Monthly Archives: August 2008

I lied.

I don’t think I should title a blog post “emerging” and then disappear for another two days. It’s dishonest. I should know better than to make promises to post when I’m teaching. It just doesn’t happen with any frequency, or at least not the same frequency as summer time. Ah, summer, I miss you already.

I do have something to post about, though, something I promised to discuss last time, and believe it or not, it’s related to TTC! Yes, we’re inching slowly up on October when the break will likely be over.

Because we’re rather sick of waiting to get pregnant with not-so-efficient means, we’ve decided to take a new approach. Before I outline the new approach, I need to include some background: You should know, if you don’t already, that I’m not a big fan of western medicine. I would far rather take an herb, do stretches, or up my intake of certain foods to heal my ailments. I once broke my leg and didn’t seek treatment. Granted, it was obviously only a hairline fracture, and I could walk, and I did consult my paramedic brother, but I didn’t see a need to go have x-rays when I knew my body was taking care of it. Instead, I stayed off of it as much as I could, increased my calcium, and it healed just fine. I trust my body, and while I know its limits, I know it is generally healthy and can take care of itself with some help.

When J and I started down the path to create a family, we were both opposed to fertility drugs and even to working with doctors on all of this. We don’t have a problem with others using these methods; they just haven’t been for us. For the first year of all of this, we went about everything as naturally as possible and had some really bad luck. Shipping fresh sperm is not an easy way to make a baby. My body made a habit of ovulating on weekends or Mondays when no shipment would be timed correctly. When our shipments were timed perfectly, the sperm arrived in unsatisfactory conditions (and was likely not at all viable). I don’t think we had one month when one of these two factors didn’t come into play.

But now we’re off the fresh sperm and definitely moving on to frozen. This opens up options and brought with it some questions about what we wanted to do next. Would we bypass anything natural and hand our plans over to an RE? Would we try inseminations at home with frozen sperm even though we know IUIs are probably a better bet? Would we be comfortable with IUIs ourselves?** We have both come to this point that we want this to happen as quickly as possible while preserving our plans to try and keep things natural, but I’ve begun to wonder if we have new limits. But I’m not going to that place just yet.

After struggling with all of this, I decided to take a different approach than we had considered previously. There are travelling midwives who help with IUI in our part of California, but they charge extra to come to our county, even more if we have to reschedule due to delayed ovulation, and they require that their clients have a referral from a fertility specialist. This wasn’t ideal to us. Instead, I started looking up local midwives to see if any of them would perform IUIs. I have heard back from one of them. She told me that she has only performed a couple of IUIs in her long career, but she would love to take part in this with us and help us start our family. She insists that we do this at our home where we will feel more cozy. She is lovely and positive and so enthusiastic, and for some reason, when we heard back from her and considered how special this would be, we knew this was our new path toward our family. She’s researching what she will charge, and I hope that it will be within reason and something we can afford. This may be the only thing to hold us back. Oh, I hope this doesn’t hold us back. I’m so tired of the fulfillment of dreams hinging on money.

It has been a long time since I’ve had enthusiasm or even a modicum of hope about this path. I still don’t know if I believe it will ever happen for us, but I’ve got a little hope again, and that’s a good place to start. Under two months to go now…

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**I should add that we’re not entirely opposed to doing IUI ourselves, but we don’t want to do it without someone showing us how. After attempt #1, we’ll see.

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emerging

I have been a bad, bad blogger of late. With school starting, my whole schedule has been turned upside down. I may be getting used to it though. Because I’m lazy, here are some bullet points to highlight my recent days:

  • I’m sleeping again, and that feels good. We’ll see how tonight goes (Sundays and Tuesdays are my big nights for going to bed early. I hate them. I’m a night owl. This sucks. I fear I’ll be pouting the whole semester long.
  • My morning students are zombies. I believe I may have to start teaching writing through physical activity–that or hypnosis.
  • The evening students are itching to debate. I’ve got to accomodate them soon or they may commit mutiny. That would be fine with me.
  • Saturday during the day, we went to a BBQ to meet some people from a social group associated with our church, but it was a flop. Everyone there seemed a little awkward, but the woman who had invited us (not the hostess) was one of the primary causes of the awkwardness. She’s gay and probably around our age, and for some reason we thought she might be a potential friend, which is why we went. Alas, she’s more than a little socially inappropriate–in fact, she’s downright rude. During our first real conversation at this event, she asked us how much money we make, insisting we couldn’t possibly make a living at what we do. (WTF?) She asked J why she would use a singular pronoun to refer to our cats if they belong to both of us. (Again, WTF?) There were many more weird and inappropriate questions that I can’t remember at the moment, but suffice it to say we were both extraordinarily uncomfortable. Rude woman got up at one point, and J gave me this “Let’s get the fuck out of here!” look. I asked if she had a migraine, and conveniently enough, she did (yeah, right). We snuck out, only telling the very sweet hostess we were leaving. So much for that social group. Oh well.
  • To make up for it all, we had our neighbor over on Saturday night, had drinks, played poker, sang, danced, and generally had a grand time. I don’t think she left until 3am. I guess we all needed to let loose.
  • J started school today. I miss her. For the last six months or so we’ve had a lot of time together–more than we’ve ever had, and both of us have grown rather used to having the other around. On the other hand, it’s really nice to come home from a day at work to a kiss from my wife and the aromas of dinner and candles swirling about. Home feels so much more like home when one spends a few hours a week outside of it.
  • On my “off” days, I’m still working online. I like those days because at heart, I am a homebody, but I have to figure out how to keep these days productive. It’s too easy to spend the day reading blogs and the like.
  • One thing I have found to occupy my time on my off days is walking with my neighbor. We’ve got a good routine going, and we’ve been mapping out some great walks using this site. I loooove the technology. I also discovered that a walk we took last week in 96-degree heat was not 2.5 miles, as I though, but nearly four. No wonder I was so red.
  • I’m enjoying coverage of the Democratic National Convention. J and I are political junkies. We worked on the Dean campaign last time around, so the last one was rather bittersweet, but we’re quite fond of Obama in general. J is very sad that she must miss so much of the coverage of the convention due to teaching, and I’m sad that we don’t get to watch it together. Alas, that is what the internets are for.
  • We will see our niece this weekend, as my family wanted us to come visit to celebrate our birthdays. We hope not to come back angered by a certain male who contributed DNA to the new generation in our family. That is unlikely, however.
  • We may have some new TTC plans. More on that later–maybe even later today!

Ah, yes. That’s my update. It’s long. It’s not so eventful. Such is my life.

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…and miles to go before I sleep

“Not being able to sleep is terrible. You have the misery of having partied all night… without the satisfaction.”  Lynn Johnston, For Better or For Worse

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I’m finished with my first week of school, and I can’t believe how exhausted I am. It was only two days of teaching, but it has felt endless. Getting up at 5am just two days a week isn’t helping. It means going to bed early, and going to bed early means going to bed and lying awake. For hours. And hours.

Both Sunday and Tuesday night, J stayed up late while I “slept.”

I didn’t sleep.

I stayed awake thinking about what I would do in class the next day, worrying that my hands didn’t feel moisturized enough, freaking out about not having enough water on my nightstand to get through the night, making up scenarios of everyone I know dying, considering every possible thing that could go wrong in my life, wondering if we’ll ever in our lifetimes be allowed to have children–you know, light, airy reasonable thoughts to be having when one is trying to sleep.

I sleep fine on nights when I don’t have to get up at 5am, but on the nights when I’m supposed to go to bed early, when I am to “sleep fast” as my mother used to say, my mind sabotages me, and I end up with little more than two solid hours of sleep. On these nights, suddenly my favorite pillow is the most uncomfortable lumpy thing in the world. The air is too thick for a human to possibly breathe. My mattress–the most comfy surface on earth on an average day–feels like it’s covered in marbles. And my mind becomes my worst enemy and won’t seem to stop no matter how many relaxation exercises I work through or how many sheep I count.

And the dreams, oh the dreams. When I do sleep, I slip straight into these weird vivid dream states. I had dreams this week of convincing teenagers that they shouldn’t kill themselves, riding a dog sled through the mountains in Alaska (and encountering a pack of wolves!), trying to get rid of a gun, and so much more. These have been following me into the daytime when I try to nap off my sleepless night. On Wednesday, I was taking such a nap when J came to wake me up for my evening class, and I asked her where I was. (I was in my bed at home, in case you were wondering.) It’s been a long time since I’ve been that disoriented when completely sober.

It know I’ll find a schedule, and I may just have to start getting up at those obscene hours every morning to remind my body that it can, in fact, sleep at night. J says she’ll go to bed with me if it will help (yes, sweetheart, it will!). It’s amazing how much it does help to have her next to me; I so hate an empty bed.

