Sunday, September 30, 2007

Overheard at Our House Lately

Regarding The Great Courses audiobooks that she's been checking out from the library lately:

Shrike: I think I'm too dumb for this stuff. I may have to get the Mediocre Courses instead.
In bed this morning, after BigGaloot has licked Shrike's right armpit, her neck, her left armpit, and is now starting on my right armpit:
Whozat: Do you think you're at a fucking buffet?
While snugging on the couch, sans shoes:
Shrike: Your toes look like little Russian nesting dolls.
And a bonus, overheard at Target this evening:
Mom (to little girl): Come on, let's don't lose Daddy.
Little Girl: Can I lose him?

Saturday, September 29, 2007

It's Implantin' Time, Sprout(s)

According to my obsession research, a zygote implants in the uterus sometime around seven to ten days after conception.

I'm currently at nine days post-ovulation, so if implantation is going to happen this cycle, it's probably going on right now.

For what it's worth, I have been feeling some intermittant, mild cramplets since, I don't know, maybe Thursday or so?

I'm hoping that's the sensation of a wee creature or two burrowing into my endometrium.

Or, it could be that grilled cheese talking back to me.

Only time - and Dollar Store home pregnancy tests - will tell.

By the way, I have to thank my honey for the title of this post, and for this cycle's nom de utero.
Although we had said we would most definitely not do this, in each of our first two cycles, we "named" the theoretical zygote within the first couple of days.

This time, though, nothing struck us right off, and we'd decided that maybe that was best.

Until a couple of nights ago, when I said to Shrike, "You know, it's implantation time," to which she replied "It's implantin' time, Sprout!"

So, Sprout it is. (Or sprouts they are, as the case may be.)

Photo Hunter #27: Original

Both our pups are pretty original. They are mutts, so they don't look just like every other dog that you see every day.

People are alway asking us what breeds they are. My favorite was the neighborhood kid who asked Shrike, about PerfectPup, "Holy crap! What kind of dog is that?!"

Why yes, that is the coffee table. Why do you ask?

What the hell do you want?

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Saturday Special #25: Creative Adventure V

  1. While hiking on one of the many trails in the State Forest, you come across a beautiful flower, growing just off the trail.
  2. You bend down to study the object more carefully, when I notice the sound of running water.
  3. Just below the clearing you see this wonderous stream, splashing over rocks, as it winds its way down the mountain.
  4. With much to remember on this hiking trip, you take photos of both the flower and the stream, and begin to compose the blog post about them in my head, as I walk.
Learn more about the Saturday Special.

I Read Banned Books

September 29 - October 6, 2007 is Banned Books Week, during which "thousands of libraries and bookstores throughout the nation will celebrate a democratic society's most basic freedom - the freedom to read."

This year's theme is Ahoy! Treasure Your Freedom to Read and Get Hooked on a Banned Book!

Learn how you can celebrate Banned Books Week here, or find events in your local area here.

Of course, this issue hits rather close to home for me, because I can easily envision a day when the parent of one of our kid's friends complains about a book in the school library, solely because it recognizes the existence of families that look like ours.

But beyond the personal, what's the big deal?

Why are so many books challenged by those who would like to see them removed from the shelves of our libraries?

And why is it so important for us all to fight against these challenges - even when the book being challenge isn't one of which we personally approve?

Often, the very aspects of a book that make it interesting or provocative or significant are things that make some people uncomfortable.

And that's okay. There's nothing wrong with choosing not to read something that you don't find appealing.

And of course, it's okay to not allow your children to read things that you don't find appropriate.

That's called parenting.

However, when one take it upon oneself to "protect" others (or, often, other people's children) from one's own discomfort, by restricting their access to these books (or music or movies or information or . . . .) then, some of the very foundations of our democracy are threatened - the freedom of expression, the freedom to share information, the freedom to educate oneself as one chooses.

That is called censorship. And that is most decidedly not okay with me.

It may be cliche, but knowledge truly is power, and controlling access to knowledge and the spread of knowledge can be a quite effect method of maintaining power.

(This was, of course, the idea behind making it illegal for slaves to learn to read.)

If opposing viewpoints are never heard, the theory goes, then the status quo will not be questioned.

Well, the status quo needs to be questioned. It may or may not need to be changed, at any given time, (I certainly feel that large parts of it do, right now) but it always needs to be questioned.

The banning of books suggests that if one is not exposed to (sex, "bad" words, political subversion, homosexuality, non-nuclear families, witchcraft, violence, drugs, your-biggest-fear-here), then these things will just go away.

On the contrary, "these things" are part of our world and, whether one thinks they are right or wrong, denying their existence is no more logical than denying that the sun will rise tomorrow.

There are, of course, differences in what's appropriate reading for a five year old, a fifteen year old or a fifty year old, but that's a decision to be made by that child's parents - or by that adult - and no one else. Certainly not by some self-appointed arbiter of taste or morality.

Some people seem to forget that for any of us to be free, we must all be free.

This means that we must respect and protect not just our freedoms to live and behave as we choose, but also to say and to learn what we choose, as well.

When Shrike and I have a child, there are certainly toys that we will not allow them to own - guns and Bratz dolls come to mind immediately.

But I know that their friends will have these toys and that there's no way we can stop our child from knowing they exist. Nor should we.

We must acknowledge that these things (violence and women who dress as though they have no self-respect) are around and then explain to them that, yes, their friends might have these toys, and that doesn't make them bad people, but we don't approve and in our family, we don't play with them.

After all, isn't it better to know that "guns are dangerous, and people can hurt each other with them" or "those girls don't dress or behave very nicely" (how does one explain "She's a hoochy Mama" to a four year old?) than to try to keep them from ever seeing them, or just telling them "This is bad, because I said so."

The same goes for information. There are lots of things that we'd rather our child not know about at a young age. We'll do our best to protect our them, but it's neither our job nor our right to "protect" other people or their children.

Shielding kids from things that we don't like won't make them go away. At best, it's just delaying the discussions that will inevitably come. (Granted, sometimes that delay is a good thing.)

At worst, it's denying them the opportunity to deal with these things in an age-appropriate manner, or making them seem all the more appealing, by virtue of being taboo.

Which is all just the very long way around to say that I am 100% behind this celebration of the freedom to read, and that I encourage everyone to speak out whenever or wherever this freedom is challenged.

