Thursday, January 31, 2008

Thursday Thirteen #48

(Warning: Nerdiest. Thursday 13. Ever.)

Thirteen Federal Tax Deductions That We're Taking

Actually, these are just a few of the deductions that I'm taking. We do all this stuff in my name and I itemize, and Shrike just takes the standard deduction. We should probably do it the other way around, since she makes a good bit more than I do, now, but I think we're still both in the same bracket, so I guess it doesn't matter.

  1. Mortgage interest
  2. Real estate taxes
  3. State / Local taxes
  4. Health Insurance Premiums (pre-tax deduction)
  5. Charitable Donation: March of Dimes
  6. Charitable Donation: American Cancer Society
  7. Charitable Donation: Our Local Animal Shelter
  8. Medical Expenses: $0.20 / mile for travel to doctor's appointments
  9. Medical Expenses: Fertility Medications
  10. Medical Expenses: Intrauterine Inseminations
  11. Medical Expenses: Blood Tests
  12. Medical Expenses: Dildo-Cammings
  13. Medical Expenses: Our Dr. T visits for which I was smart enough to sign the check

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, January 30, 2008

Wordless Wednesday #45: Panty Raid

He's waiting at the back door, thinking that I'm actually going to let him go outside carrying my favorite underwear in his mouth. He is sadly mistaken. In reality, I am going to bribe him with a rawhide chew to drop the underwear. Oh. Wait. . .

Learn more about Wordless Wednesday.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Ten on Tuesday #20

Ten Things I'd Buy If I Had a Million Dollars
(and had to spend it on myself)

  1. Pay off the house.
  2. Pay off my car.
  3. Pay off the baby debt.
  4. Pay back my parents for the baby money they gave us.
  5. Hire a maid.
  6. Hire a cook.
  7. Hire a grocery shopper.
  8. Buy every panda-related baby decor item ever made.
  9. Buy whatever Shrike wants (if she's happy, I'm happy).
  10. Invest the rest, and pay ourselves an annual salary, so we don't have to work for a while.

Learn More About Ten on Tuesday

Monday, January 28, 2008

Manic Monday #21

  1. If you could have a servant come to your house every day for one hour, what would you have them do?
    Wash dishes, wash clothes, change the litter box, clean the bathrooms.
  2. Has your life ever been changed by an apparently random occurrence?
    Absolutely - meeting Shrike. Unless that was fate, or something else that I'm not sure I believe in.
  3. You're having dinner with several friends and acquaintances. They all criticize a close friend of yours (not knowing he/she is a friend). The criticism is unjustified. What would you do?
    I would like to think that I'd have the balls to stand up for my friend.

Learn more about Manic Monday.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

A Very Interesting Evening

Last night, we had dinner with Shrike's sister and her partner, and two other couples from their church, one straight, one lesbians. (It's a Unitarian church, if you're wondering.)

Early in the evening, we found out that the lesbian couple had used IVF to make their son (now 10 or 11?) and that the wife of the straight couple is a surrogate, who's currently in a "two week wait."

Technically, she's a gestational carrier, which means is someone who carries a baby for another couple, using their egg/sperm. (In this case, they are using an anonymous donor egg, as well, since the intended mother had ovarian cancer about ten years ago, requiring a complete hysterectomy.)

A surrogate, on the other hand, uses her egg to make the baby, carries it, and then gives it to the intended parents.

They have an eight-year-old daughter of their own, she carried one baby who's now fifteen months old, and she's currently working on a second.

So, the vast majority of the evening was spent talking about IVF stuff, and comparing notes about the fertility clinic and its staff (she's working with the same clinic we go to).

The kids were in and out through the evening, so this conversation, which happened as we were reading to our niece (7) and nephew (10) before bed, was rather inevitable:

Shrike ("hypothetically," to me): You know, if we have a little boy, I want him to be just like GodzillaBoy, and if we have a little girl, I want her to be just like Niece. Hmm, she needs a blogonym, doesn't she?)

Niece: Are you going to have a baby?

Oh, maybe some day.

Shrike: (Something equally non-committal)

Are you trying?
What the hell? She's seven! Well, shit. I guess there's no point in lying about it.

Whozat: Well, actually, we are. But it might take a while.

Niece (not particularly confused, just curious): How are you going to do that?

Whozat: The same way that Cousin and Cousin-if-there-was-a-law made Baby R.

Niece: How did they do that?

Oh, darn. I was hoping that had already been covered. Oh well, I'd better get used to this.

Whozat: Well, you know about how babies are made usually, right?

Niece: Yeah, by having sex.

Oh. Right. I'd forgotten about that option.

Whozat: Okay, so you know about how women make eggs and men make sperm?

Niece: Yeah.

Whozat: Well, they are going to take some eggs out of Aunt Shrike, and put them in a dish together with some sperm from a very nice man, who is helping us, and they'll get together and make embryos, which are very tiny, and might grow into babies. Then they'll put a couple of the embryos in me, and we'll hope that one of them grows into a baby.

Niece: Well, if you have a girl, I think you should name her (name that we like, but it rhymes with PerfectPup's real name, so we can't use it). Or (some other name) or (her name) II. You could call me Big Name and call her Little Name. Or (and proceeds to list the names of like every little girl that she knows).

So much for not saying anything to the kids just yet, but I think that went quite well.

