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, December 30, 2005

Too Little, Too Late

Just when I thought I was going to skate through the rest of the year without falling through the ice, I receive a phone call from my Dad. My aunt, his sister, passed away quietly on Wednesday. Faithful readers will remember this is the aunt I never knew existed until I was a teenager, who was born deaf and blind and spent her entire life in an institution. I pressed my family to take the simple steps necessary to find her, which we did, in October . I regret terribly that I never got the chance to meet her, and, even worse, that neither my Dad nor his brother got the chance to see her before she died. I had no idea she was so ill.

The silver lining in all of this is at least the government worker knew how to get in touch with her family (she is a ward of the court); if we had not made contact with her caregivers I don't know how hard they would have searched for next of kin.

If you have people in your life that you love and you haven't told them recently, tell them today. It might be your last chance.

Peter Gabriel -- I Grieve -- Mp3

Monday, December 26, 2005

Child of Mary

I talked to my mother (Mary) today. After many years of heart-breaking passive-aggressiveness and long periods of silence, we've come to an understanding about the amount and type of communication that works between us. We speak on the phone twice, maybe three times a year -- her birthday, my birthday, and Christmas -- and send the obligatory cards back and forth. I send her a Christmas centerpiece or wreath (without flowers, she's allergic) every year, and she sends me a few pictures of herself and a gift I will never use. When we talk on the phone we discuss safe topics like the weather, trips we've taken recently or the dogs. Occasionally, if I open the door even a crack, she'll launch headlong into her latest mysterious medical condition that no doctor can seem to diagnose. When this happens I wait patiently in silence until she realizes I am not saying anything and changes the subject. Not exactly the ideal mother-daughter relationship, but after all the pain and anger that she's caused me I think it's the best that I can do.

Our trip to Yosemite was slightly disappointing, as there was absolutely NO snow to be found, at least not at the altitude we were at, you could see tiny spots on the tops of mountains. The bare trees do have a certain kind of sad beauty, but I missed the quiet magic that seeing them covered with snow brings.

Our hotel was a full hour's drive from the hotel where the big dinner was, which was unexpected, so that night involved driving back and forth and back and forth as we had to get our table assignment in person and the time cut-off was 2 hours before the dinner started. Once we finally got there (a bit late), it was really wonderful. At one point a beautiful little girl of about 10 was dancing and singing and stopped on her way down the causeway to hand me the ribbon she was carrying and grabbed D. for an impromptu dance. I smiled sweetly in the spotlight as my heart jumped into my throat and tears welled behind my eyes, watching my husband twirl her around joyfully.

The next day we returned to Yosemite Valley to do some hiking and wander around the Ahwahnee in the daylight.

All day there were performances by the opera chorale that stars in the dinner. We managed to get a comfy seat on a couch to listen to them sing carols. Sitting in a room decorated to the hilt, everyone around me singing along, I sat silently, feeling disconnected during the religious selections and barren and sad during the children's carols. We left before Santa arrived; I couldn't bear to watch all the children in the room squealing with delight in their adorable outfits.

The last few years we've started the tradition of taking D's Mom to the movies on Christmas Day. This year we saw the Chronicles of Narnia. I read the books when I was a child, they were some of my favorites. It was completely delightful, and went a long way to fulfill my wish for a magical snow-covered fantasy. The computer generation was absolutely amazing, especially the lion, and the children were very good. I wonder why only British children get to have these types of wonderful adventures? From Mary Poppins to Harry Potter to Lord of the Rings to Narnia, its really not fair. I have added a new actor to my "Famous Men I'd Like To Do" list, he's just a baby, only 18, but undeniably delicious: William Mosely, who plays the eldest of the four children.

