Monthly Archives: January 2013

This is What Jealousy Does to You

October 12, 2012

I’m trying not to spend too much time on the Choice Moms forums. Okay, trying is probably too strong of a word. I’m just not a big online forum girl anyway, so it doesn’t take a lot of work. But there is a reason I’m not seeking them out. They just don’t have a very big focus on those of us who aren’t in big cities.

For example, I was reading about this fertility clinic in California that was created specifically to work with single women. And the way women described this place… There are comments about never feeling pressured into a particular treatment, how the doctors and staff listen and care. And it made me cry because I was so jealous of them. Why can’t I live there? Or why can’t there be a clinic like that here?

And this probably explains where the dream I had last night came from.

I got a care package from that clinic. See! They really are thoughtful and caring. They wanted to help me even though I was more than half-way across the country! The kicker? It was filled with OPKs. Meijer-brand OPKs. I’m not even sure how they got their hands on them. As far as I know, Meijer hasn’t expanded quite as far as California yet.

Oh, and for those of you who haven’t been watching, Stephanie is on a winning streak. Fingers crossed she wins again tonight! And in case you’ve been wondering, Julie was happy to have me over again on Tuesday, and we had a small group gathering at her place on Wednesday. My mom and I had a girls’ night last night, so I watched at her place, and I’m going there to watch again tonight. Go Stephanie!

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Back in High School, You Were Square

October 8, 2012

Some of you might recognize that as the, um, little known lyrics to the Jeopardy theme song. And for those of you who haven’t heard Christine Lavin’s “real” lyrics to the Jeopardy theme song:

Back in high school, you were square,
Carried books and slide rules everywhere.
You scored straight A’s year after year.
They called you geek; they called you queer.

For everyone who laughed in your face,
Now’s your chance to put them in their place.
‘Cause you’re on a TV show
Where your big brain wins big dough.

Boom. Boom.

You’re welcome. Feel free to sing along whenever you hear that music in the future. I have a tendency to do so. Or at least to sing along in my head. Unless I am working really hard to figure out the answer to Final Jeopardy.

I bring this up because Stephanie Jass, who I know from doing theatre way back when she was a student at WMU, makes her first appearance on Jeopardy tonight. My one difficulty with this is that I don’t have a TV. I mean, I have a TV, but it doesn’t work. Or rather, it works just fine for playing videos or DVDs, but it doesn’t work so well, or rather at all, as a TV. In short, I can’t watch Jeopardy at home. Fortunately, Julie, a mutual friend and the person who deserves full credit for letting all of us know that Stephanie is going to be on in case we either hadn’t heard or had forgotten, is hosting a viewing party tonight. I’m still not sure what I’ll do tomorrow if Stephanie wins…

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Generic

October 3, 2012

Allow me to make a brief detour into the world of OPKs. I was pleased when the fertility clinic suggested the generic Meijer-brand OPKs. Even the generic ones aren’t exactly cheap, so I was happy for the savings. However, I have found them to be impossible to read.

OPKs in general aren’t the easiest thing in the world to read. Unlike a pregnancy test, two lines aren’t necessarily positive. You have to compare the color of the test line to the color of the control line. Whenever I got two lines on a Meijer OPK, the test line was a gradation. What is that supposed to mean? Do I read the darkest part of the line or the lightest? How am I supposed to tell if it’s positive or negative?

And, at least for me, this appears to be a Meijer OPK issue. I bought First Response (AKA the test to which Meijer suggests you compare theirs) and was able to read the tests with no problem. That line is definitely lighter. That line is definitely darker. For some reason, probably fiscal, I bought Meijer OPKs again last month. And I honestly couldn’t tell you if I had a positive test. I mean, I think I did, but I’m not sure.

So, yes, try the generics. They are a lot cheaper than the brand name. But if you’re having a hard time reading the results, I suggest shelling out the extra money for a different brand. It’s made things a lot simpler for me.

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Lucky Eight

October 2, 2012

Did I mention that my complex has a three-day grace period for rent? Not that I planned to ever have to use the grace period. But yesterday I left before the office was open and got home long after it closed. Wait, I should probably explain more because you’re probably wondering why I didn’t just drop a check in the box. We can pay by credit card at the office. Sure, we can do it online, too, but there’s a fee. There’s no fee if you take your card to the office. In my case, I use my debit card, which is just like paying by check only without having to write a check.

