Some More Things

I've just added 40 more "things" to my "100 Things About Me" list. You can find the updated list here. Someday I'll have the full 100, right?

I just want to say thank you to everyone who left me such kind comments regarding my last post. My friends, both "real-life" and "blogosphere," will help get me through IVF. I know it. Hopefully, my posts once I start the cycle won't become too depressing. I'm prone to negative thinking regarding my fertility issues, although I like to call it realism.

Have a good weekend, everyone.

It's Complicated, Exponentially So

"The most painful state of being is remembering the future, particularly one you can never have."
~Soren Kierkegaard

21 months spent pursuing anything is difficult. Whether it's a job, a stable relationship, or a clean bill of health following a long illness, wanting and waiting takes its toll. It begins with hope. And expectation. And thoughts of what life will be like once the pursuit is finally over. As time marches on, though, hope is replaced with disappointment. And disillusionment. And despair. And thoughts of the life you imagined for yourself are replaced with a kind of coping mechanism that develops out of necessity. I've spent 21 months pursuing a baby.

I wish I could say that my last post's comment on life soon becoming "exponentially more complicated" was in reference to being pregnant. Several of you who read this blog thought as much. Instead, in about one month's time, husband and I are doing in-vitro fertilization (IVF). Our last-ditch effort to have a baby that's biologically ours. It represents for me the end of a journey toward a future many women believe will come naturally to them whenever they are ready. And for most of them, this is true. Unfortunately, it isn't the case for me.

We've spent the last year receiving fertility treatments-a calvacade of nightly pills and injections, followed by ultrasounds at dawn to monitor follicle development. Sex life reduced to a rigorous schedule. Inseminations and pep-talks from perky "no tears here" nurses and technicians programmed to boost spirits with words like "4 mature follicles!" and "excellent sperm counts!" and "ultra-thick uterine lining!" And then the stirrups, and the speculum, and the catheter, and the hope injected inside...And the crushing disappointment two weeks later.

We've spent the last year enduring every conceivable (ha-ha) fertility test as well. Invasive, embarrassing, personal. And nothing wrong whatsoever. It is unexplained infertility. Nothing's wrong, but nothing's right at the same time.

I've lost friendships as a result. And others have changed, and not for the better. Dealing with a friend who has baby-proofed her life for self-preservation isn't always the easiest thing to understand when your children were conceived without a problem. It's impossible to fully grasp, if you haven't gone through it yourself. I know this. And I don't blame them for not calling anymore.

Technology has given us a chance. A 50% chance, according to my doctor. I'll take it. In the meantime, there is no more talking of names, of child-rearing strategies, of "when we have kids, we're going to do X, Y, and Z." There is no discussion of childcare plans, or family vacations, or bottle versus breast-feeding, or what color to paint the room that holds books, and boxes, and wrapping paper, and not much else. And there hasn't been in quite some time. Instead, there is expectation and anxiety. And calendar-glancing, and discussions of what to tell (or not to tell) managers, and friends, and family, the latter of whom know nothing. And buried somewhere deep, there is hope.


This post on bliss by Marie over at PractiGal has made me contimplate how much I truly love quiet. And having quiet on a Sunday morning is a rarity for me. Husband is away on a golfing weekend with his friends. He left yesterday morning and won't be back until tonight. So waking up on this Sunday morning the way that I did doesn't happen very often.

Husband loves his tv. And husband loves his sports. First thing every weekend morning (weekday mornings are spent rushing out the door), he comes down the stairs, throws himself on the couch and flips on the tv. The object of his rapt attention is most often SportsCenter. Did the Yankees win last night? How many games out are the Red Sox? Are any of the players on his fantasy footall team injured?

Now, I enjoy watching tv too. I will confess to watching quite a few reality tv shows (Amazing Race and Apprentice: Martha Stewart among them), but once these shows end, I turn off the tv. And on the weekend? I'd like the tv to stay silent the whole two days.

Our lives are very busy. Weekdays are spent at work. Husband is a teacher with several after school commitments. I run for about an hour after work, come home, make (read: microwave leftovers) for dinner, watch a little telly (husband a little more than a little), and then go upstairs to read and fall asleep. Lather. Rinse. Repeat. On the weekends, I want none of this routine present. I spend my weekends in the pursuit of quiet. This weekend, particularly today, I got my wish.

