Monday, December 31, 2007


We are staying at my parents' house for a few days. Chris and I were thrilled for a chance to indulge in our favorite Schezuan food. (Nothing compares to the food you remember from childhood, and how great that this restaurant is still here to make dishes that tastes the same as they did 30 years ago. In a good way.) At the end of the meal we read our fortunes, which were more flattering personality assessments than glimpses of the future. Mine said something positive about my sense of humor and charm. You know, the kind of generic compliment that anyone would read and think "that is SO me!"

This morning I was thinking about fortunes. Not so much about those particular slips of paper, but about the idea that we can tell the future in cookie inserts, or tea leaves, or coffee grounds. (Actually, I believe in the coffee grounds; they always tell me I need a refill.) I can not be alone in looking to things outside myself to predict my future, even as I refuse to believe that there is such a thing as "fate."

The box of medications on my dining room table is a sign, but of what? Will they portend another child, a disappointment, or something else? This feels like a moment of transition. Either the IVF will work, and that will change our lives, or it won't. Our lives will change then too, but more imperceptibly. The shift will be more inside us, more a recognition of the path we are on than a step onto some other road.

My sister's life is also poised to change: she is finishing school and looking for work. At this moment her options are very open. Her choices will clarify over the next couple of months, but until then she and I spend a lot of time talking about our possible futures, our fears and hopes.

I consider my fortune, both the good fortune I have had so far and the unknown future that lays ahead. My hope for my sister and myself, as well as for all of you, is a 2008 filled with joy and happiness. Happy new year; may we all be given the fortune we hope for.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Random Quote and Unrelated Photo of the Week

12/16/07 Loafer

"Quite wonderful," he repeated; but the only thing he could think of was Morgana's eyebrow.

Aldous Huxley
Brave New World

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Thank You, Visa

I just got a call from the pharmacy that is processing my fertility medications. Apparently my credit card company would not approve the $3,700 charge the pharmacy was billing me.

A quick call to the credit card company to verify that the charge was not fraud (highway robbery, maybe, but not fraud), and we are back in business. If by "business" we understand I mean "a horrifying sinking feeling that I am spending almost four thousand dollars on things I wish I didn't need."

Good to know my credit card company thinks this kind of thing is unusual. I certainly do.

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Open Letter to a Friend Who is Facing This Too

Dear Friend,

I have been desperate to call you, and desperate not to. I want us to talk before I start this coming round of IVF. I want us to confer and commiserate before I get into the shots and the office visits. That way, you won't be tempted to track along with me, to hope it works out but know you'll cry if you hear it did. I don't want to call you after I get the results. Either way it will hurt; if I am pregnant I know from experience what it feels like to hear someone else's good news while you are left waiting and hoping for your own. If the IVF fails, I will be glad for the support, but I so much do not want to need that. To be talking about another failed cycle.

The more I go through this, the more I want to be open about it. I am considering telling my bosses. It is self-protective. I have so much work coming over the next couple of months and I want them to know why I may crumble. Or I want them to be impressed that I hold it together. I want them to know. I want you to know, and I think my experience can help you. But there is always some piece of this each person can not get help working through, and that is the part I fear, for both of us.

Best of luck to us, I love you a lot.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Random quote and unrelated photo of the week

This Elvis sort of reminds you of your old brother-in-law in long underwear on a camping trip, dashing from the tent to heed the call of nature.

Steven Beaven
Elvis plays Powell's: 'Thank you very much'

Monday, December 17, 2007

First Joke

During dinner on Saturday, Ada made a request, and her first joke.

Ada: Cous-cous!

Me: How should you ask for that?

Ada: Please Please!

Friday, December 14, 2007

For the entertainment of a limited number of readers

If you think this is as funny as I did, you should go to this site, which offers graphical representations of rap lyrics.

(I'm thinking Karen, Metrodad and possibly Ellen will think this is hilarious.)

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Random quote and unrelated photo of the week

12/05/07 Reheasal

A best friend is someone who cries when you do.

Rabih Alameddine
I, the Divine

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

I Handmade It

So that you don't think that all I do is sit around complaining about bland holiday celebrations and the state of my uterus, I present: what I have been doing when not in front of the computer. (Part 1)

Due to a desire to not feed the consumer machine this holiday season large hole in my checking account (and ok, a desire to fire up the sewing machine on these long nights), I decided to make things for as many people as I could.

I was assisted by an uncharacteristically helpful Ada, seen here watching her beloved Sesame Street dvd while eating roasted chestnuts on Thanksgiving weekend. Ada let me work on one project for a whole hour, when I let her sit in front of an hour's worth of "classic" Sesame Street.

