Only a matter of time

I was ecstatic when I found out in December that A Complicated Life was chosen by a birth mother to adopt a baby.  My mouth dropped to the floor when I found out another month later that the adoption was dissolved because she was pregnant.

After how many years?  Nothing short of a miracle.

What was my husband’s response, when I told him what had transpired?

When are you going to realize its only a matter of time?

I had no response.

The month went on to reveal that both girls that I have been in more personal contact with over these last months, and who have been trying for the same amounts of time as I have, are also pregnant.  Women who would help me get through those particularly hard months through lovely emails of understanding.  I selfishly wonder what I’ll do without them.  The latter woman just started her own blog and I was all prepared to announce her publicly, in order to get her a nice friendly welcome :)  It turned out she’s now accompanied by a tiny little growing baby as well, so please go say hi to Katie still!

So, when am I going to realize that it’s only a matter of time? My husband is the one that famously said, the more time that goes by, the closer we are to our family!  Huh?  My head wants to know this and I guess some days I do.  I know it, that’s why I try to use the word sub-fertility, even when my heart screams No its impossible, you will never get pregnant, because I know that it is still possible. I know eventually a day will come when this will all seem like the distant past, whether through birth/foster care/adoption we will have our family or our understanding of what else we will do and we will know with certainty that it was only a matter of time.  Because that time will have passed.  It will kind of be like cheating, ha!

But now, that is not what I feel.  My emotions follow hope up and down on a roller coaster to the point where they can’t tell which way was up and what direction I should be facing.  What I feel after a failed month is that I am foolish for hoping, for believing that I could do the same thing and expect an entirely different result.

I often find it funny that I was given this cross of ‘difficult feelings’, something that I’ve more recently tried to discount and run away from in my adult years.  Reason and rationality are the things that make this world go around, that make results appear in the world.  Emotions are the things of little girls and silly women, that made me cry when my siblings would taunt me and that made my college roommates pine after boys that would never love them.  Reactions that perpetuated endless teasing, foolishness and false hope.  Feelings aren’t based in truth, but in subjectivity by design.  But adults, they are beyond feelings.  I was once (still am?) the harshest critic of someone who didn’t feel like doing something.  Buck up, do it anyway. Feelings are that, abstract and clearly not necessarily based in reality nor truth.  I didn’t understand these feelings that could be so paralyzing, so all consuming.

I do now.  I guess I now understand what I dished out against, even if I only ever thought those things.  It comes full circle.  But just because I have these feelings, I still know it doesn’t make them right.  Perhaps this is why this is so hard for me.  I’m still fighting the reality of what I’ve become.

And now I’m trying hard to discount my own feelings, to push them down and out when they’re bursting at my seams, begging from some release.  To have my head understand and rule my thoughts over my heart’s fickleness.

And to truly know and believe with my whole being that it is only a matter of time.

Even if I know half the time, its that other half that always gets me. 

Take 7 – Confessions

These quick takes are more like confessions.  Super short confessions about my trials and tribulations with pregnancy tests.

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I hadn’t bought pregnancy tests since Nov. 2009.  I believe they only feed the impatient Alison.  That and my husband didn’t want me wasting the money and torturing myself.  I like that he doesn’t like me to torture myself.

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Well, minus the pregnancy test over the summer that the doctor made me take, because from my chart I “looked pregnant!” and it must be true if the doctor thinks so.  Welcome to my world, sir.  And it was (surprise) negative.  And $50.  Ouch.

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This week, I bought three from the dollar store.  I blame it on my husband not being around to stop me.

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Two of them were negative.

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I want to throw the third one away before I have a chance to uselessly use it.  I will not be buying anymore.

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Implantation cramps are probably something that a sub/in-fertile woman made up.  I’m pretty sure those can’t actually exist in real life.  It was probably just gas.

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The lady at the dollar store asked if they work, because she needed to take one.  Work as in how?  Allow you to pee on them?  Give you positives?  Or tell you the cold-hard truth?  I’m pretty sure I need a bigger data set to be able to tell that.  Either way, I said a quick prayer for her as I left.  Some people don’t hope for pregnancy.  Some people worry about it instead.  Both aren’t easy.