We watched several of the programs on TV recently about the Virgin Mary and Mary Magdalene, the childhood of Jesus, Noah's ark, etc. While I don't doubt that some of even all of these people may have existed, their divinity and the debate over whether the Bible is fact or fiction makes me slightly angry and slightly crazy. Going back to my mother and my childhood, one thing that I am thankful for is the utter lack of religion in our household. I think I would have been much worse off if I had to struggle with the dichotomy of an omnipotent and omniscient power that was goodness personified, watching over me, with the reality of my existence. Although his views are more extreme than mine, Penn Jillette wrote a very interesting article for NPR a while back, and some of the things he writes ring true for me. [I'm not a huge Penn Jillette fan, I think he's very strange, and he jumped on the celebrity wacky baby name wagon as well.] To those who have a strong faith of the God of your understanding, I envy you. All I have is myself, my loved ones and the blogosphere.

Monday, December 19, 2005


No, its not a synonym for "whassup", it actually means "A festive occasion on which toasts are drunk; the ale or wine in which such toasts are made." I know I've been telling you all I can't get into Christmas and haven't done many of the traditions this year, but for some reason it was my idea to attend perhaps the most extravagant Christmas pageant/banquet on the West Coast, the Bracebridge Dinner at the Ahwahnee Hotel in Yosemite National Park.

Its well worth the short read to find out the long and interesting history of the Dinner. Its only been in the last couple of years that you can even get tickets without winning a lottery. I have a friend who has been twice and she spoke so highly of it we decided to make the trip this year. The dinner itself is very expensive (let's put it this way, the 17-person Bay Area Blogapalooza luncheon cost about the same as it will for just the two of us to attend), so that's another reason we are forgoing most of the other Christmas stuff -- i.e. presents -- this year. We aren't staying at the Ahwahnee, that was way out of the price range, but we are staying here, which is close-by and was given rave reviews by my boss. I'm hoping that the combination of the snow, the old English traditions and spending three quality days alone with D. will salve my weary soul. We leave early Thursday morning and return late Christmas Eve. I suspect Christmas Day will find us holed up at home with the pups. In any case, this will be my last entry for a bit. Everyone have a safe and happy holiday.

Sunday, December 18, 2005


Many times I've read and heard Infertiles lamenting about how strangers are always asking them if they have kids. This happens in places where you might expect it -- the park or the baby clothes section of a store -- and when you don't -- while you're getting coffee or having your hair done. I don't have this problem. Seriously, nobody EVER asks me if I have kids. Do I just not give off maternal vibes, or am I so unapproachable people are afraid to ask me about anything?

I was chatting with one of my single girlfriends the other day, she said people ask her all the time if she has kids while she's at the grocery store, but that could be tied to the fact that she eats like a 10 year-old boy. Cap*n Crunch and chocolate milk doesn't exactly scream Executive. She said its because I don't look like a Soccer Mom, or the haggard Mom of an infant for sure, I'm always so put together. That's part vanity and part circumstance, but she has a point, I don't own a velour tracksuit and I almost never go out of the house without make-up and my hair in a ponytail with baby spit-up on my shoulder. I figure if I'm going to put in my contacts I might as well spend another 5 minutes to put on a bit of make-up and brush my hair.

Still, I wonder if its my appearance or something deeper.

For those of you dying to know how that copper satin gown looked on a real live me, here you go, and a bonus shot of Mister GQ in his new three-piece suit. The party was the same as it always is, but they had a passable Australian shiraz for me to drink and that helped immensely.

Wednesday, December 14, 2005


This has been around for a while, but since I was tagged by Avonlea I thought, what the heck, anything to get out of working from home.

Seven things to do before I die (not in order of priority):
1. Visit my Dad's family's land in Northern Ireland
2. Write a novel (and hopefully get it published)
3. Meet my husband's son
4. Go back to Paris
5. Learn to ski
6. Open a dog park
7. Pay off a mortgage

Seven things I cannot do:
1. Sew
2. Speak a foreign language
3. Throw a frisbee
4. Drive a stick shift
5. Scuba dive
6. Walk past a dog without petting it
7. Vote in the U.S. (I'm a Canadian citizen)

Seven things that attract me to my spouse (in random order):
1. His small perfect ears
2. His eyes
3. His flat little butt
4. His compassion
5. His ability to cry
6. His goofiness
7. His love of animals

Seven things I say most often:
1. Love you more
2. Bonus
3. Holy crap
4. What's up with that?
5. Silliness
6. Alert the media
7. Hello?

