Tuesday, November 29, 2011

All the Married Ladies....

That B*yonce, wow, she rubs me the wrong way.

From her sly musings on taking a break and wanting to have a baby in so many magazines to her public announcement at a music awards show (which ruined M's week) to the smugness in which she bares her voluptuous preggo breasts in one of her latest videos.....

Ooooooohhh it just BURNS me!

Not that she's pregnant. I get that. I understand the world procreates around me. It's the assumption that all is preordained. It is this beautiful woman's destiny (as it were) to become a beautiful glowing mother and gift the world with her offspring. Because this is how it should be. And in her case, she appears to be right.

I'm facing a very similar presumptuousness in my personal life. I volunteer with a young woman who's in the midst of planning her wedding. She's being very careful not to overextend herself in the days leading up to her ceremony (smart) and giving everyone a heads up about when she'll be MIA for her honeymoon (practical), but then it extends into - I can't make any promises to do this or that because we'll be popping out babies.

Just like that: I found my man. We're getting married. Of course, the next logical step is to push out some kids. Of course this will happen. Of course it will happen on our timeline. Because we're smart people. We've worked it all out.

The first time this happened, my jaw dropped, I nearly spit out my coffee. I was tempted to try to turn it into some kind of teachable moment (ugh. that phrases oozes condescension) but I didn't want to be condescending, and I didn't want to rain on her parade. At least not that morning.

But it keeps happening. She makes these statements with such assuredness. Such confidence. Ah youth. It's grating. But it's also misinformed.

Or is it? Is it ME being presumptuous that this won't happen for my colleague? Am I the one being self-centered?

Just because donor eggs, IVF, several frozen embryo transfers, a real pregnancy, and at least three beautiful women offering their own wombs to us in this journey has not resulted in a living, breathing child for us....

Doesn't mean young women around the world shouldn't assume that life is as it should be. Sex will be had. Babies will be made.

So what do you think? What would you do? Would you say anything to a colleague who assumes the world goes 'round, women have babies, and hers will come as soon as she wills it so? What would you say? How would you say it?

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Square Footage

This post changes and evolves the longer I let it marinate in my mind. That happens some time.

This post this time last week would have been to tell you that you were right. The haunted house was our gateway walk through. That it set us on a path that led us to a house that would be a right fit.

This time last week would have been to tell you we found it and it is all I can do to make space in my brain to think about anything other than The House.

Great location. In the mountains. On over an acre of land. Walking distance from a couple we really, really like. Modern construction. Tons of natural light. Huge kitchen pimped out with appliances we would dream about when there was a Wolf store within walking distance of a place we used to live. Dudes, this kitchen - it is the opposite of the kitchen we tolerate now.

It is the first place we have looked at that didn't feel like a lateral move. That didn't feel like we would be giving up something if we move from here to there.

The catch: it's priced high. Way too high. Well above what we thought was our comfort level.

So we bid low. Way too low. Knowing we had a few factors in our favor:
  • the sellers separated right as they bought this house. As in, she never even moved in (ouch)
  • he lost his job
  • the place has been on the market for 7 months without a bid
  • we were comfortable with the bid we placed and,
  • we have nothing to lose. No urgency. No need to move. The worse they could say was no.
They didn't say no, but after a week of waiting, well past the deadline given, they did say, um, come back when you want to offer something "a little more reasonable."

So, we took some time to reflect. And to make them wait, because they made us wait. And we're mature like that.

So we've been sleeping with the idea of owning a house. For the first time ever. It's a pretty big idea for us to get our heads around. The more we sleep with the idea, the more we think about things that are less than ideal about our ideal house:
  • While the location is great, it's not in the city. Things that are walking distance for me would no longer be. A second car would probably be in the works sometime in the future.
  • While the place is incredible, I wouldn't mind if it were about 1000 sq feet smaller. In my mind, It. is. massive. And while I think I could grow into it, I know the size makes M uncomfortable. A little self-conscious, even. Several rooms would go unfurnished for a bit.
  • What would we do with a place that is clearly built for entertaining we rarely have people up in our space (see "social anxiety" post from a few days ago)
  • While it would still be a steal if we could grab it under a certain amount, holy shit that is still a lot of money. For a house. What other things are negated once the down payment is made and the mortgage becomes a monthly obligation? Do we want a house more than those other things?
And you see where this is going, right? We're well into existential territory here.
  • Do we want a house more than we want to head to Poland for Eur0 2012 next year, more than any other travel plans?
  • Do we want a house, this house, enough to commit to living in this city, a city where job prospects are less than golden for M, for the next several years?
  • Do we want this house enough to dedicate our funds to it?
  • Do we want to buy this house when perhaps we could build one for a comparable price?
  • Do we want a house????
  • What exactly do we want from a house?
So the "building a house" idea took over a HUGE portion of my daydreaming this week. Especially when M sent me to this design site and showed me his dream house. Whoa. Those dreams faded a bit when we realized that empty lots are somehow almost as much as ones with houses built on them. How is that possible?

