Five {or Ten} for Friday: Reveling in Randomness

Because random is fun, it requires little, if any, coherence, and provides a place for those daily snippets that, while wonderful, do not warrant their own post. They may not even warrant this one, but I'm venturing forth anyway.

1. The clear sky and these two little clouds made me happy during my run that quickly became a walk Wednesday. I got a later start than I should have and it was HOT. Welcome to the joy that is fall in Texas, cold one day, steaming the next.

2. These two pictures are from our trip to get pumpkins last week. Okay, it wasn't much of a trip, more of a stop by the nursery. Still.

3. Meet my new favorite way to eat a burger:

wrapped in lettuce instead of a bun. It's lighter that way, fresher, and not so guilt inducing. Plus you have more room for fries. We've become almost weekly fans of Mooyah Burger (similar to the Five Guys Burgers & Fries chain). After seeing two fit, healthy looking people eat lettuce burgers I thought I'd try it (think Liz Lemon on 30Rock "I want to go to there.") and I love it.

4. In case you were wondering, I'm still wearing my boyfriend jeans. I think I have washed them since I posted about them though. Maybe. What am I doing in that picture?

5. About to take pictures of my Dad and Peggy's motor home and his Harley so he can post them on Craig's List. After several attempts, phone calls, me biting my tongue and trying not to bang my head against the wall, he got them posted. Remember, this is the man who never originates emails, but does forward them. Bless. Anyone in the market for a motor home or a motorcycle?

6. Lately I have become a fan of Walgreens. I don't know if it's because I'm lazy or afraid I'll buy too much at TarJay (or both), but popping into Walgreens is less overwhelming and so much easier. I had to stock up on Halloween candy for our Trunk or Treat. I may have gone a little overboard. Maybe I was hungry?

7. Wednesday night after Bible class, our church hosted a Trunk or Treat. I guess that could be considered a conflict of interest if you think about it too hard, but the kids didn't think that hard. They just wanted some candy. Since it was damp and threatening to rain, they set things up inside our fellowship building. I guess it was more of a Table or Treat.

8. Can you guess who Annelise was?

Since she was so over Laura Ingalls this year, she was Padme Amidala from Star Wars (of course), complete with an orange blaster and twirly bun.

Here she is with some fellow Table Treaters:

9. Annelise got her first Kindergarten report card this week. Such a milestone! Her teacher commented that Annelise needs to talk a little less and let others solve their own problems. For some reason this completely cracked me up because 1.) she's a girl and b.) she's a GIRL.

10. For the life of me, I can't think of a number ten. You're welcome.

Hope your weekend is fabulous and chock full of candy. Boo!


What Was That Noise You Heard? Thunder?

No. It was my thighs.

When I was running this morning.

Needless to say I was very aware of them.

And then a few other things came to mind:

Thank goodness for Body Glide.
I must run/exercise more than once every two weeks.
Or longer.
Telling myself it's too hot, I'm too sleepy, I just washed my hair, I'll look all lumpy in my running clothes, parts will jiggle, it's too late/early, I just ate, it might rain, blah, diggity, blah, blah...BLAH is doing no longer going to work.
Somewhere inside me is the runner I used to be. It's time to find her. In fact, it's overdue.


Social Schmedia

Personally, I think almost everything sounds better when you add a sch sound, especially if it helps with the quirky alliteration complex habit you have. For instance, I call Taco Bell, Taco Schmell because it alludes to the greasy nastiness you are about to indulge in, yet can not deny. Based on this sch factor, I have started to refer to blogging, Facebook and Twitter not as social media, but social schmedia.

While on one hand I acknowledge it's usefulness, entertainment and avenues to express one's self, I must also acknowledge it's time sucking, brain numbing, and potential dangers. Hence, social schmedia.

Blogging, obviously, is a big hobby of mine. I started blogging almost three years ago and noticed I have created around 600 posts. Seriously? Is seems to be true. I can't say that every post has been worthwhile, but each post allowed me to express myself, or a snippet of myself, in some way. Thoughts, feelings, family stories, vacations, silly happenings, et cetera, et cetera...et ceterAH (think Yul Brynner in The King and I). Do I spend too much time doing it? Absolutely. Sometimes. Okay, a lot. Balance and moderation are not always my strong points.

