Thursday, November 29, 2007

Random quote and unrelated photo of the week

A very expensive shot

If you want to get rich,
You got to get out and dig;
You want long hair,
Go buy yourself a wig.

Stick McGhee
One Monkey Don't Stop No Show

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

1 was Ada (a counting rhyme)

(Inspired by Ada's reworking of one of her favorite books. With apologies to Maurice Sendak.)

1 was Ada
who got in the bath

2 was a rat
who showed her some math

3 was a cat
who jumped on the soap

4 was a dog
(what a tired old trope)

5 was a turtle
looking to score

6 was a monkey
yelling "Turtle's a whore"

7 a blackbird
drank some bath water

8 was a tiger
said "you're just like their daughter"

9 was a robber
who's exploits he'd rue

10 was a puzzle
what should Ada do?

She stood in her tub
and said here's what I'll do

I'll start counting backwards
and when I am through

If this tub isn't empty
I'll wash all of you!

9 was the robber
who left with a pail

8 was the tiger
who took off for Vail

7 the blackbird
left to meet an iguana

6 was the monkey
yelled "see ya' maƱana"

5 was the turtle
gone quick as a wink

4 was the dog
left hair in the sink

3 was the cat
who fled to North Platte

2 was the rat
who slipped on the mat

1 was Ada
who soaked in the bath
and liked it like that!

Monday, November 26, 2007

fear of failing, dreams of flying

We talked to the doctor. In the end the decision is ours; do we use our four remaining frozen embryos, or do we start anew? Chris and I decided to try a "fresh" cycle of IVF.

We are going ahead but I am scared. I am afraid that the fresh cycle won't work. When I tell someone this, I often hear "but it will work." It is grating to hear that right now. The odds are better with a fresh cycle than for a frozen one, but there is still no guarantee. I felt so sure last time, but I was wrong. I wish my friends saw that their expressions of unbridled optimism just makes me thing of our last, failed cycle. Sometimes things don't work.

Chris and I are extremely lucky to have the resources to make this choice at all. I don't know that we have the resources (emotional or financial) to do a fresh cycle more than once. If it doesn't work this time around, even if we get some "extra" frozen embryos out of the deal, what we'll have left is one or two more chances to try with frozen eggs. And I know how that turned out last time, even with six good quality eggs. I know that the likelihood of a given trial being successful is independent of what has happened before. I also know that IVF with frozen eggs is a lower probability event than using fresh eggs.

So yeah, the thing that scares me is that trying the tactic with the highest success rate, and having it fail. A couple with normal fertility (especially one our ages) is told to try for a year before worrying. We've passed all that, but I think about it as we head into our next round. Our odds may be higher than a random sex act for a random couple, but success may still rely on this being an iterative process.

Despite my fear of failure we are going forward. Not as fast as I'd like, in fact. Turns out that the lab is closed between christmas and new years. With the start of my cycle last week, that would have put me smack in the middle of the black-out week. So we sitting around for a month. Annoying. Nothing helps an anxious person relax like waiting around for an extra month.

Caution: Awkward Segue

Whatever else is going on (and I know this is a big jump of topics) you have to check out Jan Von Hollenben's series of photographs of children "flying". Taken from a latter above them, the pictures feature children in action poses that simulate flight and other impressive feats. I love these pictures so much. Just looking at them this morning made my day.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Random Quote and Unrelated Photo of the Week (bounty edition)

11/19/07 coast to coast

Anything you want, you got it.
Anything you need, you got it.
Anything at all, you got it.

Roy Orbison

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Monster Mash

Ada has started two new things at once, and they are interacting in an interesting way. Thing 1: fear of things doing her harm. Thing 2: playing with imaginary pals.

Today Ada yelled to me, when I left the room to find a sweater, that a monster was going to eat her. She sounded concerned, but not terribly scared. When I returned to the room, I asked her where the monster was. At first it was under the couch. (Nope, just dust bunnies, though those are pretty scary.) Then the monster moved into Ada's book. A small book. Once I identified that the monster was small enough to fit inside Ada's book, I told her that maybe that by leaving the house (what I wanted to do anyway) we'd avoid any danger. That's when Ada decided that Frederick (the monster's name) should come with us. With that, she scooped up the invisible monster, and kept her hand closed around him for our whole walk.

As we walked, I asked Ada to tell me about the monster. Apparently this monster is small, red and horned. He has a tummy, and arms. (Actually, I am projecting that the monster is male, given its name, but with Ada that isn't clear. Frederick might be a girl's name.)

When we met up with Ellen and Monkey Boy, Ada shared her monster pal with them. Avery was a bit put out by the news that Ada had a monster, given that he couldn't see it. It seems that it is stretching the expectations for toddler imagination to hope that one toddler can see another's invisible friend.

11/2/07 Snail Rider

a big slug, not a tiny monster

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Random quote and unrelated photo of the week


I was much further out than you thought
And not waving but drowning.

Stevie Smith
Not Waving But Drowning

Monday, November 12, 2007

My Father Studied Ordinary Differential Equations And All I Got Was This Lousy T-Shirt

My husband, the mathematician, has a lot of books with cool graphs and other neat pictures. Ada has formed a special attachment to several of his paperback books, and will grab them from wherever they've been stashed, declaring "these are MY math books!" Ok kid, go crazy with the math books. (Actually, a couple of them are actually books of logic puzzles, but given that she can't read yet, I haven't had the heart to tell her.)

Here's one of her favorites:

ODE book

To amuse Chris and to decorate another of Ada's plain shirts, I copied the design from a book on Ordinary Differential Equations onto a shirt.

