Friday, February 29, 2008


Tonight I tried to cook fish. I am not a big fish-eater, having grown up far from the ocean. I thought all fish came in the form of patties or sticks, and if I drowned it in enough tartar sauce, it wasn't too bad. The first time I ate battered shrimp, I told my mom I liked the outside (the breading), but not the hard part inside (the actual shrimp).

I've branched out a bit as an adult, but only started cooking fish in the last year or so. Tonight we had whiting. I baked it. It tasted pretty fishy. We ended up eating what we could and then going to McDonald's, where I ate my annual filet-o-fish.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

My e-mail

. . . has been added to my profile. :)

(Lifehopes, I wasn't ignoring you! I actually replied to your comment a few days ago asking for my e-mail with another comment, but I don't think you saw it . . . )

Monday, February 25, 2008

Bricks, you have met your match!

I just wrote a post about guilt that may be a bit over the top (I'm really good at guilt). So, I'm going to save that one and mull it over a bit before I actually post it.

Instead, I will say that the fireplace bricks I posted about, oh, almost four months ago have not gotten the best of us! Oh, sure, we tried the nice, environmentally-friendly soy-based stuff to take off the paint. And scrubbed our little arms off! That got the edges of the fireplace done before the new carpet was installed. We decided that that was insane, and we had to have a better method to remove the paint from the rest of the fireplace. So we tried another nice, environmentally-friendly, non-caustic paint remover. Same result. The top layer of paint peels off like a fruit roll-up and the bottom layer is a gooey mess. Ah-ha, we thought. The bottom layer must be oil-based! We need a caustic to remove it! So, we tried the not as friendly, caustic-but-won't-burn-your-lungs-out-with-fumes remover. Same result. Meanwhile, we (meaning Mr. X) also tried a power grinder, and then a grinder designed specifically to remove paint. Finally, something that worked without an insane amount of scrubbing and smelliness! But . . . those bricks didn't match the first bricks--the ones we scrubbed our fingers off for. (Brief pause while my graduate degree is revoked for ending a sentence with not one, but two prepositions.)

So, now, what we are doing is this. We are going to paint the bricks again. But! Then, we will use the specifically-designed-for-paint-removal grinder and we will grind the paint off to result in one smooth and consistent surface. Because we are crazy people.

But not just crazy people--crazy people with a lovely fireplace.

Saturday, February 23, 2008


Adding to the mundanity, I just had to brag that I emptied nine bins today. Nine! We use the big plastic tubs to store stuff, and we had nine tubs left from when we had the carpet and paint guys come in November. Of course, the tubs were mostly books, and Mr. X painted three old bookshelves, which just finished their alloted two-week dry time. So, we now have room to walk through the bedroom, nice new bookshelves with books on them, and a bin full of books for the used bookstore. Yay!

Time to make a late dinner! (Oh, and I changed my name on my profile again. Realized that I know too many people with the first name I picked, and they might find it weird if they thought I used their name intentionally!)

Friday, February 22, 2008

Mundane Stuff

I'm gradually trying to work on my blog. I decided I need a "blog name"--my real name is unusual enough that it makes me feel a bit exposed, so I just picked one I like. And I decided to add some movies and books to my profile. The added bonus is that I googled Noel Streatfeild (whose books I loved as a kid) to find the right spelling of her name, and found out about a whole bunch of her books I haven't read. So now I have some new reading to do . . .

If you look at my list of books, you might notice that I'm a fairly frivolous reader. I generally can't sleep at night without reading some fiction first. I do tons of heavy, dry reading for work, and reading some fiction helps to stop my brain from running. The funny thing is that I am a really fast reader, and Mr. X is slower. But he actually retains what he reads. When we read the same books, he'll refer to some event in the story, and I will have absolutely no recollection of it. But the bonus is that I can read the same book over and over again (and I do). When I was in elementary school, my best friend and I were extremely competitive with each other. We carpooled for children's choir, and on the half-hour drive, we would sometimes take a library book, sit next to each other in the back seat, and open it with the front cover on my lap and the back cover on hers. Then we would race to the end of each page. Whoever finished first would nonchalantly say something like "you can turn the page whenever you want to. I'm finished."

Well, I should probably go and check the carpet. Wonderdog is blowing her coat, so every time I look, we have enough hair on the floor to knit a small dog. Seriously, we're vacuuming at least three times a day. The back yard is muddy, too, so we're spending a couple of hours a day cleaning her paws after she comes inside. (OK, maybe that last part is a bit of an exaggeration . . . )

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

On the up side . . .

All the craziness is over! OK, not really, but the million and one things I was doing are finished for the time being, and my life is going back to normal for a while.

So, I'm going to try reflecting a bit on the experience of the pregnancy and miscarriage. I'm not sure what I'll say exactly, so here goes my first attempt of what I'm sure will be several posts on the topic.

On the up side, I want to make sure that I remember the good things. Being pregnant, even for such a short time, was amazing. And even though I may never say so out loud to anyone in "real life," even if I never have another child, I am a mother. It feels very strange and bold to even type that, but I have to remember that. Even though I have been sad and angry, I've also been able to thank God for the short time I had with my baby.