I joined Facebook earlier this year. Why? 'Cuz every one was talking about it. I am in many ways, in case you haven't noticed, a lemming. In the beginning it was so fun to find people I didn't really know I had lost and catch up with college friends, etc. Now, {shrugs shoulders} to me, Facebook is just okay. It's a way to post pictures, brief thoughts or maybe make announcements/share information. I like it because I am nosy and it's a perfect way to be nosy. I will say though, without a doubt, I think the games, quizzes, and send-it thingies are stupid with a capital S. Hate me.

Now, on to Twitter. I started Twittering earlier this year too and promptly stopped because I had no earthly idea what I was doing. A couple of months ago I started up again and am having much more fun with it now. I still don't *get* all of it, but I'm using it. Why? Because it's fun to share a thought, feeling, idea, link or photo in 140 characters or less. It's also fun to Tweet via your phone when you are out and about throughout your day. (I have Tweetie and TweetDeck installed on my phone.) By following different people, some I know in real life, most I do not; some in similar life circumstances, most in different walks of life, it's like an eclectic dinner party. Through tweets, I have stumbled across several interesting links I would not otherwise have known about. Like I said, I'm still figuring my way through Twitter, and am not using it to it's full potential (whatever that is, though I'm sure it's different for each person). Jo-Lynne, at Musings of a Housewife shared some Twitter tips I found helpful, maybe you will too. Also, here is another useful Twitter guide posted by Michael Hyatt.

All forms of social schmedia are ways to connect, to create friendships and share common interests. Silly and unrealistic as it may sound, I like my virtual friends all across the country--maybe even the world. Bloggy friends, Facebook friends, Tweeps (not, mind you, twerps), it's all good.

If we are not already Tweeps (you know, Twitter followers), or if I have somehow persuaded you to give Twitter a whirl, let me know your Twitter user name so I can follow you. My Twitter name is @marathonbird (big surprise). If you want to follow me, and you know you do, just click on my sidebar under my Twitter Tweet Tweet (say that three times fast) section. It'll be fun!

What do you think about all this social schmedia anyway? Let's discuss...


The Truth? You Want The Truth?

You can't handle the truth! (imagine my best Jack Nicholson voice)

That title barely has anything to do with this post, it popped in my head and I went with it.

This time last year I was in Washington D.C. getting ready to run in the Marine Corps Marathon. One of the BEST weekends and BEST experiences ever.

This time this year, well...{shuffles feet, shrugs sheepishly} I'm not really running anywhere. Sigh.

Moving right along...

I have worn the same outfit for the last three days. Is that gross? Well, let me clarify at least a little. Each day I have only worn it for about three or four hours, so all in all it really only adds up to barely a day. At least the way I do math.

Said outfit consists of one of those short-sleeved-sweater-swingie-thingies that I've worn over a black tank; boyfriend jeans and flats. Today, for a punch, I went with red flats.

The boyfriend jean may be my new favorite jean {well, obviously}. They are comfy and, to me, they say casual yet fun since you can roll up the legs. Now, I ask you, are they supposed to just be rolled up or are they supposed to be pegged (kind of folded in against your ankle, then rolled up), like I did in the late 80s early 90s? I can't decide. I don't know if I can bring myself to peg them, or whatever that's called.

Now, on to one of my favorite topics. Make-up. For the two weeks or so I have been trying a new look. Sort of. The idea is to have a muted, neutral eye and a strong liner. On a whim, two Saturdays ago, I visited the MAC counter and pretended I was young and hip for a few minutes and described the look I was aiming for.

She helped me choose Painterly (like a shadow base), Brule (beige shadow) and Wedge (medium brown shadow). I also walked away with Boot Black liquid eyeliner, Subculture lip liner and Hue lipstick (a nude gasp! color).