Please go visit Jen at Conversion Diary for more quick takes!

Fight, flight, and fertility – A little more personal

I’ve realized I may not have done the best job explaining exactly what I meant by “what makes me me” yesterday.  So if you didn’t read that, please do.  I attempt to clarify how I think that study relates to me here as well.

I can’t seem to access the full article now, but what I remember is that the study (referenced here again) looked at fertility of women over a year and found that higher levels of alpha-amylase, the enzyme that is released under acute stress, reduced fertility over a period of the first month, but over the course of a year of trying to conceive those values had no influence.  What’s interesting is that ‘infertility’ is defined as inability to conceive after a year, not just a few months.  It seems then that yes, this enzyme would be effective in delaying conception, but statistically not for what the medical community defines as infertility.  I wonder though, if someone is under extreme acute stress for an extended period of time (unlikely but still possible), would fertility be compromised?  The article didn’t address that.

Cortisol levels were also measured, which is more of a measurement of how your body is trying to sooth itself basically.  More cortisol would maybe mean that you have experienced a lot of stress and your body is trying to recuperate.  This study found that higher levels of cortisol actually related to higher fertility, which is totally confusing.  So short term, acute stress is bad, but long term stress seems to be good?  Mixed messages much?

In life in general, I don’t buy that stress is entirely bad.  Stress makes us do extraordinary things.  Perhaps I wouldn’t have worked as hard as I could on that project if I didn’t fear about turning in a bad version, maybe I would never have received that fellowship if I hadn’t “stressed” to get the application turned in on time, and we stressed to make the money/time commitments work to see our families when it otherwise wouldn’t have been possible.   Stress makes fathers provide for their families (how many young dads stress about finding jobs once they have children?) and it helps mothers feed their babies when they’re crying (which produces stress).

What I thought was interesting about the article is the difference between involuntary vs. voluntary stress.  Voluntary stress to me is more related to your situation:  having a stressful job, being in grad-school, being in financial/martial stress, etc.  Those are stresses that aren’t guaranteed to be constant forever and have the potential to change (although you made very well need to stay in those situations for the time being – this says nothing to the immediacy that they can be remedied) and are related to cortisol levels.  Involuntary stress is how your body naturally responds to stress, more along the lines of how we have designated “Type A” and “Type B” people.  There are people (like my husband) that it just takes forever to get them stressed out.  Then there’s me, where it seems like I have an automatic response button or as my dad puts it a “sense of urgency”.

This is why I think the part about the alpha-amylase enzyme via acute stress was what I was referring to yesterday.  It’s really interesting because your “fight or flight” mechanism really seems to be something that’s hard to control, its just automatic (hence, fight or flight). I know whenever I get in a conflict or tense situation (for example, when I am asked a Catholic theology question by my evangelical family member at a family gathering), or even right when I’m about to do any public speaking, my heart starts beating so fast, I get hot, and I feel like I’m either going to choke or throw-up.  I literally have to practice what I’m going to say until I have it memorized because my brain will cease to function from nervousness!  I have absolutely no control over that and its been with me my whole life.  Of course its debilitating in other ways (its really hard for me to give an improvised talk because of this) but I’ve learned what I need to do and considering I still have to give talks on a regular basis, I know I have improved.  But it will still never be ‘easy’ for me.

Seeing that that could be linked to not getting pregnant, well what’s a girl to do?  Beat myself up more?  These situations will always happen in my life, even if I limit them.  I know breathing exercises and centering my thoughts and focus through prayer has helped calm it down, but that heart beating thing in a sudden situation just happens anyway.  I’ve learned the best I can do when it happens is to just keep breathing and speak calmly.  It seems like you could limit a stressful lifestyle, but could you erase that immediate response mechanism?  This is what I mean by I am who I am.  It seems to me that some people are geared like that and others aren’t.  I look at my husband and he doesn’t even know what I’m describing when I tell him what happens to me!

