Chill mode

Christmas was definitely as hectic and dramalicious as ever, but overall it was good.  I'd even go so far as to say it was really good.  I scored a super sweet new camera from the Hubs, our first really decent one, and have been playing paparazzi for the past three days.  He and I also got to be the star auntie and uncle for bringing the biggest gift for two of our nieces.  I love that about kids - it doesn't matter so much what's inside the huge package as long as it's huge and it's theirs.  (It was one of those cardboard castles that they can color.)  But the best part about Christmas was when my SIL D and I were chatting as the day drew to an end, and she sort of asked and sort of told me that she and BIL had chosen Hubs and me to be godparents for their younger daughter.  I guess they kind of forgot to ask us three years ago when she was born, but who the hell cares?  I'm a godmother :)  How freakin' cool is that??

In other, much less interesting news, I'm sick again.  More coughing and stuffiness, but now I also have a pretty awesome case of laringitis that makes me sound like a sexy three-pack-a-day stripper.  I'm sure it will come in handy tomorrow when I go in for my second interview!  Hopefully they'll be able to understand me.  And hopefully I don't hack anything up on anyone...

Since yesterday was spent back at the in-laws' opening more presents together, today is the first day Hubs and I can just veg out at home and really unwind.  I'm thinking a nap will be in order later on, possibly preceded by eating a lunch that someone else makes for me.  Happy end of Christmas!


The most ___ time of the year

It is so sad how "down" the holiday season seems to be for most Infertiles.  In years past, I definitely felt the dark cloud of IF overshadow my holidays.  That isn't the case so much this year, but still, thanks to family members who are unwilling to be understanding about the struggles of splitting holidays between dozens of people, I have the Christmas blues.

I was actually doing okay even though I spent almost half of December laid up with back pain and sickness.  I was excited about the gifts I got for Hubs and my nieces.  I was able to look past the unavoidable hecticness of Christmas Eve and Day, and looked forward to our romantic getaway a few days after.  But then my older brother vented his frustrations with coordinating holiday plans to me the other day, which, of course I am more than sympathetic with and I was honestly happy to be a listening ear for him.  It just reminded me what a pain in the ass it inevitably is, and how I'm really just trying to please everyone and be everywhere to avoid problems.  Not because I actually enjoy spending three hours in one place, then rushing off to spend 3 hours somewhere else, followed by 3 hours at a third place...  And for the life of me I can't understand why insisting on splitting one day between 3 or 4 events seems to make everyone happier than spreading it all out over a couple of days and being able to spend more time together!

Yesterday I got to hang out all afternoon with my SIL D, and discovered her holiday situation is pretty darn similar to mine.  Only she has two little kids to cart around from place to place.  I used to believe that once Hubs and I were parents our families would be more understanding about our inability to be in 3 places at once... Unfortunately I see now how it is with my brother's family and my SIL & BIL's family, and neither of them gets any breaks for having children.  Looks like it's the curse of having your whole family in one city.  Too bad I love my city so much or I'd seriously consider moving away!

And okay, yeah, IF still casts a bit of a shadow over me this time of year.  I'm no longer jealous of my siblings for having kids while I don't (at least not now while no one is currently pg), but as each cycle comes and goes quite uneventfully, I go through the familiar cycle of hope and disappointment.  It's not as bitter as it used to be, just enough to add a dash of extra "flavor" to my holidays.

Today the east winds are kicking up at a gusty 25-40 mph.  It's dry and disgusting and makes me feel as emotionally whipped up as the leaves and dust swirling around outside.  It's supposed to die down by the weekend, though, and we're expecting a relatively warm and sunny Christmas.  I'm pesronally looking forward to the day after Christmas.  Hubs has the whole week off of work, and even though I'm not working, when he has a day off it's like I do too.  We'll sleep in for a few days, get some stuff done around the house, and then we're heading to Denver for our little getaway!  My mood should be considerably lifted by then.  ;)



Do you know what's the worst?  The absolute worst is getting sick for several days, then on the first day of feeling like a human being again, throwing out your back so bad that you spend the next week in a horizontal position loopy on painkillers and muscle relaxers, and generally feeling incredibly sorry for yourself.  Today, I am happy to announce, is the first day after the week of horizontality.  I'm still in pain, but I can move a little more freely and I can sit upright!  I'm considering venturing out to the drug store today, and I swear by all that is holy if I get into a car accident or some other horrible thing beyond my control befalls me, I'll... well... I don't know what I'll do but I will not be a happy camper.

Needless to say, December 2011 hasn't been very kind to me thus far.  But it's going to get better!  I managed to get most of my Christmas shopping done before I got sick and injured, so I just have a few more things to pick up before the big day (which I have all planned out since I had plenty of time to think about gift ideas while I was staring at the ceiling).  And Hubs has the whole week of Christmas off, so we're taking off to Denver for a few days.  We're staying at the same hotel we stayed in when we went on our road trip a couple years ago, which was a pretty saucy time that we're hoping to relive.  I even got a little somethin' from Vic's Secret to keep things spicy!  Yep.  Lots to look forward to. ;)

On the job front... nothing to report.  I finally admitted to Hubs (and myself) that I am terrified of going back to work.  I'm even terrified of interviewing!  There are so many thoughts circling my brain about it.  I'm afraid that I'll end up with another job that I can't stand; that I'm wasting my life away doing work I hate and having no idea what kind of job would make me feel more fulfilled and productive.  And that, even if I do figure out what I want to be when I grow up, I'll never find a job in a field I enjoy in this crappy economy.  So there you have it.  I'm a coward.  And I'm not real sure how to overcome it.  I may go to the career center in town and take an interview workshop or something to help get my confidence back up.  I guess that would be a reasonable first step, right?  

So things are mostly good and a little confusing.  I guess that's not so bad all things considered.  I'm feeling a lot more relaxed and happy (minus the past week or so, of course) than I have in years, and for the most part I'm focusing on that.  

Now to venture out into the world for the first time in DAYS.  Hallelujah! 


Here we go

It is officially the Holiday Season, and it just wouldn't be the holiday season if there wasn't a little drama to deal with.  Every year I try so hard to avoid pissing anyone off, and every year I seem to overlook one tiny little key detail.  This year's detail:  Make sure I invite myself to Thanksgiving dinner.

As usual, dinner was being held at my sister's house and my MIL's house.  Hubs and I planned to dine at my sister's and have dessert at MIL's.  This has been our tradition since we got married (or maybe before) because my sister and her family are Jewish and always take off to the mountains the week of Christmas, thus TG is the only time we see them for the holidays.  So my family gets priority on TG and his family gets priority for Christmas. 

This week was extremely busy.  Hubs had to work every day except Wednesday and Thursday; meanwhile I spent all of last weekend helping one of my besties and her family set up for a bridal shower at their house, Monday hanging out with another of my besties who'd just returned from a 3 week trip to Europe, and Tuesday making caramel apples with a friend all day and pies with the in-laws all night.  Then Wednesday Hubs was really excited about going to the L.A. auto show so there went another day (I'm kidding, it was actually a really good time).  My house has certainly borne the brunt of my absence and desperately needs cleaning!

It wasn't until Wednesday evening as we drove home from L.A. that I realized I'd never heard from my sister about what time TG dinner would be.  Assuming she'd be busy prepping for the big day, I texted my older brother to see if he'd heard from her.  The answer was yes.  He told me he'd talked to her the day before and that it would start at 3:00 but that he and his family would be arriving around 4:00.  Since I knew that my brother et al were indeed planning to eat dinner at our sister's and not with his wife's family, I (stupidly, it turns out) took this to mean that dinner would start at 4:00, with people starting to arrive at 3:00, and Hubs and I accordingly planned to arrive around 3:30.

Of course on TG day we were running late.  And I was having a bad day as it was, a little irritated that my sister never bothered to call or email or text me the time for dinner.  So when my brother's wife texted me at 3:35 asking if we were coming, and saying that everyone already ate dinner at 3:00, I lost it.  I tried really hard not to cry because my eye makeup looked fabulous, and because I didn't want to overreact.  But I couldn't help it.  Yes, there was still plenty of food left, but the whole point of TG is to eat with your family, not to pick over the remnants after everyone else was done with dinner.  And let's face it, I felt flat-out overlooked.  Somehow the rest of my family made it there on time to eat (even my brother who said he was arriving at 4), and it wasn't until they were done eating that they looked around the table and thought, "Huh.  I wonder if Kit's coming."

After going back and forth about it several times, Hubs and I decided not to go to my sister's, but to eat dinner with his family at 4:30 instead.  I wear my heart on my sleeve, and I knew if we went to my sister's I wouldn't be able to hide my feelings.  (The reasons why I can't/don't share my feelings with my sister would require their own lengthy post.)  So I called my mom to let her know we wanted to see her and my dad and that I'd call again after dinner to see where they were.  She tried to talk me into coming to my sister's, but to no avail.

Dinner with my in-laws was great.  It was the kind of scene I remembered from childhood holidays at my grandparents' house - siblings, aunts, uncles and cousins all wandering around, drinking and snacking and mingling.  Mom and Dad putting the finishing touches on dinner (albeit quite a bit later than 4:30).  Everyone in a great mood and having a great time.  After participating for a while in all the bustle, Hubs and I even had a quiet moment on a couch in the corner, and just watched everyone mill around the house as we nostalgically reminisced about our youths.  It was almost perfect.