All of the medical people I've worked with have been wonderful. I truly thank God for them. The compassion they have shown me was such a comfort, and I know that is not the norm for most women who have a miscarriage.

The physical aspect is encouraging, too. My doctor told me that it is much easier to treat miscarriages than it is to treat an inability to conceive. And now we know that the treatment I have had took away the inability to conceive (not that that means conception will be easy, either). He also was wonderful in that he told me I did everything right. I had my progesterone shots, took my vitamins, my hormone levels were right where they should be. So, even though many miscarriages are caused by hormonal issues, it appears that mine was not--it probably really was one of those cases where something goes wrong in the genetic process. (Not that that doesn't give me something new to worry about--what if this genetic issue is something that happens over and over again?) And the fact that the miscarriage proceeded naturally, without any medical intervention or complications, is another thing I am grateful for.

And people have, for the most part, been very good to me. I have even been surprised by the incredible kindness from people I didn't necessarily expect to treat me with such care. And, since I haven't told many people in "real life" about either the pregnancy or the miscarriage, the comments I've received on this blog represent a huge part of the support I've received.

I had another strange realization, too. The first time I really cried my heart out over the miscarriage was in response to what my husband said when he was trying to comfort me. Among other things, he said that this baby went straight to heaven, and what could be better than going straight to heaven. That just made me bawl. Thought I didn't say it to him, my immediate thought was "but couldn't I have held this baby just once?" And then the huge responsibility involved in being a parent really hit me. I know that it was early, and the idea of ensoulment and when an unborn child gains a soul is a controversy among theologians, but I believe that this baby has a soul. That's when the weight of parenthood really became clear to me. The responsibility for a new person who has an immortal soul is sobering, even though I didn't get to do much in the way of parenting. But I also believe and hope that this baby is with God. So, my second thought was "wow, I'd better make sure I make it to heaven, so that I'll be able to see my baby." I know that's not an ideal Christian sentiment--I mean, I should want to go to heaven to be with God, and I do, but at this point, being with my baby is a pretty strong motivator. And it is a comfort to be able to pray and ask the Lord and the Blessed Mother to take care of my baby.

OK, so those are the positives. I guess this was my way of easing into the whole topic. Talking about the negatives is much harder for me, but I think I'll be able to start that in the next post.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

A bit of a hiatus . . .

I haven't been posting lately for a couple of reasons. For one thing, I've been insanely busy! And for another, I feel like I want to write a post reflecting on the miscarriage, but it feels a bit overwhelming. Maybe I'll do it in bits. Or maybe I'll post on it next Thursday--that will be officially a month after the miscarriage, and all of my big "deadlines" for various things (work, opera, visiting with family) will be past.

My next cycle has started, which is good. But my post-peak phase was short, which is bad. I used to have short post-peak (luteal) phases, but the HCG injections at the end of my cycle extended that phase and increased my hormone levels. I'm trying not to be too disappointed by that--I was really hoping that my hormone levels would respond quickly to the surgery and correct themselves right away! But (a) that's probably not a realistic hope, and (b) even though I had a peak day after the miscarriage, who's to say that I actually ovulated or that that would be a normal cycle! It sounds like I'm going to be off the HCG and letrozole for at least one cycle here, so we'll see how my hormone levels look at the next blood draw!

Friday, February 1, 2008

Public Transportation Doesn't Like Me

On another subject . . . I love singing in the opera chorus. But I live in Suburban Sprawl, and I need to get to the downtown area of The City for rehearsals. Parking downtown is pricey and can be hard to find, and I get a free rail/bus pass from work. I don't end up using it much, because there are no direct routes from my house to my office. In fact, I went to get my new pass and realized that my last one was for 2004! But I decided that it would be worth it to get a pass, drive to the nearest station, and take the train to and from rehearsal. Here's how it has gone:

First attempt: Arrive at train station several minutes before train arrives. Excellent! Walk up to the platform. On the way, realize do not have purse. Return to car. Look for purse. Purse is not in car. No purse = no rail pass. Also, no purse = no money = no parking downtown. Drive all the way home, call Mr. X, who runs out with purse, drive like maniac downtown. Find FREE parking space in front of rehearsal building, and (miraculously) arrive on time for rehearsal.

Second attempt: Arrive at train station seconds before train arrives. Run frantically up the (eternal, 45-degree angle) ramp to the platform. Miss train by five seconds. Drive downtown, following the train all the way.

Third attempt: Arrive at the train station before the train arrives. Take lovely ride on train. Review music on the way. Walk in a leisurely manner (carrying mace) to rehearsal building. Walk with nice fellow-chorus-member to station after rehearsal, chat on the ride.

Fourth attempt (tonight): Watch train arrive at station while sitting eighth in line in the left turn lane at a red light. Make U-turn. Drive downtown, following the train all the way. Find FREE parking space immediately outside stage door to the opera house.

My public transportation plan is not working out so well. But free parking is unheard-of downtown. And I have a horrible habit of being late (born of trying to fit too many things into available time) that I am trying very hard to break. I have been on time to every rehearsal! Mr X. says God is looking out for me because He knows how much I need this in my life right now. Though free parking spaces and promptness might seem like trivial examples of divine intervention, I think he's right. But I'm still going to try to catch the train tomorrow!

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