11/23/07 We each had our distractions
Actually, that day I was sewing pants for her.

Some of the projects I can't show you right now, since Karen hasn't received her package yet (by which I mean, I haven't sent her package to her yet). I can show you one of the things I made for Ellen. In recent years, Ellen has gotten into wearing aprons while she cooks. She got this from her sister-in-law, along with some actual aprons. Here is the apron I made Ellen for Hanukah:

ellen's apron, side 1

The apron is double sided, this is the fabric on the other side:

ellen's apron, side 2

Not sure why I see this side as the second side, since I decided to make an apron when I found it, and then later paired it with the orange and yellow fabrics. This was my first apron. I liked it enough that I will try another, when I can find someone who needs a gift and wears aprons.

Now on to the child-assisted craft:

cards ada made

Ada helped me make new years cards. I like sending cards, but (a) don't feel comfortable sending Christmas cards and (b) even if I did want to, no matter my good intentions I never get my cards out before the week before new year's anyway. I made potato stamps for Ada, and she had a great time smacking them all over some blank cards I had stashed for just such an opportunity.

It was fun working with Ada and it had me excited for the things we can make and do as she gets older and more interested in slightly more complicated projects. For now I am limited to projects that can be completed during nap times and at night. I have an elephant and a stenciled onesie for the soon-to-be baby sibling of Ada's pal Lila. Plus a few more things to make. I hear that one of the admin staff in my office made Ada a hat. To maintain my crafty honor, I must retaliate with something hand-made.

post hanukah stupor
feeling very self-satisfied, or is that tired?

Monday, December 10, 2007

Holiday, Celebrate (it would be so nice?)

I recently got an email from the office manager at my job. It was about holiday decorations, letting everyone know that there would be a small tree in the reception area, and that everyone was invited to add an ornament. This is fine with me; I like the smell of a fresh tree, enjoy seeing decorations, love Christmas cookies. That I am not Christian and do not decorate my own house (or cubicle) does not dampen my enjoyment of Christmas trappings in the world at large.

What does dampen my enjoyment is the use of "holiday" when "Christmas" is clearly meant. A cut evergreen inside? Origins aside, this is a Christian tradition. I know, as complaints go, this is fairly nit-picky. Still, I am annually annoyed by the melting-pot blandifying silliness of misguided efforts to make all faiths and traditions welcome by merely pretending that the decorations and celebrations mark some larger universal moment of joy. Feh. (or is that Bah?)

Hanukkah (a minor holiday in the Jewish calendar) includes no trees or shiny baubles. Without having conducted extensive research, I am fairly sure that Ramadan and Kwanzaa are similarly tree-free. I even read something recently that said that pagans would never have cut down trees, just to stick them in their homes and watch them die. They did apparently decorate them. That doesn't mean that non-Christians are all offended by displays of other peoples' traditions. (Ok, some are, but let's call a creche a creche.)

Almost everyone in my office is at least nominally Christian. I can't vouch for their level of belief or practice, much less for their denominations, but even the churchless in the group seem to celebrate Christmas in some fashion. I am happy to allow the dominant culture to display its happy traditions and trappings. Just call it what it is. It does not make me feel more included to call it a holiday display, when it is clearly a Christian one. The traditions of Jews, Muslims and other non-Christians are not honored by shoving them into a Christian format. Putting a six-pointed star on an evergreen and calling it a Hanukkah bush doesn't celebrate my traditions, it homogenizes them into meaninglessness.

Living as a nominally "interfaith" couple (to the extent that two secular people can be such a thing) we deal with Christmas by going to it. We celebrate the holiday with Chris's family, at their house. His mother can decorate as much as she wants, which is a fair bit, as it happens. I am fine with that, and my job is to ice the Christmas cookies. Which we all call Christmas cookies. We went to Chris's parents' house this weekend to find and decorate a Christmas tree. I brought the menorah, and we lit candles with my in-laws on Saturday night. They were thrilled to participate, and appreciate that I participate by celebrating Christmas with their favorite traditions.

As a Jew living in a Christian country, I prefer celebrating more holidays to celebrating some meaningless mush of christmaka or quanza-dan. Whatever you are celebrating, I hope it is a wonderful time to enjoy what you have and celebrate with family and friends. And eat, don't forget the eating. Because that is what any good holiday is really about, right?

monkey boy, phoning it in
Is it me, or is Monkey Boy just phoning it in?