I awoke about 6:30am to the sound of rain on my roof. This is normally a sound I would love. In the past, I would listen for a minute, roll over, and fall back to sleep. But since our basement flooded during a rainstorm back in July, and again to a lesser degree last Friday, the sound of rain causes worry. I got up, checked the basement for water, and was very relieved to find none. I was wide awake at that point, so I decided to stay up.

It wasn't yet light out. I fed the cats who were milling about my legs in the kitchen. I washed some of the produce I had purchased at the public market yesterday morning. I started reading the paper. I brushed my cats, including Louie, the skittish one, who is always so much more calm and relaxed and social when husband isn't around (they have a "strained" relationship). The rain subsided, and I went for my morning run. The rain started again, midway through, so I took that as an opportunity to improve my pace. Drenched though I was upon returning home, I didn't let the rain affect the peace of the morning.

I showered, cleaned up the kitchen a little, and then finally turned on my computer. It's around 10am now. The house is silent. And the tv hasn't been on once today. My life isn't always blissful. In fact, it's most often not, and it's about to get exponentially more complicated. But I'll take the little snippets of quiet, external and internal, when I can get them. And appreciate them for what they are.

The Cat Reunion That Wasn't

There are a lot of indoor/outdoor cats in my neighborhood, something I am not fond of at all. With few exceptions, I believe cats should be kept indoors, where it's safe and warm, and where they aren't going to be run over, attacked by other animals, or wander off never to return. I can't imagine letting any of my three cats out of my house for one second. I live in a subdivision, but it's very close to several busy roads. There are too many dangers out there.

I was jogging (and sweating) on Sunday, when a car slowed down beside me. The driver asked me if I had seen his fluffy orange and white cat, Tucker, who was lost. I told him I hadn't, but I had seen the posters he and his wife had put up around the neighborhood, and would keep a look out for the cat. The man thanked me and drove off.

The picture of Tucker on the posters looked remarkably similar to a cat who has visited us in our backyard for years (although we hadn't seen this particular cat in about six months). This cat was orange and white and very fluffy, and had part of his tail missing, something we had taken sad notice of over the years. However, last night as my husband was outside grilling, this cat arrived in our backyard. We quickly enclosed this very affectionate kitty in our garage, so he wouldn't escape, and I took off to find the nearest poster of the lost cat, Tucker, so I could copy down his owner's phone number.

When I called the number, I told the boy who answered that I wasn't positive I had found Tucker, but that I had an orange and white cat enclosed in my garage. I asked if their cat had part of his tail missing. The boy said "yes!" At that point, I was certain the cat in my garage was Tucker. How many partial-tail amputee orange and white cats could there possibly be in my neighborhood? The boy told me he would have his mom call me right back to get directions to my house.

I mentioned the tail issue to the woman on the phone, and when she arrived, she seemed fairly certain that the cat in my garage was Tucker. She picked him up, and he was purring. However, she then says " Oh. Part of his tail is missing." But she was still certain this was her cat, and she put him in her car, thanked me, and left.

I had a very uneasy feeling about the whole thing. First, Tucker had been missing only a few days. I had seen the cat in my garage, complete with partial tail, in my yard for years. If this was her cat, I would have hoped she'd have known her cat only had a partial tail prior to last night. And while she may have wanted to believe it was her cat, her reaction to seeing him led me to believe he wasn't.

20 minutes later, she called and told me as much. Apparently, Tucker's face looks identical to the cat I found, but Tucker had more white in his coat than this cat did. She returned him to me, and he wandered back behind my house, probably to his owner's home.

The whole experience made me sad. How could you not recognize your own cat? When the woman picked up the cat, she made mention to me that she wrote on the posters that Tucker was 5 years old, but upon talking to her daughter later on, realized that they had had him for more like 10 years. How can you not know something like that about your own cat? And then, if you've had him for 10 years, how can you still be uncertain as to what he looks like? That, combined with the fact that her kitty, whom she had let outside in a busy suburban neighborhood, was now lost and possibly gone forever, something that never would have happened if she had kept him indoors in the first place, really upset me.

I hope Tucker is able to find his way home.

Baking Bread, FarmGirl Style

This weekend resulted in a baking extravaganza at Chez Kristi. Over a two-day period, I baked:

1. Six banana muffins because I found a large, over-ripe banana in the kitchen at work on Thursday afternoon.
2. Two batches of butterscotch blondies for husband's co-workers.
3. A two-layer white cake with lemon pudding filling and whipped cream vanilla frosting for aforementioned husband's birthday celebration at my aunt's house.
4. Three loaves of honey wheat bread (using two different recipes) and following FarmGirl's bread-baking tips.