But he has lived with me for 2 years and known me for the 2 years prior and has seen my natural responses and I guess knows me well enough to realize that this really isn’t something that I can just ‘turn off’.  And I love him for expressing to me that even if we never have kids because of it, he still loves me for it.

Anyways, I’m certain I can’t be the only sub/infertile blogger that has these issues…

The day I felt the most loved

Before I tell this story, I’d just like to clarify that there are days I have felt unloved by my husband.  I am sure there have been many more days where he’s felt unloved by me.  There are days where I think, how could we ever handle a child if we argue like this without one?  No wonder God doesn’t bless us. Then there are days that are just OK.  Sub/infertility is hard on marriage.  As my husband says, its an opportunity everyday to be better than you ever thought you could be and some days you don’t meet that challenge.  Our life is by no means perfect.  But then there are days where I feel so, so loved.  This was one of them.

 

One of the harder things for me about accepting our sub-fertility has been the idea that I did or am doing something wrong, something that has caused this.  This will sound conceited, there’s no way for it not to, but I’m usually good at things.  I learn things fairly easily.  I’ve gotten good grades.  I’m usually not scared to ask questions, although I do struggle with self-confidence, particularly since starting graduate school (when I’ve learned how much I actually don’t know!).  I’m athletic and have also been involved in sports.  I’m tall, so I usually feel physically capable, even around men.  Even when I’m not good at something  (like track in high school for example – I was awful even at my small school) I have the discipline or stubbornness or whatever you call it to stick to it and at least see some improvement that I can be proud of on a personal level.  I read books on how to run faster and jump higher in high school and had a tutor for my college math courses.  Working hard has usually equated to success in my life.

Having a child is not so much “work harder and it will happen.”  In fact, many people think that it is the exact opposite.

It was common for people to remark that Mexico would be the ‘relaxing break’ we needed to conceive.  As we passed the 1 year mark right as we moved there in the fall, I naturally had a hard time swallowing this advice.  Pure length of time trying seems to point to more complicated issues that would at least involve time due to decreased probability, if not for treatment. But naturally, bringing this fact up confirms that you are indeed, stressed out.  And in spite of research showing that does stress affects conception, but only in the short term (as opposed to long term), everyone seems to have a few stories about that ‘one person they know’ who had perfectly timed adoption and conception (even my priest in the confessional told me this!) that throws all that research out the window, right?  Couldn’t they have still just needed more chances to try to get pregnant? But its all still too coincidental to believe it myself.

I would have conversations with my husband about this.  It couldn’t be just stress that was keeping us from conceiving, could it?  There were many months were I didn’t ‘dwell’ and where I just picked up and went on with my life.  We even went on some cool, relaxing trips!   Even when I did have months of unusual stress, my charts reflected no change hinting that my fertility was compromised.  Same old, same old.   But that idea haunted me.  He knew it and would ask me, what if we do get pregnant soon and all those same people say, See I told you.  Just stress for you! What would you say then?  I voiced that it would bug me that they thought that, that ultimately we’d never know for sure, but I wouldn’t care because I would be pregnant!

Still, I’d counter him that what if maybe I was too strung out and if he thought that’s why we weren’t getting pregnant.  Did he think it was my fault?  He, the person who knows me best, would know.  Maybe it sounds crazy that he could tell me something like that, but I trust him too much to not listen if he did tell me.  And he’s good at telling me something that I need to hear how I can hear it, without sugar coating it or being unnecessarily mean.  I am direct like that and that’s how I appreciate being treated in return.  And I trusted the people who told me those things too much to just get pissed off at their comments without first considering them.

While I’ve never been a planner or an organizer, I’ve always been more of a type A personality in that I try something until its beat and I don’t usually give up on something.  If someone says something that doesn’t make sense or confuses me, I’ll think about it and take the time to look it up until I come up with a conclusion for myself.  I’m my harshest critic.  What if this aspect about me, that same thing that makes me me, was hurting my fertility?

I thought maybe there is something that I can’t see for myself here.