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Photo Hunter #44: Old Fashioned

This cedar chest belonged to Shrike's paternal grandmother.

I Really Need to Read the Directions More Carefully

Shrike (in an email earlier today): Can you do me a favor tonight? I washed the comforter but am afraid to dry it while I am gone. Can you throw it in the dryer this evening?

Whozat: Sure!

So, I came home from work, remembered (all by myself) about the waiting comforter, and turned the dryer on, for its maximum time. Go me.

A few minutes ago, I thought, "Hmm, I wonder if it got completely dry. I'd better go turn it back on, to be sure. And, further more, won't it be nice to have it all warm and snuggly at bed time. While I'm at it, maybe I should rearrange it in the dryer, and turn it inside out, in case the inside parts are still damp. Go me, again."

So, I open the dryer, and it is . . . empty.

I open the washer, and there's the wet comforter.

I'm all ready to write a post titled "Could You Be More Specific?" in which I claim that Shrike just told me the dryer needed to be run, and didn't mention where the comforter was.

Then I read her email again: "Can you throw it in the dryer this evening?"


There's really no talking my way out of this one, is there?

Friday, January 25, 2008

Five on Friday #2: Thinking Warm Thoughts

  1. What is your favorite hot beverage?
    Coffee and Kahlua, with whipped cream
  2. Describe your favorite hot food?
    Chili con queso dip, from Casa Ole'
  3. What piece of clothing makes you feel warm and snuggly the moment you put it on?
    Shrike's big purple hoody, shown here
  4. Do you warm up your car on cold days? Do you run the heat all the time or just enough to defrost the windows?
    If I'm clearing ice or snow, I'll start the car / heater and let it warm up while I do that. If not, I'll just hop in and go, cursing the cold (and the woman who's making me live in it) for the first few minutes until the heat kicks in. The new car actually warms up pretty quickly, though. I run the heat full-out at first, then switch it from dash to mixed to floorboard, and then turn it down, as it gets warmer.
  5. What is your ideal warm-weather vacation spot?
    Hmm, the Caribbean?
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A Highly Informative Day

This afternoon, we received both our tentative schedule for the IVF cycle from the fertility clinic, and a draft of our donor / recipient agreement from the attorney.

I also turned in a couple of consent forms to the fertility clinic, so that the social worker is now allowed to actually tell people that we're not crazy, rather than having to keep that highly sensitive information to herself.

I've added the tentative schedule to our "How to Make a Baby" agenda in the sidebar. Of course, all those dates are iffy, depending on how we each respond to our respective medication protocols, but it looks like we'll be "getting started" (I take my first meds) in just over a week (!) and we should be doing the actual baby-making the first week of March.

In the meantime, we need to finalize the donor/recipient agreement, and order up some sperm (need to make a final decision about a donor, first, I guess!)

The agreement shouldn't be a big deal; I've looked over the draft and it's pretty much what we asked for. I just want to tweak a couple of small things.

One is that it says the agreement is good for two retrievals or six months, and I want it to cover all six possible retrievals.

The other thing, which we may or may not be able to change, is that in the first "hereafter known as . . . " paragraph, it says that Shrike is "The Donor" and I am "The Intended Mother."

I've asked the attorney if we can change that to refer to me as "The Recipient," since the whole freakin' point of the document is to establish that we are both the intended mothers!

Other than that, it's pretty much good to go. Here's the gist:

The sole purpose of this agreement is to enable Recipient and the Donor to have a child by means of in vitro fertilization using eggs donated by Donor and semen from an anonymous donor. . . .

The Recipient desires to have a child or children considered legally hers and the Donor’s and intends to be implanted with the donated eggs fertilized with the donor sperm and then carried to birth. . . .

Donor also desires to have a parental relationship with any Child born pursuant to this agreement. Further, she believes and intends that the Child is morally and legally that of both the Recipient and herself, the Donor. . . .

Donor wishes to utilize her unfertilized eggs and together with the Recipient intends to fertilize the eggs with the sperm of the anonymous donor and have the resulting embryo(s) implanted into the Recipient’s womb. The Recipient proposes and desires to gestate the resulting embryo(s) to term, and together with the Donor intends to accept all parental rights, claims and responsibilities for the child/children thus conceived and born. It is absolutely the Recipient' and Donor’s decision together whether to gestate these embryos to term. . . .

Both Parties agree that upon retrieval, both the Donor and the Recipient shall have equal ownership of all eggs retrieved and embryos created, including any embryos cryopreserved for later use by the Parties. Donor agrees that Recipient shall enter her name as the Mother on the birth certificate of any Child born from donated eggs. The Recipient agrees that the Donor shall share equal parental rights to any Child born as a result of the egg donation, and the Parties will each sign documents before and/or after birth, and will take all necessary steps to fulfill the intention of the parties to make the Donor and the Recipient exclusively both the actual and legal parents of the Child. . . .

Thursday Thirteen #47

(Better late than never, right?)

Thirteen Habits of Highly Annoying Animals*
(*Who Happen to Live at Our House)

There's a reason they call them pet peeves.

Feel free to comment your speculations as to which critter commits which sin. Some apply to more than one of them.
  1. Drinks out of the toilet.