By the time dinner was over and the party was winding down it was already after 8:00, so I called my mom, as promised, and found out she and my dad were still at my sister's house.  Hubs and I headed over with me still a little tense over the situation.  Not that I should have been worried because both my mom and my sister were fairly inebriated by that point and probably wouldn't have noticed even if I'd said or done something rude.  We made our obligatory appearance and I held back when my sister's husband asked how we got the time wrong.  What I wanted to say was, "Because your wife doesn't find it useful or necessary to actually invite guests to her holiday dinners."  What I actually said was a very brieft, tepid version of the truth.  Not once did my sister acknowledge that it could have been even partially her mistake for not communicating.  She just said how great it was that both our family and my in-laws live in town so Hubs and I didn't have to miss out on TG dinner. 

So now we move forth head-on into the holiday madness.  Tonight is TG dinner #3 with the rest of Hubs's family, next will be a tree-decorating party, followed by a Christmas party, Christmas Eve dinner, Christmas morning brunch, and two Christmas day dinners.  There's still plenty of time for more drama!



It's been a little while since the Hubs and I have discussed our family building plans.  When we quit TTC in January I really didn't even have time to think about it with all the BS going on at work, so it was easy to live life as if kids would never be in the picture.  Now that I've been on FUNemployment for about 2.5 months I realize... I actually have a helluva lot of time to think about it.  (Which hasn't been great the past 2 months with AF being LATE both times... not that I'm bitter or anything.)  At first it really sucked.  I was bummed about getting my period (LATE), even though we technically weren't trying.  And even though he agreed that we technically weren't trying, it's been fairly obvious that I'm not the only one in my marriage who harbors a secret desire to be a parent.

Queue my parents.

Is that weird?  LOL

I've had a couple of opportunities to have some one-on-one time with my dad since I've been FUNemployed, as he's retired and my mom is still working.  Last week we went to lunch and he brought up the subject of IF and family building.  (Sidenote: Oddly enough it's never, ever my mom that asks how I'm doing in that department, only my dad.)  Specifically he asked what our plans were.  I told him we haven't been talking much about it lately and plans have basically stalled.  After all being unemployed is not the ideal time to have a baby or bring a child into our lives.  He didn't say much about it after that, but later that night he texted me.  He told me that his offer still stands regarding paying for IF treatments, and that he knows a good mom when he raises one.

Queue the waterworks.

For the record, and because it's relevant, he and my mom have also offered to pay for adoption in the past.  So, not surprisingly, all this information got Hubs and me talking about children once again.  In fact, it didn't take us long to come to the conclusion that we want to pursue adoption.  We are really close to being debt-free, and once that happens (probably in about a year) we are going to start the adoption process. 

Queue the applause!

So I guess you could say I'm an expectant mother at this point.  Although I don't expect to have a child for another couple of years!  I've already had a friend offer (nay, demand) to throw me a shower when the time comes.  And I've already started talking to my oldest friend in the world, who happens to be adopted, about it.  I love that I'm surrounded by such supportive friends and family! 

Of course, I have many, many thoughts and emotions going on in my head since making this decision.  I worry that Hubs might not be as happy with an adopted child as he might have been with a biological one, especially if we aren't able to adopt an infant.  I worry that my parents will want to be more involved in the child's upbringing than we'd want them to be, since they're fronting the money that will make the child ours.  I worry about adopting a little boy, and Hubs's family not being accepting of an adopted child as the "heir" to the family name (so far the name dies with Hubs's generation).  I worry about how to handle the potential emotional issues of an adopted child (e.g. fears of abandonment, etc.).  Some of my worries are probably irrational.  I can't seriously see my in-laws rejecting or treating an adopted child as "less-than."  And most of my fears can probably be resolved through candid conversations.  I just have to take this one step at a time.  And right now, we are on step ZERO.  I have plenty of time to figure this all out!  For now, I am just going to be excited in knowing that parenthood is practically a guarantee for my future.



A day

I'm having a rough day and I can't quite put my finger on why.

The weekend was very nice.  Hubs and I went on our first ever camping trip alone, up north a couple of hours to a campground we'd never been to before.  It was beautiful with tall spindly pine trees and the biggest eucalyptus trees you've ever seen, right next to an ocean lagoon and estuary.  The trip was kind of an adventure between not having any power in the camper we borrowed from my parents, my coming down with a cold on the drive up, and AF showing up on Saturday... four days late... just as I was beginning to convince myself that I could be pregnant...

On second thought, that last thing might be part of why I'm having a rough day today.

I am tired.  AF is kicking my butt and my cold is still lingering, although it's getting a little better every day.  I guess I really did get my hopes up about the possibility of being pg, as stupid of me as that obviously was.  Hubs has been a bit more vocal than usual about his desire for kids lately.  He even says he hopes I can stay on unemployment for the maximum amount of time (assuming Congress decides to pass the extension benefits again at the end of the year, fingers crossed) just so we can keep having lots of sex and I can hopefully get pregnant.  Huh.  Well it's a nice hope anyway.

Speaking of unemployment, yep I'm still on it with no real job prospects on the horizon.  Which is probably another reason for my bad mood today.  I keep telling myself I can't make the jobs appear and I can't make employers call me.  All I can do is keep my resume looking as good as possible and keep sending it out anywhere I can.  Not that FUNemployment has ceased being fun.  Obviously our camping trip was a good time, and it's very nice having plenty of time to keep house, work on projects, and generally goof off (ah, I'm talking about you, PINTEREST).

Now, you haven't heard from me in a month and it sounds like I'm just as depressed and pessimistic as I was before I escaped from the 7th circle of hell, but that isn't true.  I just decided to come here at a bad time!  I've actually gotten to be a lot more positive over the past couple of months, and definitely a LOT less stressed.  I can tell because the jeans I'd shrunk out of a few months ago fit snugly again, my acne has cleared up almost completely (hallelujia!), and I finally feel like if I found a job right now I could actually stomach going to work!  Next time I write a post I'll make sure I'm in a better mood so I can prove how happy I really am.  ;)



I am in hell today.  It's like 95 degrees here and I'm dealing with AF at her worst.  This after she teased me by showing up for our monthly date three days late.  :P  Thankfully my advil/tylenol cocktail has mellowed her out a little bit, but I'm tired and I really don't feel like doing anything today.  Although getting out of my non-air-conditioned house does hold some appeal.  I do need to eat after all, and driving someplace where someone besides me makes the food certainly sounds better than the alternative.  (The alternative being sitting at home starving because I really don't feel like fixing anything.)  I'll consider this and other options while I type up nothing in particular.

Am I alone in thinking it's a lot more satisfying to be lazy on rainy days than sunny ones?  Rainy weather seems to instantly excuse the lack of all productivity, as if the potential for getting wet is too horrifying to even consider.  On sunny days though, I feel like at the very least I should go outside and absorb some vitamin D for a few minutes.  If I wasn't entertaining my dear aunt Flo and any of my friends weren't working today I might go to the beach for a couple of hours.  Alas, I shall relegate myself to watching crappy TV and occasionally checking Facebook.  Maybe I'll get a burst of energy and do the dishes that have been patiently awaiting a good scrubbing for the past day (or two)...

On the bright side, I know Hubs doesn't expect too much of me on CD2, due to the punctuality of my cramps.  Which is really good today because I haven't so much as gotten dressed since I showered a few hours ago.  Yep, that's right.  I've been lounging around the house in my skivvies for most of the day now.  Feels pretty good, too!

Now I'm just babbling.  I really should eat some food.  I guess that means I should put some clothes on.


Floating along

Oh FUNemployment, the bloom had to fall off the rose eventually.  My first few weeks went by quite happily.  I kept up on the daily chores and even completed a couple of household projects, rarely even turning the TV on most days.  I was pretty proud of me!  Last week, though, that all went to hell.  I slipped into a little bit of a depression and spent most of the week on the couch watching TV.  I'm not sure what made me so down in the dumps all of a sudden, but I can tell you I've been thinking quite a lot about babies lately.  AF should be arriving any second now, in fact she's a day or two late at the moment, and I've been having these really vivid PMS dreams almost every night.  One of them involved me finding two little parentless, homeless girls, which Hubs encouraged me to keep (only to tell me later that he'd been cheating on me).  And in another, my SIL gave me one of her children.  Ya think maybe something's on my mind??

I guess this all began when I found out one of my closest friends is expecting.  She is my first really good friend to become pregnant, and honestly I think took the news really well.  Maybe for the first time I'm truly, legitimately happy without a shred of envy for for someone pregnant.  Of course I wish it would happen for me, but I don't wish it was me instead of her at all.  But the news did get me thinking a LOT about having kids, and how maybe Hubs and I could still have a chance at a natural conception.  Neither of us want (me) to fall back into the habit of obsession that took over my life when we were TTC, so we aren't officially trying, but we are having a lot of sex.  With as few expectations as humanly possible. 

Is that even possible???  I hope so, because I think having a lot of sex is good for a marriage!  That's how I'm choosing to look at it, not that we are "not not trying," but that we're helping to keep our marriage strong.  And in the meantime, I'm back to keeping myself busy and taking on more projects.