In case you're wondering what all the fuss is about, here are some lists of books that have been challenged most frequently in recent years.

(Challenges are defined as formal, written complaints filed with a library or school requesting that materials be removed because of content or appropriateness.)

Ten Most Frequently Challenged Books of 2006
  1. And Tango Makes Three by Justin Richardson and Peter Parnell, for
    homosexuality, anti-family, and unsuited to age group;

  2. Alice series, by Phyllis Reynolds Naylor for sexual content and offensive language;

  3. Athletic Shorts, by Chris Crutcher for homosexuality and offensive language;

  4. Beloved, by Toni Morrison for offensive language, sexual content, and unsuited to age group;

  5. The Bluest Eye, by Toni Morrison for sexual content, offensive language, and unsuited to age group;

  6. The Chocolate War, by Robert Cormier for sexual content, offensive language, and violence;

  7. The Earth, My Butt, and Other Big Round Things, by Carolyn Mackler for sexual content, anti-family, offensive language, and unsuited to age

  8. Gossip Girls, series by Cecily Von Ziegesar for homosexuality, sexual content, drugs, unsuited to age group, and offensive language;

  9. The Perks of Being a Wallflower," by Stephen Chbosky for homosexuality, sexually explicit, offensive language, and unsuited to age group;

  10. Scary Stories series, by Alvin Schwartz for occult/Satanism, unsuited to age group, violence, and insensitivity.
Ten Most Frequently Challenged Books of the 21st Century
(2001 - 2005)
  1. Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling
  2. The Chocolate War by Robert Cormier
  3. Alice series by Phyllis Reynolds Naylor
  4. Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck
  5. I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou
  6. Fallen Angels by Walter Dean Myers
  7. It's Perfectly Normal by Robie Harris
  8. Scary Stories series by Alvin Schwartz
  9. Captain Underpants series by Dav Pilkey
  10. Forever by Judy Blume

100 Most Frequently Challenged Books, 1990 - 2000
(View the list at the American Library Association's website.)

How many of these books have you and your kids read?

What are your favorite banned books?

Friday, September 28, 2007

You Buy Stuff, We Buy - um - Stuff

Remember last weekend when I was talking about all the books we bought during our shopping spree? And I linked to them at

Well, at the time those were just regular-ass links, but it got me thinking.

So, I've signed up for their affiliate program and I've updated the links.

Now, if you click on any of those links, or any of the ones in this post, or the banner in the sidebar, or any future links that go to and buy something, (anything - not just the items I've specifically linked to) we earn 5% of your purchase price.

That's not a lot of money, but every little bit helps.

After all, at this cycle's rates, at least, one cent buys 313 sperm!

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Thursday Thirteen #30

In honor of my 30th Thursday Thirteen . . .

Thirteen Things I've Done in My 30s
(In sort of chronological order)
  1. Moved in with Shrike (technically, she moved in with me the day before my 30th birthday, but close enough)
  2. Came out - to everyone
  3. Quit teaching, after nine years
  4. Moved to BlueState with Shrike
  5. Taught myself web development; learned even more on the job
  6. Married Shrike (not legally yet)
  7. Became politically active
  8. Taken on leadership roles in my local and state Demoratic Parties
  9. Met the governor, several members of congress, and a (now) senator
  10. Worked for my state Democratic Party
  11. Was unemployed for five months
  12. Started a new career, back in education
  13. Started trying to get pregnant
Get the Thursday Thirteen code here!
The purpose of the meme is to get to know everyone who participates a little bit better every Thursday. Visiting fellow Thirteeners is encouraged! If you participate, leave the link to your Thirteen in others comments. It’s easy, and fun! Be sure to update your Thirteen with links that are left for you, as well! I will link to everyone who participates and leaves a link to their 13 things. Trackbacks, pings, comment links accepted!

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Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Wordless Wednesday #28: Princess Whozat

Although it's not International Act Like a Princess Day, after showing you Cap'n Shrike last week, it only seems fair to post my Halloween photo from last year, as well.
Learn more about Wordless Wednesday.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Ten on Tuesday #4

10 Things I've Been Putting Off

  1. Cleaning my desk
  2. Cleaning anything else in this house
  3. Some web development work for an old client of OldJob who doesn't like her new developer (OldJob knows, and it's billed through them)
  4. Some web development work for a freelance client
  5. Finalizing the invitations for our county Democratic Party's fall dinner (need to go out asap!)
  6. Getting the hell away from the chocolate candy at work
  7. Buying new pants (see above! - actually I've got pants that fit, just not enough). But I did get one additional pair this weekend, plus a couple of pairs that (knock wood) I can wear for a few weeks into pregnancy (whenever that may be).
  8. Cooking that pot roast that's been thawing since Saturday (it's now in the crock pot - and yes, I checked the cord!)
  9. Getting my shit together to cook other things, instead of convenience foods when I'm home along and going out to eat when Shrike's around. I was doing so well with this when I wasn't working, and we could have lunch together every day.
  10. Writing my next Ten on Tuesday in advance, so I just have to post it, instead of trying to thing of 10 answers before I go to work!
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Monday, September 24, 2007

How Much Ground Could a Groundhog Hog?

If you've missed the earlier discussion about groundhogs, woodchucks and the like in the comments, you must go check it out.

Now, you can take a look at this groundhog, photographed in our backyard a couple of weeks ago.

Actually, I am afraid that he is now a former groundhog, thanks to our dogs.

I'm sorry the photo is kind of fuzzy; it was taken through the window screen.

Manic Monday #7

  1. You’ve won $100,000 – but have to give it all away. To which charity or institution would you donate it?
    I would split it between my local Democratic Party (if the rules didn't require that it go to a 501(c)3 charity), the alumni association of the summer camp that I attended and worked at, Habitat for Humanity, Heifer International and one or more LGBT organizations.
  2. What do you think is the most soothing sound?
    The sounds of the forest at night - crickets chirping, frogs croaking, etc. I love how they all fit together in one grand chorus.
  3. Does time heal all wounds?
    Absolutely not. Time may lessen the pain, but there are many wounds that never heal.

