Friday, August 29, 2008

Story Of My Life

Feedback on the report chapter I wrote:

This whole section needs to be edited and rewritten by someone who can write it for the average reader. It sounds too complicated and bureaucratic. It was obviously written with intelligence. It needs to be re-written for the common man.  

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Random quote and unrelated photo of the week

whiz burgers

This obsession with “street-cred” reaches its apex of absurdity as hipsters have recently and wholeheartedly adopted the fixed-gear bike as the only acceptable form of transportation – only to have brakes installed on a piece of machinery that is defined by its lack thereof.

Douglas Haddow
Hipster: The Dead End of Western Civilization

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Does this make up for not calling my parents on their anniversary?

About an hour after I whined about my fears of Lupron's side effects and not being excited for this round of IVF, my sister (who comments on my blog via email), sent me this note:

i just read your last post, and i want to try to comfort you with tales of similar things that i have done without lupron:

--gone to sfo when my flight was from oakland
--gone to oakland when my flight was from sfo
--told callers, "she's not here, but would you like to take a message?"
--forgotten my own sister's birthday, and called her about something else on that day
--gone all the way to berkeley to turn in forms that i'd left at home
--completely, i mean completely, forgot my ATM PIN, never to recall it again
--just yesterday, i called someone a birthday boy when it was not his birthday
--the day before that, as you know, i went to a cafe more than a mile away, without any money

all this to say, you're probably losing your mind, too, but it's probably not due to IVF.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Side Effects

I may in fact be losing my mind.

Yesterday I was working at home so that I could get to my weekly acupuncture appointment. (There is some evidence it can improve the success rate for IVF.) My computer dinged at me, reminding me to head to my appointment. I kept working on the document I wanted to get out before I left. That done, I hopped in the shower, pulled on some clothes and ran out the door.

Congratulating myself for being a few minutes early, I walked into the office. The very friendly secretary greeted me warmly, and said "we were expecting  you at 9."

WHAT? I looked down at my blackberry, and yes indeed, my appointment was for 9, not 10 am. What is wrong with me? Why did the 8:45 reminder not ring any bells? Fuck.

I started to cry, and the secretary tried to find me another appointment this week. No luck, my doctor is out on Friday and booked up today and tomorrow. FUCK. The loss of a single appointment is itself not a huge deal, I have a few more appointments scheduled before all this is done. But I was inconsolable. I could not help but flash to to something I read the other day that suggested Lupron use could be linked to memory loss and other problems. Not that I have noticed an increase in forgetfulness (and this stupidity is not exactly about memory), but it triggers for me a fear that all this hormone injecting and other doping could have long-term bad effects.

During Sunday dinner I told friends I was not feeling worried about the IVF not working, but that this meant I also was not feeling excited.  Some measure of anticipation feels required - some kind of mind over matter nonsense that I can't stop myself from thinking must be important. I am still not excited, but now I am scared. Not scared that it will not work, but scared that the process may scar me in some unanticipated and irretrievable way.

All this feels like a big response to a missed appointment. The reaction would have been there without this to trigger it; something else would have brought it up. Now I feel all jangly and out of sorts.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Stick It To 'Ya

Been in the car for too long?

sticker face4

Try some stickers

sticker face3

On your face

sticker face2

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

An hour after, a week before

I took my first lupron an hour ago. Already I have a little headache behind my nose. Not too strong, but charming none the less.

More charming is the conversation I had with Ada today. I told her that in about a week we are going to Canada to visit some friends. I told her about the daughter and son, about the mama and papa.

Ada: are we going now?

Me: in a few days.

Ada: after nap?

Me: more like in a week.

Ada: I want to see my friends now!

Mo and family, Ada is already excited for the visit. Now we just have to work on what "more than a week" means.

Random quote and unrelated photo of the week

morrow's nut house

When you operate like a South American dictator, it hurts inside, and that takes some of the fun out of it.

Helen Gurley Brown*
Sex and the Office 

*Thanks to Wendy of Glossed Over, who is posting advice from the legendary Cosmopolitan editor on her site every Wednesday.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Vacation, had to get away

This weekend I was at the coast with my in-laws. It started out well enough, but after a couple of days, I was irritable and prickly. I kept asking myself why - my in-laws are charming, and the extended family is fine too, better even, most of the time. And yet. Enough is enough.

After two full days I was tired of being with these people. Tired of all being together every moment, playing games and talking and and and. At this point most of you are saying "Wah, poor Nora who can't stand to be happy. Get yourself together." Well, except for Karen, who knows exactly what I am saying. But here is the thing - even when you care about people and enjoy their company, sometimes too much time with no break turns fun into torture. For me, two days was the breaking point.

with bunk
Ada and her Grandpa (the fog, though lovely, did cut down on the 
amount of time we would normally have spent on the beach)

Even though I didn't entirely see this at the time, I felt it enough to take steps to disengage. Instead of playing a game with the rest of the group, I started a jigsaw puzzle. But Chris's family does not seem to feel this need for down time, and they kept trying to draw me in, inviting me to play games and participate in the group. Half-way through an excruciating game of Quiddler (trust me, do NOT play this game with more than four people or you will be bored to death) I started leaving the table between my turns. I started to have that crazed feeling that if I had to make idle banter any longer I might find a way to turn my cards into a deadly weapon. (It did not help that one card-player challenged with my assertion that the final sixth of Kavalier and Clay would have benefited from some good editing by saying: "but it won a Pulitzer!" as if that assured perfection. Then he admitted he hadn't actually read it himself. But it won a Pulitzer!)

one missing piece
The first of two puzzles I completed. Notice the missing piece (bastards).