  2. Sleeps between us in the bed.

  3. Only likes one specific brand/flavor of treat.

  4. Throws up on a regular basis.

  5. Sleeps under Shrike's desk (ok by me, but I suspect it annoys her).

  6. Refuses to come in the house when called.

  7. Insists on being in my lap while I type.

  8. Hovers while I eat, waiting for leftovers.

  9. Drinks out of the toilet, and takes things out of it when the opportunity presents itself.

  10. Brings bones into the bed and chew them loudly, sometimes leaving behind shards.

  11. Refuses to go into own room when we are ready to leave for work.

  12. Loves, loves, loves to go for a walk, but runs from the leash / harness.

  13. Poops just outside the litter box.
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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Thursday, January 24, 2008

Drinking Liberally

Whew! Just in under the wire.

Why am I so late posting? Because I'm just getting home. Yes, I know it's a "school night" but I've been at our monthly Drinking Liberally gathering.

No agenda, nothing official, just a bunch of like-minded folks getting together for a drink and some conversation. We usually end up talking much later than the drinking would justify but, hey, as long as I'm home before Shrike gets in from work, it's all good, right?

If you like to drink, and you like to think, I'd strongly suggest that you look into finding a Drinking Liberally chapter near you.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Where Things Stand

Here's the lastest information from Nurse D, our donor IVF coordinator:

Hi Whozat and Shrike,

Shrike, please start the pill this Friday 1/25.

I've sent SocialWorker an email requesting that she let me know ASAP re: your SW clearance. It is most likely that you guys will have to take at least 21 days of the pill primarily because of PGD (preimplantation genetic diagnosis). PGD can only be done on certain days, so Shrike's start of meds can only be on a Tues or Wed. Because all the PGD starts need to occur on a Tues or Wed, and we are only allowed a certain number of total starts per day, the PGD starts get filled up well in advance. I've sent an email to the PGD department regarding if there are PGD starts available 2/5 or 2/6 and 2/12 or 2/13. I promise as soon as I hear back about it I'll get started on working on your dates.

I'll keep you posted.
Nurse D

And I promise I'll keep you posted, as soon as we know more.

Wordless Wednesday #44: Lazy Pups


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Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Mrrffll Wrrffll Wrrffll

I've been the the dentist, can you tell?

My first appointment (of four!) was scheduled for tomorrow, but his office called yesterday to say that they'd had a cancellation. Since I was already taking off for a while today (more on that later), I decided to just take a half-day today, so I can work a full day tomorrow.

But, let's back up a bit . . . .

Originally, Shrike was scheduled to take the MMPI last Tuesday, followed by a consultation with the social worker at the fertility clinic. Then we were to both meet with her today.

Things got all screwy last week, and the consultation didn't happen, so she told us that we could both talk with her today. Shrike was to be there at 12:30, and she'd talk to her for about forty minutes, then call me in for the remainder of the time.

I left work a bit after noon, arrived around 12:45, and called Shrike's cellphone to let her know I was there. I also asked the receptionist to let the social worker know.

At 1:30, I began to wonder if they knew, so I called her again. This time she answered (the first call, no answer required, was prearranged), and said they'd be ready for me in about ten minutes.

They came out around 1:45, and Shrike had to complete a few more papers (which they were supposed to have given her last week) before we could go back in.

Meanwhile, I called the dentist's office (45 minutes away) to say that I was not going to make it by 2:45; it would probably be more like 3.

We finally went in and chatted with her for a while about the whole IVF thing, and I was able to leave around 2:15.

Shrike still had to talk to her some more, and ended up barely getting to work on time, herself.

Oh, and the "person who enters the MMPI" is on vacation or sick or something, so that hasn't been scored yet.

I had to run down to my old work location to drop off some things (why didn't I do that while I was waiting for an hour?) and before I got there, I realized that I didn't have my wallet with me.

I thought that I'd taken it out while we were there, because I was going to pay with a credit card, but then Shrike handed me her checkbook instead.

Had I handed it to Shrike, when I returned the checkbook?

I called her (she was still talking with this damn woman) and asked if she had it. Nope.

So, I stopped back at the clinic and the receptionist had it. It seems it must have falled out of my jacket pocket as I was putting it on.

Ok, finally on the way to the dentist.

But wait, I'm starving, and how long will it be til I can eat afterward?

So, I hit the drive-thru and then hit the road. I got to the dentist's office about thirty minutes late, so he didn't have time to do everything that he'd planned.

He did two fillings (one new, one replacement) in the top left quadrant of my mouth, but the cleaning for that section will have to wait.

He used a topical anesthetic before giving me the local, so I really didn't even feel the shots going in.

I'd brought along my CD player and a new audiobook, and that really helped to distract me and drown out the sound of the drill.

I made a conscious effort to concentrate on the book, rather than my mouth, to breathe and to not tense up, physically.

I'd made such a big deal about it all at my first appointment, that I think the dentist and his assistant were expecting me to be freaking out, so they "checked in" with me pretty often, and he told me about what he was going to be doing, throughout the procedure.

All in all, the whole thing was actually quite bearable.

If the rest of the visits - when there's scraping and other such cleaning activities going on - aren't any worse than that, I should be okay.

I'm kind of proud of myself for surviving it.

My next visit is scheduled for the 7th, but I'm hoping they have a cancellation and can get me in sooner, so I can get it all over with sooner.

In the meantime, it's been about three and a half hours since the novocaine and it's finally starting to wear off. I can feel most of my mouth now, but it still feels a bit funny, and doesn't seem to be working quite right yet.