So we sat on the idea and thought about it all a little more. What do we want? We want to make as minimal an impact on the environment as possible. Building a completely new construction doesn't necessarily gel with that. But living in a nearly 100-year old building that was here before we were and will probably be here when we're gone might. Maintaining a single-car household and ridiculously low energy bills does too....

Holy crap, what if we are totally OK right here, where we are?

It feels like this might be the conclusion we are coming to. And part of me feels really ok with that - like after you put your own clothes back on after a particularly brutal afternoon in a dressing room trying on new skirts. Part of me wonders if the easiest thing to do is nothing. But if nothing's broken, is there really a need to fix? Is inertia always a bad thing?

I don't think this conversation is over just yet. I think these questions are good ones to ask. My acupuncturist called it "mindful reflection of life" or something to that effect. Whatever she said, she made me feel not bad about setting off on this journey only to end up right where we started. At least for now.

Friday, November 25, 2011


Long weekend, I love you. Let me just get that right out there.

I took a two-day work week this week in honor of the best.holiday.ever. I am thankful for two-day work weeks.

Now, I get it. I know that the origins of Thanksgiving are dubious and the pilgrim/"indian" component of it is cringe-worthy. I've never liked turkey and you know M doesn't "eat the bird because he loves birds." I know that the twitterverse is pretty much split down the middle with FML and pass me the wine I hate my family posts, and I'm so thankful and everything is beautiful in it's own way tweets.

While I am never one for shooting rainbows out of my ass, I have to confess, I'm falling into the Ray Stevens camp this year. Thanksgiving is so distinctly North American. It is the only holiday that's ever made me homesick when I've been far away. Being vegetarian has eliminated any need to feign delight while stuffing a dry, dead bird down my gullet and wow, there was no shortage of good stuff at the table yesterday.

You have to appreciate a holiday where gifts are not required, the focus is on food, it's totally ok to get tipsy in front of your parents/in-laws/family units, naps are not only allowed but encouraged, and the overarching theme is "hey you spoiled yankees, can you stop yer bitching about your first world problems for just a minute, look around you, and be grateful. If only for one day. Be grateful."

And so I shall. I will savor the shepherd's pie I made from leftover mashed potatoes and kale, sip some lovely porter, watch M play his new video game (purchased for the long weekend) and be grateful. For my home, for my husband, for my health, for my homies (that means you), for our daughters. Too often I forget - their short time with us was a gift. A Gift.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Boo for Sunday Nights


Sitting on the couch, getting myself stressy as I think about work tomorrow and whittle away at some tasks here and other little ones there and take in deep breaths as I catch glimpses of other ones I've been avoiding.....

This is me every Sunday night:

But it wasn't how I was planning to spend this one.

There's a WWE pay-per-view on tonight and we were invited to go watch it. With friends. Catch: at their aunt and uncle's house. Whom we've never met.

Alas, M's anxiety strikes again.

You can actually see it build. And progressively take over his body and brain to the point where he's not even thinking straight. Because all he can think about is this future social interaction in a place he doesn't know. With people he doesn't know. Where he will have little, if any control over his surroundings. It completely consumes him. He will definitely lose sleep, and will usually make himself physically ill in the process.

So I go from wishfully thinking "maybe this time will be different..." to cheerleader "c'mon! it'll be fun! give it a shot!" to mild annoyance, which quickly builds to flat out annoyance. And then crisis point is reached. And I need to downshift to concern, shake off judgment, and focus on the person who is truly in pain - both physically and emotionally - in front of me.

And then we cancel all plans.

And then, after a while, he's fine. But exhausted.

Me too.

So now, he's chillin'. I'm chilling. Disappointed, but I'll shake it off. It is what it is. As a penance, I'm making him find and download the tune that Eden rocked out to in one of her latest vlogs. His eyes are rolling at the premise of having to use his computer to acquire house music. I don't care. I WILL find some time to dance with abandon sometime very, very soon.

In the meantime, I'm wondering if any of you have partners who experience anxiety around social situations? Not the usual spastic colon Sunday variety - the immobilizing I cannot move even if wanted to kind. Has loss changed or heightened it? Coping mechanisms? Ways to address it? Soothing words? Open to all thoughts here. Anonymous comments are welcome.

And if anyone wants to tell me what's going on over at S*rvivor S*ries, I wouldn't mind that either.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Choice, Infertility and Reproductive Rights

Last night, sometime around 9 pm, I set down the leftover beer and pita chips I was carrying, kicked off my shoes, sat on the couch and let out a "phew" And meant it.

