Got Bows?

As the mother of a child who has loathed containment devices of any kind (car seat, shopping cart, and stroller) since she was a small baby, I do a lot of online shopping. It's seldom that I'll take her to a bricks-and-mortar store, and I only attempt this exhausting feat if I absolutely need to.

In my infrequent trips to the stores in the outside world, I've noticed how difficult it is to find barrettes or bows that will stay in Isabella's super-fine hair. When it became apparent that her hair would grow in Maddox Pitt-Jolie-style, with a large quasi-fauxhawk chunk extending from the back of her head to the front, I knew I needed something to secure it out of her face. But in addition to my impatient and stubborn DNA, the poor dear also has my hair, and ain't nothing for thick-haired babies staying in her fine locks.

So when I read Melissa's endorsement of Very Sweet Bows, I was intrigued. A little research and a few emails back and forth with Fagan, the company's super-creative owner, told me that her bows might just stay put in Isabella's hair, since the bows were attached to tight, ribbon-lined alligator clips.

Fagan's bows are not only adorable, they are also very affordable as well. Check out her site.

I ordered four bows, and they came in the mail this past week.

I am pleased to report that they stay put in Isabella's hair, and I think she looks quite cute in them.

Mmm... bows go great with my afternoon snack.

Wait? You're taking pictures of me?

Take one more photo and I'll break your kneecaps!

The State of Within

Endometrium (Uterine Lining): 10.9mm. "Textbook." And also, "Fantastic."

Estrogen Level: 286 "Great."

My ultrasound and bloodwork appointment went well yesterday. My body is responding to the drugs as it should, and all systems are a go for next Wednesday.

On Monday, they'll thaw out my four frozen embryos. I'm hoping that they're tough and determined, like their comrade that turned into Isabella, and that at least three survive the thawing process. My doctor will transfer a maximum of three embryos. I didn't think to ask what would happen to the fourth if it happens to survive. Being the eternal pessimist, it did occur to me to ask how likely it is for none to survive. Although my doctor didn't rule it out, he said it was very unlikely.

On Sunday, the hubs will start injecting me daily with with progesterone, the pregnancy hormone, whose side effects include f-ing with your body so that you believe you're pregnant even when you're not.

My clinic has a better FET success rate that I originally thought. 30%, as opposed to 40% for fresh IVF cycles.

This gives me hope.

Thank you for your feedback and thoughts on my last post. 13 years of Catholic schooling does wonders for a girl's guilt complex.

Sisterhood of the Effed-Up Lady Parts

I've received a few comments and emails asking about my feelings of guilt about wanting a second child, given what I went through to have Isabella.

First, I must say thank you for trying to assuage these feelings. They are ever-present and, at times, strangely all-consuming. I can only describe them as the confluence of survivor's guilt and my inability to achieve the good mother standard. Although neither really describes what it is I'm feeling.

I liken my situation to winning the lottery twice. The first time, everyone is thrilled for you. You've plunked down your $5.00 every week for 20 years for the chance to strike it rich. You've got crushing credit card debt. Your wife has left you, you've lost your job, and your dog has just died. And then, the sun shines down on you and you finally win. After all these years. After all the heartbreak. Your ship has come in.

But a few years later, you start complaining that you need more money. Suddenly, the jackpot you were damned lucky to hit once isn't enough. You want a faster boat. Another house, in Tuscany this time. You aren't content with the riches you have, and yet there are still plenty of people waiting for their chance to win for the first time. People who deserve it as much if not more than you do.

When I first found out that I was pregnant with Isabella, I felt as if I had been given an enormous gift. Of course, most expectant moms feel this way. But given my struggles with infertility, the realist in me felt I would never be a mother. To have given birth to Isabella 18 months ago still feels like a miracle.