Unfortunately, I have photos of none of these, since I'm still living in 1982, and I don't yet own a digital camera.

Of these efforts, I'm most proud of my bread. If you are an avid bread baker, or a novice one like me, I can't stress enough how incredible FarmGirl's tips are, and how well they worked. The bread I made this weekend had beautiful brown tops, a lovely crunchy crust, and great flavor. And believe me, in the few times I've made bread previous to this weekend, the results were not as positive. While I didn't implement all the steps (I still need to buy a wooden bread bowl, and a baking stone), I believe the ones I did use (including incorporating an Autolyse, and adding the flour in handfuls instead of all at once) made all the difference in the world. Thanks, FarmGirl!

Please Don't Sweat in My Starbucks

A few weeks ago, and then again this morning, I saw one of "them" in my Starbucks. She was ahead of me in the morning rush line, panting slightly. She was wearing a thin t-shirt stuck to her upper body, shorts, and sneakers. She was a jogger, fresh from a run, and positively glistening and potentially dripping with sweat. And she was standing in line for coffee. At my Starbucks.

Now, before joggers of the world unite to flog me, let me tell you that I am one of you! I am a jogger. And I am a sweater. And no, I don't mean the nice cable-knit kind you pull over your head when it's cold out. When I jog, I sweat. A lot. I also pant. A lot. And I breathe heavily, and do all those other unappealing things one does when one runs long distances without stopping. I just don't end my run at Starbucks. Or any other public place for that matter.

Call me a nutter, but I don't want a perspiring person in my Starbucks. Or in my grocery store. Or ahead of me in line at Bed, Bath, and Beyond. Not when I'm still half asleep, cranky, and in serious need of caffeine. Actually, I don't want a jogger in my Starbucks when I'm wide awake, in a pleasant mood, and moderately caffeinated either. It's repulsive and it's inconsiderate. Go home. Take a shower. And then emerge in public.

I don't understand these people at all. When I'm nearing the end of a run, I'm thinking about three things: 1) Sticking my head under a faucet. 2) Toweling off my sweaty body and 3) collapsing in a heap on my living room floor. I am not, under any circumstances, thinking to myself, "Gee, I could go for a cup of coffee right now." And I'm certainly not thinking about subjecting said sweaty body to people, dressed in work attire, standing in line in a coffee shop on a weekday morning.

What are these people thinking? Do they just not care how they appear (and smell) to others? Are they in denial about the normal post-run bodily functions? Are they the type of person that tells others, "Oh, I don't sweat. Nope. Hardly at all." I mean, seriously people. Take a look at your reflection in the glass door before you enter. And then run away. Quickly.

Book Swap Loot

Yesterday, I received in the mail a copy of A Natural History of the Senses by Diane Ackerman, courtesy of Melissa over at Scritture, as part of the Book Swap organized by Amy of Beauty Joy Food. I also received a wee little chocolate morsel, which Melissa tells me came from a trip she took to France, and some very cute Halloween stickers.

I love, LOVE receiving packages in the mail. I do most of my shopping online, so this happens frequently at Chez Kristi, but this time the experience was different, because I had no idea what would be in the package she sent. The book sounds fascinating. It's about the human emotions tied to each of the five senses, and a history of why certain experiences are tied to seeing, hearing, tasting, touching, and smelling.

And the timing was perfect, as I just finished reading the latest Harry Potter. Time to dive into my new book. Thanks, Melissa, for the great package, and thanks, Amy, for organizing such a fun activity.

Some Things

The "100 Things About Me" list. I've seen them often on other blogs. And I've marveled both at their authors' thoroughness ( There are actually 100 things listed here!) and the interesting aspects of themselves they've chosen to share. I think I could come up with 10 (well maybe 15) worthy of such a list on my own blog. But it's been a post I've been meaning to write for some time, simply because I think it's a good writing exercise, and a way to mine out one's core (or at least those parts of the core one is willing to share with the blogosphere). So...