During visits with my family, Chris takes a lot of time apart from us. I have noticed over the years that he needs down time when they are around, and I give him plenty of space. A typical day when my parents are in town involves some Ada-centered activity (which Chris does not attend), followed by nap-time lunch for the adults, and then another outing or neighborhood excursion (often without Chris). It is not uncommon for my parents to see Chris at breakfast and then not really interact with him until dinner. I do not necessarily need this kind of space, but this weekend made me realize that I do need a little more space than I have been giving myself. Next time we spend an extended stretch with the in-laws, I give myself permission to sneak off and read a book, take a walk or otherwise disappear for an hour or three. With Ada as the central focus of our family, they won't care if I wander off. If it improves my mood, I am sure they will even appreciate it.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Wow, Talk About Spacy

I just realized that I never selected a winner for the picnic code I was going to give away. Over a week ago. Ahem.

Ok, here goes. (Drumroll, please.)

The winner is Kaci! Congratulations, Kaci. Have fun Picniking!

When you get a minute, will you make me look less green in this picture? Thanks!

C & me on St John's Bridge
Chris and me on the St John's bridge, during this year's Bridgepedal

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Special Delivery

This arrived today:

box 'o meds

Yes folks, that is a $4,500 package. It showed up this morning, and I stowed the various vials and containers in the fridge and on counters. Now that Ada can open the refrigerator I am a bit more cautious about where I put those meds.

Turns out I had mis-calculated the cycle dates when I was estimating on my own, which means that we CAN go to Canada for Labor Day. (Or should I type Labour Day?) Yay for us! Hopefully the Lupron headache will be controllable this time. It helps when I identify that it is a Lupron headache and don't fruitlessly try to medicate with ever more caffeine.

In other health care news, the Onion Radio News has a good piece up: Republican Enjoys Paying Huge Health Insurance Premiums. Saying I got this from one of my bosses does not violate my "don't blog about work" rule, I suppose.

In case you think you might need your eyes checked, see this first. (found at design for mankind)

And now for mental health: I am off to the beach with Chris' family. No doubt to get my ass kicked in Settlers of Catan. But I'm the king of Boggle. See you next week.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Random quote and unrelated photo of the week


To some extent the hostility is a byproduct not only of the abdication of common sense, but of widespread ignorance of state and local laws.

Jan Hoffman
Moving Targets

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

That's a lot of poop talk from a kid who refuses to use the potty

Ada told herself a story that ended with "and the poo poo came out of her head."

Turning to me, she asked: Isn't that a funny story?

Me: It's not my favorite kind of story.

Ada, exasperated that I did not get the joke: But there's poo poo . . . coming out of her HEAD!

Ada, talking to herself again: That's a poo poo head story. Mama didn't like it. She likes a pee pee story. I like a poo poo story and Mama likes pee pee.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Why didn't we do this before?

After several years of chatting with neighbors about having a block party, two of us finally arranged one. We got permits, official city-approved barricades, food and an honest-to-goodness bouncy house.  The bouncy house was borrowed from a neighbor's suburban friends, but now that we've had one I am not sure you can have a block party without a bouncy house.

Bouncy House

Or without goats, for that matter. One of our neighbor owns a pair of pygmy goats, and nothing says "Portland Block Party" like goats on leashes. To be fair, the goats are very well behaved, leash trained and only tried to eat my plants a couple of times. Plus, they are cute.

Goats at the block party

The jazz musicians who live on the cross-street moved their practice session onto the porch so that we all could enjoy their music. Meat was grilled, children got pumped up on sugar and ran around until their tongues lolled out of their heads, and I met neighbors I have never seen before.

No one called the cops, but a local conifer did stop by to urge us to plant trees this winter. So I'd call it a win all around. We'll be doing it again next year. Maybe next time with a parade.

Conifer and Bill
One of my neighbors, making nice with a local conifer. 
Couch on the Street
Ada and a friend hang out in the living room set up on the street, 
complete with couch, rug and lamp.

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

A friendship, full of mystery and hope

A package arrived today from my friend Jane.

Before June, I hadn't seen Jane in five years. We talk periodically, but like many people who live thousands of miles apart, our lives are not as intertwined as those who who see each other regularly. Despite this, I think of Jane regularly and warmly. When I lived in Rhode Island, Jane was a friend, boss and mentor. She is one of those people who never reminds you how much more they know or suggests that you are in any way not completely compelling. Even when I have not talked to her for months I routinely see a movie or read a book and think immediately that I need to share it with Jane.