It was one day during these conversations that I have never felt so loved by my husband.  We were talking about stress and fertility and how what constitutes ‘relaxing’ for the purpose of increasing fertility and do you know what my husband said?  I paraphrase:

“The reason those ‘just relax’ comments directed at you bother me, is because I take it as people saying that you need to just stop being you.  ‘Just stop being you and you’ll get pregnant’ is what I hear.  Sure all those times that your drive pushed you to do things you might have given up on, it was great, but the implication that you need to change yourself or that you’re not good enough is frustrating.  It seems to me that because this is who you are and you’re valuable to the world because of that, even if you can’t be a biological mother, you have something to offer.  If those things are connected, we’ll never conclusively know, but maybe you were given the strengths you were given to do something else.”

I understand that the people who made those comments to me love me, see me hurting at my lack of motherhood, and were trying to offer suggestions to help me get what I desire and am longing for.  When you see someone hurting, you want to help fix it.

I’ve realized in our short marriage that marriage is a choice everyday.  Every day (month? year?) you learn something new about your spouse and you have the choice to keep choosing marriage with them.  With this new found sub-fertility on our plate, I wondered if it would be the easiest choice to keep choosing me, especially if other people were already concluding that I’m doing this to myself.  These qualities that he used to like about me, that made me ‘me’, maybe they’re not worth it if it means you’re simultaneously self-sabotaging your chances to have biological children.

Looking down the barrel at a future with no biological offspring and again choosing me and my traits?  It doesn’t affirm me, it affirms us.  The magnitude of that conscious decision makes me speechless.  I can’t express enough how much my husband’s words meant to me.  That in spite of everything, he truly loves, accepts, and chooses this person, still, taking these traits with the good and the bad.

Nothing has helped me relax more than knowing this.

Take 7 – I lost count

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Thank you all for your comments on my post the other day.  I hate the idea that someone can never understand a situation unless they’ve been it in, because then that leaves everyone forever never understanding people different from themselves, so I try and try to explain things to have people see it from my (our) perspective.  It might be a useless battle and maybe its “impossible to understand unless you’ve been there” after all, but.  To everyone that commented and isn’t sub/infertile, Thanks.  It means the world to me.

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Last week I had the pleasure of confirming that bloggers do exist in real life too!!  And contrary to my husband’s original opinion, they are not all men pretending to be women or ax murders (verdict is still out on the rest of you though…). After a year and a half of blogging, I finally met my first blogger, in Mexico no less!  Martha trying to be Mary and I got together for a Creighton class in Spanish (transparente moco, anyone?) and then went to mass and adoration as well!  I got to meet so many of her friends and the brothers and sisters at the French order and let me tell you, she is popular!  I have forgotten what its like to know the people you’re at mass with!  She also gave me a ride home, as I discovered apparently we do not live in the best area of Mexico City…hmm…I came home so happy and ecstatic that I had “friends in Mexico” (I met another girl as well and exchanged numbers) that my husband said “I only wish you met her earlier!”  Umm, I would have.  But you thought she might be a man…remember that?  Don’t worry, she does and she’ll probably remind you as well! And she did.  It was too funny.

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This counts as a second take because I got to meet up with her again!  We had such a good time and needed way more time to talk that we met up again on Saturday with both our husbands.  We talked more about what she’s doing trying to bring Napro to Mexico and let me tell you people, it is BIG.  Waaayyy bigger than it sounds on her blog (yes, she underestimates it online!).  So please, send up your prayers.  Mexico needs her and she needs as much support and “angels” as she can get!  Its a big task for anyone and she’s already a busy person!  Her and her husband are such a sweet, beautiful, passionate couple, I loved hearing how on fire they were about Napro and their adoption.  Plus they took us to the coolest places in Mexico with the best food! And an amazing painter’s house where we bought some beautiful art :)  And…we made them late to everything because we wouldn’t stop talking!  (or me…almost crying…ahem).  It was truly an awesome experience and I hope we can meet up again when I get back!