Over the last couple of weeks I've learned that liquid eyeliner CAN NOT be rushed. And that there is a fine line between neutrally nice and all out ho.

So, I don't know. Every day it looks a little different, some days probably bordering on ho. Today was more neutral. What do you think?

My inner Texas beauty pageant girl (not that I was one or anything, but still...), thinks the black could be a wee bit bolder. Maybe I'm not making the line dramatic enough? Should I extend it a little further? Without going all Cleopatra of course.

Here's the eyes wide open look:

I don't know. Maybe I'll force myself to go back to the MAC counter and ask them to do my eyes for me. That scares me ever so slightly, because most of their clientele are probably young hip singles seeking the smoky eye look before they hit the clubs, not almost on the flip side of forty moms wearing the same outfit for three days in a row.


A Bit of Random, A Bit of Happy

Let's call it random happiness. The following are examples of such randomness. And happiness. In no particular order (hence the randomness):

I am almost finished reading the John Adams biography. I have loved every single minute of it! I can't convey how captivating and enjoyable this book has been, not a dry, yawn inducing biography at all. To think about that period in our country's history, all the men that came together at just the perfect time to declare our independence and then work to create our government, is inspiring. I also love the correspondence documented between John and Abigail and many other key historical figures. Letter writing seems to be sadly becoming a lost art. The fact that we watched the HBO miniseries (through Netflix) last year may have helped too. In a weak moment I ordered the series from Amazon because it truly is something we could watch again and again.

I am hooked on listening to Pandora radio through our docking station speakers. Big dose of happy there. Speaking of favorite apps, I am also addicted to the white noise app. for sleeping. How did I manage before?

Once again, I'm trying something new. This time, it's Shakeology, a meal replacement or supplement type shake. I'm using it for my breakfast. I like the taste and the fact that I'm getting nutrients I'm sure are sorely lacking in my diet. We'll see, I'll keep you posted.

In the spirit of full disclosure, I must confess I bought Oreos yesterday. Obviously I'm conflicted about this health kick.

I will also confess I am a lazy shower cleaner, waiting until it's completely disgusting before attacking. I know. Are we still friends? I think I hated cleaning it because I'd get water and cleaner everywhere, even bleaching out spots on my clothes. Yuck. The other day I had a shower epiphany. Clean the shower while I'm in the shower, then take my shower. Get it? Y'all, I've been reformed. Why didn't I think of that before?

Annelise is really getting into Legos. Can you hear my happy dance from here? This little RV camper has been on our counter/bar for over a week, but I'm okay with that because she hops up onto the bar stools every single day to play/re-build. I don't think she's ready for the giganto kits yet (neither are we!), but the moderately sized ones are good. I like the City line because it's not too specialized, maybe inviting more general creative play. Which Lego themes do your kids like? Any tips on finding good deals on them?

On a purely superficial note, I must rave about my new purse. I fell head over heels at TJ Maxx a couple of weeks ago and could not resist. I love the style, size, and punchy but still neutral-ish color. Oh and if you could only touch it, it's like butter I tell you, butter. Well, okay, maybe not butter per se, but it's dreamy soft.

Must share Annelise's latest art. I think it's a rodeo, with fireworks. And butterflies.

A couple of weeks ago I tried my hand at making a Shutterfly 8X8 photo book for Annelise's recent soiree. I promise NOT to abandon scrapbooking, but I must admit this was pretty fast and easy. And now it's done and sitting on our shelf, which is a good thing.

After taking our recent porch pictures, I realized how lazy I had become about taking photos. Whether big moments or hum drum daily moments, I have not been capturing them with my camera. Somebody slap me. Thank you. I also want to practice more with my settings, perspective and general camera skills. I also, desperately, want to make heads or tails of Photoshop Elements. All I know how to do is get frustrated and close my computer almost in tears. I just found out about Pioneer Woman's photography and her Photoshop tips/tutorials, so fingers crossed I can make some headway with her help.
I guess that's plenty of random happiness for one day. Or happy randoms, depending on how you look at it.


