Friday, May 28, 2010


AF came on the same day I had a bad outcome at work. And when some house repairs went bad. And when I ran into a friend who couldn't stop talking about her baby. Ugh. Maybe one or two of these things I could handle. I can't handle them all at once. Meltdown ensued.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Book challenge update

Remember way back in the beginning of the year when I joined the book challenge? My goal was to read 36 books this year. I haven't been making good progress on that front.

Here are the books I've read this year:

1. Babylon Rolling by Amanda Boyden
2. Teacher Evaluation to Enhance Professional Practice
3. Mornings on Horseback (biography of Theodore Roosevelt)
4. Connecting Mathematical Ideas
5. A Mercy by Toni Morrison
6. Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell
7. The Help by Kathryn Stockett
8. True Compass (autobiography of Teddy Kennedy) - I "read" this in the car on CD
9. The Infertility Cure: The Ancient Chinese Wellness Program for Getting Pregnant and Having Healthy Babies
10: The Death and Life of the Great American School System: How Testing and Choice Are Undermining Education

My thoughts on these books:

I like books about people named Teddy. I was not a fan of A Mercy. Outliers was a good, quick read. The Help was my favorite in this list, although you should be warned that there is a character that suffers from recurrent pregnancy loss. I was not aware of this when I started reading the book, but once I got to a point where it said this character looked away and changed the subject when her maid said she would soon fill the big house with children, I knew IF would be a topic somehow.

If you are interested in traditional Chinese medicine (including acupuncture), you might want to read The Infertility Cure. It describes the principles of Eastern medicine and the major ideas. It has many details so if you wanted to try to self-medicate with herbs or acupressure, there is good information. Although I didn't think it was quite detailed enough for me to actually try out what they were saying. Although it is good to understand what my acupuncture guy is doing. It focuses heavily on female factors and gives brief attention to MFI. There is a section on treating each diagnosis. Going through these sections reminded me of reading Taking Charge of Your Fertility. I first skipped over the section on IF, thinking it wouldn't apply but I will keep it for reference in case it did. I had the same thoughts when I saw the section on advanced maternal age. Except now I'm filled with dread that I will need to go back to that chapter.

I decided that books I read for work count. Ten points to the first person to guess what I do.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010


For those of you eager for an update on installing our dual flush toilet attachment: I tried. I failed. I called a plumber.

Actually, I think I installed it correctly. It just didn't fix our toilet problem. One complication is that there is a large box on the handle (the part of the handle that is inside the toilet tank. The way my toilet is configured, it bumps into the refill valve. So I'm not sure if we are going to be able to keep it in or not. We'll see what the professional says.

In better news, my marigolds are already sprouting. I didn't realize they are so quick. I hope they keep away the mosquitos because the rosemary doesn't seem to be doing the trick by itself (I bought those as plants rather than seeds).

Monday, May 24, 2010

Cookies and sunscreen

A couple of you asked for the recipe to my LOST cookies. Here it is. It's from the Hershey's cookbook.

Secret Kisses Cookies

1. Beat 2 sticks softened butter, 1 teaspoon vanilla, and 1/2 cup sugar until fluffy. Add 1 3/4 cup flour and 1 cup finely chopped walnuts. Beat until well blended. Cover and refrigerate for 1-2 hours.

2. Remove chocolate kisses from wrappers. Heat oven to 375 degrees. Using 1 tablespoon of dough, roll one kiss into a ball. Cover the chocolate completely.

3. Bake 10-12 minutes or until cookies are set but not browned. Cool slightly on sheet then place on wire rack. While cookies are still slightly warm, roll in powdered sugar.

The recipe said this makes 3 dozen cookies, although I only ended up with about 2 dozen. Store in covered container.

The other topic of the day is sunscreen. You may have already heard the dire warnings about some sunscreens having an ingredient (retinol palimitate) that is linked to cancer. The good news is that while most sunscreens have this ingredient, it is relatively easy to find some that don't. The brand we have been using this year does not and we didn't even pay attention to this when we bought it.

