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.}

Monday, March 28, 2005

Jesus Envy

This should really be called "persons of faith-envy", but that wasn't as catchy. You know I am ALL about the clever title.

Easter is one of the few holidays that we celebrated in my childhood home. Having no religious affiliation or observances, it was a secular celebration, but an ethnic one. My mother is part Ukrainian and we took this one day and honored it by eating traditional food and doing our best to color eggs in the Ukrainian fasion. To this day my mother sends me Easter cards, one of three or four cards a year I get from her, part of our uneasy agreement on the amount of contact we each can stand from the other.

My husband's family are not church-goers either, but they take the opportunity to spend the day together. We went to brunch yesterday with a group of 8 and had breakfast, lunch and dinner in one sitting, including dessert. There were lots of cherubic children in fanciful dress, and many times during the meal I had to put a smile on top of the stabbing feeling I felt in my chest.

But that's not really what I wanted to write about. I don't even know what to call myself, the closest would be agnostic. (Ag·nos·tic : one who believes that it is impossible to know whether there is a God or gods, that it is unknown and probably unknowable; yet does not profess true atheist.) I always had a hard time believing that there was anyone or anything watching over me. When you are emotionally, physically, and sexually abused from an early age you learn quickly that you're on your own. I've been through so many trials and tribulations in my life, suffered so many injustices and lived through so much pain, yet I know that I am a good person. I can't make sense of it. I also don't believe that I am having a shitty life this time around so I can be reborn in a better life. I think when you die, that's it. There's no heaven, no hell, no reincarnation. So I try to make the most of the one life I have, despite the roadblocks. That would be a lot easier if I had faith.

I know several people who I would call extremely religious, whose entire lives are centered around the church and other members of it, and many more who have some religious affiliation who find a way to fit it into their busy modern lives. I am envious of all of them today. Its a source of joy for most of them that I have no access to.

Friday, March 25, 2005

Can I Get A Witness?

I heard this story on the news on the radio today. I guess you can't please all of the people all of the time. At least the cross has something to do with Easter, the whole bunny thing I'm still trying to figure out. I fail to see how its any more "creepy" to eat a cross made of chocolate than it is to bite the head off of a rabbit. Personally, I would eat anything made out of white chocolate. I'm just sayin'.

Wednesday, March 23, 2005

Tuned In

I've had my iPod Mini for about a year now and its nearly full. I don't know what I'm going to do when that happens, I haven't given it much thought. I've been getting lots of great new music lately, some from blogs, some from the incredible Ms. C in Vancouver, some the old-fashioned way: borrowing CDs from friends. I really don't mind paying for music, the chance to do so just hasn't come up lately.

I'm into Fountains of Wayne lately (despite the name, if you know me well enough that will make sense), they were on American Dreams tonight as the Hollies doing "Bus Stop" and did a great job.

I also came across this site today, I haven't listened to much here but its...um...interesting, to say the least. The pictures that go along with the tracks are hilarious. I think "Go Gay With Cheese" is going to have to be the name of my first novel.

Tuesday, March 22, 2005

Media Outlet

One of my many infertile friends was bemoaning the constant bombardment of family and child-oriented media messages at lunch recently. Sufferers of other afflictions, diseases or circumstances don't have to contend with being constantly reminded of their heartache like those of us who are childless do. Everything from commercials (often for products not related to children at all) to news stories to sitcoms, you can't go for one day without being reminded that the family is all important, that children are our future and that some amazing percentage of our tax dollars go towards the school system.

I realize that I am hyper-sensitive to these messages right now; I struggle to get through each day without breaking down in tears or becoming angry at myself. I think about being old and having no one to take care of me, of all the things I'm going to miss out on by not being a parent. And while I don't define my worth as a woman by my ability to bear children, I have defined myself in large part for the past three years as a Woman Trying To Conceive. It was the goal, the path, the focus, the forefront of all my thoughts and actions.

Even though we are not doing anything to prevent conception, I feel in my heart that it is just not in the cards for me. I know its going to take some time to get out from under this cloud, but at the moment I feel so aimless. My husband practices Aikido, one of the Japanese martial arts. He is lucky to have the support system that his dojo provides, as well as the unattainable goal of mastering the art; there will always be something more to learn, always another level of achievement up ahead. I'm hopeful at some point I will find (or go back to) something that brings me joy and helps to fill the hole in my heart.

Friday, March 18, 2005


The other night I had dinner with a girlfriend, something I do quite often. I try very hard to nurture my relationships, particularly with my girlfriends, I've come to realize in the past couple of years how important they are.

We had a lovely dinner at one of my favorite Italian places, I bought a couple bottles of wine from the wine store and we wandered in the gourmet kitchen shop and the art gallery before parting. I felt really good in my suede boots and matching jean jacket and was having an outstanding hair day, getting lots of looks from men, most of them much younger than I. My tummy was full of pasta and wine and dessert and latte, the weather was balmy and warm and I was window shopping along a flower-lined street filled with beautiful things and beautiful people.