And I do love projects!  Day-to-day housework and chores bore the daylights out of me, but there's something really satisfying about working on a detailed project and watching it come to fruition.  I spent two days contact-papering all of the kitchen shelves and drawers a couple of weeks ago, and I made my own Halloween silhouettes for the living room.  It was great being able to take my time to get them just right, and both turned out really well.  I've also done a little baking (which I've discovered I like a lot more than cooking), but I have to be careful not to take on too many of those projects as I've already gained a little "contentment" weight back!  If you have any suggestions for fun, calorie-free household projects, I'm all ears.

Right now, I'm going to go spackle the door frames we (finally) put up so that tomorrow I can start painting them!


Settling in

What is the date today??  Seriously, I'm starting to have trouble keeping up with the days of the week, much less the date now that one day is pretty much exactly the same as the next. 

Not that I'm complaining.  I'm very much enjoying my temporary life of leisure, but it can get boring being home alone most of the time.  And you know what they say about idle hands being the devil's playground?  Well, an idle mind isn't any better.  I try to keep myself busy with housework and that keeps my hands from doing the devil's dirty work, but it's not much for intellectual stimulation.  Plus I have altogether too much time to THINK. 

One of the things I've been thinking a lot about is, of course, infertility.  I'm getting a little bitter again, people, and I don't like it.  Several of my girlfriends have new babies or are pregnant or wanting to get pregnant right now too, which isn't helping matters.  I find myself comparing my life to theirs and I don't measure up.  I'm feeling "behind" when it comes to almost everything - money, home, career, education; but especially family.  I talk a big game about how being child-free is perfect for Hubs and I right now, how having children now would be terrible timing, and how much I enjoy my quiet home... But if I'm being 100% honest with myself I have to admit that I do want a child.  Just one. 

I'm not about to start TTC naturally again and we clearly can't afford any medical intervention while I'm FUNemployed.  They're just thoughts going through my head.  Dreams.  Wishes.  Whatever.  It's clear I need more to do.

So I started writing again.  I have a start on what might become my book that I like more than the three other starts I had months ago, and that's been a fun creative outlet.  I've been working on some things for my women's group too, and looking for volunteer opportunities during weekdays.  I'd like to say I've been using my free time to finally tackle some projects around the house like papering the kitchen shelves and painting the door trim... but I haven't.  At least the dishes and laundry are getting done regularly though, right? 

I'll need to start doing more stuff just so I have more to write about.  I think I'm getting less interesting by the day!  Well, I did do one interesting thing this week.  On Thursday night I went out with some ladies from my group to see Steel Magnolias at the local playhouse.  My goodness, if you think the movie is a tear-jerker you should see it performed live.  Not a dry eye in the house!  Oh!  And it was finally cool enough out that I could wear the new cute sweater dress I got for my birthday.  Mmm... I just love fall fashion.  Too bad I won't be able to afford it this year.

Well, maybe I'll paper the kitchen shelves next week so I'll have an exciting story for you all. ;)  Happy weekend!  (It is the weekend, right?)



It's old news now, but my job at the Seventh Circle of Hell is officially behind me. 

~Queue Cheering~

My last day there was last Tuesday, hence the reason this is "old news," and ever since then I've been processing it all.  I expected to walk out of there for the last time with a thrilling sense of relief, which I did.  Actually I was so relieved while I was still in the office with HR and my boss that I started to tear up just a little.  (Don't worry, I didn't let any tears fall, that would have sent the wrong message!)  But I didn't expect for that relief to almost instantly turn into restlessness and worry.  Was I being irresponsible by not trying harder to stay employed there?  Was Hubs disappointed in me?  Was I causing him undue stress?  Even though he and I had talked at length about this happening, and about how we would be okay if and when it happened, I still found it necessary to question everything, as is my way.

On the surface it might seem irresponsible not to do everything it takes to stay employed when I was making a solid income in this economy.  However, I believe that job did what it was inteded to do for me.  It helped Hubs and me make enough money to buy our house and pay off almost all of our debt.  It gave me new experiences as well; experiences that will hopefully help me land another job.  And at the same time, it fought mightily with infertility for top spot in "Which stressor can make Kitty's life more miserable?"  I've been able to start putting IF behind me, I just had to wait a little longer before I could put the 7th Circle of Hell behind me as well. 

As my friend A keeps telling me, the universe is in alignment for me right now.

For one, and this is a big one, I was very fortunate to have been able to prepare for this.  Even before the shit hit the fan on my first day back from vacation I knew it was coming.  And during my vacation, for the first time probably ever, I was able to see that my job wasn't that important in the grand scheme of things.  That being happy was really all I needed to focus on.  There have been some little things too:  Our most recent women's group topic was on coping with change; Hubs had the day off the day after I was let go, and he also had an extra long Labor Day weekend (which just ended today, sigh); my friend K had recently been through a very similar situation at the 7th Circle and was able to help me through it with my sanity (mostly) intact; and things were about to go from bad to worse at work at any minute.  If I'd stayed through that, I would certainly have lost what was left of my sanity.

I said back in January that 2011 would be dubbed "Awesome Kitty 2011."  Now I think that's happening in two parts: The first part of the year I was able to focus on putting the pain of IF behind me and become more comfortable, happy and grateful for what I have.  The second part started when I realized there's more to life than work or the Almighty Dollar.  After three and a half years of being worn down by work and infertility, I've lost myself.  But how amazingly fortunate is it that just at the moment I needed to find myself again, to find confidence and happiness and peace again, I was given the opportunity to do just that??  Even though it's not an ideal situation, I feel blessed for this opportunity, and I'm going to take full advantage of it.


STDSANHK: Nieces and nephews

I love being an auntie. Hubs and I have eight nieces and nephews whose ages range from 1 to 22 years old, and every one of them has brought so many smiles and wonderful moments to our lives. I've often wished we could provide some cousins for our little tykes to play with, but since that dream has gone by the wayside I've become more appreciative of what we have.

I myself have more aunts and uncles than you can shake a stick at, and growing up the ones who made the biggest impression on me were those who were childless during my formative years. When the whole family got together, they were the ones who had the time and energy to hang out with my siblings, cousins and I, while the moms and dads enjoyed grown-up conversations away from the kids. The childless aunts and uncles woud talk to us and tell us jokes and funny stories. They taught us how to play pool and they played games with us. They were the easygoing, fun, exciting family members that us kids looked forward to spending time with almost as much as we looked forward to spending time with our cousins. The childless aunts and uncles were the Big Kids.

Now it's my turn to be a Big Kid with my nieces and nephews. When our siblings are tired from working and parenting all day (all week... all year...), Hubs and I have the energy to run around after their kids. We're happy to listen to them chatter incessantly about their latest obsessions from Dora to video games to *gasp* love interests. We're happy to push them on the swing, sit on the floor and color with them, and let them show us their rooms for the fifteen hundredth time. And I in particular am always happy to hold the baby until she falls asleep when my siblings are busy getting ready for birthday parties for the older tykes!

I feel that Hubs and I are so willing and able to do all this stuff because we don't have kids of our own. We're not required to do it every single day the way a parent is, and we get plenty of breaks in between the times we see our nieces and nephews, so there's no burnout. When we hang out with our nieces and nephews we're on top of our game and can be the most fun Auntie and Uncle possible!

The best part is, I know my siblings and sibs-in-law appreciate our "help." It's funny because Hubs and I want to and enjoy playing an active part in the kids' lives, so when our siblings thank us for spending time with their kids I think, there's no reason for that. I think we get as much out of it as the kids do, and we benefit as much from it as our siblings do. Nevertheless, it's nice to know that we're taking some of the pressure off of them, and that we're making a meaningful contribution to the well-being of our family.


Back to reality

If I thought work couldn't get any worse, I was dead wrong.

My vacation was wonderful. I spent many days swimming in the ocean, lying in the sun, and not giving a single thought to the Seventh Circle of Hell. I even got a lovely tan that's still sticking around. There were walks on the beach, wine tastings, gambling, fun with friends, bike rides and way too much food! I wish it could've lasted forever.

Then the day I went back to work, that was all shattered. Yet again, I got written up. Not only that, but I'm on probation as well. It's about 95% BS. I figured I'd get written up for one of the things on there, as ridiculous as it is, because I know my boss and the way she thinks. The other item I got written up for is 100% BS: I was empowered to make a decision, but when I didn't make the decision that my boss wanted me to make, she got pissed. Instead of simply overriding me, she waited until I was out of the office for two weeks to write me up for it. Wanna know what the decision was? Whether or not to allow one of my employees to leave work an hour early. I wrote a lengthy response to the write-up and didn't get so much as a nod from my boss in return. All I got was notification that my response was placed in my personnel file.

Nothing that happens there surprises me anymore. My probationary period is up on Sept 6 and I'm hoping against hope that I'll get the axe by then. In fact, every day I go to work with a wish in my heart that they've found some reason to let me go. I've done my homework by talking to my friend in HR as well as my sister (a.k.a. my attorney), and as long as I don't get fired for "cause" I'll get unemployment. After many conversations with Hubs, we both agree this would be the best thing for me, and for our marriage. I realize it's not PC to want to be on unemployment especially in this economy, but I've been through eight straight months of overwhelming stress on the job, and no matter what I do I can't seem to be what they want so I've given up trying. I need to be out of there any way I can at this point.