The bad news? An even more common sunscreen ingredient is a chemical that mimics estrogen. Oxybenzone is one of the most common ingredients in sunscreen and has been linked to lowered sperm counts and endo (not to mention various forms of cancer and reduced birth weight). The Environmental Working Group has a list of sunscreens you can use, although the best guidance is to use hats, lightweight clothing, and shade to protect yourself from the sun.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

I once was LOST

So...I did manage to make it to Home Depot today to pick up "just a few things." We have a mosquito problem and I looked into mosquito repellent plants. Apparently they don't like the smell of rosemary, catnip, and marigolds. So now these plants are all over our front porch. Or at least they will be once the seeds sprout. I'm curious about whether the catnip will start attracting all the neighborhood cats. We already have one that seems to like our house.

The other big news is that we bought our vacation tickets today. Ireland here we come!

And of course the LOST finale. Very good, although still many questions. I made these cookies for our own little finale party of two. Part light, part dark, with a mystery in the middle.

(In case you can't tell, that's a chocolate kiss inside a walnut cookie).

Saturday, May 22, 2010


This morning we planned to remulch our front yard. It washed away during the flood and we never had a chance to replace it yet. I went outside to pull some weeds before going to Home Depot to buy the mulch and a few other things I've been wanting. DH came outside and said he was going to buy.

I said, "Oh, I was going to get the mulch and a few other things in a little bit."

He replied, "I was going to buy the mulch so you wouldn't be tempted to get a few other things."

He knows me so well. I did convince him to buy a tomato plant so I can try out my Topsy Turvy planter.

Friday, May 21, 2010


Welcome ICLWers! It's been a few months since I last participated in ICLW, but am excited to get to know new blogs. My work travel schedule is winding down, so hopefully now I will have more time for blogging.

We have been trying for almost 2 years now. Two clo.mid plus IUI cycles under our belt. We are currently taking a short break, partly because I've been traveling a lot and partly so DH can get started on acupuncture. I think the acupuncture is helping me, but we also have male issues and so he is starting next week. I want to give that some time to work before doing another IUI.

I found this good survey list on Marla'z blog and thought it was a good way to introduce myself. Here goes!

