Kate's. It might be more fun if I were an inveterate royal-watcher, which I am not. But it will still be fun to share an anniversary with some famous people. :)

Sunday, February 27, 2011


I've been thinking a lot about regrets in the last few days, and kind of taking stock of where I am in life, what I have accomplished to this point, and whether I have any regrets about the road I have taken to get here.

I've come to the conclusion that I don't really have any regrets, which kind of fascinates me. I mean, there were certainly different paths I could have taken along the way. But that would mean that I would not be who I am today - and I would not be where I am today, doing what I do.

This was prompted by a gathering last Friday of new faculty members at our university. We met with the new (interim) provost, an introspective engineer, of all things. And he mentioned that every year, after the spring semester raced to a close, he would spend some time reflecting on whether he had enjoyed the last year, including his research, his teaching, his interactions with colleagues, and his interactions with students. He said that if the university was going to put him under the microscope every year for his annual review, then he thought he owed it to himself to do the same kind of examination from his perspective.

I don't do this often, but I have re-evaluated my spot in life over time. Last year, I did it a LOT when I was interviewing for jobs. Now that we are relatively settled, it's less of a 'thing', but it's something that I still do periodically. I find it helpful to have trusted colleagues that I can talk to about these things, too - if I find that there is kind of a sore spot at work (for example, right now I have a colleague who is driving me absolutely bonkers...), then I can examine with my colleagues whether it is me - and my response to the person - or whether they are also being driven bonkers by the same person. It's a nice check on me - I find that I can be kind of mean sometimes - and it's a good way for me to make sure that I, myself, am not going off the deep end. And I trust these colleagues to tell me if I am doing so.

But back to regrets - and reflection - on my personal life. I did think back to our journey with infertility over the last few weeks, again. Would I have done anything differently? I don't think I would have. I had two consults with health care providers (my women's health NP and a different midwife) before we even tried conceiving. They both pronounced me in good health, and told me to have at it. Of course, there were obviously problems, but I don't believe that they could have detected those problems if they had even looked. It's not like the RE's were able to pinpoint a cause for my infertility - or a successful way to treat it.

Would I have waited as long to try for children? Again, no. And that is not because I didn't want kids earlier - it's because of where we were in our lives. I had prioritized graduate school. That got me where I am today - with the job I have today, which I do love (as much as I sometimes complain about it). Before I met my husband, I was at peace with the idea of being single for the majority of my life. Meeting my husband was an unexpected - and joyful - surprise. So - regrets about how old I was when we got married? About waiting a year and a half to try for children? No, definitely not.

I haven't examined *everything* in my life, obviously. But I do think that I am where I am today - and I am *who* I am today - because of everything that has come before. I'm not religious - I don't think there is a plan - but I do think that in the choose your own adventure that is life, I've done pretty darn well so far. And I anticipate that that will continue.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Another month, more pregnancies