In the meantime, I am finally learning to manage my stress. I'm reading an awesome book called "The Joy of Living," which describes how and why science backs up the pracice of meditation, and it details several types of meditation. I had no idea it was so simple! I've been able to practice for a few minutes here and there, and even those brief moments are enough to help keep me feeling more balanced.  Maybe soon I'll have plenty of time to practice all I want!  I can feel the stress melting away even as I type...



Yesterday was my 31st birthday, and lemme tell ya, it was infinitely better than my 30th.  Pardon me while I regale you with far too many details and with way too much enthusiasm! 

The party was so freakin' much fun, I don't even know where to begin.  I don't know if they ever read my blog, but I'm thinking the appropriate place to start is by thanking L (my SIL, whose idea it was to have the party, and who took the reins in organizing the whole thing) and A (my BFF, who was L's right-hand woman in planning and executing the festivities): I love you both, I couldn't hope for better friends!

As usual, I sucked at documenting any part of the setup or celebration itself with photographic evidence.  My mom was taking pictures during the party, so maybe some day I'll get my hands on those images, but for now all I have is this:

If you're wondering whether that's a homemade tiramisu cupcake, let me assure you that it is.  And it was even more delicious than it looks.  I didn't get photos of the other cupcake varieties that A, my mom, my niece S, and I made on Saturday afternoon, but they were:

Chocolate Stout
Strawberry Shortcake
Margarita (complete with sugared rim)
Lemon with Blueberry Compote

It was a lot of work for 3 dozen cupcakes, even with 4 people, but well worth the effort!  They were super fancy-lookin' and tasty, and a HUGE hit at the party. 

The decor was even better than I imagined.  We strung market lights over the patio and barbecue area, and under them were three cocktail tables with black and teal linens, each topped with candles and fuschia orchids.  More candles dotted each of the three decks that climb the embankment above the patio, with seating areas and hors d'oeuvres stations on the two decks that have ocean views.

Speaking of food, my family kicked ass pulling together several yummy dishes!  A made red pepper hummus and olive tapenade, L made brie en croute and fruit skewers, Hubs made mini teriyaki drumsticks, my mom made bbq meatballs, and my MIL made mini pigs-in-a-blanket. 

And of course you can't have a cocktail party without cocktails!  My dad provided the beer, wine, and sodas, and my sister D rocked it with two superb martinis: "Absolut Sexy Lemonade Punch" and the "Kitini" (my invention, ingredients below). 

The best part of course, were the guests!  Everyone had a great time, and I even got to see a family friend that I haven't talked to in ages.  (She was in rare form!)  It was nothing short of an amazing night. 

The Kitini (AKA: Knock You on Your Ass Frou-Frou Delight)
2 parts vodka
1 part orange vodka
2 parts cranberry juice cocktail
1 part Kiwi-Strawberry flavored Juicy Juice
A few good squeezes of fresh lime or lime juice
Shake with crushed ice, strain, and serve
Recommendation: Garnish with a small slice of watermelon or half a strawberry



Show of hands: How many of you have seen or heard about this little gem?

Another show of hands: How many parents actually own this little gem?

I first heard about this book a couple of months ago on FB and thought it sounded hi-freaking-larious. I've decided that should I ever have a child, this is the first baby-related item I'll be purchasing for myself. No, it won't help my kid fall asleep any faster (probably), but since a good sense of humor is absolutely essential to maintaining one's sanity, and sleep deprivation is one of the quickest ways to lose one's sanity, I figure it's a solid investment.

Until that day comes, however, I am going to be ever so grateful for my ability to sleep pretty much as much as I want. Because one thing I know about having children, especially very young children, is that they aren't nearly as interested in sleeping through the night as I am. I'm the type of girl who needs a minimum of 7 hours of sleep a night - every night - in order to feel human. I've worked through days after getting only a few hours of sleep, and guess what: It's not fun. I am not a nice person when I'm tired, and I'm really kind of a raging bitch when I'm truly sleep-deprived.

On top of my nocturnal requirements, I'm also a fan of another type of unconscious activity, maybe you've heard of it. It's called Sleeping In. I've never been much for naps, but man alive can I sleep in with the best of them. Every other Saturday when Hubs has to work I'm not shy about sleeping in until as late as noon (I do get a little shy when it starts creeping up on 1:00 p.m., though). And if I had my way I'd sleep until 8:00 a.m. every day (except every other Saturday, of course).

Some kids, especially school-aged children, might be down with sleeping in. I know I was. But most younger kids, in my experience anyway, have no time for such nonsense. I think they're under the (clearly false) impression that they're missing out on something if they're not awake during daylight hours. There is no reasoning with a toddler, however, so most parents are up when the kid is, stumbling to the coffee pot, blearily rubbing sleep from their puffy eyes...

Meanwhile, I'm snoring away, happily dreaming about the next time I get to sleep in until noon... Which is just a few days away now!


My body may be here...

...but my mind's on vacation!

Sure I still have almost two flipping weeks until my two week vacation starts, but apparently my brain has already taken off.  My motivation levels are dangerously low, and the daily lag factor is increasing... uh... daily (duh).  By this time next week it's going to feel like I have three more weeks of waiting left.

But I don't!!  I only have 8 business days, 3 hours, and 44 minutes...  Actually if you factor in the workshop I'll be at instead of work tomorrow (a six-hour day), it's only 1 hour and 42 minutes.  But who's counting?

I am!!

It's going to be a looong 8 business days, 1 hour and 41 minutes.

So, you want me to refresh your memory as to what I'll be doing on my two glorious weeks away from the Seventh Circle of Hell?  Well why didn't you say so??  I'm only too happy to oblige!

Day 1 is actually my birthday (7/23 in case you don't have it on your calendar yet).  So right off the bat I'll be spending my vacation a year older.  A small price to pay, I suppose, especially considering that my SIL, L, and my BFF, A, have been working tirelessly to throw me the most fabulous birthday cocktail party of all time!  (It will actually be a relatively small affair, but that doesn't mean it can't still be the most fabulous of all time.)  Can you think of a better way to kick off a vacation than that?  I can't.  It's going to rock my socks off, I'm convinced.

Next, Hubs and I will be taking a day trip to good ol' Venice Beach!  It's been years since I've been down there, and Hubs hasn't ever really spent any time there.  Should be a nice mellow day of checking out the crazy people.  I'll be sure to stop by Muscle Beach for all you gals and bring back some pics. ;)

Unfortunately, Hubs only has two days off work the first week I'm off, so I've been contemplating how I should spend the other three days alone.  I'm thinking I'll go to the movies one day, and hopefully the other two days will be sunny enough that I can lay out and work on not being so pasty white.  Also I may try out some new recipes.  How do you like to spend your free time alone?

And finally, the pies de resistance, we'll be spending seven heavenly nights camping at the beach, as per our usual summer ritual.  It may not be a resort in the Bahamas, but as long as I have plenty of margaritas and reading material I'll be happy!

Now to get through the next 8 business days, 1 hour and 6 minutes.  Heavens to Murgatroid, that's a looong time...

P.S. Check out my new section for freebies in the column to the left!  I'm sharing the wealth with you all whenever I get an offer for free stuff.


All about my booty

My butt is officially as old as I am.  The other day as I was trapsing about the house nekkid as a jaybird and without a care in the world, I noticed something wiggling and jiggling behind me.  No, it wasn't my fanny pack full of water balloons, it was my derrier, and it was not a good feeling. 

I've been a tad preoccupied with my booty ever since.  Something I didn't expect to come with age is the apparent shrinking of my once perky posterior.  You'd think this would be a good thing since I've always been extra "blessed" in that region, but no.  It is not a good thing.  It may look a little smaller because it doesn't stick out so much anymore, but what I suspect is actually happening is the dreaded phenomenon known as Chair Butt.  Chair Butt, caused by excessive sitting and too few contractions of the gluteus maximus, is evidenced by the smooshing of the booty and a slow horizontal migration of the muscles.  (Yes, I said muscles!  Let me have my delusions!)

My pleasing patootie was my last hope that I didn't reeeally need to start exercising regularly.  I could overlook the slight "wave" of my triceps, the distinct lack of definition in my tummy, and even the ever-expandingness of my ever-expanding thighs, but this is the final blow.  You see, Hubs is a big fan of my booty, and I just can't in good conscience let him keep telling me how wonderful it is when I know it is no longer.  Plus, I have to wear a bathing suit for like 7 days straight starting at the end of this month.  That gives me three and a half weeks to start improving this little situation.

So as soon as I get home today I'll be starting a pilates and squats regimen.  There's a pilates program conveniently available through my cable company's "on demand" option, and I'll be adding the 200 Squats online program to it.  Who needs a gym?  Not I!

The real challenge of course will be following through with my goal of improving my glutes!  Not a rhetorical question: How do you motivate yourself to stick with an exercise regimen?


Stuff that doesn't suck about not having kids

While I'm in limbo deciding what will ultimately be the next direction my blog takes, I had a thought!  (Red letter day!  A thought entered my mind that had nothing whatsoever to do with audits or job hunts or new hires or irate customers or file maintenance...)  As you may have guessed from the oh-so-subtle title of this post, that thought was to write about stuff that doesn't suck about not having kids.  'Cause I'm realizing that there's actually a lot of stuff I'm grateful for that I wouldn't be able to enjoy if this whole infertility thing didn't happen to me.