P Soup {Pumpkins, Porches, Pots...and Polka Dots}

Take one crisp fall afternoon. Add a stumbled upon sale at the local nursery on the way home from church and lunch. Dust off some forgotten pots and paraphernalia cluttering up the garage. Toss in a family still dressed in presentable attire and what do you have?

An impromptu photo shoot.

Well, once you arrange the pots, pumpkins, paraphernalia and phmums (got a bit carried away with the p thing, sorry) in a pleasing parade on the porch (I guess I just can't help myself).

Whoops! The first few are a little blurry. As you adjust, you snap a sneaky shot or two of a moment between father and daughter.

Then you snap a few more, pausing for a little girl chit chat while dad wishes desperately for this to end quickly so he can check football scores.

To humor the six year old you allow her to use the remote and snap a few silly face shots.

Then you let her snap a few more...

one of which, thank goodness, turns out to be a keeper.


Friday Flashbacks: The Prairie Years

At the height of the Little House on the Prairie craze that completely captivated most little girls between the ages 6 and 12 during the mid-1970s, my mom found a new hobby. Sewing bonnets. There I am, proudly sporting the red calico posing with my cousins who sported yellow and blue. Right after that photo was snapped, I'm sure we scampered off across my Aunt Bernice's pasture to act out the most recent episode. We might have argued over who would be Laura, though the predicament was probably solved based on hair color, since I was brown headed, my cousins, fair and blond.

My mom soon took it a step further and started sewing long prairie style dresses with matching bonnets. And small string purses. Give my mom a good theme and she ran with it.

Annelise and I have read some of the Little House on the Prairie books and have enjoyed watching Seasons 1 and 2 on DVD together. I love that I am able to share something I absolutely L-O-V-E-D as a young girl, with my sweet little girl. I love that she knows Pa, Ma, Mary, Carrie, Mr. Edwards and all the town folk. I love that I can say not to act like Nellie Olson and she knows exactly what I mean. I love that it was a show about a family that a family could watch together. I love that they talked about God, they mentioned the Bible and showed people at church (without making it seem bizarre or something to poke fun at). It makes me sad there isn't anything like Little House on the Prairie on TV these days, yet thankful for DVDs at the same time.

I almost had Annelise convinced she should be Laura Ingalls for Halloween this year. There was talk of sewing a costume, complete with bonnet and how she had the perfect length hair for Laura's braids. She was this close to giving in.

Then we got a Party City catalog and before you could say Half-Pint, Laura was on the back burner.

Well...there's always next year.


And Now For...The Rest of the Story

{That makes me think of Paul Harvey.}

Last week I started sharing more of our journey to becoming parents. It was on my heart to explain our walk down infertility road and how that process led us to adoption in the hope that our story might encourage others facing similar choices. I tried to be as honest about the rollercoaster of feelings that accompany seeking fertility assistance as I could. If you have questions that I didn't address, please feel free to ask them either in the comments or through email. Seriously, fire away.

After a year or so of unsuccessful procedures, our doctor recommended we move on up to In Vitro Fertilization (IVF). You know, kind of like The Jeffersons. IVF is a Luxury High Rise Apartment in the Fertility Big City. Except without a wisecracking maid. And racially mixed next door neighbors.

Wait a minute. I went off on a tangent, apparently I am a fan of a good tangent. Where was I? Oh yeah, IVF.

This is where your reproductive system is completely controlled by precise doses and timing of certain hormones for almost two months (first, it's basically shut down with one cycle of stuff then fired back up again with another series of stuff). You are monitored VERY closely with blood work and ultrasounds so they can schedule egg retrieval at their, ahem, peak potential. Then Bill Nye the Science Guy (okay, maybe it is the IVF lab specialist) analyzes the eggs, chooses the best and actually injects the male donation (I know, lame euphemism, but I don't want creepy google searches) into the egg to ensure fertilization. Then you wait, which is okay, because that's what you've been doing all along, for your daily embryo reports. You might cry when you get the phone call the next morning that there are X number of potential babies growing in a lab a few miles away, I'm just sayin'. After a few days multiplying in petri dishes, a certain number of the best (they are actually graded, like eggs) embryos are transferred into your uterus along with many prayers for implantation. Then you are on bed rest for a couple of weeks until it's time for one of the biggest tests of your life, a test that you can't study for either.