To now be asking for another one just doesn't sit right with me. The sisterhood formed from the hell that is infertility is a strong one. And while I don't read as many infertility blogs as I once did, the stories of the women whose blogs I do still read serve to reconnect me with the familiar feelings of not being able to get pregnant for two years, despite Herculean efforts. Why was I so lucky and they were not? Why has God, the universe, whatever, seen fit to make me a mother and not them?

It isn't right. It isn't fair.

Shouldn't I take my one miracle ART baby and call it a day?

As many of you have told me, I'm entitled to want the family that my fertile friends are able to achieve. Infertility doesn't disqualify me from wanting what everyone else with working parts wants. But for me, it still seems greedy. I want my sisters to experience the joys of motherhood, and, however irrational it may seem, I feel as if I'm cutting them in line.

Every woman who wants to should be given the chance to be a mother. It angers and pains me to read the stories of those who are struggling. Common sense tells me that a potential second pregnancy isn't stealing the baby of someone still waiting for her first.

And yet, I still feel like I'm cheating the system.

FET Mental Health Check

If you've been keeping track, I've somehow managed to go over a full week posting about things that have nothing to do with the 800-pound gorilla I've been lugging around for the past few weeks. That's right, a full nine days has passed with nary a mention of my FET, scheduled for a week from Wednesday.

This is not to say that it hasn't been on my mind. It has, a lot. The hubs and I have approached the impending FET the way we approached my embryo transfer two years ago: by not talking about it at all.

Talking about it makes the situation real- both the possibility of it working, and the possibility that it might not. Each outcomes carries with it a full set of emotions neither one of us is equipped to deal with just yet. And at least as far as I'm concerned, I'm afraid if I make it real by talking about plans, and names, and sibling dynamics, and possible due dates, I would have a very hard time thinking back to this pre-transfer time of hope.

Up until about a week ago, I was feeling very positive about the FET. It wasn't so much that I had strong feelings that it would work, but that I was able to approach the impending transfer without a sense of panic.

But now? Those positive and uplifting feelings are gone, baby, gone.

It's becoming real now. I'm not just popping pills, injecting myself, and getting injected with this far-off-in-the-distance transfer date circled on my calendar. My ultrasound to check the state of my uterine lining is this Wednesday. The transfer is a week from Wednesday. And now suddenly, I'm thinking about the thaw (How many will survive? What if none survive?), the quality of the embryos (Are they fragmented and therefore poor quality? Will Assisted Hatching work like it did last time?) and the agonizing 12-day waiting period until my bloodtest (How can I possibly take it easy when I'm lugging a 21-pound toddler up, down, and all over creation all day long?).

So I'm stressed out, and worried, and thinking in Worst Case Scenario terms. If it doesn't work, we're back to ART square one. ART square one costs a lot of money. A LOT. And while trying again with a fresh IVF cycle is something we will find a way to do, I know now that I will be quite devastated if this FET doesn't work. Embarrassed as I am to admit this, because I am so incredibly lucky to have my daughter sleeping upstairs as I type this, the loss of her potential sibling will crush me.

Isabella at 18 Months

Isabella turns 18 months old today. My baby is suddenly a year and a half.

In the past month more than any other, I've realized that she's becoming such a little person. She's long possessed definite opinions and wants with no shortage of ways to express them, but now when I see her running around the house, using words to ask for things instead of pointing, and playing and dancing in her own unique little ways, it's evident she is no longer a baby. Of course, she will always be my baby, but to the rest of the world, she's a total toddler now.

That language explosion people talk about occuring at 18 months? Completely true. She's learning so many new words literally each day, and is putting more words together. While she started with "My Dada" a few months ago, in the past month, she's saying "Zipper up," "Hi, Mommy/Daddy" and placing "More" in front of everything ("More cheese," "More milk," etc.). And my personal favorite: "Oh! See!" when she glimpses something interesting to her. My two favorites: "Oh, bubbles!" (in the bath) and "Ohhhh, sun") when she sees the sun streaming in through the windows in the morning. Everything is new and interesting for her, and I absolutely love watching her explore and learn.

