Sunday, September 30, 2007

Back in the Saddle, sort of

I've been wanting to write a clever, beautiful or thoughtful post like so many of my admired fellow bloggers. But let's face it ... I'm tired. I have a few little things in the works, but since its been so long since we've chatted I thought I'd just bring you up to speed on the latest happenings. Here goes:

Trip to Philly and Wedding ...
was a very nice trip. The wedding weekend was generally lots of fun. I felt pretty and got to drink lots of wine. Unfortunately so did ResidentBoy. He was awfully sloppy by nights end. But we had a great time catching up with old friends. The little one apparently did great with my sister and was fairly comical. We then spent a little time with our best friends who had twins this year (no ART, but we still love our friends), and they have a boy J's age. We loved visiting with them, but it wasn't long enough. We miss them lots. We spent a little time with my parents and even squeezed in an afternoon of kayaking at the local lake on a beautiful fall day.

Housework ...
is ongoing but getting close to done. We came back from our trip a day early so DH could help me move furniture out of our living room for painting. I have finished the living room, a lovey tan/putty color. Some touch ups on the trim I did last year still to finish, and I'm wrapping up the touch ups from the massive plumbing job done last month. Got to get all this done by next week as my parents are coming for a visit before snow season.

Child ...
finished all his evaluations to get into school district program so we can hopefully get free speech therapy. We have our meeting for the potential IEP on Oct 11th. Meantime, we started private speech therapy under our insurance. But we only get 20 visits covered and need to pay a $20 copay for each visit. I don't think we will have a problem getting services, but there are lots of hoops to jump through. When not having his IQ tested, he is enjoying school tons, and has become fast friends with the neighbor's little girl. They cry everyday because we tell them they can't have a playdate EVERYDAY after school.

Cycle ...
well, its CD1. Not much else to say. Except last cycle was insanely long, like 40 days long. This is not normal for me. And I have still battled this weird ocular migraine nonsense throughout. I'm wondering if I have cysts after all the huge amounts of drugs in July. I'm finally in town for CD3 bloods this cycle, so I'll have those done and talk with the nurse about what to do. If my cycles are going to stay this long, I might need to go on BCPs now in order to insure we can do our very last IVF in late Nov. I'm not sure how I feel about trying again. I think I have to. Ah, this is a topic for an entire post another day.

Odd n Ends ...
I got my "Common Thread" bracelet! Thanks dMarie! I added some lovely beads that look like pomegrante seeds and a clasp from the craft store. If you want one, just check out dMarie's site to learn about how to get one. I've also started reading "Happiness Sold Separately" by Lolly Winston for the next Barren Bitches Book Brigade. Wanna sign up? Check out the tour, you have until Oct 24th to sign up.

Some of my blogger friends are suffering through tough times. There have been some terrible losses lately, anniversaries of old hurts, sad news and even a betrayal. So just know ladies, that I am thinking of you all during these rough days and I am here to hold your hands, as you have done for me.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Jewish Holidays -- Feast or Fast

Okay, this is TOTALLY cheating. But my SIL sent me this email tonight, and I found it terribly amusing. And as it seems I am discovering more and more of you seem to be Jewish, or part Jewish, or at least know some Jews ... so I figured you might enjoy it as much as I did.

Disclaimer: I am not Jewish, only married to one. Therefore I can not attest to the accuracy of ANY of these holidays! Sorry, its a little long too.

As a general principle, Jewish holidays are divided between days on which you must starve and days on which you must overeat. Many Jews observe no fewer than 16 fasts throughout the Jewish year, based on the time-honored principle that even if you are sure that you are ritually purified, you definitely aren't. Though there are many feasts and fasts, sadly there are no holidays requiring light snacking.

Note: Unlike Christians, who simply attend church on special days (e.g. Ash Wednesday), on Jewish holidays most Jews take the whole day off. This is because Jews, for historical and personal reasons, are more stressed out.