Learn more about Manic Monday.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Shopping Spree

Yesterday, after I worked all morning and Shrike attended a class at the county agricultural cooperative extension, about how to get your garden ready for summer, we were faced with deciding how to spend our afternoon.

After realizing, once again, that we've been together far to long to "be together" by just sitting around being together (we're just really not that fascinating to each other any more) we decided to hit a new consignment shop in town.

We ended up making a few additional stops along the way.

We also decided to be very optimistic as we shopped.

The majority of our purchases are pictured here.

Stop #1 - Yard Sale
Four pairs of jeans for me - ranging from my current size (I hope!) through 3 sizes bigger (I'd like to think) - 25¢ each
Polar bear warm snuggly outfit (size 6 - 9 months) - 50¢
Eleven other items of baby clothing - 10¢ each
Stuffed panda bear - 10¢
Total: $2.70

Stop #2 - Consignment Shop
One pair of pants that fit now (Um, not the same size as the ones I've been wearing. Damn it.)
Two pairs of pants that are too big, but have room to put several weeks worth of pregnant belly in (I hope!)
One work-appropriate blouse for me
One rugby shirt for Shrike
Two books for us (Baby Bargains (5th edition, of 7 now published), Feeding Your Child for Lifelong Health)
One book for baby/ies (I am America)
Minus a $5 coupon
Total: $42.74

Stop #3 - Late lunch/ early dinner
And a beer for Shrike

Stop #4 - Dollar Tree
15 pregnancy tests (not pictured - already put away in the bathroom)
5 books for baby/ies (Animal Babies in [a variety of different environments])
1 pair of trouser socks for me
Total: $22.20

Stop #5 - Ollie's
2 books (The Everything Birthing Book, Fix It Quick™ Favorite Brand Name Weeknight Meals)
2 small cutting boards (not pictured)
Christmas gift for GodzillaBoy (not pictured)
Total: $24.86

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Saturday Special #24: Autumn Favorites

I took a peek at this week's questions right after I'd posted my Thursday Thirteen! Oh well, nothing wrong with a few more . . .

  1. Favorite Autumn Activity:
    Halloween - At our old house, I enjoyed sitting on the porch with Shrike handing out candy, but there's not much Trick or Treat in this neighborhood (plenty of kids though, that's odd). Last year we threw a party, and we're planning another one for this year. Oh, and Election Day :-)
  2. Favorite Autumn Meal:
    Thanksgiving Dinner
  3. Favorite Autumn Drink:
    Woodchuck Hard Cider (Shrike and I shared one on Sunday - hopefully, it will be my last for the season ;-) )
  4. Favorite Autumn Weather:
    Cool and crisp, but not too cold. Enough for a sweater or light jacket, but no coat, hat or gloves required.
Learn more about the Saturday Special.

Photo Hunter #26: Paper

Not all of the crap on my desk is made of paper, but the vast majority of it is.

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Friday, September 21, 2007

Here We Go Again

Well, we're back in the "two-week-wait."

Drinking water instead of wine with dinner, protecting my groin from the galloping Galoot, shoving prometrium you-know-where, and wondering.

Soon I'll start with the searching for symptoms and the daily stick-peeing.

(Which reminds me - I need to make a trip to the Dollar Store to stock up!)

I'm trying to wrap my brain around this routine of living in two week increments. It's a bit disorienting.

You wouldn't think that two weeks would be long enough to get so used to doing things one way, but it is, so it's wierd to keep changing back-and-forth.

I guess I am kind of getting used to it, though. The first time around, I was completely freaked out by the idea that a - there was sperm in me! and b - I could be pregnant.

Ok, I'm still kind of freaked out (and still a little sad) about the idea that, for a few days that first cycle, I technically was pregnant.

The second cycle, it was a bit less wierd, and this time it's, well, I won't say that it's not wierd - especially the possibility of being pregnant - but it's much less wierd.

I don't know if it's just a matter of getting used to it, or if it's because all that freaking out the first two times was for naught, so why bother getting freaked?

But, that said, I am no less obsessed with counting and recounting, "If this works, I will be X weeks pregnant by Y date," and I'm sure that soon I will be no less obsessed with testing and groping my boobs to see if they're sore.

Now, though, I guess the part that's hard to believe is that maybe things will turn out differently this time.

I know it's only the third try, and a lot of people get lucky right about now, but it's hard to really grasp that it could actually happen.

On the other hand, though, for some reason, I have a good feeling about this time around.

(Does that even make sense?)

No reason, I just do - to the extent that can I fathom this working, ever, I feel good about our chances this cycle.

Now, if we could just fast-forward through the next two weeks, so we can find out!

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Thursday Thirteen #29

Confession: I'm running behind, so I'm not actually posting this until Friday. But I'm cheating and back-dating it to Thursday. Because I can.

Anonymama and LadyKay's expressions of surprise at my description of the weather yesterday as "semi-autumnal" got me thinking about the changing of the seasons, so . . .

Thirteen Things I Love About Fall
  1. Crisp, cool mornings
  2. Not-hot afternoons
  3. Wearing clothes that have been put away all summer
  4. Such as a flannel shirt untucked, like a light jacket
  5. Mums in everybody's front yard
  6. Scarecrows, hay bales, pumpkins and other such decor
  7. Foliage
  8. The smell of my leather jacket
  9. Seeing all the cool back-to-school supplies in the stores
  10. Halloween
  11. Thanksgiving
  12. Starting to plan for Christmas
  13. On the other hand, it will be winter soon - for the next six fucking months.
Get the Thursday Thirteen code here!
The purpose of the meme is to get to know everyone who participates a little bit better every Thursday. Visiting fellow Thirteeners is encouraged! If you participate, leave the link to your Thirteen in others comments. It’s easy, and fun! Be sure to update your Thirteen with links that are left for you, as well! I will link to everyone who participates and leaves a link to their 13 things. Trackbacks, pings, comment links accepted!

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Sperminator III: "The Charm"

Or, at least, that's what we're hoping!

Today went much like the first two go-rounds, except that it's getting to be, well, I won't say "old hat," but much less intense.

A couple of things were different this time around.

Of course, most important difference is the fact that we think I might have two eggs dropping instead of just one. That should at least double our chances of getting a keeper.

Also of importance is the change in donors. Popeye seems to be a "good producer" as well (that's the phrase Dr E used to describe BowTie, after looking at his numbers).

