Words to Live By

Happily married. 41. Infertile/perimenopausal. TV and iPod addict. Transplanted Canadian living in California. {Warning - abundant sarcasm and frequent *gasp* profanity lie herein.}

Friday, March 10, 2006

It's About Time

This is it, folks. Time to fold up my infertility blog and move on -- or, over -- to the next big thing. Will I still blog about infertility? Of course, once a member of the club, always a member. I've learned so much and met so many kick-ass ladies because of it, I am almost thankful. Almost.

Somehow, there's a lot of other stuff to blog about. I hope you'll continue reading me here.

Monday, March 06, 2006


Has it really only been 5 days since my last post? Seems like it was a long time ago...

Over the weekend I attended my first Quinceanera. It was for the daughter of the chick who sits next to me at work who drives me crazy with all her drama (or "my colleague"). I've been hearing about this event for a year. She's spent so much time on the phone with the caterer and the choreographer and the videographer and the tailor I don't know how she's managed to do any work. I had never heard of a Quinceanera until last year. Basically, its a mock wedding, a wedding without a groom.

From About.com: "A Quinceanera (the term refers both to the celebration and to the girl who has turned 15) is similar in concept to a debutante's "coming out party" in other countries [its most popular in Mexico although its celebrated in other Hispanic cultures]. The celebration is a means of acknowledging that a young woman has reached sexual maturity and is now an adult, ready to assume additional family and social responsibilities. In addition, the celebration is intended to reaffirm religious faith, good morals, and the virtues of traditional family values."

Not being churchy-types, we didn't attend the church service (the "thanksgiving Mass"), but the reception part of it was enough to give us the taste. A girl in a white dress with a tiara and an escort, surrounded by 14 couples in lavender dresses and tuxedos, a 3-tiered cake, flowers, a Latino heartthrob wedding singer dude, place cards at the plated dinner...I could have swore somebody should have gotten married.

Actually, it was heartening to see 30 kids in the 14 to 16 age range all dressed up, doing a choreographed waltz and wishing their friend well. The picture was spoiled a bit by those who insisted on wearing sunglasses and talking on their cell phones, but I guess you can't completely take the street out of the kids.

I was enjoying all the pomp and pagaentry when the DJ pulls out a screen and a projector. Time for the photo collage. As I sat behind my colleague and her daughter, watching them laugh at the funny baby pictures and seeing the progression from tiny swaddled bundle to toddler to roller-skates and cheerleading pom-poms, I couldn't help but feel a little bit jealous. OK, a lot. Tears welled up in my eyes and I had to pretend I was having trouble with my contacts for a few minutes.

One of the reasons why this chick bothers me so much is she is one of those mothers who constantly complains about her child. She had her daughter when she was 18 and has always been a single mother. She is rude to her, hangs up on her, and is always telling me how lucky I am that I don't have kids and how she will never have another one, and (of course), that I can have hers if I want.

If I could, I would take her up on that one. Damn. It sucks that I won't ever have a 15 year-old daughter.

Five for Fighting -- 100 Years mp3

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Whiskers on Kittens

So what the hell is this blog about these days?

Even though it's been a year since we got off The Baby Train (as I so tactfully like to say), stories I hear that involve ART continue to fascinate me, even though I'll never take advantage of new technologies or have to worry about having to choose between donor egg and adoption. This story in the Washington Post was particularly interesting, if nothing else than for the human nature aspect. I must say I really like that some sperm banks are now giving the donor the choice of whether or not their identity can be made public (when their offspring reach 18), and I fully support the choice of a donor that elects NOT to.

In other random Donna-ness, here are some of my favorite things at the moment.

Market Pantry (Target brand) Lemon Shortbread Cookies with White Chocolate Chunks. Just get some.

Lipton Diet Green Tea with citrus -- delicious and full of antixoidants!

Fairview Pinotage 2003 -- an excellent South African red wine.

Songs sung in French (Coloratura, can you help me with translation here?):
Sarah Harmer - Salamandre mp3
Madeleine Peyroux - J'ai Deux Amours mp3

Pageantry. I can't get enough of it. All that figure skating at the Olympics has refueled my need for live performances involving dance, costumes and competition. Fortunately, I live in a part of the country that has a thriving winter color guard and drum corps community. Sound like geeky band stuff? Think again.

2006 Infiniti FX35
I don't need a new car, my 2001 VW Jetta does just fine, but damn...that is one sweet ride. I'm in love with this color too.

Got any new favorites to share?

Friday, February 24, 2006

Lucky -- Review

Excerpt from Amazon's synopsis:
"When Alice Sebold was a college freshman at Syracuse University, she was attacked and raped on the last night of school. In a ham-handed attempt to mollify her, a policeman later told her that a young woman had been murdered there and, by comparison, Sebold should consider herself lucky. That dubious "luck" is the focus of this fiercely observed memoir about how an incident of such profound violence can change the course of one's life. Sebold launches her memoir headlong into the rape itself, laying out its visceral physical as well as mental violence, and from there spins a narrative of her life before and after the incident, weaving memories of parental alcoholism together with her post-rape addiction to heroin."

Her account of the rape was very disturbing (I’m sure it would be to anyone, but was particularly so for me), but I was expecting this book to be about how she healed; how she went on with day to day life after experiencing such a horrible event. For background and clarity she gives us a lot of information about her family, particularly her mother, who suffers from severe panic attacks, but little about how that affected her. That’s my main criticism of the book in a nutshell – it is written in first person but reads like a newspaper account.