In the five years since I moved back to the west coast, Jane has sent me several thoughtful gifts. One of my favorites is an oversize shopping bag made of red floral oilcloth. She has also sent me more sentimental gifts, including the milagros that sit on my personal shrine. Somehow her gifts and notes seem perfectly timed. Today, the day I got my plan for my 4th round of invitro fertilization, a package arrived from Jane. This gift was exactly what I needed, as the official start of another attempt at pregnancy was more emotionally charged than I had expected.

Box from Jane (cropped) 

Inside the mailer was a small box, tarted up with sparkles, fabric roses and what looks for all the world like red fishnet stockings. The box was filled with the sweetest of hand-picked treasures, each one perfect and beautiful. Jane's gift made me cry with the happiness of someone so well loved by her friends. Ada helped me open the gift. With the seriousness of a 3 year old, she picked up and examined each item. She did not understand the meaning of the gift, but as a collector and appreciator of all manner of small objects, she knew its value.

Inside the box

In her card, Jane wrote that she made the box, "full of mystery and hope", for my embryos. She quoted a Salvatore Quasimodo poem that had made her think of my embryos:
everyone stands alone
on the heart of the earth
transfixed by a sun-ray
and suddenly its evening
She signs off by writing: So here's to their life, whatever that may be. With much love, Jane.

I love Jane for so many reasons. Today, because she is such a kind and thoughtful friend. Her note introduced me to a new poet. And even if she did not know it, her timing was perfect. The box is a reminder of how lucky I am to have such wonderful people in my life, people who care for me and love me no matter what our circumstances. The box may be aimed at my ovaries, but it also points at my heart. Seeing it will help me focus on the mystery and hope in my life, any help with that is an amazing gift.

Thank you, Jane.

Random quote and unrelated photo of the week


He's a middle-aged man wearing sweats and a top hat of green balloons, a rubber crown of garden hoses, on a sweltering Saturday in downtown Portland.

Jessica Machado
Keeping it Weird (Downtown)

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Did You Buy That New?

A few weeks ago I hinted that Debbie was all fired up about an idea for a new blog. Well, spitfire that she is, Debbie got the blog up and running.

Before I tell you about the site, first a story to explain how I got involved with it: in high school, I wore clothes designed to make me blend into the background. My college roommate turned me on to thrift shops and vintage clothing. Home on vacatiions, I proudly wore my oversized 50s dresses and 30s heels. My mom, who loves a good sale and rarely buys clothes at full price, was not impressed by my thrifty finds. Her usual response to my polka dot dresses and threadbare coats was: did you buy that new?

This question became a running family joke, applied to all manner of clothes purchased over the years. When Debbie told me she was planning a blog about incorporating thrifted, vintage and repurposed clothing into everyday fashion, I insisted that she use the phrase to title her blog.

Did you buy that new? is part how to, part show-and-tell, part eco-fabulous lifestyle blog.

Debbie and the other contributors are a bunch of fabulous women whose closets I will raid just as soon as I can convince them to tell me their addresses. I will be contributing as well, hopefully offering ideas for ways you can wear used clothes without your mother asking if you've become homeless.

Please check it out. It's your new guilty pleasure, without the guilt.

Monday, August 04, 2008

Coffee, tea, or . . . barium milk?

Ada: Here is some puta hutu banana lemonade.

Me (after deciding not to get into why puta might not be a good thing to drink): Delicious.

Ada: This is barium milk.

Me: Yum.

Ada: Coffee? But it is bad for you.

Me: What? Coffee is?

Ada: Yes, BAD for you.

Later, after feeding her rubber ducky some barium, Ada allowed as how barium tastes bad. Maybe because it was cut with bath water? 

Sunday, August 03, 2008

Beach Photos (or) If one picture is good, three are better




As long as I have you thinking about photographs, I wanted to mention that the nice people at Picnik* handed me a code for a free year of its Premium service. If you want it, leave me a comment on this post by Friday, August 8 (let's say, 5pm pacific time), and I will randomly select a winner. Be sure to include an email or web site, so I can get in touch with you if you win.
*Ok, I don't actually know them, so I can't really vouch for their interpersonal skills. But they did give me this code, and I do use Picnik myself (and like it), so there you go.

Saturday, August 02, 2008

The three best things I read this week

Magpie Musing on marriage and equality for all.

Julie Pippert, arguing that the fact that she cares about her hair does not mean she does not also think deeply.

Thailand Chani, sharing her life in order to increase our understanding of the nuance behind a stereotyped group.

Thank you all for producing such thoughtful and heartfelt writing.

Friday, August 01, 2008

Photo Faves: The Man I Love

There are so many things to love about Chris: his good humor, his cooking, his brains, his active and thoughtful parenting of our daughter. He's also beautiful.

Smiling on Cinco de Mayo

god I love his eyebrows

As you can see in this picture, Chris has what he calls his grandfather's legacy - his big eyebrows. Hair stylists always want to trim them for him, but I am glad he resists them. I love his eyebrows. I love him.

Happy 9th wedding anniversary, Chris. You are still my favorite.