Friday, February 29, 2008

It feels way too early to be asking this

The blog, she's a toddler. No longer a baby, but not as old as my neighbor down the street, who recently declared that he could take care of himself, because he's four. (Oh, if only the blog would take care of herself. Or if she'd at least she'd update her own blogroll without my intervention.)

I mention the blog's advanced age not because it has just hit an anniversary. That was, I think, in January. I mention this because I am finally thinking about going to BlogHer. The first year, I could not imagine going. The blog was only months old, and there were so many other things to do, plus my glass slippers were so dusty.... Last year I wanted to go (and got a lot of pressure from a local pal to attend) but in the end I decided that it was too great an indulgence. I immediately regretted it. Fine, she was right, I should have gone.

So now I am ready. And I might even have someone to stay with. But I am still a little nervous. Having read a zillion pre- and post-BlogHer musings by many of you, I know I am not alone. So what I want to know is, are you going? Are you thinking about it? I'm not asking you to hold my hand for three days, but it would certainly be easier for me to make the leap if I knew I'd see some friendly faces. Especially now that Debbie keeps threatening to stop blogging, which might reduce her interest in attending the conference with me. Damn her.

So, who's with me? (early registration lasts until the end of March...)

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Random quote and unrelated photo of the week

Incidentally, I am at work on a weight-loss regimen that involves eating chili con carne twice a day, a theory about the Clinton marriage that is going to change the way everyone sees it and a campaign to stamp out the fish fork.

Nora Ephron
Four or Five Things You Don't Know About Me

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Violet, You're Turning Violet, Violet!

I recently remembered that our refrigerator contained a ziploc bag full of blueberries picked and frozen last summer.* As those of you who were readers in the summer may recall, Ada is a berry fiend, eating her weight in berries at any chance. One of the saddest things about winter is going to pick up vegetables at our CSA farm and Ada asking hopefully, "are there any strawberries today"?

In the summer the farm has a sizable strawberry patch, with berries free for the picking for children dragged along with their veggie-happy parents. Add that to the extreme joy Ada has found in hunting for Wilma, the black bantam hen, and trips to the farm can be as exciting as the zoo or an unexpected cupcake.

But back to the berries. I remembered this bag of frozen blues, and pulled some out the other day to top off the yogurt-granola-banana breakfast. Ada was smitten, and I saw an opportunity. Now Ada is so thrilled to get blueberries that we can get her to eat practically anything with the promise that blueberries will be forthcoming at the end of the meal. This is an especially useful little tool now, as meal-times have been especially subject to two of Ada's toddler quirks: (1) extreme pickyness about food (including foods she ate as recently as a few days prior) and (2) "I'm going to control things" episodes featuring those four little words every parent loves to hear: "I DON'T WANT TO". With the introduction of blueberries, most food tantrums can be quashed with the promise that blueberries are only moments away from defrosting, and eating that egg/vegetable/meat/thing-she-loved-yesterday-
but-now-can't-stand-to-have-on-her-plate will facilitate the defrosting process.

Several days into Project Blueberry Bribes, I have remembered one downside of giving Ada high doses of this magic food. The poop. For those of you without blueberry obsessed children, suffice it to say that, even more than before, I am wishing she was potty trained.

*Actually, our fridge contains numerous bags of frozen berries from this summer, but I have not gotten off my ass to make anything with them. Blueberries retain their shape pretty well when unfrozen, while other berries do not. This means that unfrozen rasp- or strawberries need to be cooked into something. Soon, I promise. The nadir of winter calls for berry desserts.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Once Upon A Time...

A couple of weeks ago, at the end of a stretch that included some intense tantrums and insane toddler demands, Ada offered up her first independently conceived and recited short story:

Once upon a time, there was a pillow.

And she went into the forest. To pick some more pillows from the picking bog.

Then it rolled down the hill. And it cracked open!

And inside was a mother chick and a baby chick.

After a pause, I asked: Is there more? Or is that the end?

That is the end.

** * ** * **

Something in the combination of the words "pillow" and "hill" reminded me of the Robert Louis Stevenson poem The Land of Counterpane. When I googled the poem title, I found an ebook of children's poems and stories called "Project Gutenberg's Childhood's Favorites and Fairy Stories." This ebook is not only free, but given the copyright status of the material and the Guterberg project, the distribution and free use of the materials is allowed and encouraged. All of which is to say that I happily put that picture in this post, with no guilt whatsoever.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Random quote and unrelated photo of the week


Every now and again, I'll run into someone who claims not to like chocolate or other sweets, and while we live in a country where everyone has the right to eat what they want, I want to say for the record that I don't trust these people, that I think something is wrong with them, and that they're probably - this must be said - total duds in bed.