Not that it really mattered this month anyway. You see, my move-in special was one month free. I paid for all of August, so I paid a prorated rent for September, which meant I could use my free month in October. But I did still need to let them know that I was using my free month, and I decided that I’m already tired of the parking lot and would like to pay the $20 each month for a carport. It’s not that there aren’t enough parking spaces. It’s just that they’re really narrow. I drive a Honda Civic, by the way. And I think the parking spaces are narrow.

Not in the carports, though. (Please skip to the next paragraph if you’re getting tired of Seinfeld references.) Remember the episode of Seinfeld where Kramer adopts a section of highway and paints over half the lines so that the lanes will be roomier? The difference between the regular parking spaces and the carport ones is like that.

I asked about a carport, but I added the caveat of “only if there’s one near my building”. She apologized that the carports directly in front of my building were full, but the next one over, in front of the clubhouse, had space. I told her I considered that to be near my building. (You may recall that my building is right next to the clubhouse.) She said that she was going to give me number eight. (Oh, and I forgot to mention that she never asked my name or which building I was in. She remembered me. I love this place!)

It wasn’t until I was backing in to my new roomy parking space that I remembered that eight is a lucky number in China. And while I know that it’s nothing more than a superstition, it still made me happy. The universe knew I was needing a little luck, and now I put my car in its lucky place every day.

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Parthenogenesis

October 1, 2012

Okay, not really. It would be pretty cool, though, wouldn’t it?

Ultrasound this morning. We got there at the usual time, around 7:30, but we weren’t the first. A woman I’ve met before had beaten us. She’s a dentist and had to get into work, so she made sure to get there early. The thing about fertility clinics is that you simultaneously want to see familiar faces and never want to see them again. The familiarity is comforting, but if we stop seeing each other, hopefully that means good news for you.

By the time the clinic doors were unlocked, there were three of us (patients, that is, not counting my mom) swapping stories. They left us alone together a bit too long.

“Oh, we bonded over my knowledge that Leavin’ On a Jet Plane is a John Denver song even though it was first made famous by Peter, Paul, & Mary,” I said.

“Oh,” said the third woman, “for me it was Roman history. I knew why July and August have 31 days. The whole Julius and Augustus Caesar thing.”

“Has he sung to you yet?” the dentist asked.

“No,” said the third woman.

“Yes,” I groaned.

The dentist went on to tell her story. Apparently her veins are hard to find for blood draws. He sang “You’re So Vein” to her. (Frankly, while still somewhat inappropriate, not nearly as much as my “Uncooperative”. I did not share that story.)

There was general consensus that he is an odd person to deal with. We all also agreed that he has dreadful bedside manner. And we all also wished he would actually tell us what he’s seeing when he does the ultrasound.

“My husband was with me one day,” the dentist said. “He asked the doctor what was on the ultrasound, and the doctor said, ‘These appointments are for data gathering only. If you wish to discuss the results, then you need to schedule a consultation.'” She was particularly appalled by this because her husband is a doctor. I do hate to tell her that an MD who has specialized in something as particular as fertility medicine would never consider a DDS to be a “real” doctor. Trust me. I used to work for a transplant surgeon. He didn’t consider DOs to be “real” doctors.

And, yes, we were all appalled by that statement. You know the episode of Seinfeld when Elaine thinks the doctor has written that she’s a difficult patient in her chart and she keeps trying to get her hands on it so that she can see what it says? This doctor is a lot like that. He is frequently more than a little too paternalistic. The dentist’s anecdote pretty much sums it up. He knows what’s best, so we should just trust him. All of us are of the mindset that if he just gave us all of the information he gathered, maybe we’d decide that he is right, but we’re not going to blindly follow.

So that was everything that happened before eight this morning.

As previously stated, I was second in line for my ultrasound. My mother was disappointed, but I wasn’t terribly surprised. Another month missed. (Annoyingly, he asked about whether I’d taken any OPKs. I did point out that there was nothing in my chart about whether or not I should have been doing them.)

Where the appointment got interesting was when he asked me when the last time was that sperm had been introduced to my system. Dude, if I’d suddenly found someone to start sleeping with, I wouldn’t still be coming to you to try to get pregnant. There was a bright spot on my ultrasound that he couldn’t identify. (That’s always reassuring.) “Parthenogenesis,” I whispered to my mom.

But here’s the thing. It’s been less than a week since I had my annual. I had a pap smear. The midwife was poking around in there. I’m sure that bright spot is related to all of the fun I had last Tuesday. I’m still probably going to totally stress over it, but unless it’s still there in a month, I’m sure it’s nothing.