Because I am the Queen of Disclaimers, I have this to say before I begin:  These posts may sometimes sound like generalizations, but in reality they're specific to me and my situation.  Of course I hope I have some readers who'll go, "Oh!!  I totally agree!  I also think that's something that doesn't suck about being childless!"  But I also expect to have some readers who'll go, "Okay, but I would give that up in half a heartbeat, no questions asked, if I could just have one opportunity to have a child."  Or even some moms thinking, "Yeah, but being a mom is infinitely better than that, and I wouldn't trade it for a lifetime of that."  I get it.  I'm just sayin', please don't get offended.  This is fair warning that I intend to remove some of my filters, and it might get a little blunt up in here.

Like today, for example, I'm gonna write about SEX.  And I don't mean babymakin'.

Call me a whore (I really wasn't), but in my youth and heyday I was quite the adventurous sexual partner, and looking back I'd say I peaked when Hubs and I were dating the first time around.  Our chemistry was spectacular from the start, and we were young and full of hormones and carefree energy.  We (or maybe just I, Hubs never seems to be at a loss for interest in sex) have lost some of that over the years thanks to infertility, relationship issues, and work stress; i.e. life.  But now that we're putting the thought of having kids on the back-burner indefinitely, we have the chance to work on bringing that spark back to the bedroom.  And oh my goodness, it's fun.

Being infertile and not TTC means we now get to have sex for no other reason than to freakin' feel good!  And not having kids means we get to be as free as we wanna be when we do the deed.  If we feel like covering the living room floor with blankets and pillows and spending a Saturday afternoon rolling around in them, we get to do that.  We don't have to worry about being walked in on or being caught by innocent eyes.  We don't have to think twice, or even once, about being too loud, or walking around the house naked (with the blinds closed! I'm not an exhibitionist for crying out loud), or where we keep the adult toys - I mean, uhh... What??

Not having kids also means we have more time and energy to have sex.  Kids require a lot of attention if I'm not mistaken, and from my experiences with my numerous nieces and nephews I've found that they also require a LOT of energy.  Even after babysitting for a couple of hours I'm ready for a nap!  I know that if I'd had a baby when we started TTC over three years ago, and if I now had a toddler (or two) to chase around after working a long day in the Seventh Circle of Hell, my energy would be completely sapped.  I can't say how that would've affected my sex life, but knowing myself, I'm 100% sure it would not have enhanced it.

So yes, for the moment, I'm grateful that not having kids means I can go back to having great sex with the Hubs.  It's the perfect situation for me right now - No need for birth control thanks to my bum repro tract, if I do happen to end up pregnant I'll be happy, and I have nothing preventing me from just enjoying myself to the max!  I may not be the whore I used to be, but I'm starting to think (hope!) that maybe I didn't "peak" all those years ago after all.


One day I will write you a real post.  One with meaning and depth.  And it will be beautiful and glorious, and you will be a better person for having read it. 

Today, unfortunately, is not that day.  Today you get bullet points.
  • Did you know it's possible to throw your back out simply by waking up?  It's true!  And I'm living proof.  Early Monday morning I opened my sleepy eyes, went to roll over, and WHAM!  Instant excruciating pain.  I yelled.  A lot.  (I'm sure Hubs was super appreciative for that wake up call.)  It took both Hubs and me around 30 minutes just to figure out how to get me out of bed without making things worse.  Luckily he was able to call in sick and took me to the doctor.  I spent the next two days in a pain killer-induced fog, napping on the couch and vaguely listening to episode after episode of the old X-Men cartoon playing on TV.  I'm feeling somewhat better now, and I'm planning on a nice long visit to the masseuse this weekend.
  • I have mastered the growing of vegetables!  Okay that might be a stretch, but I have been successful in growing some vegetables.  I have a GIANT zucchini plant with 2 almost-fully-grown zucchinis on it, and I have baby tomatoes on both of my tomato vines too.  Which leads me to a question:  How do you know when a zucchini is ready to be picked?  To me they look just like the ones in the grocery store right now.  Should I pick them now?  Or will they keep getting bigger or what?  (See, I am not quite to "master" status just yet.)
  • Flowers on zucchini plants are GORGEOUS!
  • Work still sucks and so does the job market.
  • I'm very excited about Fourth of July this year because I'm taking a four-day weekend.  Yes, most of my excitement lately revolves around me not having to be at work.  Even having a totally jacked-up back was better than being at work.  But I digest.  That weekend my friend A and I are taking a two-hour drive to talk to her sister about starting a second chapter of our women's group.  Can you believe it?  I'm amazed we already have interest in chapters, and not just the one.  There's at least one other person interested in starting a chapter in her city too!  I shouldn't really be surprised, it's a great group and it's done wonders for my outlook on life.  Of course other people would want to be involved too!
  • Three weeks after that long weekend I'm taking my requisite 2 week vacation.  Ahhh... Even though it's forced on me every year, and even though it's a huge pain trying to divvy up the rest of my meager vacation allotment throughout the rest of the year, it's really nice to have 2 weeks away from work.  This year my vacay kicks off with...drumroll please...MY BIRTHDAY!  With any luck, my birthday this year will be infinitely better than the last (ya know, with that whole miscarriage thing).  So far so good.  I am already off the hook for planning my own celebration; my awesome SIL L and my amazing friend A are doing it for me!  I love them!  It's going to be a small cocktail party in my parents' backyard, something I've always wanted to do because my parents have a beautiful backyard that's just begging to be used for a cocktail party.  I can't wait.  After that I'll be spending some time puttering around the house, followed by a week camping at the beach.  Pleeeeease hurry up and get here, vacation time!!
That's all I've got for now.  Holy good gravy this day is dragging.  Times like this I wish I lived on the East Coast!


Coming and going... mostly going

There comes a time in every childless, non-TTC Infertile's journey when she realizes it's time to move on from the blogland that once provided her with so much comfort.  The ALI blogosphere has been an amazing support system throughout my infertility, miscarriage, and even my baby steps (pun intended) into a happily childfree life (so far, knock on wood!).  YOU are all amazing and I appreciate all of the words, thoughts and encouragement you've offered me.

I've come to a decision, though, or at least half of a decision.  (If you've been around this blog long enough you know how indecisive I am and that half a decision is as good as it gets some days.)  That half of a decision is this:  It's time for me to stop following TTC and parenting blogs.  This probably does not come as a shock to anyone, but I thought it would be rude to one day just up and disappear from twenty-something 'following' lists.  I mean no offense by taking this action and I won't take offense if I lose followers for doing it.  When I was TTC, this blog was a sanctuary to me.  I came here and visited your blogs daily, and it was a relief and a joy and a glimmer of hope during a dark time in my life.  Unfortunately, and I'd hoped this wouldn't happen, now seeing all those TTC and mommy blogs in my blogroll is a sad reminder of that dark time.  And I don't want to be sad anymore.  I want to do what is healthy for me and what makes me happy.

The other half of the decision I've been mulling over is what to do with this blog.  I don't have anything specific to write about these days and I'm afraid it's getting pretty boring!  On the other hand, for better or worse, this blog is a part of me and I can't bear to simply shut it down.  At least not yet.  I still have the urge to write, and I don't want to start fresh with a new name and a new space.  The Life and Times of KitVonD was always supposed to be about me, not just my infertility.  So here it will stay, and eventually, for the sake of anyone reading this, I hope it gets more interesting!

So if you see my name disappear from your blog, please know I wish you nothing but the very best.  I am so happy that so many of my IF sisters have gotten exactly what they hoped for.  I know you will never take your children for granted and you will never forget the struggle you overcame.  That struggle will make you a better person and a better parent, and your children will benefit from the wisdom you've gained.  For those still waiting for your miracles, hang in there!  And I don't say that lightly.  I know how difficult it is to wait, to feel the agony of loss, and to wonder if you'll ever get to hold your own baby in your arms.  I can't tell you how your journey will end, but I can tell you there is hope, and there is happiness to be had and life to enjoy in the meantime. 

Thank you for allowing me to share in your journeys.  XOXO


10 on Tuesday

1. What a freaking fabulous weekend.  Weekends like that make coming back to work even harder than usual!  But between half a Xanax and a cup of coffee, I'm feeling almost human today.  Now I'm going to cheat and break down my weekend activities so as to make it easier for me to come up with 10 things to tell you about.  Whoever said cheaters never prosper? 

2. On Saturday I went to a friend's bridal shower, which was just lovely!  And as usual, I won a prize, because I am the shower game queen and I almost always win a prize whenever I go to showers.  It was a picture frame, in case you were wondering.  My friend A won a prize too, but she already owned the exact thing she won (a nice little makeup kit) so she gave it to me!  Win-win!!

3. Hubs and I joined some friends for a day of bar-hopping on Sunday Bloody Funday (that's the British use of "bloody," FYI. Don't worry, no one was hurt).  All told, we visited six bars and drank for about 8 hours straight.  We ended the day by dancing our butts off at a local club, which is a testament to how good a time I had because for everyone's sake, I normally do NOT dance in public.

4. We held a semi-impromptu bbq at my house yesterday.  I first worried that too many people would show up, then when no one responded on our FB announcements I worried that no one would show up.  Yes, there's always something for me to fret over!  But of course, it turned out just fine.  I got to spend some time with a few friends I haven't seen in a while, and it was even nice to see my almost 7 months pregnant friend.  The green-eyed monster was nowhere to be found.