Seems like everyone (or at least, the people I know) has been conspiring to keep me thinking about my infertility recently.
  • My cousin's wife is due tomorrow with their 'first child'. This is the one that I missed the shower for, thank goodness. I know, that's awful to say. But it really did make it easier. Her mother in law (my aunt) is eagerly anticipating the birth of her first grandchild, and called my mom all excited earlier this week.
  • This makes me wonder whether / how our infertility affects my parents (and even my husband's parents). I've never asked, to be honest. I mean, my mother used to tell me that people were asking when we would have kids. I told her at that point that she could tell them that it wasn't going to happen, if she wanted. But I don't know if she ever did that. Or, if she did, I don't know who she did and didn't tell. I just kind of avoid the subject.
  • A friend from high school is pregnant with baby #2. She informed us on an email thread that was started by a friend getting married this May. That one came out of left field for me.
  • Another friend, this time from my dissertation research, is pregnant with baby #2, and is due in July. She had a miscarriage at 8-10 weeks a couple of years ago, which actually made all of us in that department much closer. And then she had a successful pregnancy - and she has a beautiful daughter. I'm happy for her... but also sad.
  • And yesterday was the oh-so-fun child abuse and neglect lecture in the class that I am sitting in on. I don't think I've ever mentioned that I happen to be a pediatric nurse practitioner, of all things. Being an infertile PNP is like the worst of both worlds. On my side, I haven't experienced parenthood. I've never been up all night with a baby. I've never gone through birth. I've never had to decide about so many things that parents ask about. On the other hand, I know a lot about children and child development and child illness. But, on the parents' side (and on my students' side), there is a lack of credibility, because I haven't *been there*. Anyway. I digress. I hate hate hate hate the abuse / neglect lecture, not only because I've seen it many times over the years, but because it reminds me that there are many people out there who probably should not have children, but who have no difficulty doing so. Many times, it seems as though they have lots of children. And that is so, so hard for me to deal with. It's like the news articles about mothers who kill their children. (Side note: apparently, the word for parental killing of a child is "filicide". When mothers do it, it's "maternal filicide", and, logically, when fathers do it, it is "paternal filicide". And, per wikipedia, filicide is the 3rd leading cause of death of death among children 5-14.)
  • Sorry, that was a very depressing bullet.
  • Oh, and the news anchor on our local news is about to pop. Any second. So every morning, at the gym, I am reminded of this.
It's interesting to me that, while I feel like I have been slammed with all of this news from all sides, I have been doing a much better job of... I guess it might be compartmentalizing? all of it. I have been making a concerted effort not to fall into a funk daily over all the baby-related news. And it seems to be working. But at the same time, it's not like this is ever far from my mind.

I have also decided to give up on the #(%* IUD already. Of course, it's 2 months (!) until I can get an appointment with my primary doc, but I suppose I can live with that. I have cramps, still, > 50% of the time. At times, they are so bad that Advil won't touch them. And I don't want to have to take Advil 2 weeks out of the month. It's just not the right choice for me. At the time I had it inserted, she said that she would still be willing to have me on birth control pills, until I am 40. That would work for me, I think.

So I'll go in in April, and hopefully get the darn thing taken out at the same appointment. It would be just like them to have me make a different appointment for its removal. Gah. I have liked the whole no-period thing, though, which is why I think I'll continue with some form of b.c. for now.

Otherwise, things are busy busy busy but in a good way. I think. :) My job is crazy, my husband is busy and happy, the dog is thriving, and we are having the most random warm day in the middle of February. It's 60 degrees out there! I think we'll go get the mail, and I'll try to forget about all of this for a few minutes. Of course, it's likely that one or more of the neighbors are pregnant. Again. So how successful I'll be is a complete crap shoot.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Oh, where to start

One of my NY resolutions is to blog more. I think I made the same resolution last year. BUT, this year, my overall goal is actually to compartmentalize a little more. Not to ignore all facets of my life, but to ensure that I pay attention to all of those facets. And, for me, compartmentalization is the way to go. I hope that by blogging more, I'll be able to address my thoughts / feelings re infertility / childlessness more as they come up, and less in (far distant) hindsight.

Our trip back East for New Year's was, overall, quite good. We had good travel karma this time, even with my husband having to fly elsewhere on the way home, for work. The weather cooperated (we were lucky, we were right in between blizzards) and we even got a taste of some 50 degree weather while we were there!

On the other hand, though...there were still some minor hurdles.

We saw good friends and their family several times while we were home. I went to kindergarten with the wife, and have known her all of my life. She's the one I refer to as my "best friend from childhood". Anyway, they have three children, and she knows about my infertility. So she's one of...well, 3-4 people who actually know that we have tried, that having children would require more medical intervention than I am comfortable with, and that we are close to giving up.