Eating snow = fun

In addition to a rapidly growing vocabulary, Isabella is also able to identify some additional letters of the alphabet. A few months ago, she developed a fascination with "W." She would point it out wherever she saw it, and say, "Double-da." Now she can identify and say the letters E, O, W, and X. And she also asks to sing her "ABCs." She doesn't know all the letters in the song just yet, but she will say the first four letters (A, B, C, and D), the O, the W, the X and the Z, and then "Me!" at the end of the song ("Next Time Won't You Sing With...").

For all her big-kid ways, she is still very clingy and demanding of my undivided attention. If I'm on the phone, she resents it and begins to whine and cry. If I'm (god-forbid) attemping to write an email, she is crawling up my leg or repeating "Mommy! Mommy! Mommy!" over and over. And in the last month, she's even been hesitant to leave my arms when one of my relatives comes over to visit, and she sees them all the time. I'm hoping the Clingon behavior ends soon because there are days when I really feel as if she's pasted herself to my anatomy so much that I've actually gained 21 pounds.

Dinnertime has turned into an absolute nightmare this past month. Isabella twists, turns, writhes, cries, throws food, and absolutely refuses to eat most nights. She used to love chicken. Now it's floor fodder. She used to devour quite a few, although not all, vegetables. And now, even though I'm coating them with cheese, she's spitting them back out at me. It is massively frustrating to say the least. I was a fussy eater growing up, and my mom would feed me whatever I wanted seven nights a week. That, coupled with my digestive diseases, turned me into an adult whose diet is composed of basically five different foods. I'm determined to not have my daughter turn out like me, so I'm avoiding making her a grilled cheese every night for dinner. Instead, the hubs and I beg, we plead, we cajole, we tempt, we line up her stuffed animals on the table, we do everything short of bringing in a tap-dancing monkey to get her to eat. Sometimes it works. Most nights, it doesn't.

I'm not eating, and I'd like to see you try and make me.

At 18 months, it's readily apparent that her emerging personality mirrors my own, and not the hubs'. While he is a laid-back, patient, go-with-the-flow kind of guy, Isabella is strong-willed. She is stubborn. She will not settle. She is highly verbal. She is demanding. She is independant. In other words, she's me. And she is also my mother's revenge.

But as much as I waver between sticking a For Sale sign on her forehead and planting her in my front lawn, and hiding her under my bed so she can never, ever grow up, she makes me smile each and every morning when I go in to get her up, and given my decaffeinated existence, you can't put a price on that kind of wake-up call.

Current likes: Babies (babies in books, babies in the store, babies, babies, everywhere), birds, hiding under the dining room table.

Current dislikes: Dinnertime, vegetables, handing over the reins of her dictatorship


"A nation's greatness is measured by how it treats its weakest members."
Mahatma Gandhi

As a fan of Michael Moore's work, I am embarrassed that it's taken me this long to watch his latest film, Sicko. But a few weeks ago, I did, and as I am each time after watching one of his movies, I am pissed off.

Sicko is a documentary about the pitiful and criminal state of the profit-driven American healthcare industry.

50 million Americans don't have health insurance. The United States is the only industrialized nation in the world without universal healthcare. The World Health Organization ranked the health care systems of 190 countries. The United States ranked #37.


We claim to be the greatest country in the world. I would argue, not so, when we take such abyssmal care of our most needy citizens.

Consider the following facts:

The CEOs of the United States' HMOs are millionaires. Some are billionaires. Their pockets are lined while women are denied experimental treatment for breast cancer, babies die because they're taken to out-of-network hospitals where they're refused treatment for life-threatening illnesses, and 9/11 volunteers can no longer breathe properly because they cannot afford the drugs to help them.

Many people believe a universal healthcare system would not work in this country because they view the government-sponsored systems of other countries, such as Canada, the UK, and France, as fundamentally flawed. Many Americans believe that citizens of these countries wait months or even years for surgeries, and receive sub-standard care, when in fact the health care systems of these countries take as good if not better care of their citizens as we do here. And if universal health care was so dangerous, then why are the people in these countries living longer than U.S. citizens? And why is the infant mortality rate higher in the United States than in many other countries that offer a government health care program?