Just fifteen weeks to go before I can wake up at human times again.

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visitor

Our neighbor’s five-year old son knocked on our door a couple of hours ago. We had left our keys at their place earlier, so he was delivering them. He hadn’t been to our house, so he asked if he could come over. When we told him he had to ask his mom, he yelled across the complex to her, asking if he could come over. After a few minutes of trying to catch our cats and exploring our house, he asked if he could watch a movie with us. He just left after watching A Shark’s Tale with J. We gave him snacks and he asked J many questions about the movie. I have a feeling that won’t be the last time we have a little munchkin knocking on our door.

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the new girl

I don’t handle being the new girl very well. I was never really a new girl when I was a kid because I went to the same school from Kindergarten through 8th grade. When I went to high school, I had my friends with me. When I went to college, it was different because everyone (at least in the dorms) was new. In my former teaching positions, I taught amongst my mentors from graduate school, so I still wasn’t exactly new. But now, I’m the new girl, and I don’t like it.

Yesterday was the first day of school. I had to get up at 5am, leave by 6am, teach at 7am. The morning was fine, as was my commute, but arriving at school, things weren’t so fine. As the new girl, and a part-time, adjunct faculty member, I’m one of the people who matter least to the other faculty. Being an adjunct is a weird deal anyway. We’re part-time, have no job security, make less money for teaching the same classes, don’t get health benefits, and don’t have a voice in department decisions. We’re a step above warm bodies. So being the new girl and being an adjunct (at a place where I was turned down for a full-time position) is wearing on my confidence. It’s difficult to join conversations with those who have been there for twenty years, who see me as some green youngster who isn’t part of their community. I’m sure it will happen to some extent, but I left yesterday after my class feeling fairly dejected. To be honest, I came home and cried in J’s arms.

It didn’t help matters that my first class yesterday was frustrating. Half of my students didn’t show up because there was no room number on my classroom door! Some of them showed up near the end, so I had to give my opening talk multiple times. None of them laughed at my usual jokes. They were still asleep, still adjusting to being in their first college classes ever. They asked no questions and responded to none of mine. That class is going to be a tough one.

But there is always a silver lining, isn’t there?

My evening class was a different story entirely. It’s on this brand new campus with beautiful new buildings and lots of excited people. I arrived to find a coupon for a free coffee beverage in my mailbox, so I used it for a chai and got ready for my evening students. I met another English instructor, and she was lovely. This campus is a satellite campus to the main campus. It’s an adjunct. Many of us who teach there are adjuncts. People are nicer, more eager to bring one another into the fold. On top of this, the students were fantastic and fun. They laughed at the appropriate times, asked questions, and were generally eager to participate. I can tell already that they’re going to be a good group. When I came home, I walked in the door smiling and excitedly told J about my experience. I’m sure she was relieved that I wasn’t crying again.

And so it begins. I’m teaching again, back in front of the classroom where I belong–for now. It’s going to be an adjustment teaching these new people in these new places, but I’m welcoming leaving the house a couple of times a week for work. Working from home, as I usually do, can be a lonely venture. Now I just need a sense of collegiality, a feeling of belonging. I hope to find it before long.

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Filed under new beginnings, Ramblings, school, teaching writing

sleepy head

First, a little business: If I left you a cryptic message on your blog about being nominated, please scroll down to the previous post; your award/nomination is below.

I have been waking up early the last couple of days to try to reset my internal clock. Soon, I will need to leave my home before 6:00am to teach two days a week. This will mean waking up no later than 5:00am. I can do this; I’ve done it before, but I haven’t done it lately at all. J and I have been staying up late and waking up late, and it has been wonderful, but it’s time to face the reality of scheduled sleep once again. Blech.

Also in preparation for teaching, J and I both got our hair cut yesterday. I feel like me again without the conservative, growing out all-American soccer mom look I had going. I don’t know that I’ve ever looked less like myself. But the growing out has ended, and I’ve got short, funky hair again. I’ve decided, after consulting with my stylist, to give it some color too. It won’t be drastic, but it will be more polished. She promises that we can deal with outgrowth without touching my scalp should I get pregnant in late October. I’m going to trust her because I’m tired of mousy brown. Even with chunks of blonde it was boring. J is just happy not to hear me complain anymore. I was complaining far too often about my hair. And speaking of J, she’s ultra hot with a sleek little bob ala Ni.cole K.idman in St.epford Wives.