Steve Almond
Candy Freak: A Journey Through the Chocolate Underbelly of America

Monday, February 18, 2008

Sadness, Love, Joy

I am feeling better than I thought I would. Maybe this is because it is too exhausting to be sad. Beyond the physical toll of crying (which I do easily anyway), being sad takes on a physical form, like a heavy coat you can't take off. Thankfully, this weekend's sunny weather was matched by my mood; the coat was left crumpled in the corner by our pile of shoes.

I thought I would need to give the sadness more room before I could shrug it off, that it would demand my attention for longer. This time, what I feel is more like a shadow, a small companion that pokes up at unknown intervals. I was braced for a crushing loss, but happily this feels quieter and frankly more gentle than I'd feared. Even more so than this fall, the disappointment about not being pregnant quickly gave way to a feeling that this is not the end of the road.

Don't get me wrong; I hate traveling this road. But as much as I hate it, I am not ready to get off yet. I have frozen embryos, and despite the low probability that even one of them will one day become a fetus, I can't walk away from them.

I may be able to have another full fresh cycle, too. Hours after hearing from Jill, I called my parents to tell them the news. After expressing sadnesses for the outcome and my feelings, my father asked what we might do next. I told him that I could not stop trying while we still had frozen embryos. He remembered that a fresh cycle was more likely to have a positive outcome than a frozen, and asked if we would do that again. Chris and I do not have the money to explore this option, but before I could say that, my father offered to help. He explained that he and my mother have the money, and if we wanted to use it for another try, that they would want that to happen.

In my moments of need, my father is unfailingly and so graciously generous. In offering his help, he never suggested that he expects anything in return, that we owe him in any way. I am so lucky to have family support, both emotional and financial.

We will talk to the doctor in a couple of weeks, and see what he thinks about our options. On Thursday Jill told me that if we wanted to start a frozen cycle, we could go ahead now. I doubt that the doctor will try to dissuade us from a fresh cycle, which is a better chance overall. If the quality of my eggs is consistent with last time, I imagine he'll endorse this course.

The trick now is to both plan for a fresh cycle, and for one or two frozen cycles if the fresh one doesn't pan out, while simultaneously recognizing the strong likelihood that none of these attempts will work. I am not now at a place where I believe in that my future does not include a second biological child. I am still hopeful that this child will show up. To get through the attempts to make this happen, I need to believe that there is a chance this will happen, but also be ready to fully embrace life without that other child.

Last night Chris told me that over the past few days he has more strongly appreciated Ada than he did before Thursday's news. Coming off a rough new year with Ada, both Chris and I have been in survival mode. We have held on while she has been a screaming, whining whirlwind of tantrums and experiments in increased control over her life. Thankfully, those week have flowed into a new period that mostly features sweetness and interest in others. The return to an easier time, right as we learn that we did not get the second pregnancy for which we'd hoped, that was a gift.

Even if Ada had not returned to her "normal" self, I think Chris would still have an increased appreciation for her qualities. He is better at loving what he has than I am. Luckily I have a lot to love in him and Ada.

What I love

I wish I could say that if we can not have another child that I will never feel sad about it. Even the most practiced Polyanna would probably agree that this is unlikely. But if we never had another child, and I felt as I do today - thankful for and thrilled with what I have now, with only moments of sadness or jealousy for what I did not get - that would be a good life.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

No. No. No.

Things that I no longer have to worry about:

  1. Will I go back to my job after 3 months leave?
  2. Will I go back at all?
  3. What will we do about child care?
  4. What if there are two?
  5. What if the next one is as colicky as Ada was?
  6. How will I deal with 10 more weeks of projesterone shots?

This feels as bad as I thought it would.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Hugs for the New Year

I know that Chinese New Year is officially over, but I am just getting around to looking at my photos. Ellen, Jiro and I took the kids to the Chinese Garden last weekend to see the Lion Dancers. The kids enjoyed the drumming and dancing almost as much as they liked staring into the pond.

We actually had a great vantage point from which to watch the dancers, at least from the kids' perspective. Ellen and I accurately guessed that Ada and Monkey Boy might be a little freaked out by the dancers or drummers if we were right up against them during the performance. Sitting across the pond was perfect - we could see and hear the performance without anyone screaming that it was too loud or too much to bear.