Move to France and get a free government-provided nanny. That's right- pop out a kid, and the French government, who not only gives you 16 weeks of 100%-paid maternity leave, will also send you over a nanny to do your laundry, make your dinner, wash your precious bundle's bottles, or do whatever other various and sundry baby-care tasks you need her to while you're getting used to motherhood. Because being a mom is really, really tough in the first few months. It can wreck serious havoc on your mental health. And the French? They seem to get that a little free help goes a long way toward helping mama feel a bit better about the wailing 8-pound creature in the swing in the corner of the living room.

Sicko was also full of heartbreaking stories: a 79 year-old-man working full-time as a janitor at a grocery store so he can receive health benefits to afford his and his wife's drugs. An 18-month-old girl who died after suffering a seizure because she was turned away at an out-of-network hospital. 9/11 volunteer rescue workers sick with respiratory ailments and without treatment because they weren't city employees when they were digging in the pile of the Twin Towers and were therefore not covered by the city's health plan. And many, many people turned away for treatment considered "experimental" (read: too expensive).

People shouldn't have to choose between health care and basic human needs, such as food or rent. They shouldn't have to work into their 80s so they can afford prescription drugs that are free or practically free in every other industrialized nation in the world.

For me, the bottom line is this. Any one of us, no matter how healthy a lifestyle we lead, can be diagnosed with a life-threatening illness. Any one of us, no matter how secure our job, can lose it and suddenly our family is without healthcare. And our lives can change drastically in that instant. Suddenly we have to choose between feeding our kids breakfast and buying the drugs we need to survive. Suddenly we have to make a choice between rent or radiation. It isn't fair, and it isn't right.

Universal healthcare isn't without its flaws. This post by Pru illustrates that. But it is leagues better than the corporate greed-fueled healthcare system in the United States.

Americans should absolutely have universal healthcare as a right of citizenship.

Locks of Love

My hair has been the bane of my existence since I was about 10 years old, when I realized that I did not have the thick and flowing mane of hair my sister had and that making thin hair look well-styled and luxurious was not something at which I excelled.

I most likely realized this quite a bit earlier in life, because I hacked off a good 8 inches of my sister's long, blond Barbie-like locks when I was 4 and she was 3, one day before my mom was to take her to have professional photos taken.

I have my mother's pin-straight, super-fine hair. It resembles baby hair, really. Which was adorable and precious when I was 1 and not so adorable and precious at 31. I've kept it pretty short since college, since it at least has the appearance of thickness when it's not cascading down my back in thin, broken strands.

Trust me when I tell you I have a long, long history of very bad hairstyles and perms and run-ins with the Crimper that I thought made my horrible hair look better.

They didn't.

What I failed to realize as a child growing up with hair I hated was that I was lucky to have hair at all.

Melissa over at Woolgatherings is organizing Bloggers for Locks of Love.

Locks of Love is a non-profit organization that provides hair pieces for needy children who have lost their hair due to a medical condition. The hair pieces are either donated to the kids or provided to them at an inexpensive price. While I grew up hating my hair and feeling self-conscious about how straggly it was, my experiences pale in comparision to what the children suffering from alopecia areata (where hair follicles simply stop growing) or the effects of chemotherapy must endure.

To participate, head over to Melissa's to sign up. All you have to do is grow your hair, and then donate it. I'm not participating myself, as my hair isn't suitable for donation, but yours might be. Look! All the cool kids are doing it, and one of them has already done it!

If you can't or decide not to donate, you can still help out by writing a post about Bloggers for Locks of Love.

Spread the word.

Nothing Says "I Love You" Like a Shot in the Arse

The topic of whether or not the hubs would be willing to inject me in the arse with a 6-inch needle for months at a time wasn't part of our dialogue when we were contemplating marriage.