Ten on Tuesday #19

At risk of lapsing onto my own personal episode of I Love The 70s/80s . . .

Ten Things That Were Better "Way Back When"

  1. Music. Ok, so maybe 80s Pop wasn't good music but, dammit, it was my music.
  2. My summer camp. When it was owned/run by the founding organization, and was girls-only.
  3. TV. Remember scripts?
  4. Video games. If I wanted to bowl or hit a baseball or - what the fuck? - play guitar, I would do it in real life. Give me some good ol' fashioned Ms. Pacman or Centipede any day.
  5. Saturday Night Live. I enjoy the retrospectives, except that they make me sad, because all the funnies cast members are dead now.
  6. Saturday Morning Cartoons. Two words: Scooby-fucking-Doo. (Oops, that's three words.)
  7. Kid's toys. Tinker Toys, Fisher Price People, Hippity-Hop. No licensed characters, no batteries required, and no fucking lead.
  8. Family car trips. No personal DVD players, no five-point-harnesses, no GPS. Just bouncing around in the back-back, listening to Anonydaddy's Tom T. Hall and Kris Kristofferson 8-tracks, playing "the initial game" and arguing with BabyBro about who's straying onto who's "side." (Yes, it is a wonder that we survived!)
  9. Star Wars. Ok, I confess, I've never actually seen the "prequel" trilogy, but I don't have to see them to know that they can't possibly compare to the original three movies.
  10. Summer Vacation. You know, because there was a vacation.

Learn More About Ten on Tuesday

Monday, January 21, 2008

Manic Monday #21

  1. If you had to be named after one of the 50 states, which would it be?
    Oh, I'd say probably either Maryland or Georgia. No reason.
  2. Where do you go for advice?
    Shrike, Anonymama, LadyKay. Or, if I want to pay money for it, Dr. T.
  3. What is the sickest you've ever been?
    As far as being ill, with an actual infection, that would probably be either when I was in second grade and had something that I'm not sure was ever fully diagnosed, but involved very swollen lymph nodes and being quite sick, or when I had mono during my first semester of college. If non-infectious physical pain and suffering counts, then I'd have to say it was the first few days after my gastric bypass surgery.

Learn more about Manic Monday.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Photo Hunter #43: Important

This is a very bad photo of me with someone very important.
(If you think you know who this guy is, feel free to identify him by title or job description, but please don't put his name in the comments, just because I don't want anyone stumbling in here while Googling for him!)

Friday, January 18, 2008

Five on Friday #1: Healthy Habits

Because I don't have enough memes to play with!

  1. Do you wear sunscreen? Do you use it everyday or just when you're at the beach?
    At the beach, and occassionally at an all-day outdoor type of even (like PrideFest), when I remember. More likely, I go without and my forearms and ears get burned (and, if I'm not wearing a hat, my scalp, through my spikey-dykey do.
  2. How often do you brush your teeth? What about floss and flouride?
    I brush at least twice a day, morning and evening. I rarely floss and never flouride.
  3. Do you get at least 5 servings of fruits and vegetables every day?
    Rarely, but I'm trying to do better about this. A trip to the grocery store would help.
  4. How often do you exercise? What do you do?
    I walk the dogs with Shrike on the weekends. That's really about it right now.
  5. Do you use a seatbelt every time you get into a car?
    Absolutely. Anonymama taught me well. (Although we used to ride around, unbelted, in the "back-back" of the station wagon as kids. We didn't know any better then.)
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Two Things

Here's an interesting little meme that I stumbled upon:

List the two things that people really need to know to do your job:

  1. How to work with kids, keep them motivated and teach them stuff.
  2. How to work with their parents, keep them happy, and sell them stuff.
What about you? List your two things in the comments!

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Thursday Thirteen #46

Thirteen Medications Required (Evidently) To Make A Baby
  1. Whozat: OB Select- Prenatal Vitamins
  2. Whozat / Shrike: Ovidrel - HCG injections
  3. Whozat: Prometrium - Progesterone vaginal suppositories
  4. Whozat: Clomid - clomiphene citrate pills
  5. Whozat: Bravelle - FSH subcutaneous injections
  6. Whozat: Del Estrogen intramuscular injections
  7. Whozat: Progesterone in Oil intramuscular injections
  8. Whozat: Necon - birth control pills (to sync our cycles)
  9. Shrike: Nortrel - birth control pills (to sync our cycles)
  10. Whozat / Shrike: Lupron - subcutaneous injections
  11. Shrike: Gonal-F - subcutaneous injections
  12. Shrike: Menopur - subcutaneous injections
  13. Shrike: Some sort of anesthesia for egg retreival
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

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I think we've finally got what we need from MortgageBank, and can sign the home equity loan papers tomorrow.

I think we're going to do the signing in shifts, rather than making Shrike get up at the ass-crack of dawn to go with me. I can go on my way to work, and then she can stop by on her way to work.

Then, we have to do a second signing (so they know we really, really want the money?) three days, later which I suppose we'll do Monday. At that point, the money should be available. Thank God.

I also called our RE's office and found out that Nurse D is out this week (with a sick kid) and - guess what - nobody's been checking her email/voicemail either!

(I've been leaving messages on both since Sunday!)

Anyway, I talked to a different nurse and found out that I need to start taking the birth control pills today. (Took one as soon as I got home from work. That was wierd.)