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Ok, one final thing about Martha…we look like we could be sisters!  I have had slight complex since moving to Mexico that I just feel like an outsider because I don’t “look” like I belong.  My husband has repeatedly told me that no, there are Mexican’s that look like me, the real problem is my Spanish (ouch, but true!).  Meeting Martha totally confirmed that and having “friends in Mexico” (yes, I used to have no friends!) really motivated me to learn Spanish.  Unfortunately (or fortunately…)

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I have a tentative thesis defense date!  And my head just exploded from the reality of that statement!  I wish I felt the use of more exclamation marks was more appropriate!  This is huge because I might. actually.  finish. this. degree!  Yes, I have had my doubts over these last 5 years but the end is in sight!  So so in sight!  I have so much to do until then that I somehow convinced my adviser that I could accomplish.  But still!  She thinks it can happen as well!

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Everyone’s heard how President Hu of China has been visiting the White House, right?  Well, I heard this chisme from a guy in our lab this morning.  Last night Chinese pianist Lang Lang played a song from a 1960’s classic Chinese movie about the Korean war (obviously from the Chinese perspective).  When this man heard about the song being played, he said that it was pretty offensive to be invited to the White House and play this song, very disrespectful of America.  He was very surprised it was cleared to be played in front of the President, no less.  Apparently all the Chinese websites and new stations are picking it up and covering this story of how China came and played that song, but the White House seems to have no idea.  This is the only story I can find in English about it and it doesn’t mention anything.

I guess I find it comical because, American doesn’t know Chinese or Chinese culture enough to be offended!  Pretty interesting anyways.

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Remember last year I had that ordeal with the King Cake?  Well, this year on Three Kings Day there was another cake, complete with more babies (it was a long cake).  And GUESS WHAT?  I got the baby (more correctly, I almost decapitated the baby cutting my slice but that still counts).  I’m not taking it to mean anything thought because, well, my mom also got a baby (I told you, it was a big cake).

Unless…

Hope you have a good weekend!  Go check out Jen for more Quick Takes!

Why can’t infertile women just get over themselves?

The other night I was watching a movie with my roommates (whom I live with when not living with my husband in Mexico) and we were talking about Jennifer Garner, when my friend commented:

Oh, I just hated her character in Juno.  She was awful.

To which her husband promptly agreed.  And it took a minute to register, Oh that’s right, she was the mom in Juno. Well, the infertile*, OCD, anxious woman who eventually became a mom.

And that’s when it hit me, most infertile characters portrayed in movies and TV are not characters you sympathize with and are not portrayed in the best light. And I voiced this.  To which they disagreed.

There’s Charlotte, from Sex and the City.

To which I disagreed. I never liked Charlotte.

I understand this point is debatable, that Hollywood isn’t the greatest example of exactly what our culture values lie, and that I don’t really watch that much TV so I don’t have a large data set to pull from, but I remember watching a crime scene show years ago with a crazy infertile women who was holding her husband’s mistress hostage after she snapped when she thought he was cheating on her and other shows/movies where the wife who’s bent on trying to conceive “forces” her husband to have sex with her at timed intervals.

The idea of a crazy, infertile woman who can just never get over herself is a common theme that enough people recognize, otherwise she wouldn’t exist.  She makes you cringe, she makes you want to look away and she definitely does not make you sympathize with her.

Of course I’d love to plead No, she’s not crazy!  Just misunderstood! but even I doubt myself.  Why can’t infertile women just get over themselves? It’s worth asking.  There is something all consuming about infertility that just makes your better judgment fly out the window.  Your thoughts turn inward and your future seems bleak, in spite of everything else going on in your life.  And you’d suddenly trade it all if you could just have a baby.  At least, that’s what you say.

Sunshine wrote last week, asking the question, is the cross of infertility really harder than other crosses? One of the points on her list jumped out to me the most:

~It is a cross that takes one to the depths of what it means to be a CREATURE and not the CREATOR.

This is profound.  There’s an obvious link between control and happiness, so it should come as no surprise when once one realizes they aren’t the ones creating, or in control, sadness follows.  But what other crosses take us to the depths of understanding what it means to be a creature rather than a creator?