We covered the basics: Whether each of us would be willing to move across the country if the other had a job opportunity there. Whether we wanted to buy or build. When we wanted to have children (Ha-Ha).

But oddly enough, the topic of arse injections never came up.

This morning I received a belated Valentine's Day present in the form of a large needle plunged into my person by my husband. My once-every-three-days estrogen injections have started and have joined forces with my daily Lupon shots to make for a very pleasant wakeup call. And okay, so it wasn't a 6-inch needle, but it sure looks that long, and feels that long when it's your behind that's the target.

The hubs is a veteran at giving arse injections. After all, it's through a series of injections (arse and thigh), pills, vaginal suppositories, ultrasound monitoring, an egg retrieval, and an embryo transfer that were were blessed with the first bundle of joy.

But given that the last injection he administered was in January of 2006, the hubs was a little rusty. He was nervous (as was I) and before shooting me up, we quickly Googled some diagrams of intramuscular arse injection sites so he would have a good idea of where to aim (and where not to). Inaccuracy can land you in a bid ole' world of hurt, trust me.

I'd like to think that if the situation was reversed, I could easily inject him. And let's face it, there are those days when the thought of inflicting a little pain would be mighty appealing.

But the truth is, I'm not sure I could do it. I have a long history with needles, IVs, and the like. I was a sick kid, and spent a great deal of my childhood in hospitals. I'm very used to being "the patient." What I'm not accustomed to is being "the nurse."

Of course, this is for a good cause. The best cause, really, and if it was the hubs that stood the chance of getting knocked up as a result of our infertility treatments, I would have to step up to the plate.

Secretly, though. I'm glad it's not me. As crazy as it sounds, I would rather "receive" than "give" in this situation (well, in most situations really, as I am inheretly selfish at my core). I have to trust that he won't plunge the needle into an artery, but he has to plunge the needle into my arse.

It's an odd little morning ritual. And while I'd much prefer to start the day reading the paper in bed with two mugs of coffee between us, it's a small sacrifice for the gift that might be waiting for us one month from tomorrow.

Uncaffeinated, Unwell, and Unpleased

Today is day two of my self-imposed caffeine-free existence. After reading about this recent study, which says that women who drink more than 200 milligrams of caffeine while pregnant double their miscarriage risk, I decided to be proactive and end my consumption a few weeks before my transfer.

It is not going well.

I am a full-pot-a-day coffee drinker. I also consume at least 1-2 cans of diet soda a day. To say that I relied heavily on caffeine to give me enough energy to chase Isabella through hither and beyond would be drastically understating my reliance on (read: addiction to) caffeine. And while I've managed to thus far avoid the dreaded caffeine withdrawl headaches, I am dragging.

To make matters worse, Isabella has been sick with a cold since Sunday, and very whiny and needy as a result. Just yesterday, I came down with her cold and have been very whiny and needy as a result. Unfortunately, there's no one around to tuck me into bed and make me chicken soup, served to me on a lovely bamboo tray with a plate of crackers and a tall glass of freshly squeezed OJ. In fact, the hubs has been working late for the past three days, and tonight he won't get home until 10:30pm. Wah.

I have not left the house for more than one hour since Sunday. And since my house is awash in germs and snot, no one wants to visit me here either.

Won't you be my neighbor?

Full Disclosure

My sister found out I was pregnant with Isabella by Googling "pumpkin cheesecake."

A little background. My sister did not know then that I had a blog. When she was in town and staying with me for Christmas in 2005 (I was a few weeks along at that point) we got to talking about blogs and blogging. She asked me if I had one. I replied, "Um. No?" As I am a masterful and accomplished liar, I have no idea why she didn't believe me.

She returned to Seattle hot on my trail. I had been bragging about a pumpkin cheesecake I had made a few weeks prior to her arrival, and it was my bravado that brought me down. She put two and two together and figured that if I was boasting about my baking to her, I sure as shit was probably doing it for millions of complete strangers to read too. At the time, this blog was on page one of Google's results (it's now on page four).