Then I caught my own reflection in a store window. I was alone. The smile faded from my lips and I thought to myself, "Is this all?" This is as good as it gets? I had everything I could ask for at that moment, but I felt empty and sad all of a sudden. I walked dejectedly back to my car, put my wine and my designer purse on the leather seat next to me and cried.

Monday, March 14, 2005

The Last Billboard

Are You Offended?

MILAN, Italy, Feb. 6 (UPI) -- Authorities in Milan, Italy, have banned a billboard featuring an all-female version of Leonardo Da Vinci's Last Supper. The French fashion house Marithe et Francois Girbaud said the billboard publicity campaign was inspired by Dan Brown's novel "The Da Vinci Code. The billboard ad features women surrounding what seems to be a female Christ, with the only male sitting bare-chested on a woman's lap in a provocative pose, reported the BBC Sunday. Italy's advertising watchdog said the billboard's use of Christian symbols -- including a dove and a chalice -- "inevitably recalls the very foundations of the Christian faith."

And I thought the Italians were so enlightened. Speaking of Italy, did you know that we are on the third to last Pope? As context, please understand that I have no religious affiliation at all, I never went to church (except to hear my brother sing in a choir a few times), and I believe in a higher power but I don't refer to her as God. I was watching a show on prophecy the other day (gotta love The History Channel) and they brought up St. Malachy and his predictions. This was fascinating stuff to me, something I could actually watch in the next 15 years to see if it comes true or not. Here's a short synopsis of what I'm talking about:

In 1138, St. Malachy predicted the entire succession of 112 Catholic popes from Celestinus II (the pope in Malachy's day) to doomsday. St. Malachy of Armagh made a chilling prophecy in 1139 that the world would end with the death of the 112th pope. The current pope, John Paul II is the 3rd to last remaining pope, according to Malachy. Malachy called him "De Labore Solis" - "from the Sun's labor" and John Paul II was born on a total eclipse. The 2nd to last pope is identified by Malachy as "Gloria Olivae" - "glory of the olive". (Some prophets believe this pope will take Leo XVI for his name and will bring peace between Israelis and Arabs). St. Malachy predicts that Pope John Paul II's successor will be an active peace-making member of the religious hierarchy. But he will die in 2008 with his work unfinished and the next pope - called Peter of Rome ("Peterus Romanus") - will rule until the Apocalypse in 2020.

As far as my limited research can establish, the Apocalypse doesn't mean literally the end of the world or even the Second Coming (if you're so inclined), but rather the demise of the Catholic Church, with members leaving in droves due to the culmination of world events and internal struggles, ending with the agreement that a Pope is no longer required. Google St. Malachy if you are interested, there are tons of sites and a few excellent books on the topic. Who knew?

Sunday, March 13, 2005

What it feels like for a girl...

With apologies to Madonna, today it sucks to be a girl. Oh wait, doesn't it usually? I started my period today (I'm trying to do away with all those annoying infertility BB acronyms so real people can understand what the fuck I'm trying to say). That in itself is not news. Today is day 21 of my cycle. THAT'S the newsy part. Um...that's about 7 days too early for those of you keeping track at home.

Seriously, I think I stopped throwing my hard-earned money in the burning furnace that was my doctor's office about 6 months too late. We agonized about bumping up our regimen to include injectibles, and ended up doing 3 cycles with Gonal-F and Clomid. The only reason we were able to do that was because of a little site called freegaragesale.com, where you can buy fertility drugs directly from women trying to recoup some of their own expenses. The first cycle was canceled due to poor response (fucking ovaries), and the other two we barely squeaked through with high enough E2 and enough follices to make it worthwhile. All for nada.

What I'm getting at is its obvious to me that sometime in the last year the fertility line on my life graph fell off the page and dropped into a black hole somewhere. Probably sometime in the 24 hours after I turned 40, I forever more lost the ability to even conjure up decent follicles and a regular 14 day luteal phase. Even with the best (discounted) meds money can buy and my husband's gleeful exuberance at getting to practise his syringe technique, it made no difference. This is the way its going to be. Now how am I supposed to plan vacations when my cycles don't play nice?

Oh, and I wanted to respond to a comment made on my What-If 101 post. Elisabeth said I refuse to believe that a woman is defined only in terms of her role as "mother". I'm right with you there, sister! I never said that, and if I did, I was obviously under the influence of something. I haven't defined myself as a failure because I'm not someone's mother, I haven't defined myself at all, although right now I am struggling with letting go of feeling like a failure, in general. I think that's to be expected when you try REALLY hard to accomplish anything for 3 years and are unsuccessful. I would never define anyone (especially myself) based on things they didn't do -- its the things you do that make a difference.

Thursday, March 10, 2005

What-If 101

A number of people in my life are playing the What-If game right now. We're all pretty good at it, next year I'm thinking of hosting the World Amateur Series of What-If here in Santa Cruz. I'm gonna go way back and just get this off my chest so I can stop writing this blog entry in my head at night.


