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, September 30, 2005

Beach Reading

I tried to post some more pictures but Blogger wouldn't let me. Grrrr. Does anybody know if there is a limit on bandwidth or some other restriction?

In the meantime I'll give you my latest book review. While we were there I read The Children of Men by P.D. James (who is a woman in case you didn't know that). Not exactly the usual beach read, but if you haven't figured it out by now, I'm a bit of a book snob. I've never read any of her mysteries and this was a departure from that genre for her. It was written nearly 15 years ago so you may not have heard of it, but since most of you are IF'ers or former/reformed IF'ers, you might be interested in this story.

Synopsis (from Amazon): Near the end of the 20th century, for reasons beyond the grasp of modern science, human sperm count went to zero. The last birth occurred in 1995, and in the space of a generation humanity has lost its future. In England, under the rule of an increasingly despotic Warden, the infirm are encouraged to commit group suicide, criminals are exiled and abandoned and immigrants are subjected to semi-legalized slavery. Divorced, middle-aged Oxford history professor Theo Faron, an emotionally constrained man of means and intelligence who is the Warden's cousin, plods through an ordered, bleak existence. But a chance involvement with a group of dissidents moves him onto unexpected paths, leading him, in the novel's compelling second half, toward risk, commitment and the joys and anguish of love. In this convincingly detailed world--where kittens are (illegally) christened, sex has lost its allure and the arts have been abandoned--James concretely explores an unthinkable prospect. Readers should persevere through the slow start, for the rewards of this story, including its reminder of the transforming power of hope, are many and lasting.

I found the writing to be somewhat stolid and stoic, as one reviewer put it: no emotion please, we're British. I'm used to lavish adjectives and description passages in my reading. It is supposed to take place in 2021 but does not have one word in it about computers or any other technology that didn't exist at the time it was written. Although it was a good story and interesting to me for obvious reasons, I can't in all honesty recommend the book. This may be the first time I've ever said this, but wait for the movie. The good news is, it has the potential to be a good movie.

The director is Alfonso Cuaron, who brought us Y Tu Mama Tambien and Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, and stars Clive Owen, Julianne Moore and Gary Oldman. Release date is currently scheduled for next September.


There were orchids in every room of the house

Nepenthes (Tropical Pitcher Plant), a carnivorous beauty

Banyan tree

Native bromeliad

Huge coleus

I believe this is an African Tulip Tree

Orange hibiscus

Close-up hibiscus, this one was off the back lanai

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

And so it begins...

I'm going to post the vacation pictures in groups, there are just too many to try to do justice to any one topic/day/trip to do it any other way. Plus I don't want to crash the servers of those of you using less than T1 lines. So, this first group is the house we stayed at, a private residence that we rented from the owner for the week in Captain Cook, about 10 miles north of Kailua-Kona.

View of the house from the bottom of the yard

Front lanai -- it was pouring when we arrived, the only real rain we had

Back lanai

View from the front lanai

Night view

Master bedroom (same view as from the front lanai)

Master bath

Monday, September 26, 2005

Back from Paradise

Back at home and happy to see my doggies and not be sweating 24/7. We really lucked out with the weather, they had some severe thunderstorms on other islands and there was even a fatal sight-seeing helicopter crash because the pilot decided to go up even though it was raining heavily.

Overall it was a great trip, we did pretty much everything we wanted to do and even managed to throw in some relaxation time. However, I have a knack for getting hurt on vacation, and this one was no different.

Our first full day we went snorkeling. I cut my left knee on some coral and whacked my left big toe as well. The nail is now purple on the way to black and I'm sure I will lose it. We kayaked across a bay to get to the good snorkeling area and on the way back I didn't put more sunscreen on my legs. By the time we got back to the car (30 minutes or so), my legs were extremely burned. I could actually feel them burning, like an egg frying. I wanted to cut off my legs and be done with it. So the rest of the trip I was dealing with that. The burn gel you can buy there has lidocaine in it but it wasn't even touching it. I saved the good stuff I had bought in Mexico (with novacaine) for the following day when we did the l-o-n-g hike on the lava beds, with jeans on. By the time we finished the hike I had pretty much lost the will to live. Well, almost. It got better day by day and I thought I was out of the woods and was gonna save some of my tan, but alas that was not meant to be. After a day on the beach on Saturday I got water blisters, then I started to peel, from the top of my feet to the tips of my ears. Sigh. Its not pretty.

Once I get the pics off the laptop and on here I'll post a link.

Friday, September 16, 2005

The Countdown Continues

I'm taking a break from cleaning the house to post one more time before we leave. Our normal dog-sitter is coming to stay for the week so the boys won't be lonely. He lets them sleep with him (as we do), so they are always happy when Uncle D. comes to stay. I already miss them!

This trip still doesn't seem real, maybe it will kick in when we leave the house tomorrow with our suitcases. I just checked the weather on the Big Island and it looks like there will be showers in the mornings most every day (normal), with a temperature range between 70 and 85. Sounds perfect to me, I wilt in too much heat. I may not come back with much of a tan but at least I won't get heatstroke.

I'll leave you with the perfect song to send me off.