Oddly enough, my sister wasn't content to procure the recipe for a kick-ass pumpkin cheesecake I got from Dawn (Dawn? Dawn? Are you out there anymore?) and head off on her merry way. She stuck around and snooped around (the nerve) and found not only this post, but this one too-in which I wrote about considering telling her the news while she was visiting at Christmas, but then eventually decided not to.

Oops. The jig was up.

She called me and she was crying. She was so happy that after two years of trying (which she also didn't know about until then) I was finally pregnant. But later she confided in me that she was actually really upset that I didn't tell her what I was going through. That she would have been a big source of support for me through my struggles. And that my joy was her joy and my sadness was hers too.

Bottom line: My sister was hurt. And it was wrong of me not to tell her. I know that now.

So, this time around, I decided to clue in Karrie before we started the FET. And she convinced me that I should tell my mom as well. (We didn't tell her, or anyone else in my family, the first time we tried IVF. I told them I was pregnant when I was 11 weeks along, and then told them about the IVF shortly after.)

This weekend my mom is in town visiting. So on Friday, we told her.

Her first words? "I knew it."


Mamacita claims to have "mother's intuition." She says she figured out that we were about to try again the last time she was in town (about a month ago), but decided not to say anything. She is excited, and, as mothers and those not familiar with IF protocol are prone to do, immediately starting talking about the expected due date, and whether we wanted a boy or a girl, and how many weeks she could afford to take off work. In her mind, this "maybe baby(ies)" is/are already a done deal.

We had to clearly and carefully explain to her that we are entertaining none of those thoughts at this time, and we really didn't want to talk about the future. We're giving FET a shot. And for now, that's all we wanted to discuss.

(Well, discuss with her anyway. I plan on letting it all hang out here on my blog because I really need to.)

Strangely enough, despite my anticipation that the end of days would quickly approach once I broke the news, no great catastrophe befell the universe following the disclosure. As far as I know, Britney Spears isn't pregnant again and George Bush is still legally obligated to leave office in 344 days. I'm not quite sure now why I was so worried about telling her.

So, just to recap, my sister knows. My mom knows. And you know. I do believe this is the perfect trifecta.

Thank you for your kind and supportive comments on my last post. It was so awesome to hear from both regular commenters, and those who haven't commented in awhile.

Once and Again

A few weeks ago, a truck pulled up outside my house.

I had received a package.

Inside the box was the recipe and ingredients for making a baby.

We're going to try and have another child, a sibling for Isabella, with a FET (frozen embryo transfer) cycle.

In a lot ways, it seems crazy to be starting this process all over again.

My baby is still, well, a baby, or at least I still consider her one. She's a toddler. She can walk and talk and feed herself and express her wishes. But she still has that sweet baby smell. She sometimes still cries when I leave the room. She's still demanding of so much of my time and energy. How would the possibility of another baby impact her life? Or impact my own sanity, for that matter?

Then there is the guilt. I was incredibly lucky to have one, given our unexplained infertility and two years of trying. Is it fair to want another, and so badly, when there are many women who have endured much more than I have on their path to parenthood and are still waiting for their chance to mother one? I feel greedy and selfish and undeserving of another. After all, consider how many times I have used this blog to voice the frustrations of motherhood. I paid a hefty sum and went through IVF to have Isabella. And yet, it's no secret if you read here regularly that a lot of the time, I find motherhood extremely challenging, stressful, and soul-sucking.

And truth be told, it seems like only yesterday when I was beginning my first IVF cycle, even though it was almost 2.5 years ago.

Being unable to conceive without help robs you of the ability to think about the future of your family with any degree of certainty. All talk with friends and family about additional children begins with the word"if," as in, "If we're able to have another..." and "If we could choose how many years apart we would like our children to be..." There are no guarantees with ART (Assisted Reproductive Technology). There are no certainties. Isabella may end up as an only child, and I would still thank God every night for the amazing gift of her life.