The vial we used today had 18 million swimmers per whatever. BowTie was, I believe 16 million the first time, and 10 million the second.

This is completely irrelevant, but they put me in a different room this time (although, I had my day 3 dildo-camming in the room where we did the first two IUIs - that was disorienting).

No, I really don't think the room matters but, hey, any little change can't hurt, might help, right?

One very nice change was that a female doctor did the insemination this time. I have nothing against male doctors, and nothing against men in general, but I have intentionally sought out female doctors because I just feel more comfortable with them (especially for issues of a gynocological nature) and I kind of like the idea of the donor being the only man involved in the process.

I didn't really think it was that big of a deal to me, but I was surprised how disappointed I was the past two cycles, when a man (two different ones, actually) walked into the room, and how thrilled I was to see a woman this time.

After the IUI, we stopped by OldWorkCenter to drop off some things. Shrike got to meet a couple of people, but most of them were at lunch. Then we got some lunch ourselves and came home.

I had some work to do for a former web development client (long story short, I'm great, her new person is not, although she's no longer a client at the company I used to work for (and for whom I still do some consulting), she's sending me work, it's being billed through them and they're paying me.) and need to "take it easy," so I thought the plan was for me to work on that while Shrike walked the dogs.

I followed her outside with them and decided it was too pretty to be inside, so I brought the laptop out in the yard. (Yippee for wireless!) I thought I could work while she and the doggies played, either before or after their walk.

It's a lovely semi-autumnal day, and I can't believe I'm actually earning money for sitting out here enjoying it, but I'm not sure what happened to Shrike. I've not seen her in about two hours, PerfectPup is lounging in the middle of the lawn, and BigGaloot just came outside as well, so I'm pretty sure they're not walking.

I suspect she's asleep somewhere. Perhaps I should go find her.

I do have a few more things to do on that website that are going to require my real computer (edit some graphics, etc) so I might have to go in soon anyway. Blech.

I think we're going to meet LiPA and some others for dinner this evening. I had to do a bit of rationalizing to convince myself that it's ok to go out to dinner, even though I'm not at work, and not going back in to work for the staff meeting.

But, I don't officially have any activity restrictions, but have been advised to "take it easy" not to "go to bed" and the issue about the staff meeting was really more about it being stressful than anything. Dinner will be relaxing, so that's fine. Right?

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Shitty News Item of the Day

ACLU and Equality Maryland Denounce 4 to 3 Decision by Maryland High Court Denying Marriage Protections for Same-Sex Couples

ANNAPOLIS, MD – The American Civil Liberties Union and Equality Maryland today denounced the divided Maryland Court of Appeals decision upholding a state law that bars same-sex couples from marrying and accessing the hundreds of family protections provided to married couples and their children under state law. The organizations vowed to take their struggle for marriage for same-sex couples to the General Assembly, where Sen. Gwendolyn Britt (D-Prince George's County) and Delegate Victor Ramirez (D-Prince George's) have vowed to sponsor bills to extend marriage to same-sex couples.

Read Full Press Release

Ten on Tuesday #3

10 Things I Do When I Have Nothing Else To Do

  1. Blog
  2. Read blogs
  3. Read other stuff online
  4. Watch tv
  5. Eat
  6. Blog
  7. Read blog
  8. Read other stuff online
  9. Watch tv
  10. Eat

Learn More About Ten on Tuesday

Monday, September 17, 2007

Dos Eggies?

I had my visit with the dildo-cam this morning, and I'm sure Shrike was happy to hear that there's no risk of triplets this month!

My uterine lining looks good, at 10.7 mm (they like to see at least 10 mm). It's been good the past two cycles, too, but I was a bit worried this time around, since Clomid can cause it to be not so great.

I have lots of little follicles that aren't actually going anywhere, and two dominant ones.

One is at 17.1 mm, on the left side and on the right, there's one at 15.1 mm (I think - I knowit's 15.something).

At first, Nurse E told me that she thought we'd probably be triggering this evening for an IUI on Wednesday, but after seeing my blood work, Dr. E wants me to do one more injection of FSH this evening, trigger tomorrow and do the IUI on Thursday.

The goal is to give the smaller of the two follicles another boost and a little extra time, in hopes that it catches up, so that both eggs can drop just in time for the IUI.

All well and good, except that I didn't have enough FSH left for a third shot.

The shots I'm taking are 150 IU. It comes in 75 IU vials - five to a box. So, after two shots (on Thursday and Saturday) I only had one vial left.

Luckily, she was able to find some on hand, and I've got it now, but it wasn't so great logistically.

Here's the gist of my day:

7:30 am - drive an hour to OldWorkTown for the dildo-cam.
Stop by TutoringCenter there (old work location) to pick up some supplies\
Drive 45 minutes to NewWorkTown, arrive around 10:30 am.
3:30 pm - Get call from Nurse E
Drive back to OldWorkTown to pick up the vial of FHS
Drive back to NewWorkTown, arrive around 4:30 pm
Work til 7 pm

After a few phone calls (and a few more to make tomorrow) I've made arrangements to be off work all day on Thursday.

This was a little tricky, because we're supposed to have a staff meeting that evening. And I'm supposed to be running it.

I was going to go in for the meeting, but when I talked to ED2 about it (to let her know she doesn't have to cover for me on Wednesday, because RegionalDirector is available on Thursday), she really discouraged me from doing that.

She told me to talk to Nurse E and get her opinion, "And tell her it's going to be tressful." (We're going to be going over some things that some of the teachers may not be happy about.)

So, while Nurse E said that there's no need to go home and go to bed, she did agree that it's best to take it easy and that a meeting where I'm likely to be pissing off a bunch of people is probably not a great idea. She even offered to write me a doctor's note.

I called ED2 back to let her know I'd decided to reschedule the meeting. I was still fretting about it, until she told me about this quote that just loves. She is going to to email it to me, but of course I was able to find it, thanks to Professor Google:

Imagine life as a game in which you are juggling some five balls in the air. You name them - work, family, health, friends, and spirit, and you're keeping all of these in the air. You will soon understand that work is a rubber ball. If you drop it, it will bounce back.

But the other four balls: family, health, friends and spirit are made of glass. If you drop one of these, they will be irrevocably scuffed, marked, nicked, damaged or even shattered. They will never be the same.