10/21/07 ODE shirt

I made two stencils, one for the axes and another for the, um, swirl. (I know that Chris and Stephanie are competing to the be the first to tell me what the right term is.) I was paying attention to centering the whole design, which made me blind to the fact that the swirl does not lay on the axes exactly as they do on the book's image. I still think it turned out alright, even if it makes Ada look like a junior climatologist. Ada likes it, but is so far impervious to my attempts to have her refer to it as "MY math shirt!". I am still working on her.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Random quote and unrelated photo of the week


I was like a cross between Fabio and a toilet brush.

Open Letter to Mo

Monday, November 05, 2007

I never write about work, but...

Maybe it is just me, but when you give someone an assignment during a meeting at which that person is not a participant, it is helpful if you tell the person about the assignment, especially when the assignment is a presentation in front of a group of important people, scheduled to take place the following afternoon.

But it could just be me who thinks that.

Update: Thanks to all who commiserated, the presentation went well (smoother and better received than I'd hoped, even) and I ducked out at the break to run home in time to spend a lovely evening with a friend visiting from South Africa.

Friday, November 02, 2007

Stumptown Ladies Sing This Song

One of the benefits of starting this blog, and of reading other people's blogs, has been meeting some fantastic people. I started to worry a bit when several people who I first met through their blogs stopped posting. I am still friends with them in real life, but I started to wonder whether I had a similar super-power to that my friend Jiro years ago learned he possessed. In Jiro's case, his special power was making women drop out of college. Each of the women he dated in college dropped out. Not one or two, either, but he dated five women while the women were in college, and each left school during or after their relationship with him. In retrospect, he realized he'd had a chance to use his power for good, if only he'd known what to do. You see, while Jiro did not attend the same college as she did, he was in college in the same city as Monica Lewinsky, at the same time. Just think, if he'd dated her while she was a college student, she'd have dropped out, which would have likely made it impossible for her to get an internship in the Whitehouse, thereby changing the course of history!

But it is too late to think about that. And I took you on this entertaining little digression only because, as I mentioned, I started to worry that I possessed a similar power, making bloggers stop writing just by becoming friends with them. But then I became friends with Debbie, who in addition to being a real-life nice person and funny, smart girl, is a fantastic writer in the best kind of stream-of-consciousness way. Her writing is hilarious and poignant within the same breath-taking paragraph, digging deep to offer truths about her darker corners while leavening a post with references that stretch your brain and make you cackle with recognition. This is a woman who, even when she wants to stop writing, can not, and for that I am very glad.

The Original Perfect Post Awards - Oct And this wisp of Portland fantastic-ness, she nominated me for a Perfect Post award. The post she honored, about not being pregnant, was written from a moment of darkness. Talking about light in that post was a form of self-therapy, an attempt to remind myself that the despair I felt on that day would lift. Thankfully, it lifted, and faster than I would have imagined. Just as I was moved that people responded with support and condolences, I am honored that the post meant enough to Debbie that she bothered to make her feelings known. Thank you Debbie, it means a lot to me.

Thursday, November 01, 2007

I'm okay, you're...not in costume

It is probably not necessary to explain to fellow parents that despite expressing excitement about dressing up as a purple cat for Halloween (for weeks she told anyone who would listen), when it came to actually wearing the costume ON Halloween, my toddler decided she was over it and wanted nothing to do with the purple cat outfit. She did agree to have cat whiskers drawn on her face, but only after I'd drawn them on Chris first. Thank goodness for Monkey Boy. Ever the enthusiast, Monkey Boy asked for whiskers too. Which was fantastic, especially since he was an alligator. An adorable alligator.

Cue the off key singing of "A, alligators all around, B, bursting balloons..."

A neighbor had everyone on the block over for dinner. She was fantastic to host a bunch of kids ranging in age from 1 to 7 (plus their parents). She made dinner, plus bone-shaped cookies (it was a cookie graveyard!). It was great. The kids, predictably, ate way too much sugar (plus a little stew and a bite or two of dinosaur shaped chicken pieces) before running out into the night.

DSC09705 DSC09708
A night filled with pumpkin light. How much do I love that our 3 year old neighbor - dressed as a fireman - asked if we should maybe blow out the candles, because you know, the fire hazard?

What I most want to record about tonight is my struggle to let Ada do what feels right to her, even when it conflicts with what I think she "should" do. I recognize that this could be the last year that Ada does not understand Halloween. I should let her have that innocence, but I wanted her to play along.

I tried to get Ada to wear a costume, telling her that all the kids were dressing up. No luck. I explained that the idea is to dress up and visit people's houses. Even the idea of getting candy didn't sway her. If I was a Zen Buddhist, it would have been a perfect opportunity to practice non-attachment. As it is, it was a chance to allow my child to be who she is. And I hated it.

Alligator leads the way

I wanted Ada to wear a costume, wanted her to get the positive attention I know comes with a small child in a cute get-up. But she did not want it, and despite my heart's desire to force her, I let her be. So this post is a record both of Ada hanging on to baby-hood and of my early halting attempts to let her follow her own path.

Even though Ada wouldn't dress up, I did. I hate for a chance to wear a green wig to go by. I may have to wear the wig every Halloween. It is as good as a warm cap on a cold evening. Should the kid ever decide to give trick-or-treating a try, I'll appreciate the warmth. Given how well Ada took to the candyportion of Halloween, I am guessing one of these years she is going to take me on a long walk for Halloween. Probably in the rain.

peeved, but soothed by peanut butter m&ms