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Not as composed as I'd like

(neither the post nor my emotions)

It just sucks. I really want to have another child, but I am starting to doubt it will happen. There is a good chance it won't (or will, for you half-full people) - about 50% chance with a fresh cycle. But that is a big maybe to be facing. And if it doesn't work, there will be a few more trys left, with frozen eggs. That is good and bad. I can barely wait the month to try our next cycle. If it doesn't work, and we have to wait a month to try again, then wait and try and wait... It is too much. I can't not try, I feel physically compelled to exhaust all our options. But I also want to know for sure. I want to be able to move on. I am so far from moving on.

If today I knew for sure that we would never have another child, I would be looking at a long time to recover from that. I tell people that I will be ok, that if we can not have another child I will get over it. That is true, I will - because I have to - but I tell them that because how can I say how much it already hurts, and how much more I am afraid it will hurt to through that being my truth?

I want to be over it. I want to not be hurting, to be done snapping at Chris for dumb things, to be more loving and hopeful and happy. Instead I am jealous and selfish. There is no way to where I want to be but through the next few or many months. I so much wish there was. I'd agree to live through the sadness if I knew for sure that was ahead. Not knowing is eating me slowly.

Sunday, December 02, 2007

Oughta be Committed

The past couple of weeks I have been putting together a holiday gift list. I'm a bit hampered by the fact that I have twice misplaced the physical piece of paper on which the list was written. But now I have a new and improved third version of the list, and having figured out what I am giving people, I am ready to commit:

Wow, way to jump on the bandwagon. Only 8581 people pledged before me.

I had been thinking about this for a while, but once I decided I could take this pledge and make as well as buy things for people, I got on board. Then I started regularly reading the blog Sew, Mama, Sew!. How I missed this one before I am not sure, but for anyone who likes to make stuff for themselves or others, wow, what a treasure trove.

Each day through November they posted a category of gifts, with links to tutorials and free patterns. I have already made four different things mentioned on Sew, Mama, Sew! and I am making a few more before Chanukah and Christmas are upon us. Speaking of which, I need to get my butt in gear - Chanukah is only a couple of days away! I will share the photos of my projects once I have given them to people. (A few of my friends and family check in here and I don't want to ruin the surprise.)

In other news that doesn't seem like a whole post:

(1) This past week marked a milestone in Ada's verbal development. Ada is already a pretty verbal toddler, and has been talking in sentences for a long time. How long exactly I can't remember, which is why I wanted to write down that last week is when she went from speaking a single sentence at a time to talking almost non-stop. Now instead of telling me that she played with Claire at school, she lets loose with "Claire had the corn. I played with the corn. Claire gave me the corn. Claire had the orange. I waited for the tricycle. Other kids rode the tricycles, I waited." and on and on and on and, well, you get the idea. Add this to the non-stop singing she's been engaged in for a couple of months, and we are pretty much the loudest house on the block.

(2) Since we moved her squirmy, wiggly baby self out of our room a couple of years ago, Ada has slept in a crib. Until today. Well, technically she's still in the crib, but we took one of the sides off to see what she'd think about a "big girl bed". Chris's parents still have the cedar frame he used as a kid, and we'll be bringing that up for Ada in a week or two. We thought we'd put the crib side back on, but she did not want us to, so she's up there right now, snoozing away in a three sided crib. Happy as a (sleeping) clam. No loud child-falling-on-the-floor noises (yet).

Ok, wait. I wrote that on Saturday. At bedtime Ada requested the return of the fourth wall. She was very proud of herself for sleeping in the three sided crib at nap time, but I guess the prospect of doing it all night was a bit much. The big girl bed is still coming, but for now we'll follow Ada's lead on this.

(3) No movement on the potty front. (N.B., any word I could use in the prior sentence feels overly evocative - movement, change, action...) In order to more specifically encourage Ada to use the potty, I have added daily potty time to our routine. This is in addition to me asking her if she'd like to use the potty multiple times a day (she always says no) and allowing her to run around pants-free for hours at a time. She never has accidents, and will ask for a diaper if I haven't forced her to put on clothes before the need arises. Now what? I have a little container of "potty treats" but have not yet sunk to bribing her for peeing in the potty, but I am getting there. I am pretty sure that she'll be excited to get chocolate covered raisins, but I wonder if using food as a motivator is such a great idea. I feel really torn about the whole process, as I know that the moment she's done with diapers I will have to be a lot more vigilant about making sure she goes before we leave the house, when we get where we are going, etc.

Any thoughts? Advice? Should I just not worry? Please advise.

Will work for hot chocolate.