Brian G. Dyson
President and CEO, Coca-Cola Enterprises during his speech at the Georgia Tech 172nd Commencement Address Sept. 6, 1996

Wow. That's a really great image to keep in mind.

And certainly not the sort of thing you'd expect to hear from your boss.

Manic Monday #6

  1. If you could enter a racehorse in the Kentucky Derby, what would you name your horse?
    "I'm an Asshole" - just because it would be funny to hear the announcer say it over and over, as he's calling the race!
  2. What famous person, whom many people find attractive, is most unappealing to you?
    There are actually a lot of people who fall into that category, but the first one who popped into my head when I read the question is Angelina Jolie. I don't know why, but she just doesn't do anything for me.
  3. Which foreign country are you least interested in visiting?

Learn more about Manic Monday.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Busy Day

Because I'm all about the planning ahead, on Friday I decided to invite some friends to come over for dinner this evening.

Of course, the cupboards were bare, so we spent most of the day planning, executing and putting-away from a big grocery trip, including a stop at a roadside veggie stand and a trip to Aldi, because they were having a cheese sale.

Cheese. Sale.

While at Weis, we saw some bell peppers that were almost as big as my head. (See photo.) I won't go into the details, but I had more than $20 in coupons, and a total of just over $50 savings, between the coupons and Weis Club. Not bad.

One more stop, for a six-pack of beer and we were done.

(Yes, we live in a state that requires a trip to a special store for beer. And a different special store for wine or liquor.)

By the time we got home and put away the groceries, it was time to start cooking dinner. I served lazy lasagna, cheesey garlic bread, a spinach salad and yellow watermelon (tastes the same as the regular kind). They brought cookies and ice cream for dessert.

Their kids were too cute, and our dogs didn't beat them up too badly. (Sorry about that scratch, T.) A good time was had by all.

Or, at least, a good time was had by us. I hope they had a good time, too. If not, they faked it well.

After they left, we took the doggies for a walk in the dark (over at a nearby shopping center parking lot with no cars, but lots of lights) because Shrike had, "promised them we'd go later."

When we got home, she loaded up the dishwasher, God bless her, and let me come in here and play.

Now, it's looking like bedtime soon. I've got an early-morning date with the dildo-cam!

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Photo Hunter #25: Plastic

This is the collection of plastic crap - lead-dispensing devices - toys that we've collected over the years, and keep on hand to entertain young visitors We'll definitely have to get some better stuff for our kid.
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Saturday Special #23: Creative Adventure IV

These are really not my favorite kind of Saturday Specials, but ya git what ya git - and don't throw a fit.

Time again to use your imagination ;-} Fill in the blanks.
  1. While sailing on vacation the sea gets rough and your boat hits against the rocks of an island, you are thrown from the boat, into the icy water.
  2. In front of you is a small cliff with a lighthouse, you
    swim toward the cliff, dragging myself up on the rocks.
  3. You are able to climb the cliff and enter the lighthouse, when I see Shrike waiting inside for me, with a change of dry clothes, and a glass of wine.
  4. Happy to be able to, you hug her hello and say, "I'm glad to be home. The commute was a bitch today."

Learn more about the Saturday Special.

Friday, September 14, 2007

Finally Friday

Man, this going to work five whole days in a week thing sucks.

Especially when I feel like poopie, like have this week.

But, it's Friday and I think I might be on the up-swing, healthwise, so maybe I'll survive, after all.

And that is, truly, all the creativity that I can muster this evening.

Good night!

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Gone FSHing

I took my last clomid about an hour ago, followed by my first FSH injection.

These injections are much more complicated than the ovidrel, but I managed it. I'd read the instructions a few times, so I pretty much knew what I was doing.

I did get probably a bit over-obsessed with a teeny tiny air bubble in the syringe, but I finally got it out.

Once I was ready to actually do the injection, that wasn't so bad at all. It was a lot easier to actually make myself jab it into my belly than it was with the ovidrel shot last cycle.

I figure Saturday's FSH will be even easier (and I'll be more confident about the mixing process), and by the time I'm ready to trigger with another ovidrel in a few days, I'll be a pro!

Hurricane Humberto

You may have noticed that Anonymama and LadyKay have been strangely quiet in the comments section of late.

That's because they've been without power all day, thanks to Hurricane Humberto.

This storm was a sneaky little bastard, going from a tropical depression to a hurricane in only fourteen hours.

My family and their neighbors went to bed last night expecting some rain and wind, and woke up this morning to find themselves in the midst of a Category I Hurricane.

(The wimpiest kind, as such things go, but still.)

I talked to my mom this evening, and she said that the power is out and there are lots of limbs down and things like that, but no serious damage at her house or LadyKay's.

As you may have gathered from some of their previous comments, my family lives in the area of Texas that was devastated by Hurricane Rita almost exactly two years ago, so they certainly didn't need another storm.

Luckily it sounds like most of the damage was minimal this time around.

Watch The Weather Channel's coverage of Hurricane Humberto.

Thursday Thirteen #28

I've been taking Clomid since Sunday, and I'm scheduled for my last pill this evening. I'll also take my first FSH injection tonight, and another on Saturday. So far, so good, but here are some of the things I've been fretting about. (None of which have materialized - yet.)

Thirteen Possible Side Effects of Clomid and/or Injectible FSH

  1. Moodiness

  2. Night sweats / hot flashes

  3. Headaches

  4. Abdominal / pelvic bloating

  5. Ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome

  6. Cramping

  7. Thinning of uterine lining

  8. Hostile mucus (irrelevant for us, since we're doing IUI)

  9. Increased chance of multiple birth

  10. Nausea

  11. Breast tenderness

  12. Ovarian pain

  13. Vaginal bleeding
Get the Thursday Thirteen code here!
The purpose of the meme is to get to know everyone who participates a little bit better every Thursday. Visiting fellow Thirteeners is encouraged! If you participate, leave the link to your Thirteen in others comments. It’s easy, and fun! Be sure to update your Thirteen with links that are left for you, as well! I will link to everyone who participates and leaves a link to their 13 things. Trackbacks, pings, comment links accepted!