99 Things About Me (Everything that I have accomplished is in bold)

1. Started your own blog – Um, yes, guess where you are now
2. Slept under the stars - Once, not something I enjoyed
3. Played in a band
4. Visited Hawaii
5. Watched a meteor shower - I tried to watch one, does that count? We went out, but were looking in the wrong direction or something and missed it
6. Given more than you can afford to charity
7. Been to DisneyWorld - Yes!
8. Climbed a mountain - a small one
9. Held a praying mantis
10. Sang a solo - in my middle school choir
11. Bungee jumped
12. Visited Paris - see my description of the best McDonald's ever
13. Watched a lightning storm
14. Taught yourself an art from scratch - Crochet is one of my favorite hobbies
15. Adopted a child
16. Had food poisoning
17. Walked to the top of the Statue of Liberty
18. Grown your own vegetables - we are growing blueberries right now. Let's see if it is successful
19. Seen the Mona Lisa in France
20. Slept on an overnight train
21. Had a pillow fight
22. Hitch-hiked
23. Taken a sick day when you’re not ill - No, but I used to work for a company that realized people did this so they combined all days off (vacation, sick, etc) to one pot of paid time off. This sounded good, except my boss would feel bad that I had to take a vacation day when I was genuinely sick and so tried to give me work to do at home
24. Built a snow fort
25. Held a lamb
26. Gone skinny dipping
27. Run a Marathon - I walked a half marathon just last month!
28. Ridden in a gondola in Venice
29. Seen a total eclipse
30. Watched a sunrise or sunset
31. Hit a home run - obviously you have never seen me play baseball
32. Been on a cruise
33. Seen Niagara Falls in person
34. Visited the birthplace of your ancestors
35. Seen an Amish community
36. Taught yourself a new language
37. Had enough money to be truly satisfied - I guess this is a yes. I don't stress about not having enough money. But money does not "satisfy" me
38. Seen the Leaning Tower of Pisa in person
39. Gone rock climbing
40. Seen Michelangelo’s David
41. Sung karaoke
42. Seen Old Faithful geyser erupt
43. Bought a stranger a meal at a restaurant
44. Visited Africa
45. Walked on a beach by moonlight
46. Been transported in an ambulance - When I hurt my knee
47. Had your portrait painted - Do those caricatures they paint on boardwalks count?
48. Gone deep sea fishing
50. Been to the top of the Eiffel Tower in Paris
51. Gone scuba diving or snorkeling
52. Kissed in the rain
53. Played in the mud
54. Gone to a drive-in theater
55. Been in a movie - I made a movie once
56. Visited the Great Wall of China
57. Started a business - I've done some independent consulting. I will count that.
58. Taken a martial arts class
59. Visited Russia
60. Served at a soup kitchen
61. Sold Girl Scout Cookies
62. Gone whale watching
63. Got flowers for no reason
64. Donated blood, platelets or plasma
65. Gone sky diving
66. Visited a Nazi Concentration Camp
67. Bounced a check
68. Flown in a helicopter
69. Saved a favorite childhood toy Teddy is still next to my bed
70. Visited the Lincoln Memorial
71. Eaten Caviar
72. Pieced a quilt
73. Stood in Times Square
74. Toured the Everglades
75. Been fired from a job
76. Seen the Changing of the Guards in London
77. Broken a bone - my toe. Hurt like hell!
78. Been a passenger on a motorcycle
79. Seen the Grand Canyon in person
80. Published a book - I have book chapters published and one edited book that got a favorable review and is right now in front of an editorial board. I'm in academia, so this is par for the course.
81. Visited the Vatican
82. Bought a brand new car - still driving it 8 years later
83. Walked in Jerusalem
84. Had your picture in the newspaper
85. Kissed a stranger at midnight on New Year’s Eve
86. Visited the White House
87. Killed and prepared an animal for eating
88. Had chickenpox
89. Saved someone’s life - I called 911 for my elderly roommate once
90. Sat on a jury
91. Met someone famous Read about my encounter with Fred Savage
92. Joined a book club
93. Got a tattoo
94. Had a baby
95. Seen the Alamo in person
96. Swam in the Great Salt Lake - I've seen it many times, don't remember if I've ever swam in it
97. Been involved in a law suit
98. Owned a cell phone - how old is this list? Who hasn't owned one?
99. Been stung by a bee - I've also been kissed by a bee

Monday, May 17, 2010

It's easy being green

I've slowly been trying to green our lifestyle and especially our food. This year we joined a CSA. Our basket this week included many fresh strawberries (yay!), some broccoli and scallions (good staples) and kale. We never had kale before and it was a little daunting to find a way to use it. We have been getting more food than we need and are sharing it with others. But we couldn't give away all of our kale. So yesterday I attempted a kale soup. It was a big success! I admit it wasn't my favorite soup ever, but it was quite good and packed with nutrients. Here is the recipe. The CSA food is organic and local, so good for us and the environment.

Making kale soup also helped with my new year's resolution. Remember that? My goal was to wean us off of canned soup and the BPA that comes with it. So far I've been pretty successful. We don't buy canned soup, although a few times I had to add chicken broth to my soup that comes in packaging that is likely lined with BPA. So it is one step at a time. I have not ventured into canning yet. I put the soup into ziploc bags and freeze them.

Another eco-friendly change we are making is installing a dual flush toilet handle. We just bought it today and I haven't attempted this yet, but I think it is pretty easy. Basically you replace the flapper with a new one. The dual flush works by having two buttons on the toilet handle. You press one button for a light flush and both buttons when something stronger is needed. I've been wanting this ever since I heard about it. Now that our toilet is leaking from the tank to the bowl, it is time to give it a try!