She's also one of my more religious friends. Has been, for years. And, hm. I don't know how to say this, but she's also more evangelical than most. Maybe the word I am looking for is...she evangelizes? What I'm trying to get at is, she takes others' religious beliefs - and whether they align with hers - very seriously. And that has never sat well with me. I think belief is a very individual thing. Even when I was in my super-religious college days, I was never comfortable with the idea of pushing my beliefs on others. I'm even more uncomfortable with overt attempts at conversion. For example, my brother has a high school friend whose job it is to convert Sikhs in England to Christianity. I just...think that is wrong. That's my personal opinion - you, of course, are free to agree or disagree.

But I have wandered off track a bit. I guess that evangelizing piece really wanted to come out. :)

So, she's more religious than I am, especially now. And she still is concerned with others' beliefs. She also says things like "I'll pray for you", which she said when I talked about our struggles with infertility, and with stepping off the IUI/IVF train. As I've written before, I have pretty much lost my religion. I have deep-seated doubts about the existence of a higher Being, and whether that Being is, in fact, the God of my childhood beliefs. For someone who regularly prayed, went to Bible study, and tried to live "as a Christian", this is...a big change. I'm not entirely sure where I fall on the religiosity spectrum, but I'm pretty far away from "believer", and from "observant", and even from "religious". I'd say I'm verging on atheist / agnostic.

We have not exchanged major gifts for years, now. I will send her things when I see them, that make me think of her. Or, that we don't want / need - like the electric griddle I sent last year. It was perfect for their family of 5. We never used it. I plan on sending my unused flannel sheets to her just as soon as I can buy more packing tape. That kind of thing. But she called on New Year's Day and wanted to bring over a gift for me. The gift? A book:

The Reason for God: Belief in an Age of Skepticism

Um. Yeah. I wasn't even sure what to say. Well, duh, I said 'thank you', and I just wrote a nice thank you note for it. But...I'm not sure I will actually read the book. I'm not sure I am interested. And, it got me thinking about just how far apart we are in some ways, now that we are in our (sigh) mid-thirties. I don't think I will ever not be friends with this person, but I do not think that we are as close, or as similar, as we once were.

And that got me thinking about whether similarity is necessary for close friendship. I've never believed that it is, but I have watched my formerly close relationships drift since we decided not to actively pursue having kids. My relationship with this friend seems strong - we talk every couple of weeks on the phone - but...I'm not sure we are in the same place, viewing our futures in the same way.

The same goes for my other, other half - my college roommate. I haven't talked to her since before Thanksgiving. Where I once would talk to her at least once a day - this was pre-her-kids - now it is months. I told myself it was because she had two young children. Her son is 4 and her daughter is 1. But... Now I am not so sure. And I don't know what to do about it. I'm reluctant to bring it up - as in, 'I miss you' - because I don't want her response to be negative. I don't want to guilt someone into continuing a friendship with me, but... what if the basis for those friendships has shifted? What if we are no longer similar enough to be good friends?

And then what do I do? No kids. A rarity in this town, particularly among people our age, and in our neighborhood, and who we encounter at work. We are like an island of childlessness among these large, growing families.

I think it's actually more awkward because I am a pediatrics person by training. That's my clinical side. I actually know a fair amount about child development, and about kids, and about kids' medical problems. That's what I do, professionally. So to couple that with not having our own kids is...weird...for most people.

Saturday, I had the chance? option? invitation? to attend a "potty party" for a friend's almost-3-year-old. I bailed at the last minute. His little friend was coming over, and I realized I didn't want to be the token childless adult there, forced into awkward conversation with parents about the potty training habits of their children. She actually said, when inviting me, that she thought of me because "You get kids, you get the kid-thing" and I thought "Do I really?"

As usual, I'm not sure where this is going. Just that I am, again, having a hard time finding my way among friendships when kids are involved. Or not. As the case may be.

And, don't even get me STARTED about my husband's ex-wife. Who now has preemie twins. Via donor sperm insemination. Since her husband is OUR MOTHERS' AGE. Good grief. More for another time...