But I want two children. The hubs wants two children. I would love to give Isabella a close-in-age sibling experience, because when we weren't taking turns giving eachother stitches and pronging eachother in the forehead with forks, my sister and I were each other's best friends.

And so, we're trying again.

Here is more detail about my FET cycle than you would ever want to know.

We have four frozen embryos. My doctor wants to thaw all four, as there is a 70-75% thaw survival rate. This means that statistically, one embryo won't survive the thaw. He will transfer the other three in the hopes of one taking. I'm sure you can infer from this that the risk of multiples is greater with FET than with IVF. They transfer more embryos because the success rate of a frozen cycle is half that of a fresh cycle, but apparently when frozen cycles work, they work really well. My RE said that most of my clinic's triplets come from FET cycles.


A few weeks ago, I picked up my prescription for the birth control pill, along with a bottle of prenatal vitamins. (And I guarantee you, I was the only woman in the grocery store with that combination of items in her shopping cart.) I've been on both for about a month.

Today, I'll start injecting myself in the thigh with Lupron, which will shut down my ovaries and my hormone system. These injections will take place each morning for about a month. I'll also be popping one baby aspirin a day to help fortify my uterine lining. Who knew?

Next week, I'll stop taking the birth control pill, get my period, and then the hubs will start injecting me in the upper arse area with Del Estrogen every three days to increase the lining of my uterus in preparation for implantation. These will last at least a month, and longer if the pregnancy test is positive.

I'll have one ultrasound and blood draw (as opposed to the many required in an IVF cycle) to check my uterine lining and estrogen levels, respectively, and then three days before the transfer, the hubs will start injecting me nightly with progesterone to maintain my uterine lining. I'll have this injection into the first trimester of the possible pregnancy.

Three days before my transfer, I'll start taking more progesterone (in fun vaginal suppository form). I'll also take these into the first trimester of the possible pregnancy.

My transfer is taking place at 1pm on Wednesday, March 5th, and my pregnancy bloodtest will be on March 17th. (Yes, I'm a quarter Irish.)

So, if the prospect of reading about an impending nervous breakdown and discussions of injections, bruised arses, and suppositories stuck in places they just shouldn't be hasn't sent you clicking away from this blog faster than you can say snowbabies, you're in for six weeks of hysterical posts fueled by stress, artificial hormones, and decaffeinated beverages.

You've been warned.

Happy Super Tuesday

The hubs and I are election-junkies. Whenever there's a major national election going on, we're glued to the tv into the wee hours of the morning, watching the talking heads discuss poll numbers, strategies, and precinct returns. And when it's a presidential election year, well, it's pretty much Survivor finale night, Super Bowl Sunday, and the season premiere of Lost all rolled into one in my house.

For the last several weeks, we've watched debates and primary/caucus coverage. We follow stories of the candidates in the newspaper, and we've gotten into raucus arguments with my family (whose politics couldn't be more different than ours) over Sunday dinner.

I do understand those who choose to remain apathetic to government and unconcerned about who has control of this country. After all, Washington isn't exactly fertile ground for change, and with the economy tanking, and no end in sight for the endless war, I have a few friends who think, "Why bother voting? My one vote isn't going to change anything, and even if it did, that person won't be able to change a thing."

But here's the way I look at things.

Yes, fighting for a much-improved healthcare system, the end to global warming, better schools for our kids, and human rights is hard work when it seems that the structure of government has set you up to fail. And yes, many lofty campaign promises end up as empty rhetoric once the winner takes office and realizes that Washington is deeply divided along party lines, making it difficult to get anything accomplished.

But as citizens of this country, we have to believe that there's at least a chance for improvement. A chance to leave this country for the next generation in a better state than the one it's in right now. We owe it to ourselves and to our kids to elect the candidate whom we think most capable of making needed changes to the issues important to us.