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Belated blogoversary

Umm, Happy Blogoversary to me? I mean, happy belated blogoversary. I know I have been busy the past couple of months with work, but I'm not sure how this date past by so quickly. It didn't just pass, it flew by! It's been almost 15 months since I started this blog and found a terrific community here. Read how it all began.

I think the reason my first year of blogging seemed to pass so quickly because I still feel like we early on this journey and have a long road ahead. I remember it took me several months to start my blog. I had been reading other blogs for quite awhile, but was hesitant to start my own because then it seem "real." I didn't want to so new to IF that veteran IFers wouldn't care about what I said. For two months in a row, I planned to start a blog if we weren't successful that month. Finally I took the plunge.

In many ways I still feel like we are newbies to this experience. This year has gone by so quickly, with my lap, several cl.omid cycles, and 2 IUIs. But we still have a long way to go. I hope you all continue being by my side as we move forward. Thank you for all the support you have given me so far.

Friday, May 14, 2010


I've been traveling for work and one trip put me in the same town as my cousin. My cousin is a great person, but we've never been particularly close due to seeing each other infrequently growing up. But getting together is always nice as our shared family history allows us to pick up where we left off last time. So overall it was a good night. But still there were many moments that went straight to my heart.

We spent most of the evening talking about her children, or my sister's children. That is fine, she has great kids and my nieces and nephews are great. And catching up does involve a lot of catching up on the lives of children. But then I started inquiring about her siblings. First she filled me in on one of her sisters, who is recently pregnant. Despite the fact that this cousin has trouble taking care of her two current kids. And getting a divorce. Sigh. Another example of how frustrating it is to know you would be a great mother when less stable people have no trouble at all in the babymaking department.

Then she mentioned one of her brothers. He has a collection of pugs because his wife can't have children and they are compensating with dogs. My ears picked up at this, but with our complicated family, her brother is not related to me and I haven't seen in about 20 years, so I didn't want to pry into details, although my cousin did mention her SIL recently had a hysterectomy.

The icing on the cake, though, was the continuing conversation about wanting her husband to get a vasectomy. She is quite sure they are done at three kids and is trying to convince her husband that he should make sure they don't have accident. Ahh, how nice it must be to be so worried about an accidental pregnancy that you get fixed.

Sunday, May 9, 2010


Is it bad that today I am glad we had a devastating flood here a week ago? All the attention has been focused on the flood victims and how we can help them. There is little air left for thinking about mothers. The mood is still somber but with some hope, not the joy and flowers that usually accompany this day. In many ways the city's mood matches what I normally feel on this day. Sad, but yet trying to find the hope for the future.

And then I realize how the flood victims feel something different. Usually I feel overlooked and forgotten today. As if I am not worthy as a women, can't understand what it is like to love another or be complete, because I am not a mother. But after spending two days volunteering in various neighborhoods and seeing the outpouring of support for these communities, they cannot feel forgotten this week. I hope in another month the community is still out there helping.

When I call my own mother to wish her well on this day, she ask me if I called my sister. I responded, "No, she is not my mother." Why am I expected to honor my sister when she has plenty of children to wish her well? I am fine with taking time to remember all our own mothers have done for us, but I resent the idea that we must pay extra attention to all mothers. As a boss, you might do something nice for your secretary on Secretary Day, but you don't call up your sister who happens to be a secretary or send her some flowers. At least there are some writers out there remembering that women who are not mothers are still worthy.

Having the flood juxtaposed with Mother's Day gives me an idea of how I might want to spend this day, should I ever reach the other side. I don't want an overpriced brunch. I want to spend time in an activity that teaches my future children one of the key lessons I hope they learn in their life: if someone is in need, you find a way to help. Isn't that the best way to honor your mother? Not by buying her some pretty flowers, but by spending time living the values she tried so hard to instill in you.

**Update: I guess I wasn't forgotten today after all. I was going to make some FB status update to remind all us non-mothers out there that we are special too. But then I logged on and no fewer than 3 friends had said something about remembering those who long to be mothers or lost their mothers or children. I needed those good thoughts today.

