Tuesday, December 25, 2007


That's my age as of today.

My in-laws invited themselves to our house for Christmas so I spent my birthday cooking, cleaning, serving, and cleaning again. I did get a birthday card.

Tonight, I'm tired. And feeling old. I want to go to bed. And yet, I feel like I should continue my practice of using my birthday to reflect upon the previous year and to think about how I would like the next year to unfold.

Here are my wishes from last year with updates:

That I find the will to finish the text. No. But I found the will to pull the plug which was major.

That the publisher is nicer. Sadly, no, she is a rotten flower.

That my daughters are healthy. Yes!

That daycare is more traumatic for me than for Baby M. I think so. She adjusted easily, but overall, I think that I would prefer a nanny if we had the funds.

That E figures out the potty training thing. Yes! She worked this out around 30 months or so.

That J and I have time to reconnect. We need to continue working on this. It has been a rough year, but I think we are doing better.

That I can breastfeed M until she is one or until I feel good about stopping. Yes! I bet my 38-year-old-self would have been surprised to know we would still be doing this.

That I lose the baby weight. Mostly, yes, though I think I have gained weight with this week's baking and feasts!

Peace on Earth. Is it more peaceful this year?

That I become better organized. Woefully, no.

That I keep writing in this space for therapy. Happily, yes.

That fewer hairs show up on my chin. Sigh.

That I give more to worthwhile causes and charities. I could do better.

Here are my wishes for the next year:

That I step up my research efforts.

That I make getting more sleep a priority.

That my girls are healthy.

That I find ways to deal with my children's tantrums without losing my cool.

That J and I continue to work on better communication.

That we have another healthy pregnancy.

That we are able to retire our debt and start saving beyond what we are putting into retirement.

That I work on becoming better organized and home and at work.

That I take time to take care of myself.

That fewer stray hairs show up on my chin and jawline.

That my growing-out hair gets past the awkward stage quickly.

That I see my friends more often.

That I keep writing in this space.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Stick confusion

After over 15 months of breastfeeding*, I finally started cycling again around Thanksgiving. Yesterday, I used an ovulation prediction test and thought it might be positive, but I couldn't be sure. This morning, I repeated and it was definitely positive (yes, I know you aren't supposed to do them in the morning, so sue me). I was so excited to have a clearly positive test stick that I walked out to show it to J.

I handed it over and said, "maybe you can come home during lunch." He looked at the stick and and then gave me an awkward little hug and kiss with an "Oh, wow!" I thought it was a slightly odd response to an LH surge, but it wasn't until I walked back to the bedroom that I realized what had happened. It had not occurred to me that J, not counting cycle days or fertility signs, might assume I was handing him a positive pregnancy test. I walked back to the kitchen and told him about the stick confusion and we both had a little smile over it.

So, yes, I guess we have decided to try for one more. I'm going to be 39 in a few days and I have high FSH; I know our chances are low. I refuse to chart, obsess, or do anything more than use an OPK to pinpoint days, but here we go again.

*Still, breastfeeding now, but barely.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007


Sometime in the mid 90s, I flew to Seattle with my mother to attend my cousin J’s wedding. I hadn’t seen J since we were children, but my mother wanted a traveling companion, the trip was free, and I was curious about Seattle and the four cousins who I perceived as being quite glamorous. At the time, my aunt and uncle lived in Bremerton where they had views of Puget Sound from their small horse farm. I remember it being lovely and picturesque, but what I remember most vividly is the smell of evergreen and moist, cool air.

The trip must have taken place fairly shortly after the suicide of Kurt Cobain because I recall asking my cousins if they had been to a Nirvana show before the band hit big. They all looked at me blankly and said they knew nothing of the Seattle music scene. I soon learned that not only were my cousins not into the grunge scene, they did not approve of it. Though they were raised Catholic like me, three of my four cousins had recently been born again and were now nondenominational, evangelical, conservative Christians. In other words, they were just like much of the population I had happily left behind in South Carolina. It was disappointing to say the least. If my references to non-Christian bands didn’t already set me up as a sinner in my cousin’s eyes, my casual mention of how J and I lived together for a year an a half before we were married certainly did the trick. For the rest of my visit, my cousins kept a polite and wary distance from me, which meant I ended up hanging out with my elders.