The Diet Guide to the Jewish Holidays:
Rosh Hashanah -- Feast
Tzom Gedalia -- Fast
Yom Kippur -- More fasting
Sukkot -- Feast
Hashanah Rabbah -- More feasting
Simchat Torah -- Keep feasting
Month of Heshvan -- No feasts or fasts for a whole month. Get a grip on yourself.
Hanukkah -- Eat potato pancakes
Tenth of Tevet -- Do not eat potato pancakes
Tu B'Shevat -- Feast
Fast of Esther -- Fast
Purim -- Eat pastry
Passover -- Do not eat pastry
Shavuot -- Dairy feast (cheesecake, blintzes etc.)
17th of Tammuz -- Fast (definitely no cheesecake or blintzes)
Tish B'Av -- Very strict fast (don't even think about cheesecake or blintzes)
Month of Elul -- End of cycle. Enroll in Centre for Eating Disorders before High Holidays arrive again

There are many forms of Judaism:
Cardiac Judaism -- in my heart I am a Jew.
Gastronomic Judaism -- we eat Jewish foods.
Pocketbook Judaism -- I give to Jewish causes.
Drop-off Judaism -- drop the kids off at Sunday school and go out to breakfast.
Two-Times a Year Judaism -- attend service Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur.

You know you grew up Jewish when:

You grew up thinking it's normal for someone to shout "Are you okay? Are you okay?" through the bathroom door if you're in there for longer than 3 minutes.

You spent your entire childhood thinking that everyone calls roast beef "brisket".

Your family dog responds to complaints uttered in Yiddish.

Every Sunday afternoon of your childhood was spent visiting your grandparents.

You've experienced the phenomena of 50 people fitting into a 10 foot wide dining room hitting each other with plastic plates trying to get to a deli tray.

You were as tall as your grandmother by the age of seven.

You never knew anyone whose last name didn't end in one of 6 standard suffixes (-man, -witz, -berg, -stein, -blatt and -baum).

You can look at gefilte fish and not turn green.

You can understand Yiddish but you can't speak it.

You know how to pronounce numerous Yiddish words and use them correctly in context, yet you don't exactly know what they mean. Kenahurra.

You have at least one ancestor who is related to your spouse's ancestor.

You have at least six male relatives named David.


Sunday, September 16, 2007

Barren Bitches Book Brigade -- Love and Other Impossible Pursuits

First, thanks to the fantabulous Mel for doing all the work in putting this tour together. You are the best!

Second, I just would like to say how much I enjoyed the book as a whole. It had been awhile since I had read much fiction, and my first time joining the book brigade. And I was a little nervous adding more IF/loss elements in my life. But this book covered aspects of loss I had not personally experienced, along with so many other important areas, especially relationships (spousal, with a child, friends etc.) I appreciated the quick pace of the writing and the depth of honest emotions discussed.

On to the discussion, but don't forget to hop along to another stop on this blog tour by visiting the main list at You can also sign up for the next book on this online book club: Happiness Sold Separately by Lolly Winston (with author participation!).

On page 65, Waldman writes, "She (Mindy) thinks we are members of the same sorority of pain, that we are sisters in grief… But when I'm with Mindy I'm afraid every minute that I'll that I will tell her she has no fucking idea that a curl of flesh and DNA floating in a toilet bowl full of blood is not a baby, and that the remnants of pregnancy running down your legs is nothing, nothing like holding your dead child in your arms…" React to this statement as a woman who has lost a baby through miscarriage. In addition, can a similar sentiment apply to women experiencing different levels of infertility? Is one person's "pain" moot in comparison to another's if one has only failed with IUI versus one who has failed with multiple IVFs?

I knew this topic would be of interest to many, and several of the questions touch on this dilemma. My personal perspective is somewhat similar to Emilia’s, that there is a difference between the loss of an early pregnancy vs. the loss of a born child. Perhaps that seems harsh, but I do feel that the loss of a child is somehow profound. I do NOT however feel that difference inherently means one individual’s pain is “greater” than another. I have experienced both a chemical pregnancy and a missed miscarriage. At that point in my life, I recall being very frustrated that the OB/GYN who called with my results concerning the chemical would not call it a miscarriage. I felt it was very unfair to make this distinction – to me, I had lost a baby. But now I do have a son, and if I lost him at any point after his birth, I know that loss would scar me in an even deeper way than the lost possibility of a child. After my missed miscarriage due to blighted ovum, I was deeply saddened, more so than the chemical, in part because at the time of the chemical I was not diagnosed as infertile. With the miscarriage I had held hope at bay and had early signs that it would be unsuccessful.

For me, the longer a pregnancy goes forward in good health, the more significant the loss can become for that person. You are so much closer to that desired outcome, there is more invested, physically and emotionally. I still grieve my miscarriages. But at least for me, it is grieving the loss of the possibility of that child. If my losses had been in later stages of pregnancy, I believe that my pain would have been greater. Maybe it is the scientist in me, but as a fetus approaches viability, that would deepen the impact for me.