1. My dream job is to become a travel writer.
2. Unfortunately, I have no experience in this area, other than my own travel journals.
3. I can, however, tell you in minute detail how to troubleshoot a lagging hard drive, and how to protect your PC from viruses and spyware!
4. I am the oldest sibling in my family, and the first grandchild as well. Yes, my family members spoiled me. All of them. My husband would say they still do.
5. My parents divorced when I was two. I lived with my mom, and saw my dad every other weekend.
6. I have a younger sister who is 27, and two much younger sisters from my dad's second marriage. They are 15 and 12.
7. My mother has been married four times.
8. I loathe her current husband with a fiery passion.
9. Luckily, they don't live near me.
10. I like my stepmom very much. This wasn't always the case though.
11. My extended family on my mom's side (grandma, aunts, uncles, cousins) is very close.
12. Of course, this also means that everyone knows everyone else's business...all the time.
13. We usually all get together once a week, with a few exceptions, for Sunday dinner at my great aunt's house.
14. My grandfather called me Dolce. This means "sweet" in Italian.
15. He gave all his grandchildren nicknames. Some of them had actual meanings, like mine. Others were names he created from a combination of Italian and English words.
16. He died 10 years ago. I miss him every day.
17. I went into a coma at age five when the strep throat virus I contracted at school traveled to my brain.
18. I was unconscious for over a week, during which time the doctors told my parents if I awoke, I would likely be severely brain damaged.
19. I did, and I wasn't.
20. Later that same year, I was diagnosed with ulcerative colitis, a chronic illness that affects the large intestine.
21. For five years, I was subjected to countless painful tests and procedures, while I was medicated to the max with prednisone, a steroid that made a skinny little girl blow up like a balloon.
22. My doctor told me I was the worst case of colitis he had ever seen in a child. 23. At age 10, a surgeon performed a series of four surgeries to remove my large intestine. Turns out you don't need that 10 foot organ after all!
24. I was healthy until age 16.
25. Then my doctor found and diagnosed Crohn's disease, chronic inflammation of the small intestine.
26. Most people who have colitis have Crohn's disease too.
27. There's no cure for Crohn's, but I've been in remission for many years now.
28. I have been a staunch supporter of animal rights since high school.
29. I was the editor of my school newspaper, and used my position as a platform to tell others about the horrors of animal testing.
30. I will never buy anything made by Proctor & Gamble, the worst offending company in testing their products on animals.
31. I just entered the 21st century last night when I got broadband internet service, and a wireless router for my laptop.
32. Prior to that point, I was using dial-up. I know.
33. However, I still do not own a cell phone, although my husband just got one.
34. I don't want one either.
35. If given the choice to go out on a Saturday night or stay home with my cats, the bathtub, and a good book, I'll take the latter.
36. I realize that's a little strange, given my age.
37. I've known my best friend for almost 25 years.
38. We met in the first grade, and went all the way through Catholic grammar school, Catholic high school, and our undergraduate years together.
39. We roomed together in college for one year.
40. That didn't work so well (I think it's difficult to live with anyone in what constitutes a 10x10 dorm room), so the next year we each got different roommates and lived in the same suite, and later, the same off-campus house.
41. She recently bought a house in my neighborhood. We're less than a five minute walk away from eachother.
42. I work from home on Fridays.
43. It's my favorite day of the week, because I have the house to myself, and it's quiet.
44. I would love to never again have to enter my office, and to be able to work 100% from home.
45. I have more books than I have bookshelves.
46. I have a stack of books 10 deep beside my bed.
47. According to my mom and my grandma, I started reading at age two and a half.
48. There exists an ancient reel-recording of me reading "Twas the Night Before Christmas" at said age.
49. I love Christmas, but my favorite holiday is Thanksgiving.
50. This is due to the colors of the season, the non-commercial nature of the holiday, and the Macy's Thanksgiving Day parade.
51. My mom used to make me and my sister Pillsbury Cinnamon Rolls while we watched the parade.
52. Now I make them for husband and myself while we watch the parade.
53. He doesn't really "get" the parade.
54. I could eat an entire loaf of warm, freshly baked bread and butter in one sitting.
55. I'm teaching myself to bake my own on the weekends.
56. I watch too much reality tv.
57. The Amazing Race is my favorite of the bunch.
58. Although I'm very much enjoying the The Apprentice: Martha Stewart.
59. I love Martha.
60. I am a feminist.
61. I kept my maiden name upon marrying.
62. I am a liberal.
63. I took an online political quiz recently, and it turns out I'm actually a "socialist."
64. My loathing for W runs deep.
65. I seriously considered running away to Canada with Alec Baldwin following the 2000 election.
66. My family members are staunch Republicans.
67. However, my grandma saw the light a few years ago, and now loathes W as I do.
68. Political discussions are FUN at my family dinners.
69. I could max out my credit card at H&M, Williams-Sonoma, and Pottery Barn.
70. Although, I really don't enjoy shopping in "brick-and-mortar" stores. I prefer to do it all online.