View More Thursday Thirteen Participants

Thursday Thirteen Blog Roll

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Insurance - Schminsurance

I made some phone calls today, trying to chase down some insurance coverage for the damn near $400 worth of meds that I bought on Sunday.

After the usual press 1, say 'member,' stand up, touch your toes, turn around three times, spit over your shoulder routine, I finally got to talk to a human.

He told me that the coverage for those medications is as follows:

Clomid - Not on the formulary. He gave me a list of alternatives. Nurse E tells me that Dr. E will only prescribe Clomid. It was only $22.50 for five days, though, so I can live with that.

Ovidrel - Not covered at all; no alternatives. So, they are happy to pay for me to do as many IUIs as I want, but they won't pay to make sure that the damn egg is dropping the same day I'm inseminating. That's asinine.

Bravelle - $50 copay (as opposed to the $300 that I paid) - if you have preauthorization. Here's where it gets fun. . .

I called Nurse E to check on why it wasn't preauthorized. She called the pharmacy and they told her that when they submitted the prescription, the insurance company just told them it was not covered, but never mentioned needing preauthorization.

So, I called back and talked to a different insurance stooge.

First, I figured out that the preauthorization for the cycle itself - monitoring, IUI, etc - does not include preauthorization for the meds. That has to be done separately.

Then, when I asked why they'd not told the pharmacy to get it preauthorized first, he told me (oh, you're going to love this one) that "Our computer sends four lines of information, but the pharmacy's computer can only see three of them."

What the fuck does that even mean?

"So," I said, "you're telling me that you did tell them about the preauthorization, but it was in like invisible language, and now I'm stuck paying an extra $250 because they didn't know they needed it?"

He did give me a phone number for the preauthorization people, and I've asked Nurse E to call them and ask for the authorization, and ask them to backdate it because no one told the pharmacy that it was needed.

I'm really hoping that she can sweet-talk them into it, because at this point, $250 is huge.

Wordless Wednesday #26: Shooting Up

These are the FSH injections. I'm scheduled to do two this cycle - tomorrow and Saturday. Learn more about Wordless Wednesday.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Ten on Tuesday #2

10 Cities I Could Live In
(for a month, for a year . . . if I couldn't live in my own)

I couldn't decide, so I did a quiz at Here are my top results:

  1. Silver City, New Mexico
  2. Truth or Consequences, New Mexico
  3. Hot Springs - Hot Springs Village, Arkansas
  4. Salisbury, Maryland
  5. Fayetteville, Arkansas
  6. Shreveport - Bossier City, Louisiana
  7. Mountain Home / Bull Shoals, Arkansas
  8. Las Vegas, New Mexico
  9. Charleston, West Virginia
  10. Cherokee Village, Arkansas

Learn More About Ten on Tuesday

Monday, September 10, 2007

Ruh Roh

There's an odd little tickle in my throat.

I've sneezed several times today.

I was feeling a little fevery earlier.

Oh, pleeeaaaase nooooo!!!

I hate, hate, hate being sick.

I'm sure it's just a cold, but you see, I am a freak.

(No, not because of that. Or that. Or, ok, just shut up and let me explain.)

You see, I am crazy allergic to all antihistamines, decongestants and cough suppressants.

When I say "crazy" I'm not kidding. They totally flip me out.

Well, I don't really know exactly what they do, because I've only taken any of them once since I was tiny, but when I was tiny, they totally flipped me out.

(I took a few half-doses of benadryl for hives once as a teenager, but very carefully. After a total of about two or three doses, over a couple of days, I was a bit loopy.)

I was too young (and, of course, totally flipped out) when I had the serious reactions to remember them (once to an adult Sudafed that I accidentally got hold of, I think, and once to cough syrup?), so Anonymama and LadyKay might have to fill in some details (check the comments for that) but I know it wasn't pretty.

Speaking of LadyKay, she does the same thing. Not only did she have some cough syrup experiences as a wee tot, but she also had a reaction to something similar, as a teenager.

She was old enough then to identify the hallucinations, and to recognize that they were the same thing she'd experienced before.

So, yeah, I avoid that kind of stuff.

Which means that when I have a cold, about all I can take is Tylenol for the fever and aches, and hot, steamy showers for the congestion.

For the cough, there is an "expectorant only" version of Robistussin (now available as a pill, instead of that awful, awful liquid) but it's really pretty much useless.

So, mostly, I just suffer. And whine. A lot.

And I am not looking forward to it.

(And, I'm sure, neither is Shrike.)

Manic Monday #5

  1. If you could "un-invent" one thing in the world so that it would no longer exist, what would you choose?
    I would like to say "hate," but I guess that's more of an emotion than an "invention." If it has to be something man-made, I think I'll say "war" - or at least the modern technologies of war. If I can't eliminate hate, then I probably can't eliminate war, but if we were still going at each other with rocks and sticks, there's only so much damage we could do.
  2. Monday morning you usually waking up thinking:
    Aw, crap. It's Monday. And it's morning. And I'm awake.
  3. Do you find it easy to ask for help? Why or why not?
    I often find it difficult to delegate, which is something that I'm consciously working on. I think it's a combination of feeling like if I'm in a leadership position, then I shouldn't ask others to do more work than I'm doing, and being a bit of a control freak, and having trouble letting go of some of the details, and accepting that just because someone else goes about a task in a different way than what I how I might have done it, that does not mean that their way is wrong.

Learn more about Manic Monday.

Sunday, September 9, 2007

Ante Up!

We've just gotten home from our visit to the dildo-cam (followed by a bit of hanging out and browsing some funky shops in downtown OldWorkTown).

This time around, I only have six antral follicles, three on (in?) each ovary.

They told me the first cycle that they like to see ten to twenty on day 3. That time I had fifteen; last month I had ten.

Each of those months resulted in one egg, with no stimulation.

We're hoping that, with the help of the clomid and FSH, about half of the six I have now will develop into mature eggs within the next week or so.

And that at least exactly one of those will not be a dud, will get fertilized and will stick.

When we finished playing poke-and-peek, we went to the pharmacy to pick up my meds. To the tune of $397.50.

$300 of that is for the bravelle (FSH injections), $75 for the ovidrel (HCG trigger) and $22.50 for five clomid pills.

It seems that my insurance company doesn't want to cover any medications except the prometrium.

What the fuck is that about? I guess I'll be making another phone call to straighten that out.