Everyone experiences grief differently. And I would never discount the pain someone feels over the loss of an early pregnancy. I certainly wouldn’t presume that loss to be “less.” But for me personally, it would be much harder to lose a living, born child. I think the same is true of infertility treatment. The pain and disappointment of a failed IUI is not necessarily “less” than that of IVF. But in each successive treatment cycle there can be less hope of a positive outcome. And that circumstance does add intensity at each increasing level of treatment.

Throughout the novel, Emilia feels she was drawn to her husband, Jack, through the concept of bashert – that it was a magical connection or fate that had drawn them together. Do you believe in love at first sight? Do you believe there is one soul mate for each of us?

The question I posed was similar to this. I was intrigued by the concept of bashert (see this site for more details). My DH is Jewish, and has often remarked that we are soul mates – but he has never talked about bashert. I certainly do not believe our connection is “magic” per se, but I have come to believe it is incredibly special. In many ways, I think he was drawn to me with a much greater intensity than I was to him when we first met. I was much more hesitant to consider him “the one.” But his commitment to our connection altered that view. We were essentially inseparable quite quickly after we began dating in college. So while it was not love at first sight for me, I do think we were drawn together for a reason. We complement one another on so many levels. There is often unspoken understanding. Our connection does not have the degree of fire often referred to between Jack and Emilia, but it has an amazing level of strength and power.

Do you think that Jack was supportive of Emilia's task for watching William on Wednesday? Should Emilia have to maintain the same demands/lifestyle standards has Carolyn placed upon William's nanny?

I do not have any first-hand experience with stepfamilies, however one of my siblings is a stepparent who has faced some similar issues. In witnessing that experience I gained an appreciation of the complexities of parenting within stepfamilies and blended families, especially ones in which all parties do not share the same perspective. I think that it was admirable for Jack to support Emilia having some primary responsibility for William, by caring for him on Wednesdays. But I do not think he made enough effort to create an environment where this experience would be successful. It was sabotaged from the get go.

It was certainly unacceptable to expect Emilia to adhere to the standards Carolyn established. While Carolyn was William’s mother and should have control over vital elements of his life, her micromanagement of every aspect was detrimental for everyone: William, Jack, Emilia and even Carolyn herself. Having acquiesced to Carolyn’s orders for so many years, it seemed Jack was incapable of challenging her demands, even if William and Emilia’s well being and relationship required it. As the individual with a previous relationship, the burden of communication fell to Jack. Yet he failed repeatedly to insist that his new wife be given, at the very least, a minor role in managing William’s life.

Now don't forget to hop along to another stop on this blog tour by visiting the main list at You can also sign up for the next book on this online book club: Happiness Sold Separately by Lolly Winston (with author participation!).

Wednesday, September 12, 2007


Grandmother. Grammy. Gammie. Gran Ma. Grandmom. Grans. Nana. Nonna. Mams. MeMaw. Mom-Mom. Bubbie.

Grandfather. Gramps. Gran Pa. Granddad. Paw Paw. Pa Pa. Poppie. PePaw. Pop-Pop. Zaddie.

So what do (or will) your children call you parents? Is is a variant of Grandmother/Grandfather? Or is it based on an ethnic or cultural tradition?

I ask because I find it fascinating. My son calls my parents Mom-Mom and Pop-Pop, a long tradition in our family. My in-laws are Jewish, so they are Bubbie and Zaddie. As I was waiting to drop off J at preschool there were a few grandparents there, so I hear different nicknames. I rarely hear the same names we use for J's grandparents. I thought I did today, but turns out it was only a close approximation.

Happy New Year to my Jewish Blogging friends! In fact, I'm amazed how many of you are out there. I need your help, I think. As DH and I settled that we would raise the young 'uns Jewish, I'm a bit at a loss. His schedule is so busy, he's not much help with the religious rearing. We are not much for services. So how does your family celebrate the New Year? Any contemporary type dishes? (I have to admit, I'm not much of a kosher chef)

Monday, September 10, 2007

Making Progress

While I haven't actually been a whirling dervish of achievment, I have actually gotten a little more accomplished the past few days. I had another garage sale this Saturday, which didn't do nearly as well as the one in early summer. But I still got rid of some stuff and made about $50. Plus, DH took J for the morning so when I wasn't selling I got to finish a book.

Then we spent a Sunday afternoon with friends, D & Z, who face IF also. There was one other couple there, who were nice. We ladies had a good time talking feminist issues and childrearing stuff. The other girl (lady? woman? chick? I never know what term to use!) was finishing her doctorate in child psychology. So we covered lots of topics -- daycare vs SAHM effect, early childhood education, the role of teachers in lifetime learning. It was really intellectually interesting. Something I haven't had much lately.