Now that hair is dealt with, I have to finish planning the first half of the semester for both of my classes and find some professional clothes that won’t leave me melting into a puddle in front of 30 students. Luck will be needed.

Monday is on her way.

The brighter side of all this is that with teaching comes big girl paychecks and big girl benefits (from J anyway–and since we’re married, we’re now both entitled), and with big girl paychecks and big girl bennies, we get to shop for spermsicles. Today is CD1. Just two CD1s to go before we sperm up again. By golly, there is an end in sight!

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Filed under Hair, sleep, teaching writing, ttc

An Award? Me?

It seems that l.i.b.e.r.a.t.i.o.n theory and specific destiny have deemed me worthy of an award! Thank you for the honor. I have been a little down on myself for lack of exciting blog writing, so this lifted my spirits!

Even better is that as a nominee, I get to choose seven of my favorite blogs for the same honor! Here are some of my new and old favorites*:

vee and jay (whom I started reading when they were called Making Cakes the Hard Way): These women are charming and witty and have a much-deserved, much fought-for babe on the way. Each woman has her own voice, and each is infinitely kind. When they first responded to my blog, I felt I had been visited by celebrity.

Baby Steps: I swear tBean is my long-lost twin, and she’s a fantastic blogger with all the smarts and humor and good writing chops one would expect from a fellow academic. She’s on a break now from ttc, but she’ll be pregnant just in time for fall semester to be in full swing. Nothing like a little morning sickness to make grading papers more fun!

caved: Starrhillgirl earns my nomination for being the blogger I’d most like to cook dinner and have a beer with. She’s hilarious, a great writer, and the locavore I wish I could be.

Chronicles of Conception: Tiff is a delightful blogger with a lovely round belly full of baby boy. Her bubbly, warm spirit is infectious, and the girl has great taste in music.

Wake Up Naked: This is one of my very favorite new blogs. The images alone are stunning, but this woman is a fantastic writer to boot.

Mrs. Bluemont’s House of Things: With posts on everything from juice feasting to rolls in the hay, this woman knows how to draw in readers with her wit, honesty, and genuine good writing.

We Are Fambly: One of the first people to comment on my blog, Oh Chicken was one of the people to encourage me to shave my head last year. She’s smart, sassy, and a lovely new mama with a sweet, sweet little girl. Add to all that that she’s a phenomenal photographer, and she’s got me hooked.

All of you nominees now have some homework on your own. You can spread the love by following a few simple steps:

1. Put the logo on your blog.
2. Add a link to the person who awarded you.
3. Nominate at least seven other blogs.
4. Add links to those blogs on your blog.
5. Leave a message for your nominee on their blog.

*Honestly, had I the time, I would nominate everyone on my blogroll. There are some incredible writers out there, and I love this community. The women whose blogs I read and who comment here have saved me on more than one occasion from the lonely, isolated feelings of TTC. Thank you to all of you. You’re all brilliant bloggers in my eyes.

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Happy Birthday, J!

Happy Birthday to my lovely wife!

Just a few reasons I love you:

  1. You bring more love to my life than I ever could have imagined.
  2. You’re sexy and beautiful and lovely.
  3. You’re really, really fun.
  4. You have a wicked wit and a wonderful sense of humor.
  5. You can cook Mexican food like no other white girl I know.
  6. You clean the cat box without too much complaining when I forget.
  7. You’re passionate about teaching and politics and everything else you love.
  8. You’re the greatest cat mom I’ve ever met (even though you disliked cats when we met).
  9. You encourage me to be the best person I can be.
  10. You continue striving to be the best person you can, even though life has handed you a lot of bad hands.
  11. Speaking of hands, you’re a bad ass poker player.
  12. You love children, and they love you.
  13. You’re a wonderful friend.
  14. You love sunflowers and light up when you see them.
  15. You take care of the people you love.
  16. You are a great dancer.
  17. You sing a mean Joan Jett cover.
  18. You want to be a mom just as much as I do.
  19. You’re going to be great at it.
  20. You put up with my shit.

Enjoy your day, my sweet!

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Tree Huggers

Our camping trip was, like so many experiences lately, just what we needed. We had the opportunity to go home. That is, we went to the Humboldt Redwoods. J and I both spent over a decade on the Humboldt coast (I know; I’m revealing a lot here!), and most of those years, we spent loving the Humboldt Coastal Redwoods. So when the opportunity arose to go camping with our very best friends in one of our very favorite places, we were thrilled, despite the long, long, long drive. This long, long (long, long) drive was beautiful though. It had been months since we had seen mountain after mountain covered in giant trees, since we had been somewhere where heavy traffic was four or five cars passing by the same spot in over the course of a couple of minutes. Once we hit the Humboldt County line, we found ourselves breathing easier.