I'll also need to make a call tomorrow to schedule an ultrasound for next Monday, to see how many of my little half-dozen follicles have made it through to the next phase, and whether they are ready to drop yet.

And I need to call Nurse E to have her talk me through exactly how to set up these shots that I'll be taking on Thursday and Saturday.

So, I'm scheduled to take the first clomid this evening. I'm a little apprehensive about it, because I've heard that the side effects can be less than fun, but if that's what it takes to make a baby, then that's what I'm gonna do.

Keep an eye on the sidebar to see how it's going!

Saturday, September 8, 2007

Photo Hunter #24: Music

Windchimes in our backyard
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Saturday Special #22: Online Preferences

  1. Favorite Computer Cruising Time:
    Any and all
  2. Favorite Time To Write Your Blog Entry:
    Whenever it's convenient
  3. Favorite Internet Service Provider:
    We currently have our internet, phone and cable tv through Comcast.
  4. Favorite Email Service:
    Hotmail (not the new version)

Learn more about the Saturday Special.

Friday, September 7, 2007

Day One

So, I'm bleeding now.

And I just talked to Nurse E, before I realized I actually had already started.

Wasted a good bit of time speculating about "if Day 3 is Sunday . . . or if it's Monday . . . "

But, even before I knew I was bleeding, we'd already realized that I have to go to IUI-Town (the open-on-weekends location, also where they have sperm storage, thus, where we do the inseminations) on Sunday, because I have to pick up my meds at the pharmacy there.

So, I have an appointment for 10:45 that morning.

(I'm sure Shrike will be thrilled to hear that. She works Saturday evening, and it's about a 1.5 hour drive.)

That appointment will be for a day 3 ultrasound (actually on day 3 for a change!) and I'll pick up my clomid and FSH shots while we're there.

Here's the protocol:

Take 50 mg clomid (pill) on Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday (days 3 - 7).

FSH shots in the belly on Thursday and Saturday.

This shot is more complicated than the pre-loaded ovidrel (HCG trigger) and has to be mixed up and stuff. I'm supposed to call on Monday, once I have it in hand, and she will explain it all. If I'm not feeling comfortable about it, I can stop by one day next week to go over it in person.

Then, an ultrasound on Monday, September 17 (day 11).

Nurse E says I should be ready to trigger at that point, so we'd inseminate probably either Tuesday the 18th or Wednesday the 19th, I guess.

Even with the drugs, we still only expect to see 1 - 3 follicles.

Given my age, Dr E is comfortable inseminating me with up to 3 follicles, because the odds of all 3 being good and actually ending up with triplets are so slim.

It sounded like she would not want to inseminate with more than that.

Good to know.

Thank You

Just a quick post to say thanks to everyone who's commented or emailed in the past few days.

It really means a lot to both of us to know that so many friends (both real-time and virtual) are cheering for us.

We hope to have better news for you all next time around!

Thursday, September 6, 2007

Upping the Ante

I've been playing phone tag with email follow-ups all day, talking to Nurse E about what Dr. E recommends that we do next time around.

When we originally met, she talked about trying "two or three cycles" unstimulated before we considered anything more aggressive, so I figured it was time to check in on that.

What she's recommending is that I take 50 mg Clomid on days 3 - 7 of my next cycle, followed by FSH injections on days 7 through 9.

(Or days 7 and 9? I guess I need to clarify that).

I'd then go in for ultrasounds starting on day 11, and I assume it would be basically the same from there - wait for the follicles (the goal of the drugs being to have multiple follicles) to get to 18 mm or larger, then do the HSG trigger shot, followed by the intrauterine insemination 36 hours later.

She'd really like for us to do two inseminations, at 12 and 36 hours after the trigger shot, but it would cost an additional $480 to buy a second vial.

(Popeye only has washed sperm available, so it will already be more expensive than last cycle, we when were able to get the unwashed.)

The second insemination would up our odds, but probably not enough to justify that much of an increase in the cost, so I'm pretty sure we'll stick with just one.

Speaking of the odds . . .

For your average man/woman couple, under age 35, trying to make a baby the old-fashioned way, the odds of getting pregnant in any given cycle are about 30%.

(The odds per cycle decrease with each attempt, because the fact that they're not pregnant yet indicates that there might be a problem.)

The way we were going about it the past couple of months (taking into account my age???) our odds were about 5% per cycle.

Well, hell, no wonder I'm not knocked up yet!

If we were to use clomid alone, our odds would be around 10% (with about 10% of pregnancies being multiples (mostly twins) - so an overall 1% chance of multiples).

With the clomid and FSH, we're looking at around a 20% chance of pregnancy, and a 15% chance of multiples (overall 3% chance of multiples).

I still want to get a bit more information (such as what's the cut-off number of follicles for cancelling a cycle, because of the risk of higher order multiples) but we're pretty sure that we're going to go with the clomid / fsh, with just the one IUI.

It will be more expensive (don't know yet how much, depends on the insurance coverage for the drugs) but will quadruple our odds. As long as it's not four times as expensive (and it won't be) that's definitely worth doing.

I just wish we'd had all those statistics a couple of months ago, because if we'd realized how bad the odds were, I think we would have pushed to be more aggressive from the get-go.

So, now, we're just (once again) waiting to bleed. I got nothing so far, not even spotting, so I'm thinking it won't be any sooner than Saturday, meaning day 3 will be Monday.

In the meantime, I'd appreciate all the information I can get, whether scientific or anecdotal, so if you've got experience with either clomid or injectable FSH, please let me know what it was like, and what I'm in for.

I'm tentatively planning to go down to OldWorkCity that morning for the ultrasound and to pick up the drugs - or maybe they'll be shipped to us? That's one more thing I'm waiting to find out about.

More phone tag tomorrow, I'm thinking.

Speaking of tomorrow, I'm taking the day off work, and around noon will be heading up to CapitalCity for a couple of days of political workshops, meetings, schmoozing, etc, and I'll be back Saturday evening.

Of course, I have all intentions of posting here before I leave tomorrow and when I return Saturday.

Priorities, you know.

Thursday Thirteen #27

Our first choice donor is now sold out, so next cycle, we'll be moving on to Bachelor #2, "Popeye." So, here are . . .