Throughout the overall process Scott and I had The Talk every few months, which was about how far were we willing to go and how much money were we willing to invest in fertility treatments. This talk is not an easy one to have because mixed up with the anxiety about the procedures, the stress about the finances, the pile of disappointment in your rear view mirror is the glimmer of hope just around the corner of the next cycle. The hope of a pregnancy, the hope of a baby, the hope of becoming parents.

Since so much of fertility treatments relies on a tweak of a dose here and an adjustment of timing there, it's terribly hard to know when to say when. Some couples have success after one IVF attempt, some after three, others after many more. With all the assistance the specialists and medicines provide there is no guarantee. That, my friends, is the bitter pill.

Scott and I decided we wanted to know we had done everything medically possible to become pregnant. For us, that meant one full IVF cycle (one with fresh embryos, one with any remaining viable frozen embryos).

I'll never forget my blood draw early that morning. I'll never forget the nurse's phone call later that day with the news.

I was pregnant.

I'll never forget telling my dad. Telling our close friends and family. Taking a home pregnancy test, just for kicks you know, and getting a positive result (on a creepy side note: it's still in my nightstand).

I'll never forget the spotting that started about a week later. I'll never forget the ultrasounds that followed and the fact there were two teeny tiny sacs. Empty.

I'll never forget the misery of the next few days that followed.

About a month or so later I dug out a folder of information that had been tucked away for more than a year. Scott and I started having a different talk, this time one about adoption.

I'll never forget that either.


The Secret is Out

So it turns out if you stop running and just about every other form of exercise, yet continue to eat junkity-junk-junk food and sugary sweet-to-eat-treats, for a month or more several things will inevitably happen:

1. Your face will become unpleasantly puffy (as well as other parts of you, but it's hard to camouflage the face).

2. Your hair will be dull and lifeless.

3. Your clothes become more than uncomfortable, some will even cease to fit.

4. Not only will you have boobs in the front, you will also have them on your back.

5. You will delete more pictures of yourself than you used to.

6. Your already shaky self-image/self-esteem issues will become even more fragile.

7. You will be moody and irritable (which seems to be part of the vicious cycle of emotional eating).

8. The only loose part of your jeans will be the lower legs.

9. You are convinced your running shoes are mocking you.

10. You are so mad at yourself for doing this to yourself you decide to finally get over yourself.

You get the idea. It's not pretty.

But I went for a run this morning. Although I'd call it more wogging (that's Crystal's term for somewhere between walking and jogging, love that). At least that's a start in the right direction.

(I'll be posting the rest of our fertility journey this week. And more running posts, Scouts' honor--even though I was only a Brownie, I still mean it. I absolutely HAD to address the truth that was staring back at me in the mirror first.)


Friday Flashbacks: Fertility Challenged Family Tree?

Welcome to another addition of Friday Flashbacks. Who is this striking woman, dapper gentleman and cuddly toddler? Well, my friends, that is my grandmother (Sue), grandfather (Archie) and my mother (Joan) circa 1941 or '42. I think they were visiting my great-grandparents on Archie's side. I love this photo because my grandmother is actually looking at the camera and looks so fetching in her hat. My grandfather looks rather dashing in his hat as well. I love this time period so much because people took the time to dress up, even if they were only doing errands. What would they say about the general public now? I probably don't want to know.

I wonder sometimes about the genetic connection of infertility. Is infertility hereditary? I know my grandmother struggled to get pregnant with my mom and suffered miscarriages. My mom was an only child. My mom also experienced miscarriage, a premature delivery of a baby girl five years before I was born. She only lived about 24 hours. I was an only child and have had fertility struggles as well.

Coincidence or genetics? Or both? I don't know. Either way, I love this photo.


Walking on Eggshells: The Emotional Side of Infertility

As I have mentioned before, the journey to creating our family was an emotional rollercoaster at times. Okay, most of the time. I also mentioned feeling emotionally unstable when I was hepped up on hormones. Okay, highly unstable.