And since he was baffled by the fact it looked like I’ve already ovulated, I got to do another blood draw to find out. His bewilderment is more than a little frustrating to me. I will be the first to say that anecdotal evidence is not scientific evidence. But at the same time, the use of Femara as a fertility drug is off-label. Femara is, in fact, a cancer drug. There are restrictions on studying off-label uses of prescription drugs. Studies can be done, but they are much more limited than studies done on labeled uses. And the many fertility forums that are out there are full of women saying they ovulate early on Femara. So, yes, anecdotal evidence, but a hell of a lot of it.

And when he called me this afternoon with my results, sure enough, they showed I’d already ovulated. His response to this was that he wasn’t sure what was going on. (Hmmm… How about this, doc? I was on a drug that appears to regularly make women ovulate earlier than expected, and I happened to ovulate earlier than expected. No? Too obvious?)

All in all, it’s been an incredibly long day. Jenny is starting up a weeknight stitch ‘n’ bitch. And since I’m getting really tired of using PTO for these appointments, I went to work after the ultrasound and stayed there until it was time to go to knitting. (This means I worked enough hours that I can use flex time and not PTO.)

But at least we’re getting the timing worked out!

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Just Think of That Man Who Danced with His Wife

September 30, 2012

My mom and I went to Chicago yesterday. It was the fiftieth anniversary of the founding of what was called the Loyola University Chicago Rome Center for Liberal Arts when I went there but has since been renamed the John Felice Rome Center (JFRC for short) in honor of its founder. I talk a lot about Rome and the Rome Center. I talk so much about it that it probably comes off as braggy. “Oh, look at me! I lived in Rome! I’m so much better than you peons!” But that’s not why I talk about Rome so much. For one thing, I have some awesome Rome stories.

Like the time I was trying to get back to Rome from London in time to go to the Christmas Midnight Mass at St. Peter’s and I was delayed at Heathrow and again at Charles de Gaulle and when we finally took off, they made an announcement, and I thought, “No, my French is really rusty, I must not have understood that” but when they repeated it in English, I discovered that my French really wasn’t that rusty and we really were going to be landing at Charles de Gaulle in about ten minutes and by the time we finally got back to Rome the last train had left so I was going to have to take the bus but I didn’t have the right change to buy a ticket and then the people who’d been sitting next to me on the plane offered to give me a ride, and I thought, “What the hell?” and they drove me right to my door and my friend James had long since given up on waiting for me so he left a note on my door saying he had our tickets and he’d see me in the morning. Yeah, there are sooooo many details I’ve left out in that telling. Like the Air France employee who was trying to get me rebooked in London and then wished me luck. Or the fact that the people I got the ride from didn’t actually know their way around Rome and were relying on my backseat driving to get us to Monte Mario.

So, I have some just-plain-good stories. So that’s one reason I have a tendency to talk about Rome. I’m a storyteller.

I also talk about Rome because I know that living there really helped shape my world view. It was the late ’90s. A certain William Jefferson Clinton couldn’t keep it in his pants. And all of us American students had to explain to our Italian friends why this had become an impeachable offense. (It was around then that my mom suggested I say that I’m from “near Windsor” and not mention that it was the American side of the border. See! I can’t stop with the Rome stories!) We could lie in the courtyard and watch planes flying overhead. Not commercial jetliners. F-16s on their way to Kosovo. Loyola is a Jesuit school. We believe in service. We helped out at the Jesuit mission helping Afghanis taking refuge from the Taliban who had recently taken over their country. Watching CNN, we learned of the death of King Hussein of Jordan before his own people had been informed.

And what’s kind of funny about that is that I wrote my application essay about how I wanted to be a student of the world. We all said that. You don’t have to be a Loyola student to go to the Rome Center, which means even Loyola students have to apply and be accepted. But we also knew that we were pretty much shoo-ins because the university had already accepted us. We all wrote that essay. We all BS’ed our way through it. And it turned out we’d all become what we joked about. None of us were the same when we got back.

So, yeah, I talk about this place. A lot. And ten years ago, they held an all-class reunion in Rome. There was no way I was going to miss that. There was only one other student from my class, and she was on the reunion committee, so we hardly got to see each other anyway. One night, after our after-hours tour of the Vatican Museums, four of us went to a trattoria for dinner. We were well into the meal when one of us pointed out that we’d all gone to the Rome Center in different decades. But there was something about that place that unified us, that blasted away the fact that we were of different generations. You could ask any of our friends or family members, and they all would have said the same thing. “She talks about Rome all the time. And when she does, there’s this light in her eyes…”

And that’s why I was going to Chicago yesterday. And my mom asked if she could come, too, so she did.