We will report to Nurse D when it's Day 1 for Shrike (probably over the weekend) and she'll most likely start her pills on day 3.

This nurse says that we will do a full cycle on the pill, although from our conversation with Dr E, I thought we didn't necessarily have to. Oh well, we'll find out at some point.

I'll do 21 days, and the last 3 of those, I'll take Lupron subcutaneously (tummy shots). Then I'll stop and get a period.

Shrike will stop her pills about a week after me, also starting Lupron the last 3 days. I think she will continue with the Lupron.

I start my butt-shots on day 2 of my period, just like with the mock cycle. I think I might have to do day 3 labs/ultrasound, but I'm not sure.

I know Shrike does have to do a day 3 ultrasound (antral follicle check), and I think she starts the stimulation meds that day. She starts monitoring around day 10, I think, and when the follicles are 18+ mm, we trigger and then 36 hours later, retreive.

That should put us at the end of February for retrieval and transfer, unless they actually let us get off the pill as soon as stupid bitch tells them that we're not crazy.

More news as we have it.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Wordless Wednesday #43: Irony

Birth control pills. A package for each of us.

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Ten (near) Tuesday #18 (By Shrike)

Ten Movies That Disappointed Me Shrike
by Shrike

Thanks for your help, sweetheart!

  1. Driving Miss Daisy
    The heartwarming tale of an old woman and her lackey. I don't get it. No, really I don't. Didn't live up to the hype.

  2. Close Encounters of The Third Kind
    Probably didn't help that I had seen Star Wars first. At least, I am assuming that I had, because I found this to be rather dull and that must've been because I'd seen Star Wars first.

  3. Night of The Hunter
    Okay, I should have seen it before the 21st century. In my eyes, it just hasn't aged well. I had heard how scary Robert Mitchum was in this. You would have thought he actually laid a hand on these kids to be so terrifying. And don't those damn kids know how to keep their damn mouths shut.Their father makes them swear not to tell anybody anything about the money and they just blurt it out (minus acting lessons) the first chance they get.

  4. In the Company of Stragers
    The all-time worst movie I have ever seen. This is a Canadian tale about a bunch of old white women being driven around by a black woman. If Miss Daisy didn't do it for me, well, this doesn't either. These are the most boring ass Canadians they could find and somebody started filming with the camera they took along on their bus tour. Scarier than Night of The Hunter because in this one, there is no acting and no script.

  5. The Unbearable Lightness of Being
    The unbearable boring-ass movie. I wish I could remember something about it, but I only remember not being able to finish it.

  6. Insert generic boring scandal movie here
    I think this is the movie I saw. It was some movie about a British sex scandal and being under 21 (or at least not 38), that was the part I found attractive - sex. Anything to do with sex could not possibly be boring. Guess again. The only movie I saw in the theater on which I walked out.

  7. Scandal
    Again, unfortunately, I listened to the hype too much on this one. I am not saying it was not a good movie (it had Cate Blanchett in it, so not all bad), but how unbelievable is a story about a beautiful teacher having an affair with a teenage boy. I wasn't attracted to teenage boys when I was a teenager.

    Oh wait, there was a reason for that.

    Okay, so it is believable, in that it is ripped from today's headlines. But, I find that unbelievable. I mean a 30-something male with an 18-year-old female? Sick and manipulative.

    But a 30-something female with an 18-year-old male? Mathmatical error.

    What could a 30-something female possibly see in an 18-year-old male. Even if it is about sex, it is kind of like the buffets in our area. There's a lot of it, but none of it is very good.

  8. The Girl
    Whozat says to avoid any movie in which the director's commentary includes the line "I was trained as a mime." I think that is good advice.

    We are at a certain disadvantage, being lesbians, in that we would like to watch movies that are representative of our lives.

    (Ok that's not true, if it were, we'd have hours upon hours of us both sitting at our computers. And then that movie would be on this list.)

    But no, lesbians should never be allowed to make movies. I am trying to keep this list contained to somewhat mainstream ones that people will recognize. I could easily name 10 (or 20 or 30) bad lesbian movies. And the bad lesbian vampire movies, a whole 'nother category altogether. And I love lesbian vampires.

  9. Say Anything
    The main character aspires to be a kickboxer. Need I say more? And they used a Steely Dan song in it. (A band I will hear in hell, I am sure. Iwould rather listen to accordian music and cats hacking up hairballs).

    Although. it did have a notable scene in which the main character explains: "I don't want to sell anything, buy anything, or process anything as a career. I don't want to sell anything bought or processed, or buy anything sold or processed, or process anything sold, bought, or processed, or repair anything sold, bought, or processed. You know, as a career, I don't want to do that."

    Yeah, me either.

  10. Kwaidan
    The Grudge is based on a story from this anthology of Japanese ghost stories. I am too chicken to rent The Grudge so I rented this instead.

    Yeah, big ball of hair . . . eeeeewwww scary. I won't be able to sleep for a whole minute.

    "Winner of the Special Jury Prize at Cannes." That jury should be hung.

    This is an LSD trip on film. Now I know I don't have to see The Grudge because I just don't care. I may not be renting the Japanese movie that The Ring is based on, either. My senses aren't ready for that kind of assault.

Learn More About Ten on Tuesday

2007 In Review (A bit late)

Here's a nifty meme that I saw everywhere last year, and then forgot about until I stumbled upon it today. It's a year-in-review, in which you re-post the first sentence of the first post of each month.