We arrived at our campground at Humboldt Redwoods State Park on Friday afternoon. J and I have a ritual to pop open a beer as soon as we arrive at camp, so we did. We enjoyed our beers as we surveyed the campsite and determined what we would set up first. Any time we arrive at a campsite for a weekend of camping, this feeling washes over me–this sense of freedom and peace. And this is what we were feeling as we set up camp amongst the redwoods, madrones, and oak trees that hugged our campsite. We built a fire, made some dinner, and even played Yahtzee! (Yes, we are eighty).

campsite at dusk

campsite at dusk

Our friends would arrive later that evening, exhausted, and we greeted them with a campfire and a margarita and warm hugs.

When we went to bed, J and I discovered that the air mattress we had borrowed was significantly less full than when we set up camp. This concerned us, but we aired it up again, and went to bed. Two hours later, we woke up on the ground, and I had a large stick in my back. We aired it up again. Two hours later, we awoke to the same phenomenon. We aired it up again. This happend two more times before we decided that getting up was more inviting than sleeping a moment longer on that thing. So we got up, made our french press coffee and a fire and breakfast, and all was better with the world.

Later that day, we headed to the river.

Eel River

Eel River

One of Humboldt’s greatest treasures, in addition to its redwoods (and its one very notable agricultural export), are its rivers. We found a sunny spot on the Eel River where we stared at the water (and even ventured in a couple of times). The four of us have spent many summers camping at the Van Duzen River (which feeds into the Eel), so we fell right into our old groove as we sat there talking, then silent, then laughing.

J, V, and N

J, V, and N

Our friend, N, walked with me along the banks as I picked out rocks for our balcony garden back home. He’s a geologist, so he identified them for me and told me their stories. This one is volcanic. This one shows a flood happened. This one is made up of fossilized microbes. These are the things we’ve always done together camping, what we will always do.

Our access spot to the river was just beyond a stand of old growth redwoods, so as we were leaving, I snapped some photos of some giants.

 

In groves of old growth redwoods, it is often dark. The canopy is dense and only allows filtered sunlight through to the forest floor, so often, one will see what seems to be a spotlight on a fern or a clover. It’s the most magical sight.

That night, we had a giant campfire. We sang songs, drank too much, ate great food, and laughed a lot. J and our buddy N had spent some time trying to patch the mattress earlier in the day, but to no avail, so our friends invited us to sleep in their trailer, and we took them up on it. Needless to say, we were grateful, even if we had to sleep apart. We were up early again the next morning and crept out without waking them back to our campsite.

We cleaned up camp and said a sad goodbye to our friends as they went back to our old hometown where they live and we prepared to go back to our new home. On the way, we opted to take the Avenue of the Giants. This is a road that parallels Highway 101, and it drives through some groves of incredibly huge trees. We stopped for a short hike at one of the groves. It was Sunday, and this was our church.

When one enters a grove of old growth redwoods, the modern world disappears, and thousands of years of history unfold before your eyes. The ground beneath your feet becomes soft and spongy from centuries of needles and bark falling from the trees (this special soil is called “duff”).

The air smells sweet, and the sun sifts through the branches of the trees. There is no better word to describe this than magical.

A few times, J and I stopped, held hands, and closed our eyes. Other times we walked, hand in hand, with our heads tilted toward what would normally be the sky, staring up and up and up at trees that rival skyscrapers.

We hugged some of these trees.

J hugging tree

J hugging tree

We spent time with one enormous tree that must have had a forty-foot circumferance.

We stood at its base, contemplating its age, looking up to try to see its top.

We couldn’t. We loved this tree.

We would stall as we walked, slowing our steps, looking up, then around, taking photos, trying to soak in every last feeling of wonder and enchantment, burning images on our brains of our trees. I wanted to stay forever.

But soon enough, our hike was over. It was time to drive home, away from our beloved Humboldt Redwoods, trees that feel like family, trees that feel like home.

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Filed under camping, friends, hiking, home, redwoods

Off we go!

We’re making final preps for our camping trip this morning and heading out today. We can’t wait to build a fire and sit around it drinking beer and chatting with good friends at the base of these enormous trees.

Wish you all could join us!

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Filed under camping, redwoods