I love going to Chicago in general for three reasons. One, I get to see my friends who live there. Two, Giordano’s pizza. Three, hello! It’s Chicago! Do I really need more reason than that? Didn’t have Giordano’s on this trip, but I did get to see my dear friend Maria. When we were emailing back and forth to make sure she was free and to figure out where and when we should meet, she asked if there was anything in particular I wanted to do. My response was, nah, not really, wander around Water Tower, hang out with you…

And that’s what we did. She met me at my hotel, and we wandered down Michigan Avenue. We briefly meandered through the Loyola bookstore, but since all of the JFRC gear is at the Lake Shore Campus in Rogers Park, we didn’t need to look for long. We checked out the new student union and perused the latest Loyola Phoenix. (Apparently the Loyola El stop is being redone. I’m sure it will be a pain for students while construction is in process, but the renderings look really nice! Nothing like the ghetto feel that stop had when we were students!) And we talked. We talked about babies and hormones and doctors. We talked about our jobs and our siblings and our parents. We talked about American Girl dolls (okay, we went to the American Girl Place) and sang along with Carly Rae Jepson (how could you miss someone before you met them?) and talked about Arrested Development (because one of my friends posted that the first time she heard that song she thought it was referring to the character Maeby and we all were just a little jealous that we hadn’t thought of that first). And we especially agreed that we really needed to see each other more frequently because it’s not like Kalamazoo and Chicago are that far apart. And it felt really good to just hang out and talk.

And then it was time for her to go to a meeting and for me to get ready for the reunion.

Every time I watch My Best Friend’s Wedding (a movie which I love, “What the World Needs Now” is the most awesome pick for a chase song EVER), there’s one thing that annoys me. They wind up at Union Station. But it’s not. I went to school in Chicago. I took the train back to Kalamazoo many times in the three years I lived there. (‘Cause I spent my junior year in Rome, remember?) And that’s not what Union Station looks like.

Well, the reunion/anniversary party was to be held at Union Station. My mom and I were both trying to figure out how this would work. She, too, has taken the train from Kalamazoo to Chicago and back many times.

Yeah. It was in old Union Station. The Union Station they wind up at in My Best Friend’s Wedding? Also old Union Station. (Which I still can’t forgive them for because by the time the movie takes place, they still would have gone to the new Union Station to catch Amtrak.) That big room with the Corinthian columns? Yeah, that’s where the reunion was held. O. M. G. That place is magnificent. It is gorgeous. A man might dance with his own wife there. (There actually wasn’t any dancing.)

The reunion itself was meh. One of the best parts was discovering that one of my second cousins (our grandfathers were brothers) who I’d had as an eighth grader for both religion and geometry when I was still teaching (that’s right, I taught my cousins, two of them to be exact). I knew that she’d gone to Loyola, but I didn’t know she’d gone to Rome. I’m sure her mom must have mentioned that I’d gone to Loyola, but she’d forgotten that, and she didn’t know that I’d gone to Rome either. And she recognized me from behind AND told her friends she had to go say hi to her cousin. She was definitely raised up right! The caramelized prosciutto was also pretty awesome.

On the train ride back to Michigan City this morning, my mom and I figured out why neither of us enjoyed this dinner as much as the last all-class reunion in Rome (two years ago). At those reunions, you spend a lot of intense time with other attendees. There are walking tours around the city. (We call it going to class. Art in Rome, anyone?) There are day trips. (Who’s up for Pompeii?) So by the time you get to the fancy dinner on the last night, it doesn’t matter if you didn’t know anyone on the first day of the reunion; you know plenty of people now! This party in Chicago skipped the first part. My mom and I are both introverts. We’re okay with crowds when we know people. This time we knew each other. The same classmate who was at the first reunion was there, but she and her husband spent the night talking to students from another class who happen to be their next-door neighbors and go to the same parish as them. So, um, yeah…

And this afternoon, Mary spoiled me thoroughly once more. I have a feeling I’ll notice the massage she gave my diaphragm for a while. Have you ever had your diaphragm massaged? It’s a little disconcerting because, of course, you can’t breathe while it’s happening. Literally. If someone is pushing up on your diaphragm, it makes it really difficult to move that muscle down and inhale.

Fingers crossed for tomorrow!

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An Update

September 28, 2012

Last night wasn’t so bad. Again, it’s not like I was expecting it to be. I was just expecting it to be a little, well, awkward. And it was, briefly, at first. But the usual family mode of conversation quickly took over.

And when this person hugged me good-bye, they whispered “I love you” in my ear. I don’t remember them ever saying that to me before. I choose to take it as an olive branch.

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