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

The Constant Flower

One of the ways I've heard to separate types of people is to say some are gardeners and some are flowers. I'm lucky in that my hubby is a gardener and I am a flower (usually, sometimes we switch). Not a fussy, high-maintenance flower like an orchid or a rose, more like a daisy or a chrysanthemum...just give me a little love and I'll continue to bloom for you year after year.

Right now, I'm feeling like someone forgot to fertilize me. (Ha! Sorry for that little Freudian slip there.) I'm that sad, pathetic plant left in a plastic pot outside who only gets water when it rains. Many people in my life are trying to provide comfort and kindness right now, I think I'm just not able to accept it. Several friends have gently suggested I go back to therapy, but I just.don't.want.to.talk.about.it.any.more. I sure as hell don't want to pay $100 an hour to sit there and tell someone else I don't want to talk about it. It's not just ending up childless, it's all the back story -- the sexual abuse, the mentally ill mother, blah blah, I've gone over this ground a million times, I'm not going to "get over it", any more than I am going to get over trying and failing to have a child.

That's the "f" word that everyone keeps telling me I shouldn't use. I failed, ladies and gentlemen, there's no way around it. My friends tell me that saying I failed connotates that it was my fault, which it certainly was not. Perhaps not in any provable way, but it was my body that failed to produce a viable egg that was then fertilized. The only job my reproductive system was designed to do. If it wasn't my organs, then it was my decision to wait until I was 38 to even begin the process.

I've already talked about how I am not sorry that we went down this road, and neither is D., and that's the truth. When we first got together, legitimately, it was after a 5 year struggle, a messy, precarious slope that we nearly slid off of many times. For the next 5 years we were so damn slap happy just to be together the thought of marriage or children or anything except US never entered either of our heads.

I love D. more every day, I know that sounds corny but it's true. That's why this failure is so crushing. I am so lucky. How do I restore some of those feelings from the halcyon US days?

Monday, September 12, 2005


It's only 5 days until we leave on vacation. D. and I are going to the Big Island of Hawaii for a week with our best friends, none of us have ever been to any of the Hawaiian islands. Go figure! We rented a house in a macadamia nut grove outside of Kona, and will be staying in Hilo one night after what promises to be an arduous but beautiful hike on the lava fields of Kilauea, the world's most active volcano. Other than this one scheduled trip we have nothing planned, although we do plan on snorkeling several times. Anybody have any absolute do's and don'ts to pass along? I've already been told to buy Hawaiian souvenirs at Walmart and to be sure to visit Ken's House of Pancakes on the trip between Kona and Hilo or vice versa.

Saw The Constant Gardener last night. Having just finished the book it felt like I had already seen the movie, but its well done and quite moving, shot on location in Kenya (although according to the credits, somewhere in Manitoba substituted for London). A solid B+.

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

Paying It Forward

Earlier this year I was sent a Gonal-F multidose pen by a wonderful woman I met on an IF board. We've never met and never spoken on the phone, but when she heard we were struggling to pay for our injectibles cycles because we didn't have insurance, she didn't hesitate to offer her extra drugs. (T.R., if you're reading this, you rock.)

As part of my sputtering attempt to move forward and feel good about my life despite the sometimes crushing weight of failure, I've been wanting to get rid of all my fertility gear. Last week a fellow blogger was lamenting the awful ambiguity of Ovulation Predictor Kits (OPKs) and I offered my Fertility Monitor, in my estimation a much better way to track those precious eggs' movements.

Today I packed up the monitor (which I named Bert for some reason), half a dozen test sticks for it, a digital thermometer, a handful of vials of Pre-Seed, a stack of disposable alcohol wipes (for cleaning injection sites) and the lone pregnancy test I had left in the house. I'm still waiting to feel better; perhaps this is a delayed reaction, like muscle pain after a workout.

If you haven't seen the movie, its worth the rental. Haley Joel Osment will break your heart.

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

Down Came the Rain

Our computer crashed at home, otherwise I would have posted sooner. I am very depressed, I feel the same way I felt after 9/11. A great tragedy has occured in the country where I live, but far enough away that I am not touched by it in my daily life. I go about my business, going to work, shopping, working out, maybe even a movie. All the while suffering and heartache and devastation rule an entire region on the other side of the country. And there is very little that I can do to help.

But it's not just the Gulf Coast. There is famine in Niger and surrounding West African countries, gang violence in Guatemala, massive flooding from rainstorms in Central China and hundreds of thousands of people still reeling from the tsunami in Southeast Asia. I realize there has always been and always will be somewhere in the world where people are starving, homeless, dying of preventable diseases and persecuted. I am extremely fortunate to have been born after the last World War and have not lost anyone in my inner circle to current military actions.

We have all seen selfless heroism and selfish criminality in the same block, the extremes of human nature on display. Most of the media has been concentrating on how long it took for the relief efforts to begin and the failures of beaurocracy. Since I have no personal knowledge or experience with disaster relief and were not there, I have tried to keep an open mind. It's been difficult to be a cheerleader for FEMA when the Times Picayune newspaper in New Orleans called for all of it's top officials to be fired in an open letter to President Bush.

Despite all of our faults, human and otherwise, in order to survive as a country, a community and a culture, we need to stop blaming and just get the job done. Maybe for me, that means making as big a donation as I can and just getting on with the living of my life. If you know of a way to do that and not feel guilty, let me know.