5. I have tomatoes!!!  Our Early Girl has two little green tomatoes on it already!  I really hope I get to eat them before the bugs do.  Any tips on organic pest control?  I don't know that we'll have a problem, but I want to be prepared just in case.

6. It's taken me all flipping day to get to #6.

7. We have a "new" TV and it is GIGANTIC.  Well, 56" is gigantic for my 884 square foot house anyway.  It belonged to my younger brother who recently upgraded to the latest and greatest, so we got his hand-me-down for a deep discount.  Hubs set it up today and now I'm itching to go home and enjoy HD for the first time in my own living room!  I have a feeling it's going to be like sitting in a movie theater.

8. I meant to be more clever and witty in this post, but I clearly failed in that endeavor.  My apologies.  It's been a busy day and AF is seriously kicking me right in the uterus today.  Now I'm just trying to finish this up so I can clean up my desk and go home!

9. Hubs and I have started planning our next road trip, which won't be until next summer, but I'm nothing if not a planner!  We'll be driving up the coast to Vancouver, BC, with stops along the way including Sacramento, Napa, Portland, and Seattle.  We visited Vancouver once, but only got to stay for a day.  We both loved it though so we're excited to go back and actually spend some time there.

10. I made it to the end of the workday, and now I'm going home to snuggle up with my hubby and watch my new TV.  TGI-No Longer Tuesday!

More from "The Prophet"

I'm posting this today because if I let myself keep thinking about how miserable I am at work, I will break down in tears at my desk.  It's better to try to stay strong!  ...Or something.

On Work:
Then a ploughman said, "Speak to us of Work."

And he answered, saying:

You work that you may keep pace with the earth and the soul of the earth.

For to be idle is to become a stranger unto the seasons, and to step out of life's procession, that marches in majesty and proud submission towards the infinite.

When you work you are a flute through whose heart the whispering of the hours turns to music.

Which of you would be a reed, dumb and silent, when all else sings together in unison?

Always you have been told that work is a curse and labour a misfortune.

But I say to you that when you work you fulfil a part of earth's furthest dream, assigned to you when that dream was born,

And in keeping yourself with labour you are in truth loving life,

And to love life through labour is to be intimate with life's inmost secret.

But if you in your pain call birth an affliction and the support of the flesh a curse written upon your brow, then I answer that naught but the sweat of your brow shall wash away that which is written.

You have been told also life is darkness, and in your weariness you echo what was said by the weary.

And I say that life is indeed darkness save when there is urge,

And all urge is blind save when there is knowledge,

And all knowledge is vain save when there is work,

And all work is empty save when there is love;

And when you work with love you bind yourself to yourself, and to one another, and to God.

And what is it to work with love?

It is to weave the cloth with threads drawn from your heart, even as if your beloved were to wear that cloth.

It is to build a house with affection, even as if your beloved were to dwell in that house.

It is to sow seeds with tenderness and reap the harvest with joy, even as if your beloved were to eat the fruit.

It is to charge all things you fashion with a breath of your own spirit,

And to know that all the blessed dead are standing about you and watching.

Often have I heard you say, as if speaking in sleep, "he who works in marble, and finds the shape of his own soul in the stone, is a nobler than he who ploughs the soil.

And he who seizes the rainbow to lay it on a cloth in the likeness of man, is more than he who makes the sandals for our feet."

But I say, not in sleep but in the over-wakefulness of noontide, that the wind speaks not more sweetly to the giant oaks than to the least of all the blades of grass;

And he alone is great who turns the voice of the wind into a song made sweeter by his own loving.

Work is love made visible.

And if you cannot work with love but only with distaste, it is better that you should leave your work and sit at the gate of the temple and take alms of those who work with joy.

For if you bake bread with indifference, you bake a bitter bread that feeds but half man's hunger.

And if you grudge the crushing of the grapes, your grudge distils a poison in the wine.

And if you sing though as angels, and love not the singing, you muffle man's ears to the voices of the day and the voices of the night.



I'm hopping on the latest blog trend and participating in Bring Your Own Crazy since it's a holiday weekend and my workday is dragging like a... a... well I can't think of anything funny that drags right now.  Probably because my brain has been on vacation since yesterday at about 3:00 p.m.  It's a good thing all BYOC requires is for the blogger to answer some questions, so not too much thought required!

Thank you Sweet Pea for spreading the word!

1. When is the last time you gave and got a compliment?  Today!  A coworker complimented me on my top, and I complimented one of my employees on her sparkly purple nail polish.

2. What do you wear to bed?  This is an interesting question because I'm in the process of updating my bedtime wardrobe.  I normally wear PJ pants or shorts and a tank top or t-shirt.  However, all my old PJ bottoms are older than God and uglier than sin (you see what I did there?) and Hubs hates them.  I'll stick with the same basic uniform for the most part, but out with the old and in with the new!  I just started ordering some new stuff this week actually. 

Eh, I guess it wasn't that interesting after all.

3. If you could pick your dream job - with no worries of shifts or money or bosses or commute - what would it be and where?  I would love to be a backup singer, and if I'm dreaming big here, might as well be in Hawaii!

4.  Okay - I'm not trying to start some huge controversy with this question but I have to put it out there.  If you're being honest - do you think staying at home or working outside the home is harder?  Can you honestly recognize they are both equally hard?  Even if you don't have kids - have you heard others talk about the two professions judgmentally?  I'm not going to lie, for me it would be much, much easier to stay at home than to work at the job I'm currently at.  But I don't have kids and my house doesn't take that much work to maintain.  I'm not sure you can generalize an answer to this question because everyone's situation is so unique.  If I were to compare myself four years ago to a stay-at-home mom with several kids, I think I could honestly say that the SAHM's job would be harder.  But that's because I LOVED my old job and got to come home to a quiet, relaxing household every day.  Have I heard others talk about the two professions judgmentally?  Of course!  Who hasn't?  And if I can rock the boat just a tad, it always amuses me how quickly SAHM's jump on the defensive as soon as anyone says anything remotely related to being a stay-at-home, even if there is zero judgment being passed on SAHM's.  I had this happen to me on my FB status once.  I was totally talking about my own personal experience, no judgment on anyone whatsoever, and all these moms started chiming in like I'd told them they were worthless.  Relax, ladies!  If I was going to be bitchy to you I certainly wouldn't do it on FB where you could defend yourselves.  I'd do it behind your backs like any other self-respecting woman!  (Kidding!  Mostly... ;)

5.  Summarize your week in blogland and in real life.  Uhhh... I only posted twice on my blog this week (not counting today), so if you want to know what happened here, please go back and read my carefully selected words from my prior posts!

Sigh... Okay fine, if you're going to be lazy about it ;) - I posted about finally finding some happiness in being childless, and I also posted about my backyard.

In real life I've been ridiculously PMSed and super bitchy.  Has that not come across in this post?  If not I apologize, and I promise to do better next time.

Happy Memorial Day Weekend!


A beginner's advice on not killing plants

Who else feels like they've really earned this upcoming three-day weekend?  Hubs keeps asking if I want to have people over for a barbecue, but I'm looking forward to some R&R.  I wouldn't mind having a few friends over, if only I could get away with not having to clean the house first...  Sigh...  Unfortunately, given the current state of our house, the odds are excellent that I'll be cleaning this weekend regardless!

I feel like talking about my backyard today.  Lately I love fantasizing about how it will someday look.  Because our house is so tiny, I'm dying to make my backyard an extension of the house.  Right now we're too broke to be able to afford the pergola and deck and fireplace and outdoor furniture that I desperately want, so we're focusing on keeping our plants alive and well.  Because that is free.  Then when we can afford all these other things, we'll already have a beautiful space to enjoy.  (That's what I keep telling myself, anyway.)

My veggie garden is surviving and a couple of the plants are already flowering, so I'm hoping for at least some zucchini and cherry tomatoes relatively soon!  Can I just say how flipping amazing and exciting I find it that I can stick a seed in the dirt, splash some water on it, and a little while later have a big ol' plant ready to feed me??  (How obvious is it that this is my first time attempting to grow vegetables?)  Well, to me it's exciting.  And to my SIL, L, too.  My brother built a veggie bed at their house this spring, and L and I were practically squealing over the thrill of seeing our first sprouts.  Ah, everyday miracles!

Besides the veggie garden, we've been doing some work in our garden garden too.  I've always joked that I have a black thumb because I usually manage to kill every plant that is left in my care.  People, I've been known to straight up murder a cactus, which takes a special kind of talent.  But I think I'm starting to get the hang of keeping plants alive.  For one, I've learned that WATER is key to a plant's survival.  Right??  Go figure.  My flowering plants are just loving life now that their thirst is being quenched on a regular basis.  And my hydrangea, which I've had for almost three years, is suddenly three times as big as it's ever been and ready to burst into bloom any minute.  Hmm... Guess I thought the 2" of rain we get a year would somehow be enough to sustain life in (what was until recently) my garden-o-twigs.

Two, PRUNING is good!  I'm amazed at how huge my roses got this year after pruning them back in January... for the first time... Now I have twice as many roses as usual!  And one of my bushes was half-dead (literally, the back side of the main stalk is still totally dried out and D-E-A-D), but it's now as big as my biggest rose bush.  I'm so happy because it's my favorite, it blooms with those yellow and orange roses that are so gorgeous.