I'm skipping the memey posts, and using the first "real" one of each month. Each snippet linked to the original complete post.


Welcome to the newest spot in the blogiverse.

Yesterday, we ordered and downloaded profiles for two sperm (or, as Shrike prefers to call it, "baby-juice") donor candidates.

The following is a true story.

When I came home from work today, there was a note waiting on my desk:

I'm menstruating.

Our tomatoes and bellpeppers are just starting to blossom.

My drivers license expired on May 12, the day after my birthday.

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

No news so far from the pee sticks, which, at this point (13 days post ovulation) is probably an indication that there's not going to be any good news this cycle.

If you're following along in the sidebar (and, really, who isn't?) you'll have noticed that I've seen negative pee sticks yesterday and today.

I don't know why I bothered to pee test yesterday and today, knowing damn well that it was most likely too early to get a positive result, even if things are going well.

Overheard at Our House Tonight

Shrike: So, let's take MortgageBank, and this stupid fucking social worker, and my insurance fucks . . . .

Whozat: . . . and my insurance fucks?

Shrike: Yeah, and throw them in a ditch, and pour gasoline on them, and burn them alive.

Whozat: Oo, can we throw in some Republicans, too? Just for fun?

Shrike: Only if they don't block my view.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Making Me Crazy

Shrike had her big crazy test (MMPI) today, and was supposed to meet with the social worker afterward, but things got a little confused on that.

First, she got to the clinic earlier than her appointment time, then it didn't take as long as expected to do the test (because she's a smartypants that way), so she finished up well before the social worked even got into town. (She's only at that location on Tuesday afternoons.)

I had a meeting this morning with BigBoss, during which I received numerous calls and voicemails on my cellphone.

When I checked them around 1 pm, the first message was from Shrike, saying she was done and killing time, and already annoyed with the social worker.

Then there was one from the social worker, thinking she was talking to Shrike, talking about how "you got done early, and I won't be there for a while" and yada yada, "but I'll try to call Whozat, too" (then she actually called Shrike).

And then, another message, from Shrike, saying that she's talked to her, and the social worker told her that we can talk with her together, afterall - next week.


I won't repeat the things Shrike called her on my voicemail.

Is it becoming obvious why we wanted to just do this with a letter from Dr. T?

I had even asked if Dr. T's office could administer the MMPI, and just send them the results but, no, "there's a very specific way it has to be administered."

Yeah, a super-secret way that I'm sure a psychologist would know nothing about.

The "very special way" as it turns out? Shrike shows up, tells the "girls up front" that she's there for the test, they had it to her and stick her in a room.

Yeah, Dr. T never could have done that.

We actually had an appointment with Dr. T this morning, and I had even scheduled Shrike's test so that she could head over right after we were done, but she was up early yesterday and couldn't handle two early mornings in a row, so she sent me on alone.

(That's fine. We talked about her. Well, a little bit.)

So, I told Dr T all about this stupid test, and she agreed that it was pretty ridiculous that she couldn't have just given it to her there.

Oh well, at least we'll get to be together when we talk to this damn woman next week.

Well, sort of. I think she wants to talk to Shrike for like forty minutes, and then both of us for, I don't know, twenty or so?

Yeah, that's worth driving all the way over there, and missing two and a half hours of work for.

But, once that's done, we can get started, so I guess we'll get over it.

The other pressing matter is getting this home equity loan thing ironed out. The catch at the moment is that I can't seem to get MortgageBank to tell the Credit Union that we've requested that the old line of credit be closed.

First, they couldn't "process" the fax that I'd sent, and send a fax to her in under 24 hours.

Walk across the damn room. Pick up a fax. Read it. Mark it "received" and forward it.

How hard is this?

Then, they said the account number that I'd given LoanLady from the Credit Union was wrong, and they couldn't look it up using my social security number unless I was on the phone to say it was okay.

Then, once I got her the right number, they said they can't tell her anything because my "letter does not specifically state that they can disclose information to" her.

Good gravy, people!

What part of "As soon as you receive this fax, please contact Loan Lady at Our Credit Union by fax or email and let her know that you have received my request to close the line of credit. . . " and "It is imperative that they receive this information today (last Thursday!) . . . " do you not understand, you stupid fucks?

So, tomorrow, I will call and yell at them again. If I can get a human on the phone.

That as been quite a challenge, in and of itself. One day last week, I made, I think six separate calls to them, in an attempt to get to a person.

This was after leaving at least three voice mails, over a course of two weeks, for the woman to whom I'd originally spoken about upping our credit limit.

After I finally found out how to go about closing the line, I then demanded to speak to someone in her department, and gave them an earful about all the messages I'd left.

I said, "I don't know where she is - maybe she's on vacation, maybe she's sick, maybe she's dead, but whatever it is, somebody needs to go check her damn voicemail and wait on some customers."

Ten on Tuesday #18 (Coming Soon)

Ten Movies That Disappointed Me
Actually, Shrike is the movie buff around here, so she's going to do this list, but didn't have time to get to it today, what with all the crazy-testing. Check back soon!

Learn More About Ten on Tuesday

Monday, January 14, 2008

Manic Monday #20

  1. Which sex do you think has it easier in our culture?
    Have you ever wished you were the opposite sex?
    At times. Usually while camping. Or cramping.