I threw my very first grown up party. For a cause. At the fancy B&B next to our place. Catered and everything. And people came, despite the rain, despite the jillion other fundraisers and events that go on in a capital city on a session night. And we did grown up things like networked and shared business cards and made donations (!) and most importantly, made a commitment to identify pro-choice women that could become viable political candidates in 2012, to encourage them, to support them and to get them to this amazing 3 and a half day training event in January.

The best part about last night, I mean, besides the artichoke dip which was banging, was M whispering in my ear before he slipped out to let me "do my thing" - I'm really proud of you.

Asshole. He always makes me teary.

About a year and a half ago, when I started to feel somewhat human again, when I was willing to take a chance of venturing out into public again and believed I could probably carry on a conversation without sobs, at least most of the time, I sat down with a colleague of mine - someone who's considered a bit of a grand dame of lobbying for women's issues in these parts - and asked her, basically, what am I supposed to be doing with my life?

At that point in time I wanted to run away from my job, define myself as something other than someone that people whispered about (you heard what happened right? poor thing.....). I wanted to prove to everyone and myself that I was greater than my grief.

I just had no idea how.

She asked a very basic question: "What is important to you?" Find it. Define it. Immerse yourself in it. Volunteer.

So I did.

The chance to create and shape my family is important to me. To know that other women have this right - that is important to me. To know that no one will take away my ability to make the choices that are right for me and the people I love - that is important to me. Choice - this is what matters to me.

And some people got it. They really did. And supported me 100%. Others were baffled.

After all you are doing to try to have a baby, why are you doing this?
You've seen heartbeats - how can you support something like this?
You want to be a mother - what mother would be ok with this?

And on that last note, by the way, you might be surprised.

But what it comes down to, as I said in a post I published for the 35th anniversary of Roe v. Wade back in 2008, is this: Choice is not just about the “choice” to have an abortion.

Mississippi's attempts to redefine "personhood" reshaped this conversation for a lot of people. What's worse than learning that your attempt at IVF or a frozen embryo transfer resulted in yet another negative? What hurts more than knowing you are still so far away from the child you want so badly? It might be knowing that some people would classify you as a murderer for jeopardizing the "lives" of those little blastocysts.

What do you mean only 2 of 4 made the thaw? Why did you choose to risk that little embryo knowing your womb is less than hospitable? Who are you to choose which blast gets a shot?

Which one of us doesn't torture ourselves with these decisions each time we venture back into trying to conceive? Which of these decisions are done carelessly or without thought?

Which one of us would want these options taken away from us? Which one of us would want to be punished for "choosing" alternate methods like third party reproduction to build a family?

Not me, homey

So this is why I fight for Choice. This is why I give my time and my money and my efforts to groups like this one. Mississippi is why I think it is so critical to get more progressive women into office. Who do you want representing you when your state goes weird like Ole Miss?

I am in my state's capitol building almost daily. I can tell you who I see in the halls. Who I meet with. Who I plead my case to. Who I try to convince. I can tell you not many of them look like me. Or think like me. And as kind as they are to me in their offices, as nice or as smart as they tell me I am, I know many of those very same people don't trust me enough to make my own reproductive choices.

I know. I've seen the votes.

Let's fix this.


Stats show that the average female legislator needed to be asked six times before she even considered running. Six times! Look around you. Look in a mirror. I bet you know some smart women. I bet you know a lady or two that would kick some serious ass in a statehouse. Have you ever thought of asking her to run? Have YOU ever thought of running? I'm just sayin'

I think you should consider a run.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011


Shit. It's been a month since we've last chatted (you didn't see it, but I accidentally wrote "shatted" That made me laugh. Thought I'd share).

As is usually the case, the fewer words here the more going on out there. Some mundane (work. conference. long hours. waah.) others not so much. My goal is to get back here by the end of the week and fill you in. Until then, I'll share the list of words that I stick on my 'droid to help me not forget all of thoughts rolling around in my head. Thoughts on:
  • personhood
  • the importance of Choice (with a capital C)
  • cognitive dissonance
  • S*ndusky
  • house hunting (and finding)
  • treatments and diseases (and deciding which is worse)
In the meantime, roll on over to Mel at Stirrup Queens and check out what she has to say about some of this, because she's beaten me to the punch, and linked to several other smart ladies who are feeling just as horrified as I am about Initiative 26:

And while you're there, go ahead and read her post on Social Media and how the game has changed because it pretty much encapsulates the feeling I'm having of being stuck in the rapids and trying to paddle free:

Later gators. Late again for yet another meeting. Ugh.