My aunt, who is quite thrifty and skilled in the kitchen, decided to bypass a caterer and cater the wedding reception herself. It was a significant undertaking, but with all the extra hands in the kitchen, she made it work. For two days before the wedding, al the women of the family cooked and then decorated the church. While I was somewhat bemused at the time, I’m glad we had the opportunity to stay in that kitchen for as long as we did. Bonding was had by all, except, of course, by the cousins who were keeping their prayerful distance.

The wedding was interesting. The preacher explained how it is a busy and confusing world and that cousin J, being a woman, just couldn’t be expected to process it all. Her new husband’s duties would include explaining the world to his bride, shielding her from its harsh realities, and leading her through it.* As the preacher intoned, “As God is to man, husband is to wife.” I developed an inappropriate set of giggles and was pinched, HARD, by my mother and an aunt.

The morning after the wedding we again congregated in my aunt’s kitchen. Along with coffee and pastry, photos were passed around the kitchen. Vacations, children, home improvements—there was no theme. Eventually, my mother pulled a set of treasured photos from her purse. There were oohs and ahs as the pictures made their way through the room. Curious about what my elders were so excitedly viewing, I waited impatiently for my turn. As I held them at last, I realized that rather than show photos of her home, husband, children, or vacations, my mother selected photos from her recent colonoscopy for show and tell. Yes, my mother not only kept the photos of her first colonoscopy and polyps (a full decade before going on to develop full blown colon cancer), but she carried them across the country. To breakfast. And no one objected. What does this say about my mother? About my extended family?

Today I noticed that my doctor had included photos of my “normal colon” with my discharge paperwork from my Monday colonoscopy. I briefly considered filing the images in my medical files. However, upon remembering the breakfast of coffee, pastry and polyps, I decided to toss my colon pictures into the trash lest I suddenly be tempted to pull them out during Christmas dinner.

*They divorced after only two years, which tells me that cousin J must have wised up.

Monday, December 17, 2007


This is the first time I’ve had a chance to post or catch up on my favorite blogs in nearly a month. I feel like I have run a marathon–make that an ultra marathon- what with the end of the semester, with neurotic seniors working frantically to complete their practicum research, with J’s two weeks of travel, with final exams, with meetings, with conference papers due, with letters of reference to write, with Christmas to plan, with in-laws acting up. It has all been a bit much.

It feels good to be back.

I should give a real update, but a brief run down will have to do for tonight. I’ll post about each of these separately now that I am finally on a two-week break.

-M was assessed and diagnosed with a speech delay. In theory, she will start speech therapy after the holidays. I’ll know more after meeting with the service coordinator this Thursday.

-We are cohosting, with J’s brother and sister-in-law, a 50th anniversary party for J’s parents. It is out of control. I’m dreading the party.

–More than dreading the party, I’m dreading Christmas Day. J’s mother invited the rest of the family to my home for Christmas. Which is my birthday. Today when she asked about my Christmas menu, she informed me that my brother-in-law can’t digest the shrimp in my main dish. Much more on this later.

– I could never be a single parent. Two weeks without J during the last week of school and the first week of exams convinced me of this.

–I had a colonoscopy today. Preparation: horrible. Procedure: tolerable. Results: excellent.

–Grades will be released to students tomorrow and I know that I will receive angry/ frantic. bewildered email messages from students who performed poorly or failed my classes. Am very worried for and somewhat scared of one senior who failed my practicum.

–E is out of preschool for almost four weeks. This means that she will have to accompany me to my office as I prepare for the new semester. Four weeks scares me a bit.

–I’m about to take on an administrative position in my department as program director for my discipline (we are a two-discipline department).

–I’ve been watching Season One of Heroes on DVD for a few nights. Perfect escapism after a lousy month.

How have you been?