30 more to go. Stay tuned!

Seattle Revisited

I've been so busy with work, I haven't had time to write or comment (although I love the debate going on in the comments to my last post, and I will respond soon). In the meantime, here are some pictures from my trip to Seattle.

The first is a photo of my sister and me on Alki Beach, this lovely little one-mile strip of white sandy beach in West Seattle.

The second is a photo of her cat, Spumoni, eating a bagel. No, she's not possessed by Satan, however scary she may look.

A real post is coming soon. I promise!

Is It Race Thing?

The images in the news this week have been horrifying. People passing tarp-covered bodies in the streets. People packed into stadiums and shelters. Others pleading on the street for food and water. People have been dying not as a result of Hurricane Katrina and the brute force of her waves, or even from drowing in the flooded aftermath of her destruction. People have been dying because they were not rescued quickly enough. In America. One of the richest, most technologically advanced nations in the world. And I have to ask why.

I've heard some say that the governement responded as quickly as they could, given the magnitude of the area and the number of people affected. I've heard still others say that while the government rescue response wasn't as quick as it should have been, really, what more could be done? Officials were doing all they could do as quickly as they could. My position is this: if Hurricane Katrina had hit in a city where 80% of the population wasn't poor and African-American, the government response would have been a whole lot different. W may have even cut his vacation short more than a pathetic two days to tour the region and get help started immediately.

The majority population of the city of New Orleans are the forgotten under normal, everyday circumstances. They are the people without the means or the education to provide for themselves. They are the people who struggle everyday, even when their city isn't flooded with water. Why would such a horrible disaster make things any different for them, as far as their government is concerned?

These people, with no means to leave the city despite the hurricane warnings, suffered horribly, and continue to suffer. And they struggled on the brink for days before help finally started to arrive this weeked. And for me, this is unacceptable.

Please consider donating to one of a variety of organized relief efforts. It's the way we can help those in New Orleans and other affected areas. And it's a way to show them we're sorry their goverment let them down.

The American Red Cross

The United Way

The Humane Society of the United States
Disaster Relfief Fund

American Humane Association

Seattle Musings

I'm back from Seattle. We returned late Monday night from a really nice visit with my sister, whom I already miss so much. I had visited Seattle twice before, but this trip made me realize why she loves it there so much. It's truly a beautiful, progressive, hip, and yet small and manageable city. The buses are clean and convenient. You can walk around the city and see a lot of what it has to offer in one day. It has tons of cool and unique bars and restaurants. And perhaps most importantly, it's the home of the very first Starbucks, which we visited. :).

I went shopping with my sister on Sunday. As a buyer's assistant for Nordstrom, she has developed very expensive taste in clothes. This is something I do not share. Amongst other far less expensive purchases, she convinced me to buy my first pair of desinger jeans. I cannot believe what I spent on them. Let's just say it was a lot. I was convinced I wouldn't know the difference between the designer jeans and the Gap or Old Navy jeans I usually buy. I put on the desinger jeans, and I have to admit, there is a difference. The fit was incredible, the denim was really soft, and I really liked the way they looked. Of course, designer jeans come in only one length-Leggy Supermodel-so I have to get about 12 inches hemmed off the bottom before I can wear them.

Another memorable event from the trip was a run we took around a park near her house on Sunday morning. It was a nice, crisp, fall-like morning. We ran to this park, in which sits a reservoir, with a paved car route encircling it. We were jogging around the loop, and I noticed at least a dozen cars parked inside the circle, each with a man sitting alone in the driver's seat, either sipping his morning coffee or reading the newspaper. I asked my sister what they were doing. Apparently, the park was a place where men would come and park and wait...for other men. Occasionally, we'd see another man approach a car, get in, and the two would drive off.

This scenario just struck me as incredibly sad. These men, instead of being able to be gay and out, had to resort to sitting in their parked cars on a Sunday morning, looking to hook up. Society and the "moral majority" which seems to have a stranglehold on this country at the present time, has driven them underground. Now, this isn't to say there haven't been repressed gays prior to 2004 and the second reign of W. Gay men and women have experienced fear and self-loathing over their sexual orientation for centuries. But in a world seemingly hijacked by the Christian right, where anti-gay marriage bills are rampant, and where to be anything other than "straight and narrow" is seen as "anti-family" and "unAmerican," this scene played out in a park in liberal Seattle seemed all the more desperate and depressing.

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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  • "All journeys have secret destinations of which the traveler is unaware." -Martin Buber

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