More than three quarters of the book is taken up with the rape, the trial, and then the rape of her best friend (in their apartment -- the rapist made her friend move into Alice’s bedroom so he could rape her in the same bed that a previous rape victim slept in – talk about creepy).

Finally you get to the short “Aftermath” chapter (seriously, its 10 pages!), and all of a sudden you are filled in with all the self-destructive behavior that she was still engaged in, more than 10 years later.

“…I had published a piece in the New York Times Magazine, a first-hand account of my rape. In it, I beseeched people to talk about rape and to listen to articulate victims when they had a story to tell. …I celebrated with four dime bags and a Greek boyfriend who had once been my student. Then Oprah called, having read the article. I went on the show. I was the victim who fought back. …[I] flew back home to snort heroin.”

Now I don’t know for sure, maybe I would want to snort heroin too if I were on Oprah, but does that sound like someone who should be held up as an example of someone who fought back and reclaimed their life?

She is successful almost in spite of herself, and, ironically, it isn’t until she is quoted in a book called Trauma and Recovery (in the first half), that she figures out that she is suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder. As she reads first-person accounts by Vietnam vets she is finally able to start feeling, and therefore, healing.

She tells us her therapist had mentioned PTSD a year earlier but she dismissed it as “so much psycho-babble.” Wait – she has a therapist?? I’m sure there was a lot of fodder from those sessions that could have found a place in the book. I wish she had spent as much energy and pages on the aftermath and the healing as she did on the earlier events that made them necessary.

It takes a lot of guts to publish an account of your own rape, and I applaud her for doing so. It’s not an easy book to read, and despite my criticisms, I would recommend it.

I’ll discuss my own issues soon – suffice it to say for now that I wasn’t so “lucky” as to see my rapist go to trial and then to prison.

Monday, February 20, 2006

Holiday Photo Blogging

Today is Presidents' Day here in the US. I still haven't quite figured out who's birthday it is, or if today is neither Washington nor Lincoln's birthdays, just a day picked between them to celebrate. I'm sure one of my American readers can fill me in.

I finished reading Lucky last night. I need to work on the post-reading entry, it will take a little bit of time to make my thoughts coherent, and it will be the start of a trend of The Dark Side of Donna posts, so, y'all can look forward to that!

Instead, here's some more snow pictures of my house and property, plus an obligatory cute dog picture.

Front of the house. Our bedroom is at the top of the A, behind the little deck on the second story. There's no snow on the right side because the trees caught it all before it could get to the ground. It rained last night so most of the snow is gone now.

Directly behind the house. Right before we moved in 6 years ago a huge oak tree fell and took out a bunch of other trees with it. We've been cutting firewood from the pile ever since. Other than the fireline around the house and the driveway, the 2 acre property is all trees.

Tucker and Bailey waiting for Daddy to get out of the shower.

Saturday, February 18, 2006

Snow Day

Remember I told you the other day it was in the mid-70s and we ate our V-Day lunch outside? Yesterday and today...not so much. As I write this its 35 degrees and snowing. Keep in mind we are 2500 feet above sea level, even though we are only 10 miles from the ocean (can you say steep hills on the way to Donna's house?).

These pictures were taken this morning by D. in his bathrobe from our deck.

We've spent time with D's son every weekend for the last month. When we picked him up before Cirque I even met D's ex. I was a little nervous about meeting her, but she was very gracious, hugged us both and told D it was nice to see him again (they haven't seen each other since they split up more than 20 years ago). I keep expecting to be uncomfortable -- if this had been my family, someone would have been an asshole long before now, I'm sure. Just when I thought C was a little too good to be true, we found out that he smokes. A tiny blip on the radar, but at least it's something to put on the right side of the ledger. Not that I think underneath this polite and thoughtful exterior there lives a serial killer, but I'm just too jaded and cynical to accept all sweetness and light. Seriously, how sad is that?

I'm having a tough time getting through Lucky. I generally read right before I go to sleep and I've been having strange dreams and restless nights. When I finish the book I'll give a more detailed review; not so much of the book, but how it affected me.

Raise your hand if you remember this song!

Cool Change -- Little River Band

Let me know if you have trouble downloading this, I'm trying out a new archiving tool. I thought this was a fitting choice for this post, both because of the weather and my struggle to change my negative thinking patterns.

Monday, February 13, 2006

Reason #897

I can't even count the reasons why I love the San Francisco Bay Area -- the weather, the restaurants, the beaches, the different characters of the cities...not least of these is the politics. I realize I live in an exceedingly liberal area and it is not in any way, shape or form representative of the country at large. I literally would not survive in a more conservative part of the country. Not that I'm a raving lunatic or anything, I just think everybody should stay out of everybody else's business.

In September 2003 and again in September 2005 the City Council of my little beach town called for an investigation into impeaching Bush and Cheney. Last week the news came out her big sister San Franciso's City Council is working up a resolution calling for the "full investigation, impeachment or resignation'' of those two yokels. Their alleged crimes include:

-- Waging an unnecessary war in Iraq.
-- Authorizing torture of terrorist prisoners.
-- Failing to respond adequately to Hurricane Katrina.
-- And not to be forgotten -- ordering the secret wiretapping of U.S. citizens without a warrant.

Read the entire article at SF Gate if you're interested. Discuss amongst yourselves, and enjoy the tunes. It was 73 today, so sunny and warm D. and I ate our Valentine's Day lunch outside on the restaurant's patio.

The Magnetic Fields -- Come Back from San Francisco mp3
Led Zeppelin -- Going to California mp3
Mamas and the Papas -- California Dreamin' mp3

If you want to hear and see the video for Rufus Wainwright's "California", head on over to my girl Tiffanni's blog.