Before I continue the story of our journey down the fertility highway, I thought I would talk more about the emotional side of it. For me, this part had the biggest impact. And still does. The uncomfortable ultrasound or painful injection only lasts a moment, feelings endure much longer.

This topic is somewhat difficult for me because when I get down to the nitty gritty, many of my feeling were (are) ugly. Along with hope and longing there was envy, emptiness and bitterness. And anger. And confusion.

How do you balance those feelings? How do you share the happiness of friends expecting their own bundles of joy? How do you not become overwhelmed by jealousy?

Y'all. It's hard. Terribly hard.

Sometimes I handled it well, sometimes I failed. I felt like my heart was divided, like I had an equator drawn down the middle of my body. Or maybe I was like Sybil. One side was truly happy for my friends and was able to celebrate their joy. I'd even throw the baby shower. Sometimes. The other side was was truly jealous and consumed with feelings of why not me? Sometimes that side took over and I withdrew. Skipped baby showers. Avoided. I'm not proud of that, but it is the truth.

Thankfully my husband and my friends loved me anyway. At least I think they did (do).

Chances are you know someone that is dealing with infertility and are wondering how to offer support through her journey. First, I'd say let your friend set the tone or even ask her directly how she would like you to help her. Since it is such an emotional issue, that changes day to day, it can be difficult for you as a friend too. Should you ask? Should you give your friend some space? It's a fine line. There may even be eggshells. Let her know you are willing to be a listening ear (that is usually always appreciated) as it is needed. Some days she might want to talk about it, other days she might appreciate a message left on her answering machine or a thoughtful card in the mail more. It was comforting to know people cared enough to check in on me but there were certainly days I didn't pick up the phone too.

If you are pregnant or have had a passel of children naturally, please don't avoid your friend out of guilt or worry that you will upset her. Even though I struggled with my emotions, I loved my fertile friends dearly--and still do.

My close friends were wonderfully supportive yet not smothering either. They gave me space when I needed it and a hug and time to listen when I needed that too. They also prayed with me and for me, that was the biggest comfort most of all.

I firmly believe that our life experiences mold us into the humans God wants us to be, even if that molding hurts or leaves us asking why. If I can be an encourager to someone else struggling with infertility, then that makes my experiences all the more worthwhile.

The rest of our fertility journey coming soon...


The Infertile Myrtle Club

As I entered the waiting room I was nervous. After signing in I quickly found a seat and a magazine. A moment or two passed and I discreetly glanced around the room, which was partially full.

Hmmm...there seemed to be others like me. Plenty. Some younger, some older, all with an air of expectant hope encircling them.

The waiting room at the Center of Reproductive Medicine became a very familiar place over the next one and a half to two years. I occasionally heard congratulations and saw joyous smiles as women left the office, I also saw fresh disappointment on other faces. Sometimes we'd swap stories, except these stories usually contained lingo like Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome, unexplained and secondary infertility and the timing of HCG shots. Being there, I felt a sense of community, of shared purpose. It was comforting to know I was not the only one.

The office had a strict no children policy as a comfort to their clients. Anyone that was visibly prego entered through another door. It might sound strange, but it was actually a relief to have one place without a clear visual reminder of what I did not have. I felt protected.

When you begin assisted fertility treatments you typically follow a type of sliding scale of treatment, especially if you have unexplained infertility, varying from a conservative approach (oral meds), progressing to more aggressive approaches (oral and/or injectable meds with IUI (inter-uterine insemination--now I'll get google hits on that I guess) and then the Big Mac Daddy IVF (In Vitro Fertilization). With each one you become a little more tied to the calendar, the clock and to the clinic. It's hard to keep perspective as you move from phase to phase. On one hand you feel failure and on another you see a glimmer of hope with the next attempt. It's that glimmer that keeps you going. Even though you are hepped up on so many hormones you ought to wear a disclaimer on your t-shirt warning at any moment you might rip someone's head off (probably your beloved's noggin) or use their shirt to mop up your tears all in the span of 30 seconds, you keep going. Even though your legs, hips, stomach are black and blue from hormone shots, you keep going. Even though you are bloated and carrying extra pounds from hormones and depression, you keep going. Even though you are afraid to add up just how much all of this is costing, with nothing to show for it, you keep going. Even though you feel like you are planning your life (No, we can't go see that movie, we have to be home for my shot) around the clinic and the detailed treatment calendar and the blood draws and the procedures, you keep going.