Sickness, disease, and untimely – or even anticipated – death. When all of these things happen, there is absolutely nothing you can do but accept what happens.  Infertility falls right in line with all of those.

Have you seen My Sister’s Keeper?  There’s a scene at the end where you all but realize she’s going to die.  She’s been struggling with cancer for so long and there’s no way she can survive the surgery necessary to save her, yet when all her extended family come in the room to visit one last time they just keep talking about how not to worry, if she can just hold on, just have more faith, just pray a little harder, that miracles do happen and that she’ll be cured.  The immediate family shares a knowing look because they know, they know that this is the end and they are finally at peace, although that didn’t come easy even for them.  Those other people just can’t accept not being in control.  They can’t imagine there not being something else you can do.

There are few crosses that can really reach us and teach us that at the deepest level, we are merely creatures.  Infertility is one.

It literally takes that family up until the moment they realize she’s going to die to have peace.  If it takes that long with death, which is so final, to accept, how can it possibly work any sooner with infertility?

Infertility is a disease that takes away your ability to conceive and bear children. But it rarely takes it away all at once (although it can).  It usually acts more stealthily, taking it away slowly, month after month.  As a result, its a continual mourning process of children that never were.  Children that no one will ever see or would ever even be expected to know about.

A mother whose child dies usually has a funeral, an expected time to mourn and even a lifetime acknowledgment that that child existed and was worth morning.  All children are.  The infertile has less than two weeks to get over the fact that there is no child before moving on to having hope for the next child, who may never come.  All with zero outside acknowledgment.  This is not to solicit pity, but to state facts. I seriously believe that this lack of proper time to grieve is what drives infertile women crazy. It is a death that is never recognized and never dealt with like what it is.  The death of children that never existed with a mix of your husband’s and your genes.  And how can you accept that death?  After all, this just might be the month!  It is just a continual process that has. no. end.  until time X has been reached.  Time X being dependent upon a couple’s emotional, mental, and financial reserves to take the waiting/treatment roller coaster.  [And honestly, I have doubts it ever ends.  I bet somewhere in the mind back there an sub-fertile always wonders if she’s pregnant, and every story I’ve ever heard that ends with a sub-fertile adopting and then getting pregnant, she always says Well, I was a day late and I should have gotten my period by then…so I took a pregnancy test.” Right.  A pregnancy test because you’re a day late?]

Everything I read about adoption confirms that infertility is a grieving process. Agencies are weary of accepting couples who are pursuing fertility treatments and many don’t allow it at all.  Adoption is never to replace your biological children.  This wouldn’t be fair to the adopted child to have to live in the shadow of another child.  Friends who have started or have gone through the adoption process have literally first had to mourn the biological children that never were.

We’re not crazy infertile women like you see in the movies.  I wish it was more apparent to people that its not that we’re not thankful, its not that we’re not appreciative of what we do have, its just that our dreams, our husband’s and our children, are dying. On a repeating loop.  Right in front of us.  We are mothers to invisible, never-living children, and we are mourning.  Death cannot be moved past until it is properly grieved.

I just wish it wasn’t so hard to face that fact ourselves.

Thanks for reading.  Thanks for your understanding.

*You may be aware of my preference for the term sub-fertility.  Since I’m refering to these characters on TV and in movies that don’t concieve and we don’t know their medical diagnosis, I’m just sticking with infertility for the whole of this article.

7 life lessons I’ve learned from Mexican novelas

After I revealed that our new favorite TV show (actually, my husband’s favorite!) is Profugas del Destino (<—That link will tell you all you need to know!), I’ve decided to do a little spin on my Take 7 this week and share 7 valuable life lessons I’ve learned by watching this novela.  Enjoy!

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If you are an orphan being raised in a convent by some friendly priests and nuns, it is highly likely that one or both of your biological parents are in close contact to you everyday.  Even more highly probable is that your father is the local drug lord.  I’m just trying to save you a few tears.