Think of it this way: Where would women be if Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony hadn't cared enough to fight for our right to vote? Where would African-Americans be if Martin Luther King, Jr. hadn't cared to fight for civil rights? These were ordinary citizens who did extraordinary things for our country. I truly believe one person can make a difference.

When I vote today, I'm taking my little girl with me. She's too young to know what her mother is doing when she pulls the lever in the voting booth, but my hope is that someday she'll realize the importance of making her voice heard. And that one day, like her mother, (for better or for worse), she'll have a lot to say too.

So, if you live in one of the 22 states holding primaries or caucuses today, please do go out and exercise your right to vote, even if it isn't for Isabella's favorite candidate.

To learn where the candidates stand on issues that are important to you, head here.

A Review of January's Goals (Or The Post in Which I Publically Flog Myself)

Forgive me, IW readers, for I have sinned. It's been four days since my last blog post.

Rather than bore you with the details of what I've been up to for the past week (Work. And also, More Work), I've decided to capitalize on the last remaining hours of the 1st of February to review where I stand on the goals I set for myself for the month of January.

Let's begin, shall we?

Goal #1: Create a writing schedule.

Survey says...No dice. Almost every free minute I have had in January was spent chained to my laptop. Two large projects with almost exactly the same deadline, coupled with a few smaller projects sprinkled throughout the month have just about nearly caused my head to explode, and if I had managed to create a writing schedule at the beginning of the month, it probably would have done me no good, what with the schedule changes and project difficulties I experienced. (Although having a schedule really would have made my tiny little sressed-out, Type A brain feel so much better.)

Goal #2: Clean and organize my desk, and maintain it once I've finished.

I totally fulfilled this goal, right? I mean, how hard is it to spend 10 minutes shuffling and filing papers, and moving pencils and other sharp objects out of the reach of roaming 17-month-old hands? I thought I would offer photographic evidence for this one.

Uh, yeah. No success meeting this goal either.

Goal #3: Start running before Isabella wakes up.

Score! I have successfully made the transition from early-afternoon running to wee-hours-of-the-morning running. I cannot say I enjoy the change, and many, many mornings, my body is all, "Um, WTF are we doing on the treadmill at 6:20am?" but the added work time I get while Isabella is napping has been worth the switch. (And, may God help me, but I'm actually enjoying watching the election coverage on Morning Joe while I run, even though we are Keith fans through-and-through in my house.)

Goal #4: Write my first query.

This is the goal I am most disappointed about not meeting. The month of January was extremely busy for me in terms of freelance writing work. However, all of it was corporate writing, and I had not one free minute to turn my ideas for features and essays into pitches for magazines. I received this book and this one and also this one for Christmas. I haven't cracked the spine of any of them, even though they have sat 10 inches from my laptop, on top of my desk since late December.

Goal #5: Post more frequently on Mush

My last post on Mush was a very, very long time ago. I'm sorry, Pru!

So, if you're keeping score, that's 4 Big Fat Failures, and 1 Goal Successfully Completed for the month of January.

With such a pitiful record, it seems laughable for me to post goals for February. But I'm doing it anyway, because these are things I really want to achieve. My life feels a bit out-of-control at this point, and having goals, even if I can't meet them, makes it seem that reining in the chaos is at least within the relam of possibility.

As such, in addition to attempting once again to complete January Goals Numbers 1, 2, 4, and 5, an additional goal for February is:

Find a good relaxation technique.

Before Isabella was born, I used to take long baths at the end of almost every day to decompress before bed. I don't have that kind of time now, but I would love to find a quick and simple way to relax, if even for 5 minutes during the middle of the day. Suggestions?

My workload is finally lessening, so I should be posting more often now. I'm sure all four of you who read here regularly will sleep better tonight knowing this.

Quick Snapshot:

  • 34-year-old writer and
    mother to a daughter
    born in August 2006 following
    IVF and girl/boy twins born in October 2008 following FET. Come along as I document the search for my lost intellect. It's a bumpy ride. Consider yourself warned.

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