    On the other hand, as complicated as this getting pregnant this is proving to be, it's probably a hell of a lot easier than talking someone else into getting pregnant so, geriatric ovaries aside, I'm pretty glad to be equipped with my own uterus.

  2. What books from your childhood would you like to share with your children?
    All manner of Dr. Suess, Little Brown Bear, and also a set of books that we had as kids, which goes from Mother Goose rhymes up through longish short stories.

    (I'm thinking maybe they included things like some Rudyard Kipling? I don't know that I ever read the "older" ones, personally.)

    I can picture them, and could probably even tell you what shelf they are sitting on at my parents' house, but I'm blanking on the name. I'm sure Anonymama and LadyKay can help me out with that. And I will feel really dumb for not coming up with it myself.

  3. What is one talent or skill you don't possess but always wanted?
    Singing. I really enjoy singing, especially at summer camp (love, love, love "camp songs" - both the ridiculous and the sublime, and love, love, love leading a bunch of kids in singing them) but I can't carry a tune in a 10 gallon bucket. Luckily singing skill is not required for song leading, just knowing all the words and being willing to make an ass of yourself.

    Ironically, for one who talks as much as I do, my voice is also very weak, and I get hoarse very easily. Even an evening of talking over loud music will do it, and just a few rounds of singing (especially the more raucus camp songs) really tears me up.

    Combine that with staying up talking until way too late at night, and I generally croaked my way through the entire season at camp each year. There are probably people who knew me there who have no idea what my voice actually sounds like in "the real world!"

Learn more about Manic Monday.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

I'm Baaack

Well, technically, I got home late yesterday evening, from my political play-date.

I had a great time, learned some stuff, but mostly enjoyed visiting with folks that I only see three or four times a year, talking politics and, oh, there might have been a glass or two of wine involved.

Before I left on Friday, we went to the bank to get some paperwork notarized for the sperm bank. Because our first three "finalist" donors are all sold out of IVF prep, we've had to start over with that.

I think we've narrowed down to three new finalists, so we sent off the consent forms for each of them, plus the order form for adult photos of the one who has them.

We were hoping to sign off on the home equity line of credit while we were there, but the mortgage bank can't seem to figure out how to read a fax (requesting that they close the line of credit that we have with them) and tell the credit union that they've received it, so we can't do that quite yet. We should have it taken care of this week, though.

The rush is that, last week, I put close to $10,000 on the credit card, for the IVF fee (and there will be more soon) and we need the line of credit to pay that off when the bill comes, at the end of the month.

In the last week or so, I've made some progress on other hoops that we must jump, too.

I spoke with one of the attorneys who was recommended by the RE's office, and we're working on figuring out exactly what she's going to do for us. For $1000, she'll write a donor agreement that fits our needs better than the default donor and surrogate agreements that the clinic offers.

We want to make sure that neither of us is giving up parental rights, or rights to decide what happens to any remaining frozen embryos.

According to the law in NeighborState (where we'll most likely deliver), absent a court order saying something different, the woman out of whom the baby comes (me) goes on the birth certifcate as the mother, regardless of whose genes made the kid.

She could help us to get a pre-birth order which, if approved by a judge (and she has a judge whom she thinks would do it) would get us both on the birth certificate, from the get-go.

However, that would cost close to $3000, by the time we figured in her fee, court costs and other expenses.

On the other hand, I have an attorney friend here in BlueState who has offered to handle a second-parent adoption for us, for only court costs - about $300.

Unfortunately, he's only licensed to practice in BlueState, so he can't help us out with anything pre-birth, since the birth certificate will be from NeighborState.

(Fucking stupid insurance company, that covers Dr B, but not her hospital.)

As much as we would like to both be on the birth certificate before we leave the hospital, I'm afraid it makes more sense to wait and handle that through second-parent adoption later.

Ironically, that means that Shrike will have to adopt her own child.

I've also been talking with the social work department at the RE clinic.

Although Dr T's first letter was sufficient, when we were just using donor sperm, for egg "donation," we have to go through a more extensive screening, which they have to do themselves.

They do recognize that our situation is different from the typical known donor arrangement, and are streamlining it a bit, which will make it somewhat cheaper. ($500, rather than $850 - and, no, that's not covered in the shared risk fee.)

So, this Tuesday (1/15), Shrike will go in and take the MMPI, then spend about an hour talking with the social worker. On the next Tuesday (1/22), we'll both talk to her for an hour or so.

She's only in OldWorkTown on Tuesday afternoons, and it would be even less convenient to drive to their other location, so I'm going to have to take a half-day off work for the appointment with both of us. I'm not thrilled about that, especially the day before the first of my four dental appointments, but there's really no getting around it.

I started a new cycle yesterday, and will begin taking birth control pills soon (a - waiting for instructions, b - have to pick up them up at the pharmacy tomorrow or Tuesday).

Shrike is running about a week behind me, and will start on the pill early in her next cycle, as well.

I think that once the social workers sign off on us, we can stop the pill and start the actual IVF cycle.

I should know more after I hear back from Nurse D tomorrow.

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Friday, January 11, 2008

Notes from the Road

In yesterday's Thursday Thirteen, I alluded to the fact that I was getting ready to go out of town. Now I'm out of town.

I'm away for two days of political trainings, meetings and, most importantly, wining, dining and schmoozing with (and by) lots of candidates and orgnizations hoping to gain the support and help of the various and sundry activists, movers and shakers who are here from around the state.