Thirteen Things That We Know About Popeye
  1. His favorite food is spinach (hence, the nickname)
  2. He has hazel eyes and wavy brown hair
  3. He played football in middle school
  4. What he looked like at ages 1, 3, 6, 12, 15 and 21 (we have photos!)
  5. When he was young, his dad restored a WWII era navy biplane and he flew in it with him.
  6. He is 6' and 200 lbs
  7. He plays violin, trombone and classical guitar
  8. He speaks English, Spanish and Russian
  9. He has a BA in English / Creative Writing, with a minor in Educational Studies / Child Psychology
  10. He volunteers with or donates to Habitat for Humanity
  11. His father is/was an electrical engineer and his mother is/was a teacher.
  12. He is a Quaker
  13. His ethnic background is Hungarian / Irish-Scottish
Get the Thursday Thirteen code here!
The purpose of the meme is to get to know everyone who participates a little bit better every Thursday. Visiting fellow Thirteeners is encouraged! If you participate, leave the link to your Thirteen in others comments. It’s easy, and fun! Be sure to update your Thirteen with links that are left for you, as well! I will link to everyone who participates and leaves a link to their 13 things. Trackbacks, pings, comment links accepted!

View More Thursday Thirteen Participants

Thursday Thirteen Blog Roll

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Officially Negative

Well, it's official. I am not pregnant. Not even a little bit, like last cycle.

Of course, it doesn't come as a surprise, but it's still pretty damn frustrating.

I keep reminding myself that this is only our second attempt and, really, even under the best of circumstances, it generally takes more than that.

I keep reminding myself of all the people I know who tried for many months or years before finally getting pregnant - or before giving up on getting pregnant.

I keep reminding myself that although it feels like we've been at this since December, although it feels like I've been waiting my entire life, it's only been two months - which really is not that long, in the grand scheme of things.

In case you were wondering, it's really not helping.

Wordless Wednesday #25: Negative

I've been seeing a lot of these lately.Learn more about Wordless Wednesday.

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Not Looking So Positive

Those of you playing along at home have probably noticed the string of negative results from my daily pee-tests.

While it's not entirely impossible that a positive could suddenly pop up at 15 days post-IUI, it's not very likely.

So, I'm assuming that my beta tomorrow will be negative and, in my head, I'm already moving on - deciding what I'm drinking with dinner tomorrow evening, calculating my next possible due date (mid June - covered by short-term diability insurance, so there's a silver lining), etc.

Also, thinking about talking to Dr. E about whether / when we should up the ante and do something more than what we've done the last couple of months.

Since I am ovulating, I don't know if something like Clomid would increase our odds or not, but when we originally talked, she was referring to "two or three tries like this" so it's worth considering, especially given that we have an abundance of neither time nor money.

Ten on Tuesday #1

Here's another meme that I've been seeing around. It's kind of like Thursday 13, but with less answers, and the topic is provided each week.

10 Things I'd Save in a Fire
Note: I think it might be a bit naive to think that, in case of fire, one would have time to save ten things, but I'll go with it. The last three or four items might have to be left behind in a fire, but are definitely things I'd grab for a more deliberate evacuation, say, for a hurricane.

  1. Shrike
  2. Pets
  3. Pets
  4. Pets
  5. Pets
  6. Pets
  7. Our purses/wallets
  8. Important documents - vital records, powers of attorney, etc (I guess we really ought to put those in a fire-safe box.)
  9. Photos
  10. Clothes (In case of a fire while we're sleeping, this moves up the list. Nobody wants to see me standing in the street in my "jammies."
Learn More About Ten on Tuesday

Monday, September 3, 2007

Manic Monday #4

  1. What is one thing that you wanted to do this summer but didn't?
    Get pregnant (unless maybe I've got some good news coming in a couple of days - but that's looking more and more doubtful).
  2. If you lived a hundred years ago, what job would you've had?
    Probably an "old maid" (wink-wink-nudge-nudge) school teacher.
  3. What are some of the most persistent and challenging obstacles in your everyday life?
    Just getting up every day, going to work, doing the daily bullshit can be a challenge sometimes. But I think that, once again, the big winner is: Getting pregnant - while staying sane.

Learn more about Manic Monday.

Sunday, September 2, 2007

Misheard Lyrics

This afternoon, we went to visit Shrike's cousin and her partner and their new baby, Little R.

Shrike's sister and her partner and their kids came over later in the afternoon, too.

I was a total baby-hog, pretty much the whole time. I think I even did every diaper change that happened while we were there. (All voluntarily, of course.)

Oh yeah, and we enjoyed visiting with the grown ups and big kids, too.

On the way home this evening, we were singing in the car. (Rather badly, I'm afraid.)

After struggling through the lyrics of several songs, we were singing one that we thought we were pretty solid on, "Watershed" by the Indigo Girls. It went a little something like this:

Both: I'd better learn how to swim 'cause the crossing is (conflicting lyrics)
Shrike: Chilly and wide? Genuine.
Whozat: Chilly and wide.
Shrike: Chilly and wide?
Whozat: Genuine? That doesn't even make sense.
Shrike: Well it doesn't now!
Of course, these are not the first lyrics that one of us has misheard over the years. Here are a few of the best:

"Tiger" by Paula Cole
Actual lyric: "I'm throwin' around the room like party confetti, now."
She heard: "I'm throwin' around the room like Barbecue Betty, now."

"Take a Chance on Me" by Abba
Actual lyric: "Honey, I'm still free. Take a chance on me."
I heard: "Olly oxen free, take a chance on me."

"Another Brick in the Wall" by Pink Floyd
Actual lyric: "No dark sarcasm in the classroom."
I heard: "No Dukes of Hazard in the classroom."

How about you?

What's your the best (worst?) personal example of misheard lyrics?

Read more about lyrics that other people have misheard at The Archive of Misheard Lyrics.

Saturday, September 1, 2007

Saturday Special #21: Picture It!

Use Photos to describe your idea of . . .

  1. An evening on the town:
  2. An exclusive restaurant:
  3. A Broadway show:
  4. A limo ride home:
Learn more about the Saturday Special.

Photo Hunter #23: Dirty

This evening, I made a big pan of "lazy lasagna" to take to Baby R's mommies when we go visit tomorrow. This is the aftermath.

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