The question is though, if you have not gotten pregnant after all of that, how do you know when to stop?

I'll talk about that soon.


Our Family Plan {The Revised Edition}

Even a young child has natural nurturing instincts. Some behavior may be innate, some may be modeled after watching a parent or sibling, but most boys and girls engage in imaginative play caring for a baby doll or stuffed animal at some point. As children grow up they realize that one day they will have children of their own.

I was no different. I knew I would have a baby someday. Because I wanted one. I did not think about particulars or possibilities, just the end result. I even had The Plan written somewhere in one of my journals in college. Marriage for five years, one to three children spaced two years apart and finished having children by age 30.

I'll pause while you pick yourself up off the floor.

Reality was more like marriage at age 26, and we didn't officially start trying until I was 31 0r 32. Friends left and right were reproducing and we figured we better throw our hat into the ring too since we (and I mean my eggs) weren't getting any younger.

I look back now and have to shake my head at my naivete. Like that first month when I waited to miss my period (I liked to think positive).

That first month of trying blended into many months, eventually becoming a year. A year of Maybe! followed by Not! Based on my age, and the fact we had been trying a year, my gyno. referred me for a test. The really pleasant one where water and dye are transmitted all throughout your nether regions in order to see if there is anything blocking your nethers.

That first test was followed by a couple more. It turned out there were no obvious reasons why I was not getting prego, so I was finally referred to a specialist.

This was the beginning of The Next Phase. The phase where I learned more official reproductive terminology than I ever wanted to know, the phase where medicine and clinical procedures began to replace old-fashioned ones, where monitoring the calendar became an obsession, and our bank account balance decreased at an astonishing rate.

The Next Phase was an emotional roller coaster that lasted almost two more years. That phase had an eventual happy ending, just not the one we expected when we began.

More to come...


The Conversation

Last weekend I was witness to the conversation again. The one where moms share their birth stories. Maybe it was because there was an infant present or maybe it's an inevitable conversation when two or more moms are gathered (interesting side note: there were two dads present as well).

It's okay. I'm okay with those conversations. I am.

Except when maybe I'm not.

I smile and nod. I listen. I wait.

I wait for my turn to share, even though my story is different.

On that particular day, since it was in the middle of a birthday party, the topic changed abruptly once it was time for cake and ice cream. My story never came up.

Since that particular afternoon thoughts and feelings have been swirling around in my head. Over the next few days, or weeks, I'm going to try to make sense of them in order to share them. Thoughts about infertility, although I never accepted that word, preferring fertility challenged since it leaves a little wiggle room for hope. Thoughts about adoption. Thoughts about what comes next after adoption. Thoughts about making peace with it all.

Or at least trying to.


Winner Winner Chicken Dinner

I have no idea what that phrase means but I heard some of the celebrities say it on Dancing With the Stars a couple of seasons ago. I'm a sucker for catch phrases (and the game Catch Phrase), especially rhyming catch phrases. Throw some alliteration in too and we are golden.

But I never really liked KFC, or any other questionable chicken in a greasy bucket type place. And for some reason, winner winner chicken dinner makes me think of a bucket of chicken. Maybe they put a bow on the bucket?


With the help of my trusty sidekick, Annelise, who drew the name out of a bowl a few minutes ago, I am happy to announce the winner of my little giveaway.

Congratulations to Jill!! I'll have a small good mail package on its way to you soon. (I was going to include a Starbucks gift card, but something tells me, Jill, you might prefer Sonic. Be honest.)