The dancing itself was fun. Once it was over Ada decided that she HAD to have water, and since I had not brought any, we walked across the garden to the bathroom, where I scooped some water from the sink tap into my hand. She had a tiny sip and declared she was done. Pressing our luck, we decided to get a picture of the kids in the garden. This took some doing. Witness:

Ellen: Just look up for 2 seconds, and THEN you can dig for worms.

(If you object to this photo of yourself, Ellen, just keep reading.
There is one of me that is WAY worse. I promise.)


With that triumph under our belts, we retired to a nearby Chinese restaurant approved by Ellen's restaurant-owning brother. The adults enjoyed all kinds of good stuff, while the kids picked suspiciously at their noodles, turned up their noses at the Chinese broccoli, and were only convinced to eat when they found out that they would not be allowed to eat their New Year's cookies and candy until they did.

Oh, and while Ellen and Monkey Boy checked out the facilities, the rest of us made funny faces:

See, I told you.

Monday, February 11, 2008

Peeps Show

How I could have missed this, I don't know. I do know that I am incredibly amused by the idea of a contest that has people creating dioramas featuring peeps.

Last year the Washington Post ran a peeps contest. This year the Chicago Tribune has one. Deadline is March 6, so get cracking, er, peeping. In the mean time, check out the winners of the Washington Post's contest. Made my day.

Friday, February 08, 2008


One week down, one more to go of exquisite torture of being between implantation and any knowledge about the outcome. A lot of people are asking me how I am doing, how I feel.
I feel:

  • not at all pregnant, but I wouldn't either way.
  • hopeful.
  • scared, mostly about feeling sad if I am not pregnant.
  • tired. (Chris and I stayed up too late last night playing a dorky game with friends. It was worth it though, when I pulled out an 11th hour victory.)
  • frustrated, mostly with Ada's current attempts to wrestle control over everything via tantrum. Today her burrito was "broken" (I argued that in order to eat the thing, you have to break it by biting it. After one bite, the thing is broken, right?). Other complaints: the burrito contained beans. The burrito was too hot to hold. She was not allowed to sit on my lap and scream in my ear. (NB: that Dr. Karp thing seems to be helping. Once I said: it is too hot! it is too hot! it is broken! she mellowed out some.)
  • excited that a project I am working on for my job is almost ready to go live.
  • nervous that a project I am working on for my job is almost ready to go live. (how do you professional web-folk not go crazy with perfecting these things?)
  • thrilled that my sister got a fly-back for a job that she thought had passed her by.
  • patient. For once I am able to let thoughts about the future flit through my mind, note that they are there and let them go out again. All the "what if" questions can wait a week.
So the answer is, I am fine, thanks for asking. How are you this week?

Thursday, February 07, 2008

Random quote and unrelated photo of the week

lawn bowlers only

Don't fight darkness - bring the light, and darkness will disappear.

Maharishi Mahesh Yogi

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Fools Rush In

Chris: Today I told my students "if you choose not to decide, you still have made a choice". I asked them if they knew where that came from. No one did.

Me: This surprises you?

Chris: But Rush is Boss!

Me: The 20 year olds in your class were born in 1988. Free Will came out in 1980.

Chris: Hmm, right. Maybe I should let them know I didn't mean Rush Limbaugh.

Saturday, February 02, 2008

Happy Birthday Photos

It is my pal Jiro's birthday, and he is off with Ellen on a child-free weekend. I hope they are having a great time.

While I am thinking of Jiro, here are photos of the fun he had with Ada and Monkey Boy and a huge box:

1/18/08 The box riders
The intrepid box-scooting crew

box riders on the move
Who knew that making a box move across the floor could generate such excitement?

Moving through the kitchen
I had to back up to get out of their way, the speed they achieved was that intense.

Finally abandoning Jiro to his box
But speed has its price, and as the box started to disintegrate, the kids
jumped out. Jiro hung on to the game for a good hour or two after that, scooting around the house and yelling "woo hoo! who's with me?"

Friday, February 01, 2008

Random quote and unrelated photo of the week


Stories are, in a sense, a scam. There was never a clerk as unconflicted, docile and pathetic as Akaki Akakievich, but from the subterfuge that such a man could exist, Gogol made the wonder that is "The Overcoat." Ghosts don't show up to save the stingy, and many stingy die unsaved, but "a stingy guy stayed stingy, then died" is not a story, and is certainly not "A Christmas Carol." Princes don't invite their entire kingdoms to the palace, but if at least one doesn't, our story is "Once upon a time Cinderella miserably cleaned, forever and ever."

George Saunders
"Soviet Deadpan"