WEEDING - Okay I'm not seeing any dramatic results in the growth of my plants thanks to weeding, but my planters certainly look a lot nicer. 

And finally, when in doubt, PLANT IT ANYWAY.  I filled some pots with pansies and marigolds a while back and had a couple leftovers that didn't look like they would make it, but I didn't have the heart to throw them away, so I planted them next to my roses.  Then the pansy got trampled by some asshole stray cat and I was sure it was a goner... Now a couple weeks later it's blooming again!  No idea how.  I also dropped one of my fuschias on it's head and broke most of the limbs off.  I planted it anyway and now it has buds almost ready to pop open!  There are quite a few plants in my garden that I never thought would survive, but with a little TLC they are now doing just fine.

Here I thought there was some big mystery about growing stuff that I never caught on to, but it turns out all I needed to do was try.  I guess maybe I don't have a black thumb after all! 


I've been meaning to tell you...

Bad Kitty!  I haven't blogged in a long time.  Never fear though, I'm around and still reading up on your blogs, it's just mine that's been neglected.

There's nothing really new that's going on to add to the current hecticness that is my life, but I've been trying to be more "present" in all areas:  At home, at work, with my women's group, with my friends and family, etc.  And let's face it, that means I've been spending a lot less time on the computer when I'm not at work.  I even missed a critical FB update the other day that one of my BFFs is going to Africa in a couple of weeks!  Jeez!  Clearly not being online every waking moment is causing me to miss out on quite a bit.


So, there's something I've been wanting to tell you, but I've been a little heistant.  (SPOILER: I'm not pregnant.)  It's hard to put into words all the crazy feelings and thoughts that have been going through my head since Hubs and I made the decision to stop TTC.  We've obviously both been doing a lot of thinking and a lot of talking about our life and family-building options the past several months.  We've talked at length about adoption, IVF, and living childfree, and all these thoughts still swirl around in my head.  I mentioned in a previous post that I was reading Elizabeth Gilbert's Committed; well, there was this one section that I felt really spoke to me.  Before you read the rest of this post, and if you haven't already read the book, please take a minute to read an excerpt from that section here.  It goes on for a bit longer in the book (if I recall correctly), but you get the gist.

About 3/4 of the way through that section I literally burst into tears and had to put the book down.  I had goosebumps.  I was shaking.  I wanted to tell everyone who would listen about the Auntie Brigade.  I wanted to seek out other "members" of the Auntie Brigade and hear about what they were doing with their lives.  I wanted to find tips on how to be a better aunt to my nieces and nephews and what I could do to help my overwhelmed family members with their kids.  I had this brand-new image of what my life could be like if I never had children of my own, and for the first time that image didn't look dreary or depressing.  Quite the opposite - It looked exciting, fulfilling, and full of opportunity!  I almost don't want to admit this, but to be completely honest with you (and myself) I don't remember ever being as excited about the prospect of being a mother as I've lately been about the prospect of being an aunt.

What does this all mean?  I don't quite know.  Maybe I was PMSed when I read that section and was just incredibly touched by Gilbert's words.  I've never heard anyone talk even remotely as highly of childless women as she did.  Ever.  Or maybe deep down somewhere inside of me, some part of me knows that I could be incredibly happy not being a mom.  Maybe even happier than I would be if I were a mom.  Right now, and for the past few weeks, I feel like the latter could be the case.  I'm not ready to make any decisions yet, or maybe ever, actually.  For lots of reasons, I would probably never try to prevent a pregnancy from happening (well, with the exception of months like this one where I was using a medication that could cause serious birth defects).  But I'm also not sure I ever again want to voluntarily put myself through the kind of heartache I felt when I was TTC.

I realize that I say the words "for now" a lot, and I'm using them again here.  For now, this is how I feel:  I'm enjoying the unencumbered freedom of not having children.  I'm enjoying my nice, quiet household and the knowledge that I have a beautiful relationship with children whom I love and who love me back.  I'm excited about the prospect of (one day) being able to travel the world and afford a nicer house.  I like being in a position where Hubs and I could up and move to the other side of the country (or, hell, the other side of the world) if we felt so inclined.  I love spending time with my nieces and nephews, and I love being able to go home to my relatively un-demanding little Atticus after they've worn me out.

It's been almost six months since we decided to stop TTC and that decision continues to be a relief to me.  I'm still a little pissed that IF robbed me of the option of having kids.  I often still get jealous of pregnant bellies and yes, I still avoid pregnant friends.  (Although I'm starting to notice that part of the reason I avoid them is because we don't have very much in common anymore.)  And sometimes I still get sad about certain aspects of motherhood that I'm missing out on and may never have.  These are the reasons I'm not making any serious decisions except to say that Hubs and I aren't making plans for adoption or IVF, and we're certainly not going back to TTC naturally any time soon.  I might decide in five years, or in three months, or even tomorrow that my desire to be a mother is too strong not to become one come hell or high water, but right now... I am happy.


Ten on Tuesday

It's that time again!  Thank you, Marla, for hosting Ten on Tuesday!

1. Today's my Thursday and thank GOD for that.  Yesterday was one of those wretched days that reminded me why I really need to send out more resumes.  You know it's time to find a new job when you go to lunch and hope you get in a car accident or something else horrible happens to prevent you from going back to work.

2. This Thursday (the real Thursday, not my faux Tuesday/Thursday) is Hubs' and my 4 year wedding anniversary! To celebrate we're taking Thursday and Friday off work and getting some stuff done around the house.  Wee!  My goal is to paint the front and back doors and (finally!) put up the trim.  Hubs keeps trying to sneak in more and more projects but I made him promise that we won't be doing work the entire weekend.  I've been anticipating this weekend for WEEKS and I'm going to enjoy relaxing, dammit!

3. We're still planning on going to dinner here for our anniversary, and I think we may also go here at some point this weekend.  One of Hubs's best friends is the executive chef at the second place, so we debated going there instead of the first, but really, why choose one when we can go to both?

4. I actually had a pretty non-emotional Mothers Day.  Okay, that's not entirely accurate.  I was very emotional but it wasn't because of the holiday; it was because I was exhausted from the hectic week and yet I for some reason thought it would be a fabulous idea to host brunch at my house for both of our families on Saturday.  True, it was a fabulous idea and everyone had a good time, but holy cow it's a lot of work to host a meal for 20 people, even a potluck (heck yes it was a potluck, I'm not completely nuts!).  Then I really lucked out on Sunday - it was Hubs's grandma's birthday so dinner at his parents' house was much more of a b-day thing than an m-day thing.  So aside from my tired moodiness it was actually a good weekend for the Von D's.

5. We hit Ta.rg.et this weekend too and ended up getting everything I needed to finish decorating the second bedroom (a.k.a. The Lounge).  So I get to cross that off my list of goals :)  It looks so great in there now, like a real room with a purpose rather than a catchall place to stash our crap.  I got a new slipcover for the loveseat, some shelves, and a little storage ottoman.  I wish I'd taken a "before" photo so I could show you the transformation, but I haven't taken an "after" photo either, so you'll just have to take my word for how cute it looks!

6. I also got some super cute tile decals from Ta.rg.et to use in the kitchen.  The counter and backsplash tiles are bland, boring white so I'm excited to liven them up and create a little more visual interest in there.

7. I've been getting these funky pink patches of skin all over the place for the past several months, so I finally manned up and went to the dermatologist last week aaaand...found out I have psoriasis.  Ugh.  That would be a genetic gift from my father, thanks Dad!  My poor ugly skin :(  And it used to be so nice.  Sigh...  The doc says it looks manageable and gave me a bunch of samples of what is apparently a very, very, very expensive goop that my insurance doesn't cover, so at least there's that.  Hopefully it'll get better when I quit my job or things mellow out and I'm not so stressed all the time.

8. I'm tired.

9. I'm a little hungover.

10. In light of #9 and #10, that's all I've got for today!


Grody stuff

Brace yourselves, it's time to talk about our favorite aunt.  TMI ahead!

Ever since my miscarriage I've been clotting more and more during my period.  Has anyone else experienced this?  It's starting to get a little worrisome.  Today's day 3, which is generally a heavy day for me, but I've been feeling okay, not too crampy or anything.  Then all of a sudden I started hurting way down low, you know how sometimes you can tell when your cervix hurts?  Well I can, and it hurts like a mother.  It kept getting worse and worse and finally I couldn't take sitting down anymore so I got up and hurried to the bathroom.  Passed a clot the size of a silver dollar and felt much better.

So even though I'm not TTC anymore/right now/maybe ever again, I'm worried that this means something.  What if I have a clotting disorder?  What if my endo is back with reinforcements?  What if whatever this is is what caused my m/c?  Ugh.  I hate IF.  Even when I'm not trying to get knocked up my body knocks me down!


Spring Fever Challenge Week 5

I'm starting pretty late on the Spring Fever Challenge through Life's Journey With a Smile, but better late than never, right?  Now that we're about halfway through spring, it's a good time to reflect on the past several weeks and start looking forward to meeting some goals over the next several weeks!  I've never been a huge fan of spring, I've always preferred the hot, sunny days of summer and the crispness of autumn.  But this year I'm excited about the flowers blooming, the veggies sprouting, and the prospect of getting a lot of much-needed projects done around the house!  So here I am :)

What have you done this past week to help you reach your SFC goals? 
To be honest, I didn't do much! 