Just because I don't like chicken in a bucket, I don't want you to think I put on airs or only dine in highfalutin' places. Exhibit A:

Who: Annelise with crayon colored crown. What: Lunch today at Luby's after church.

Highfalutin' we are not.

Hope every one had a wonderful weekend!


Friday Flashbacks

In an effort to deal with the shoe boxes full of photos, newspaper clippings, cards and ephemera, saved by my grandparents and parents, I made a decision. I may one day get some of them saved in albums or at least organized and labeled to the best of my ability, then again I may not. They might remain a jumbled mess of forgotten memories.
The least I can do is document some of them through Friday Flashbacks. What exactly are those you wonder? Well, in a nutshell, I will post a picture (or two) from those old shoe boxes and tell it's story if I am able, if not, maybe I'll make one up.
Because every picture, every person has a story.

This is my mom, sometime in the mid-60s, when she worked as a secretary for a group of lawyers.
I have become slightly obsessed with the series Mad Men. It's a time capsule back to 1960s New York and it's captivating. The drama, the sets, the complex characters, the wardrobe (Oh my goodness the wardrobe!!), the dialogue, the cigarettes...it's all so good (well, maybe not so much the alcohol, cigarettes and adultery). Does Don Draper have a soul? I don't know, but I'm fascinated by him anyway.
When I stumbled across this photo, I immediately thought about Mad Men and what it must have been like to work in a male dominated environment. I know my mom was a fast typist and could write shorthand well, but did she like being a secretary? I don't know. Was she called sweetheart and condescended to by the men she worked with? I don't know. Did she wear a girdle? I don't know. Was a secretary all she aspired to be? I don't know.
She looks happy. And I like her necklace.


Thoughts From My Book Nook

I decided I would try to post reviews for the books that I read during the Fall Into Reading Challenge 2009. The challenge is open to everyone, whether you plan on reading two books or thirty-two, it's totally up to you. Feel free to check out my list if you would like. Reviews are not officially part of the challenge, I just thought it would help me keep track of my thoughts and might also be of interest to fellow readers out in Blogland. Huge emphasis on might, by the way.

Unless you recently crawled out from under a rock, you have probably heard of Dan Brown, the author of The DaVinci Code among others. His books seem to generate a lot of discussion between those that love him and those that, well, don't. I had not read any of his previous books, but decided to give The Lost Symbol a chance since it is set in and around Washington D.C.

The story revolves around the efforts of Robert Langdon, a well known cryptographer, to solve a puzzle of codes and symbols, in less than 24 hours, in order to save his friend's life. The clues lead him to several well known Washington DC landmarks and along the way he discovers more about the Masons and their imprint on our nation's capital.

I liked reading about the history of many well known monuments and buildings. I don't know if the Society of Freemasons has as much far reaching impact as the author suggests, but it was interesting to learn more about them. To me, some parts of the book were bogged down with too many detailed science and new-age descriptions, which were often repetitive. The story kept me mostly engaged, although certain parts were implausible and quite predictable. I would rate it 2.5 stars and recommend it for those seeking a quick, semi-thriller read. Perfect for light airplane reading.

Sarah's Key is a short, sensitive novel that sheds light on another aspect of the Holocaust. The story is told from Sarah's perspective, a child in Paris, France in 1942 and Julia's, a journalist living in Paris in 2002, researching the arrest and eventual transport to Auschwitz of thousands of Jewish French citizens (mainly women and children), not by Germans, but by French police. I did not know anything about the incident at Vel' d'Viv' and was moved by the story. Even though WWII and the Holocaust are disturbing episodes in our history, I find myself drawn to novels about that time period. I rate Sarah's Key 3 stars.

If you like historical mystery novels I would highly recommend the Amelia Peabody series by Elizabeth Peters. I recently finished the second book in the series, The Curse of the Pharaohs. They are clean, witty and the archaeological details are interesting to read. I enjoyed the first one, Crocodile on the Sandbank a little more than the second, but still found it entertaining.

What are you reading right now? Do you think you'll do the Fall Into Reading Challenge? Jump on in, it'll be fun.
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