**I hadn't been sexually abused, starting possibly as young as 3?

**I didn't take any of those drugs I took as a pre-teen?

**I hadn't trained 20 hours a week in gymnastics, then even more hours a week in dance and color guard, keeping me astonishingly thin?

** I hadn't smoked on and off throughout my teens and 20s?

**I hadn't contracted almost every STD known to woman?

**I didn't have two seizures after starting BCPs, get put on anti-seizure medication, making the BCP fail, get pregnant, not know it, then have an abortion at 16 weeks?

**I had said no to the Christmas Eve marriage proposal from my ex?

**I hadn't contracted herpes from said ex?

**I didn't have a lap and two subsequent laser out-patient procedures to combat endo?

**I had had the courage and strength to leave my ex before spending 5 years in hell?

**I hadn't wasted my fertile years in a bad marriage?

**I hadn't been so scared of getting married again?

**I had brought up the idea of starting a family before I got over being scared of getting married again and asked hubby #2 to marry me?

**I didn't have to wait for 2 years for hubby to be ready to even begin TTC?

**I didn't waste a whole year TTC on my own at age 38 because my doctor was either 1) in the pocket of the insurance company or 2) a wheat-germ eating, birkenstock-wearing, hippy-dippy beach soul-sister who believed we should wait and give nature a chance?

**I didn't have a mini-nervous breakdown and start taking anti-depressants?

**I hadn't waited for 2 years before asking for another lap, only to find my right tube was twisted and attached to itself by adhesions?

**I hadn't spent the last 3 years forcing my ovaries to do what they obviously did not want to do?

**I hadn't spent thousands upon thousands of dollars on unsuccessful fertility treatments?

The answer to all of these questions is quite simple. I wouldn't be sitting here, right now, pouring my heart out to you. There is no cosmic force at work, there are no lessons to be learned. Life is a continuum. A house of cards. Removing one card either causes the whole thing to crash to the floor or changes the floor plan. Since I can't go back and find my Ace of Spades or Queen of Hearts, all I can do is pick up the next card. (And you wondered where the poker analogy would come into play.)

One thing I know for sure: whatever happens, I WILL get through it. Because I have no choice. And because I have a better support system now than I ever have before. Thanks, you know who you are.

Tuesday, March 08, 2005

Take Another Little Piece of my Heart

So much for not being torn to pieces. I am having a rough day, despite the fact that I have the day off and its sunny and warm outside. I gathered enough strength and willpower to sweep then vacuum, but that's only because I couldn't stand chasing around the balls of dog hair any longer. My thumb continues to be covered by a band-aid in public, whenever its not covered I'm constantly messing with it. This sucks. Why am I not content with the wonderful life I have?

Sunday, March 06, 2005

Written In the Stars

Before I delve into my topic for today, I wanted to give Tucker, our non-therapy dog, his due. He is sweet and smart and silly. And a gorgeous mahogany color. We got him from Northern California Golden Retriever Rescue when he was about 18 months old and Bailey was about 2 (they are 5 and 5 1/2 now). They are both just the best dogs.

Just for fun sometimes I read my horoscope. I try to stay away from the newspapers and magazines, nothing they say ever makes sense or is so general that it could apply to anyone at any time. When I want to take a serious peak at my planetary situation, I go to Astrology Zone, which is written by Susan Miller, who has written numerous books and is as well-respected as anyone in this field could hope to be. Below is an excerpt from my March forecast:

The fourth house is also the house of "the end of all matters". If you have been experiencing a long, drawn-out ordeal that seems to be endless, lo and behold, you may finally see it reach closure. If so, with lucky Jupiter in this house, you will be protected. Chances are, you will be content when the curtain comes down.

Well, I don't know about "content", but every day I'm feeling more and more like I'm destined to remain childless, and its not tearing me into little pieces. At least not every day.

Friday, March 04, 2005

The Weekend Beckons

Paris door detail

I'm just going to keep posting pictures randomly, I like the added color on the page.

Tonight DH (and yes, those are my husband's initials) and I are going out to dinner. We make our best effort to go out on a date night at least once a month, as close to the 2nd as possible, we call it our "monthiversary", since we were married on July 2. We are lucky to live in an area with many great restaurants and we love to try out new ones. Tonight we are going to a place we've only been to once before, so I'll still consider that a "new" restaurant. Do ya even have to ask if I'm gonna order wine? BTW, check out our local supplier, the Bonny Doon Vineyard; the labels are fantastic, particularly for their Eurodoon collection.

Tomorrow morning Bailey and I have a visit at a local retirement community, we belong to an organization called Furry Friends. The past several months I've been unable to bring myself to go to the visits, particularly my other site, which is a homeless family shelter. I wasn't able to give anything to anyone, I was so wrapped up in my own IF struggle. Now that I'm on the lee side I'm feeling like I have at least a little something to give. Tomorrow is our Easter visit (we only go once a month) and another volunteer is bringing her bunny, complete with miniature hay wagon and chocolate goodies. The residents are going to be very happy. And so am I.

Wednesday, March 02, 2005

The End of Ze World

This is some funny shit. Juvenile, yet terrifyingly close to reality. Enjoy.