Thursday, May 6, 2010


There is a request to donate gently used household goods and clothing to those who lost belongings in the flood. I'm happy to help where I can so I spent some time going through my closet. I started this activity as a way to help people in need. But then I started feeling happy that I was finally getting rid of some things we've wanted to send to Goodwill a long time ago. You know the feeling of a new start for a clean closet. It gets me all excited. But once I caught myself feeling this way, I felt bad for feeling glad that other people's misfortunes gives me an opportunity for spring cleaning.

That guilt did prompt me to get rid of a few pieces of clothing that I would have otherwise kept. So the flood victims are getting some nice things. I realized that everything I initially put in the donate pile was for winter, which will not do a lot of good now with Tennessee's hot summers. That made me pull out a few more summer outfits.

Our other news today is that we picked up our first week of our CSA (community supported agriculture). For those of you not familiar with this, you can buy a share in a local farm to get produce every week. The farm uses organic methods, giving you healthier food. And you support the local economy and sustainable agriculture, rather than big industrial farms that ruin the environment and pump up the food with things nature did not intend. Our first basket is way too big for just us! Especially since I will be traveling for the next week, so really it is mostly for DH. We have strawberries, spinach, green onions, broccoli, radishes, and three different kinds of lettuce.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010


My church has a big fundraising campaign for its school. We decided before we got married that any future children would go to public schools. I have a strong commitment to public education as where diverse segments of society come together, so for us it is more of a positive choice than thinking Catholic schools are bad. Still, we are not the type of people to only support causes that we will benefit from. The church is our community and we are happy to contribute.

Last night some of the chairs of the fundraising committee came to visit us and tell us about the building plans for the school. We know these people well and if they thought enough about it to put two and two together, they could figure out we are having trouble conceiving. But clearly they haven't made that connection or don't understand what it means. Things were going so well at first. I expected him to talk about how great Catholic schools are. I wasn't prepared for him to keep talking about how our future children will benefit and how we may get a little "blessing."

I just kept thinking, "is it really a blessing if we are paying for it?"

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Flooded and forgotten

You may not have noticed what is going on in my hometown. With the bomb in Times Square, BP oil spill, and Sandra Bullock's adoption, there has hardly been any time left to cover the drowning of a major U.S. city.

The rain started on May 1. By the end of May 2, the weather reports said it was already the rainiest May on record (and May is usually a rainy month anyway). That should give you some idea of how much rain came over the weekend.

I happened to be traveling this weekend and thus had to rely on national news to see what was going on in the world. I talked to my husband on Saturday night, but with the TV and internet out, he didn't know the depth of what was going on. He complained about the rain forcing him inside all day, and told stories of the waterfalls that formed on our neighbors' steps down to the street. Our mulch washed away. So we had some bad rain, but didn't exactly seem national news-worthy.

Then I checked FB. I saw this confusing update from one friend about the new lake by his house. And then another friend mentioned trying to find a water pump. Soon most of my Nashville friends on FB were sending out requests for help or providing links on how to help. Turns out, we were lucky. We live on a small hill. The water rushed right past us. And we are far enough from the river that the rising water did not affect us. Other areas of the city were not so lucky. Entire neighborhoods are underwater. A local school building floated down the interstate. Last I heard, 28 people in the area are dead.

Remember the pictures I shared last weekend from my marathon? Here is one picture again.

See that building at the end of the street I walked on? The one that has two towers sticking out of the top? Here is what that area looks like today.

Landmarks are ruined. A major hotel and conference sight will be closed for a year, which is devastating to the economy that depends on tourism and convention dollars. One of our two water treatment plants was flooded. The second plant came within half a foot (!) of flooding and putting us on boiled or bottled water.