Goal 1: Create a Chore Chart Well, I did hang a calendar in the hallway so that I could use it to create a chore chart, so I guess that's something.  (And it's a really pretty calendar too.  The theme of it is the Year of the Rabbit, for the Chinese zodiac.  Every page has a beautiful watercolor painting of a rabbit making his way through part of his day, jumping over logs, rivers, etc.)

Goal 2: Cook a Real Dinner (including at least 1 veggie) 3 Times a Week Uh, yeah, this also didn't happen.  But I did make a real dinner at least twice last week!  And at least one time I made a bunch of veggies!

Goal 3: Buy Some Watercolors and Start Painting Nope.  But again, my pretty calendar is sort of inspiring me to get on this!

Goal 4: Read Every Day Kinda!  I'm almost done with "Committed," I read blogs every day, and I read an article about the Royal Wedding yesterday... I think I should change this one to, "Read from a book every day."

Goal 5: Work on My Book Every Day Uh, yeah, flat-out failed on this one.  I think I worked on it once this week.

What did you do this past week to make you feel good about yourself?
To be honest, last week was a bit rough!  I was pretty proud of myself for surprising Hubs with dinner on Friday night even though I was exhausted and we'd already decided it was a YOYO (Your On Your Own) dinner night.  Also, I did call in sick on Thursday and Hubs and I enjoyed a fabulous day at home.  We worked on the yards, ran errands, and hung out together.

It's May! What were your victories and challenges in April?
Since I didn't participate in SFC last month I don't have anything specific to my goals to add here.  But April was a huge challenge at work!  It was so incredibly busy with the conversion of our new acquisition, but I pushed through it and survived.  That right there is a victory!

Do you have any plans for the challenge in May?
I may edit some of my goals so that I can include "improving my attitude" in there.  Now that my calendar is up I have no excuse for turning it into a chore chart, so that should be easy enough!  (The hard part will be sticking to it.)  I bought a book called "Savvy Auntie" on Am.a.zon over the weekend, and as soon as I'm done with "Committed" I'm moving on to "The Happiness Project," so I think it will be pretty easy to stick to goal #4.  And maybe if I put "work on my book" on every day of the calendar I'll get some more written!

And finally, my positive image for the week!  Since I didn't take any good pictures last week, I'm stealing this from the interwebs.  I know, I know, I've failed at everything SFC-related this week!  Oy!  Next week I promise to be better.  Until then, here's my image, I'm hoping it does the trick to help me perk up today:


10 on Tuesday

Ten on Tuesday is fun! You should play too! Go over to the Chronicles of Marla and sign up, okay?  Okay.

1. I got to play Easter Bunny not once, not twice, but thrice on Sunday for my nieces and nephew.  First at my in-laws' for my adorable little blondie nieces, and twice at my parents' house for my equally adorable brunette nieces and nephew.  We had to have two at my parents' house because my 8 year old nephew found 9 out of the 12 eggs, and his 7 year old sister was in tears after finding only one of them.  Luckily my 14 year old niece had the genius idea of assigning each of the three little kids one of the three colors of eggs (I think my mom's getting tired of dying Easter eggs, she's really starting to slack), and they could only hunt for the color they were assigned to.  Worked like a charm!  And even my little 2 year old niece studiously avoided picking up any pink or blue eggs, just the yellow ones.  What a bunch of geniuses in my family!
2. Our veggie garden now has THREE sprouts!!  I maintain that they are all three zucchini, but Hubs insists on arguing with me that one is a cucumber.  Did I mention I'm the one who planted the seeds while he was nowhere to be found?

3. Last week I switched up my bowling technique a little bit because of a sore knee.  For some reason I've always stepped off on my right foot, even though I'm right-handed.  Well, it was my right knee that was hurting so I tried stepping off on my left foot instead (like a normal person would to begin with) and lo and behold I'm suddenly playing a lot more consistently!  Who knew?  *Update: I wrote this part yesterday, and last night I thoroughly SUCKED at bowling.  So now I know I have no excuses, I'm just bad at it.

4. Hubs and I went to a wedding on Saturday and it was just beautiful.  Plus, we got to sit with some awesome friends of ours that we don't spend nearly enough time with, and we all had a lot of fun.  I managed to be a tad overdressed for a garden wedding, but whatever, I looked hawt!  (The bride looked good too.)

5. I love Spring, but I hate this time of year because my house is absolutely COVERED in hair.  Atticus is shedding like nobody's business and it's really disgusting.  My brother and SIL have two cats (three up until a month or so ago) and their shedding situation doesn't hold a candle to Atticus's.  I did not foresee this problem when I adopted him.  I just thought he was soft and fluffy and would be a good cuddle-buddy.  Well, he is very soft and fluffy, but he's not much for cuddling.  I should have gotten a hairless cat.

6. How many pairs of shoes do you own?  I'm not sure how many I have, I've never counted.  But last week I overheard a conversation between two coworkers, one asked the other how many pairs of shoes she had, and she answered, "Around forty."  The first coworker said, "That's it?"  My eyes about popped out of my head!  I probably have more shoes than I think, but forty seems like a LOT to me.  Sheesh.

7. I get to have lunch with my friend Tracy today (she comments here pretty regularly, so you sort of know her)!  We're going out for pizza in about 25 minutes.  I LOVE working near my friends, it makes work a little more bearable.  I work near Hubs too, and we go to lunch together ocasionally as well.

8. I had this great plan to call in sick on Thursday, seeing as it's Hubs's day off and last week was hellacious so I figured I earned it.  But now one of my employees is actually sick (well, she appears to have a cold), so I feel kinda guilty.  I mean, I'm still pretty sure I'm going to do it, but now I'm going to have to come up with a really good excuse.

9. I've been slacking on my book.  I'm supposed to write something every day, but I haven't written anything in days.  I just know I'm going to get about halfway through it and decide I can't stand it.  I need to get over these ridiculous fears, don't I?

10. I may have mentioned that I'm reading "Committed" right now, by Elizabeth Gilbert.  Well, I read a section of it last night that really spoke to me, and now I'm finding myself with some seriously life-altering things to think about.  I'll definitely be sharing more with you when I start getting my thoughts sorted out!  Should be soon...


Putting myself in check

As per my usual Monday outlook, this morning I was feeling pretty blue.  I read through a few blogs and felt even more blue.  I realized I'm feeling a little out of place in the IF blogging community, since I'm not exactly working towards building my family at this time, and I'm not doing much to help the IF community either.  Meanwhile my bloggy buddies continue to TTC and graduate into pregnancy and parenthood, Bust Myths for NIAW, and support one another with enthusiasm.  I questioned my reasons for continuing to blog here, and wondered whether it was time to close up shop.  Then I read Mel's awesome post about the IF divide, and I realized how self-centered I've been.

In my women's group we talk quite a bit about being generous rather than judgmental in our thoughts, approaching people with an attitude of compassion and kindness, and generally making an effort to think the best of others.  But, my friends, I haven't been doing a very good job of that. 

Those of you who are pregnant may have noticed I rarely comment on your blogs nowadays.  I've even stopped following some bloggers because I couldn't handle the content of their posts.  On FB, I regularly block friends for sharing (okay, yes sometimes oversharing) about their pregnancies, babies and children.  Even my IF friends.  True, I need to do what's best for my emotional and mental well-being, but I also don't want to be that person.  The one who completely ditches the people who've supported me through my darkest hours just because I have days where I don't have the emotional fortitude to look at baby bump photos or read about fetal heart rates.

In her post, Mel explains that the women lucky enough to have made it across the chasm that divides the IFers still waiting for their miracle from those who've held their babies in their arms truly haven't forgotten the pain and longing that the rest of us still endure.  In my bitterness I've built this imaginary wall between "us" (the childless) and "them" (the lucky moms).  I built the wall because I didn't want to see their happiness for fear it would increase my own sadness, but I realize now that's completely backwards.  Once upon a time I almost made it to the other side myself, and for a few weeks I had a taste of the feelings that grads experience.  It was something like equal parts joy, guilt, gratitude, and a deep desire for everyone else still waiting in the wings to have their turn to feel that exhilaration.  I wanted nothing more than to be able to take everyone else by the hand who were still waiting, and pull them across that chasm to the other side with me.  The truth is, I'm the one who forgot what that felt like.

Who am I to believe I know how easy it is for those on the other side of the IF divide to forget their struggle to get there?  And who am I to begrudge them of their joy over making it to the other side?  Acting and thinking negatively only encourages more negativity in myself, and separating myself from others' happiness doesn't increase my own happiness, it decreases it.  I'm not saying I should ignore my own needs and well-being and force myself to be happy when I'd really rather curl up under the covers and cry.  I'm certainly entitled to my bad days.  But if I want to be a happier, less judgmental person (and I do), I need to practice being understanding and compassionate in my actions, words and thoughts more often than I practice bitterness.

I suppose in a way I'm busting a myth that's personal to me for NIAW - the one that says I have to be a Bitter Infertile.  I'm ready to make the effort to remove the word "bitter" from that title.  I'm sorry I let my own hang-ups keep me from being as supportive to some of you as you've been to me.