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If you’ve been infertile for 7 or 8 years, you will concieve!…

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… But only because you weren’t really infertile after all!  It turns out that your lying, scumbag husband actually got a vasectomy 8 years ago and let you believe you were infertile for all that time!  The only reason that you conceived is because you were cheating on your husband!  (Let’s not go that route folks…) AND it will be the town doctor that tells you all this!  Hippo oaths mean nothing!

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It is impossible to tell something confidential to someone in private.  No matter where you are when you try to have this conversation (in the woods, in a store at a mall, a child’s classroom), someone will overhear you and that someone is 90% likely to be your arch-nemesis and/or the subject of your gossiping.  Just keep your secrets to yourself!

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You can ride the metro for days and never see anyone that resembles someone who remotely looks like they could be on a novela.  Standards of beauty in Mexico seem unreasonably high for the general population.

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If you buy your girlfriend all the equipment to open her own beauty salon, you can not be upset when she cuts other men’s hair.  Don’t buy people gifts you don’t want them using.  End of story.

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So, if I’d been studying Spanish harder, I’d probably have more life lessons. So, learn Spanish to understand that last 10%.  That’s all I got.

 

Ok, go see Jen for more Quick Takes…probably not about novelas!

I never thought I’d feel this way about socks

I mentioned way back last year (I get to use that joke at least once!) that I was knitting some socks.  Boy did they take me a long time!  [For what its worth, I would have finished way earlier had the Mexican security agents bothered to read the TSA guidelines and realized that knitting needles are NOT fireworks nor dangerous weapons, but are specifically exempt from being confiscated :(]  Anyways, these little guys were worth it. And they’ve confirmed their worth by surviving their first bout with the washing machine!   So, I’m doubly glad.  I about had a heart attack when I realized I washed them before I took a picture to prove they existed.

I wanted to make socks precisely because I’ve heard that they are very hard to make.  If I were a bug, I’d have totally been killed by that giant buzzing neon light by now.  What I learned is that socks are indeed a huge pain to make, but not so much because of complicated knitting patterns, but because they take forever.  Especially when you decide to go against the directions and make them calf high (which on my chunky German calves, still don’t make it very high.  I forgot to measure the hypotenuse!)  And I didn’t even make them with the smallest needles possible! (Which would only have increased the time).

Anyway, here they are in all their glory, completed using 4 double point needles, as you can see in the first picture.  I think the self-striping yarn is pretty nifty.

All that work and I'm only this far?? Picture time!

 

One looks slightly bigger because I'd already tried it on and stretched it out

 

I think they look better on :)

Oh, and if you’re curious how I, a self taught knitter, figured out how to “turn the gusset” and “graft the toe” with reasonable success on the first try, I give all credit to this lady on youtube, who, with her charming British accent, can take you step by step through a whole sock pattern and lay it out easy-peasy. And her voice lowers your blood pressure – if you don’t fall asleep first!

Have you ever knitted socks?  Have you ever gotten something unlawfully confiscated by the TSA and almost cried like a baby?  Please don’t say its just me on both counts!

Summary of 2010

I’ve felt no desire to blog lately, probably because I’ve been very happily enjoying the holidays with both of our families.  I thought a nice little 2010 summary would be in order, although as a rule I never do these things, it did seem like a good idea to reflect on this past year before I start another one.  I got this one from Kacie.  I’ll be back to blogging soon if I figure out something important to say!

1. What did you do in 2010 that you’d never done before?
Live in a foreign country with my husband.
2. Did you keep your new year’s resolutions, and will you make more for next year?
I have a bad memory…I don’t think that I did, other than to take my vitamins everyday.  I did a decent job at it, once I found out how to take them all in an order that didn’t make me nauseous.
3. Did anyone close to you give birth?
Too many friends to count.  But no family members.
4. Did anyone close to you die?
my grandma
5. What places did you visit?
california, toronto, new hampshire, mexico, oklahoma
6. What would you like to have in 2011 that you lacked in 2010?
a PhD.  HA how’s that for surprising?!  I need to finish this phase of my life.
7. What dates from 2010 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?
Mother’s Day – my grandma died.