Unfortunately, this week I'm still procrastinating about the pile of bills and paperwork that need filing. But I blame genetics for that -- my dad is just as bad. A few more days of getting organized, then I'm headed back to PA for a wedding and a last visit to family and friends before winter sets in here. I'm excited for the wedding -- its black tie and we are renting a hotel room and staying over. Date night, big time!

Thursday, September 6, 2007

The Wind ...

... is blowing, so I'm turning over a new leaf.

Wednesday, September 5, 2007


Once again, I feel stuck. Why is it that the more I need to accomplish, the less I seem to achieve? While I believe some of these feeling stem from being a SAHM (no periodic reviews here, no pay raises), I think some may be my own neuroses.

When I was a kid, I had chores. Plenty. In fact, my Mom had gone back to work by the time I was in school,l so we all had to help run the house. But I always waited until someone was around to see that I was getting things done. Despite being a mature individual, I always needed supervision -- or an observer at least. I had trouble valuing my achievements if they were not witnessed.

Now I think that behavior is wreaking havoc in my daily life. My 4-year-old (4YO) doesn't qualify to witness. For he will not judge me if I fail to make the grade. And my DH is often not around, and/or doesn't seem to mind the lack of elaborate meals or clean socks. (okay, he does notice when there are no socks or underwear, but not much else) Sometimes I tell myself that if my family were bigger, I would be on the ball. I would have meals and tons of laundry done and my dog would be better behaved. Because our lives would be so busy it would be necessary. People would notice if my many children had dirty clothes. But with only one child, its simple to have enough clean clothes and a wiped chin.

Besides the 4YO doesn't even need me to wipe his chin anymore. Today he started all-week Pre-K. No problems. Walked in. Hung up his own backpack. Dove into playing. No tears, not even from me.

Would I be different if I had 3 kids now, like I had hoped? Would I keep house better, would I engage my son more often in play and activities? Would I budget better and worry less? Would I have been brave enough to branch out and find consulting work or some other income? Would I be happy?

I'm thinking lots about these things. Has IF put me in this slump, or is it just me? It is so easy to blame my delaying life on IF, the eminent move, my migraines, the lunar eclipse. What have I learned these 3 years? Ms Planner got me thinking today with her post about Lessons Learned. I love her list, and I think mine would be very, very similar. But even more so than that is my need/desire to learn to Forgive and Be Positive. I'm trying to do those things, the exact ones described in her post. But it can be hard. And I am tired. And then I'm tired of it being hard. And then I'm tired of having to try and make it easier.

I feel like a leaf in the middle of a lake, with not a single whisper of wind.

Saturday, September 1, 2007

I Need Divine Intervention?

Since I am feeling terribly grumbly today, it seems a decent time to vent about another event during my trip home this past month. I know that many have posted on this topic before and it always rankles some nerves, but here it is again. Also, please note this entails some discussion of religion and g-d -- my thoughts are my own, and never meant to offend. However, if this is a sensitive subject for you, feel free to skip this one.

Some background is required. My parents are active Catholics (yet I wouldn't quite say devout, they lack that certain disturbing fervor for that label in my mind), and we were raised in that tradition. I no longer consider myself a Catholic, in fact, my husband and I have agreed to raise our child(ren) Jewish, in his family's traditions. Anyway, during my trip I was eating lunch with a family member, who in the difficulties in her life has "found" g-d, along with several self-help "be happy" books (granted some of these are helpful, I even have a few, but I saw "The Secr*t" on her bookshelf and more of the same vein).

So, my son suddenly asks "Mom, when are you going to have a baby?" We've crossed this bridge a few times in the last year and generally stick with "we don't know, but we'd like to" which seems enough of an answer for him. Well, this time, before I can answer, this family member shrugs and tells him "It's up to g-d." I took a long deep breath and swallowed a lot of emotions.

This person has always been understanding that J would be raised Jewish and supported that in the best way she could. And she knows that my perspective on g-d is very different than hers. So it was tough for me to choke this one down. But I have found that it is not worth it to enter this debate.

But I was thinking about that experience today as I was reading dd's archive. She said exactly how I feel on this subject:
"I dismiss any and all claims that God somehow has a hand in my infertility. How could he? How could anyone think he has a bigger picture in mind when he strikes my family’s life with such sadness and loss ..."

I wish others could understand that, for me, playing the g-d card is the same as saying "just relax." As an old friend used to say "that just chaps my ass."