Seven books (or series) I love (in random order):
1. The Time Traveller's Wife
2. The God of Small Things
3. The Phantom Tollbooth
4. Outlander
5. The Autobiography of Henry VIII
6. The Crimson Petal and the White
7. Atlas Shrugged

Seven movies I watch over and over again (in random order):
1. The Princess Bride
2. An American in Paris
3. Amadeus
4. Chocolat
5. Sixth Sense
6. Dangerous Liaisons
7. The English Patient

I'm not going to tag anyone specifically, but if you want to leave in the comments any interesting tidbits about yourself, that would be cool.

Here's a lovely song I just found, and since its almost technically winter, its another gift to you.
Sarah McLachlan - Song for a Winter's Night Mp3

Monday, December 12, 2005

Raising a Glass

As many of you know, yesterday was the Bay Area IF Blogapalooza luncheon. Truly a wonderful experience, somehow 4 hours wasn't enough so most of us found another venue and continued for another couple of hours. When I left there were still a half a dozen out of a total of 17 I believe. Although many of the stories were heart-breaking, and heart-breakingly similar to each other, this was far from a pity party. Instead, for the most part the room was booming with raucous laughter and animated conversation. I'm sure the restaurant was glad they agreed to put us in a private room!

Between the mall aversion, the warmish weather and the moratorium on decorating the homestead this year, I still cannot get into the holidays. A huge part of this is the fact that I am agnostic, and let's face it, Christmas in America is really about two things: religion and shopping. Christmas music also drives me nuts, its either wholly religious (no pun intended) or insipid. Having said that, here's a little ditty that made even this bitter wretch smile.

The Count - Let it Snow MP3 (right click, Save Target As to save with your music files, or just click on the link to play using RealPlayer or something similar)

We're going to D's company Christmas party on Saturday, and I will be debuting my new holiday outfit. Not only that, we are staying at the hotel after the party so it will be a nice little getaway and we won't have to worry about how much we're drinking. There's something about corporate events that makes me want to drink copious amounts of whatever free swill they are offering. D. also got himself a new suit, I promise if there are any decent pictures of us I will post them, y'all know I am not shy about that kind of thing.

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

In Flux

I've been struggling quite a bit lately. I generally feel a sense of dread around the holidays, but this year its even worse than usual. Thank God we have a DVR now so I don't have to watch commercials showing happy families with twinkling lights and rosy cheeks. I'm barely in my 40s and already I feel like a cynical old hag. D and I aren't buying presents for each other this year, and we're forgoing decorating and a tree since we'll be out of town most of Christmas week. I'm not even sending out Christmas cards this year, something I would have found unthinkable just a few years ago. For the first time, there is no hope for "next year" to be the year when we have our child. Even before we started trying, the hope was there for the future.

This may sound strange to some of you, but I honestly think that adopting a child would be a terrible choice for us. Partly because there is history that is painful, but partly because that adopted child would always be a reminder of my infertility, my ultimate failure. So, I am stuck here in this pergatory. I realize its only been a few months since I found out I was perimenopausal and we decided to get off the Baby Train, so I need to cut myself some slack and allow the grieving process to happen without beating myself up. I'm just so tired of being sad and depressed.

We went to see the new sci-fi movie Aeon Flux the other day, part of D's birthday celebration. (BTW, this is what I got him.) Summary: The film, based on the futuristic MTV animated series created by Peter Chung, is set 400 years in the future, when disease has wiped out the majority of the earth's population except for one walled, protected city- state, Bregna, ruled by a congress of scientists. Charlize Theron plays the title role of "Aeon Flux," the top operative in the underground "Monican" rebellion, led by the Handler, played by Frances McDormand. When Aeon is sent on a mission to kill the government's leader, she uncovers a world of secrets, which makes her question everything she thought she knew.