8. What was your biggest achievement of the year?
I proposed my thesis in April.  And I survived this year.  I’m happy with that.
9. What was your biggest failure?
Not keeping my mouth shut when I should have.
10. Did you suffer illness or injury?
No!  Thank the Lord.
11. What was the best thing you bought?
Spanish classes.  Mucho dinero, but they helped us out a lot and gave us a smoother transition to Mexico.
12. Whose behavior merited celebration?
My husband because he became the first Dr. Moonhead.
13. Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed?
Ahh, careful waters here, but watching loved ones repeatedly choose materialism over marriage and family probably depresses me the most.  Its hard not to take offense when you really really believe in something and others just, don’t.
14. Where did most of your money go?
Mortage and spanish classes.
15. What did you get really, really, really excited about?
Moving to Mexico.
16. What song will always remind you of 2010?
Pa Panamericano.  Riding a little pesero in Mexico thinking, is this song for real?! And then coming back to the states and finding it an international sensation.
17. Compared to this time last year, are you:
a) happier or sadder?
Happier.  I’ve learned I’m stronger than I knew I could be.
b) thinner or fatter?
The same?  Despite operation increase BMI.  I need to work harder.
c) richer or poorer?
Poorer in money, richer in experiences :)
18. What do you wish you’d done more of?
Laugh.  Study Spanish.
19. What do you wish you’d done less of?
Thinking my life was going to be over.  Worrying about what my adviser would think of me.
20. How did you spend Christmas?
In California with the in-laws.  My first Christmas away from my parents.
21. Did you fall in love in 2010?
With my husband, yes.  I don’t think falling in love is a one time thing.
22. What was your favorite TV program?
Profugas del Destino, a Mexican soap opera about, get this, 3 female inmates that escape prison, pose as nuns that died in a horrible car accident, and then all the drama they get themselves into.  Its too good to be true!
23. Do you hate anyone now that you didn’t hate this time last year?
I don’t think I really hate anyone.    I have let go of a few grudges.
24. What was the best book you read?
I’m still reading it….St. Faustina.
25. What was your greatest musical discovery?
Drake?  Ha.
26. What did you want and get?
Opportunity to move to Mexico.
27. What did you want and not get?
My adviser’s blessing to come to Mexico.
28. What was your favorite film of this year?
Finally saw Inception.  That was way better than the other few movies I saw (Predators and Tron….something else…)
29. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?
I was 26 and we drove to Galveston.  It rained but I got a massage  :)
30. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?
ahhh, well.  I’m sure at this point its obvious.  I’d take a glimpse into the future, to see with my own eyes that everything works out.
31. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2010?
It would be, Don’t buy anymore clothes and try to wear everything that’s in the closet in new combinations or just get rid of it already.
32. What kept you sane?
Oohh…good question.  Honestly, what kept me sane was being apart from my husband during that time in the fall.  It was hard and I wouldn’t recommend it as a solution to all life’s problems – especially martial ones, but I had just gotten too wrapped up in trying to make a square peg fit a round hole and only in being apart was I able to see that and refocus on what is truly a non-negotiable in my life.
33. Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most?
Next.
34. What political issue stirred you the most?
Immigration.
35. Who did you miss?
I miss who I used to be.  I miss being thrilled beyond belief when I heard about a pregnancy announcement.  I miss not being consumed with my own issues.   I know I’m ever growing into a new person, but still.  I miss that girl and her innocence.
36. Who was the best new person you met?
Best new person?  That’s a little vague.  I would have to say, it would probably be the other couples and women that I’ve “met” online and in real life that have given me valuable wisdom in dealing with in/subfertility.
37. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2010.
So cliche, but – When God closes a door he opens a window.  Don’t stand starting at that closed door so long you can’t figure out how to get out.  That and that all I really need to do is get through today.
38. Quote a song lyric that sums up your year.

You know me,
Oh you think you do you, you just don’t seem to see
I’ve been waiting all this time to be
Something I can’t define so let’s
Cause a scene
Clap our hands and stomp our feet or something
Yeah something
I’ve just got to get myself over me

The Format The First Single