But I didn't see any of that as I sat in my hotel watching the national news. I understand that Times Square and the oil spill are big stories too, but surely in a 24 hour news station they could find a few minutes to cover a flood of the magnitude that only happens once every 1000 years. They found time to get the latest gossip about Tiger Woods or debate whether Sandra Bullock should adopt a Black baby. I flew back last night to a city still reeling and trying to figure out what happened. To neighbors trying to salvage their belongings. To colleagues who have lost their homes. To businesses closed and livelihoods lost.

Nashville and Tennessee need your help. Donate to the Community Foundation of Nashville, Nashville Red Cross, or the Second Harvest Food Bank (whose warehouse flooded and contaminated millions of dollars of food). And then come and visit us. Not right now, but in a few months. Nashville is quite lovely in the fall.

Saturday, May 1, 2010

What IF

I've hard a time writing this post. Mainly it was emotional procrastination. I don't want to think about this topic. I think I've managed to keep my sanity and continue to live my life by burying these thoughts. But in the spirit of National Infertility Awareness Week, here goes. (deep breath here)

What IF we adopt and I never feel like the child's real mother?

I want to say that just writing that out takes off some of the pressure. But actually it makes me even more scared. Like it feels more certain it would happen. I am not talking so much about not loving the child. I am the type of person who has no trouble loving people and have an immense amount of love to share. But I worry about forming that mother-child bond that (from what I hear, at least) is unique and changes you and changes the relationship with the child. Will I have a mother's intuition? Will the child grow to love me as his/her mother?

That is my biggest anxiety about moving towards adoption. Because even in a closed adoption, adoptive parents have to qualify their relationship to the child. Sure, in most situations you may just introduce yourself as someone's mother. But when push comes to shove, you will have to admit that there are qualifications to your status as a mother. Maybe it will come at a doctor's office during a medical emergency and there are questions about the child's family medical history. Maybe it will come from someone who wonders why you are claiming this dark-skinned child as your own. Maybe it will come many years later when you are sitting with a group of women and the conversation turns to pregnancy or childbirth horror stories. There is that qualification to be made. Explanations to be given. The child is adopted. You are not a mother in the same way that most women are a mother.

What if I can never overcome the thought that I have to share my role as mother?

I flash forward to the first few weeks with the child and how overwhelming it will be. Rationally I know all new mothers and fathers feel overwhelmed and unsure of what to do. But when you have sole claim of motherhood, few will have the ability to say you are doing things wrong (other than our own mothers, of course, who always feel like they can tell us what to do--more on this in a moment). Will I be looking over my shoulder and wondering if the birth mother would know better what to do?

Or I think about what it might be like when the child goes through the inevitable "I hate my parents" stage. Usually when a rebellious teenager storms off yelling they wish you weren't their mother, it is all theoretical. There is not really another mother they might be thinking of, someone else who might lay a claim and be a real life alternative to what they might want in a mother. How will I deal with my child's wish to have a closer relationship to their birth mother in an open adoption situation? Or if we choose the closed adoption route and my now grown child wants to track down the birth mother? What if I despite all I offer to my child, he or she still feels something is missing and tracks down this other mother?

And then I flash forward to thinking if we adopt a daughter and she eventually has children of her own. What if I can't offer her the advice or reassurance she is looking for if I was never pregnant or went through childbirth? Can I truly fulfill the motherly duties at this crucial time if I never went through it?

Mel's directions for NIAW (for which you can find the rest of posts here), tell us to end the post with a positive "What IF". I guess I can push myself and ask what if all this worry is about nothing? But to tell the truth, that seems like a cliche to me right now. This shows another key aspect of those suffering with IF. Sometimes we can't find the positive side of where we are. This is why reminding us to enjoy sleeping in or traveling is so hard to hear. We go through dark times. This community is a blessing because it brings light and hope for these dark times, just as I try to hold on to the hope when others are going through their dark phase. But I don't like the idea that we have to be forced to find the light. It is not wrong to be sad. I see the goal as finding peace in the sadness and not letting it define our lives, rather than trying to erase the sadness.

Resolve has more information about infertility and information about NIAW.
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