SPOILER ALERT! If you plan on seeing this movie you might want to stop reading now, although this particular fact doesn't give away the ending or any of the plot twists. I knew absolutely nothing about this movie except that Charlize wears a skin-tight catsuit for most of it (and even less sometimes), and I was surprised to discover that the essence of the conflict in the story revolves around infertility. Global infertilty, in fact. There's just no getting away from it, the continuation of the species is the most important medical/scientific/biological concern, and I was not able to do my part. Its not even about the baby anymore, I love my cushy life and all my free time and sleeping in -- its about the failure.

Saturday, December 03, 2005


I've been thinking a lot the past few weeks about the idea of anonymity in Bloglandia, particularly for IF bloggers. I see a lot of different flavors of it. There are those that use pseudonyms, never post pictures, don't reveal where they live and generally do everything possible to obscure their true identity. There are those that use a pseudonym but have posted pictures of themselves. And there are those (like me) that use their real name, post pictures and reveal at least their general location.

We all know the story of Dooce and how she got fired for blogging, even though she wasn't blogging directly about her employer. [If I got that wrong, let me know, as this was before I entered the blogosphere.] Most blogs, but especially IF blogs, are highly personal and contain information that we would not disclose to anyone, save perhaps our closest friends in real life. So, I completely understand why some wish to remain anonymous.

My question is this: if someone you knew from any segment of your life were to stumble across your blog, wouldn't they be able to recognize you? Perhaps not if noone in your life knew of your IF struggles, but invariably some other little snippet of information gets included that might give you away. Like, we just got back from vacation, or DH's mother was here for a visit, or my niece just had a baby.

Granted, I have not been the victim of many trolls, and noone that I did not want to read my blog has found it (that I know of, anyway), so I am sure I would feel differently if I had been hurt profoundly by being "outed".

I don't want to be misconstrued here. I fully and completely support anyone's decision to remain anonymous, and I would never EVER betray someone's trust by providing information to a third party regarding their blog. I suppose I just don't understand how you plan on remaining anonymous indefinitely when you've made your blog public. Although many, many topics I discuss on my blog aren't suitable for public conversations, I am not ashamed of anything I've ever written.

I suppose its too late for me to decide to be anonymous at this point, and maybe I'm being naive. I am interested in different opinions about this. Please tell me why you have chosen to be out or in.

Friday, December 02, 2005

The Power of Two

Today is my husband's birthday. At the risk of spreading a thick layer of feel-good-goo, I'm going to take this opportunity to say a few words about him and us.

In spite of what you would expect to find, the vast majority of infertiles have really good marriages or relationships, and I'm no different. I suppose this is the kind of thing that could bust apart a union, so if you make it through this you know you've got a keeper. We've had so many opportunities in our life together that have had the potential for disaster, but all the adversity has just brought us closer.

His name is Devin; it means "poet" in Gaelic, and hearing it said aloud still shoots electricity through me. I suppose that could be because for so long it was a forbidden name. When we met I had been married less than a year and, at 25, was already terribly unhappy. [Was I really only 25?] Within 6 months he had fallen in love with me, told me so and embarked on a trying 5 year odyssey of waiting while I extricated myself from a complicated, doomed marriage.

Obviously, patience is one of his many virtues. He is an accomplished musician, plays the guitar and the drums; writes poetry (he wrote a haiku for our engagement announcement); can fix or do anything around the house, from the computer to the plumbing; drive any kind of vehicle; is working on his black belt in Aikido; loves animals of all kinds, is sweet, funny, good-looking, and likes to cook. What's not to love?

We have the same initials. Anyone who knows us would recognize the DH2 moniker. Not "two people with the same initials", rather, DH squared, DH to the power of two (see my blog URL).

The other day he gets on IM and sends me a big smile emoticon. "Why so happy?", I write back. "Married to you", he replies. This kind of thing is a normal, everyday occurance. If it weren't so heartfelt it would be annoying. OK, it might be annoying if you were sitting next to us and we were having this conversation, but only because you would be jealous.

We celebrate our anniversary every month, so today is a doubly special day since its also a "monthiversary". I got him a really cool present, but I can't tell you what it is yet, since he might read this. I'll tell you soon, but its REALLY cool.

This one's for you, baby. I love you.

Etta James -- At Last Mp3