Of course, it's the wining and dining part, scheduled for this evening, where all the real work gets done, and the deals are struck :-)

I just got checked in to the hotel, and I'm running late for a training session, so I'll cut this short. I probably won't have time to post anything else this evening (I know you're crushed) but I'll be back tomorrow!

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Thursday Thirteen #45

Thirteen Excuses for Why My Thursday Thirteen Is So Late Today
  1. Had to attend a meeting this evening.
  2. Have to get ready to go out of town tomorrow.
  3. I might be getting sick. Or maybe not.
  4. Really dredging the bottom of the barrel for ideas.
  5. BigGaloot ate my list.
  6. Unlucky number finally starting to freak me out.
  7. Brain filled with baby-making data. No room for 13 more items.
  8. Abducted by aliens.
  9. Punctuality is over-rated.
  10. The list is in the email.
  11. Hey, I have a job, you know.
  12. New Years Resolution: Revived the Lost Art of Procrastination
  13. I'm lazy.

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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Thursday Thirteen Blog Roll

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Wordless Wednesday #42: Creepy Cat

Here's a photo from my archives. I'm not sure what I was trying to get MamaCat to do for the camera, but this, clearly, was not it.

Learn more about Wordless Wednesday.

Dental Drama

I went to the dentist yesterday for the first time in, oh, forever, and, unfortunately, it looks like he and I are going to become very good friends over the next few weeks.

It seems that I have several fillings (which range in age from 15 to probably 30 years old) which are deteriorating (chipping off, peeling away, allowing things to get under them, etc), which is what's causing most of the pain and sensitivity that I've been experiencing.

So, I've got a lot of restorative work to do, as well as a couple of new, small cavities to fill, and a good bit of cleaning around the gumline, which he said he won't do without anesthesia.

Because these issues are so extensive, and are scattered all over my mouth, he wants to do the repairs in four separate appointments, each addressing one "quadrant" (upper left, lower right, etc). I asked if he could do more than that at a time, but each quadrant will take 2 - 3 hours, and there just aren't 6 hour time slots available on his schedule, without waiting for several months.

Of course, I had told him about my pregnancy plans, and since he doesn't like to use any anesthesia (even local) during the first two trimesters, he wants to get this all done as quickly as possible, before our first IVF attempt (which could be as early as late February).

I must admit that I am rather, well, maybe "phobic" is too strong a word, but not by much, about going to the dentist and having my teeth messed with, so I asked what he can give me for anxiety, in addition to the actual local anesthetic.

I was hoping to get a little laughing gas, followed a blast of oxygen to sober me up, and then be sent on my way, but he doesn't use nitrous oxide at all.

Instead, he recommended Xanax, one the night before and then one an hour before the appointment. The only catch there being that then I'd be out of commission for the entire day, of course.

I'd like to avoid that if possible, because I really can't afford to take off four full non-baby-making-related days of work right now, but I don't know if I can.

What I'm kind of thinking right now is that I will try the first round with no Xanax, and ask him to start with the easiest quadrant.

I'm also thinking that I'm going to take along my CD player and an audiobook to listen to while he works, so I have something - anything - else to think about, besides what's going on in my mouth.

If I do ok with that, I'll do the others with just the local, as well (unless he says that one or more might be particularly bad).

On the other hand, if after the first one, I can't face the idea of doing it three more times like that, I'll take the Xanax for the rest.

The dentist's office called back today, after talking to my insurance company, to let me know that it looks like our share for the whole thing will be around $600, and I'll max out my $1000 total benefits for the policy year, so I'll essentially have no more dental coverage until July.


Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Ten on Tuesday #17

10 Best Moments / Photos of 2007
I'm going to make this relatively easy on myself, and just choose my ten favorite photos that I posted on this blog in 2007. Here they are, each linked to its original post.

Learn More About Ten on Tuesday

Monday, January 7, 2008

More Google Cooking

After our medical adventures, and a walk with the dogs, I offered to make dinner. But what???

Let's see what's in the kitchen: fresh spinach (which hey! we like), whole wheat spaghetti (cooked) and hmm, canned chicken?

A little Googling for inspiration, some adjustments for ingredients on hand, and . . .

Chicken Pasta Florentine

2 tsp olive oil
Italian seasoning
Onion, chopped (2 T?)
Canned chicken, drained (5 oz can)
Spinach, chopped (about 1 cup, loose?)
Spaghetti (2 cups??)
Parmesan Cheese
I Can't Believe It's Not Butter Spray
  1. Heat oil in a skillet with seasoning and garlic.
  2. Add onions, chicken and garlic, stirring until hot - don't let spinach get icky.
  3. Add spaghetti and parmesan, and toss to coat thoroughly.
  4. Add some butter spray (or more olive oil) if it's a bit on the dry side.
The pups thought it looked good, too.

Doctor Day

I had an appointment this morning for my endometrial biopsy, followed by another appointment a couple of hours later for us to both consult with Dr E about the plan for our IVF.

It's a good thing that I decided to just take off work, because we ended up being there the whole damn day.

When we walked in, there were a ton of people in the waiting room, and it was probably forty-five minutes before they called me back.

When it was finally my turn, Dr E apologized for the delay, saying they'd had computer problems and more appointments than necessary and two nurses out.

I was hoping that she was taking that all better than I would be, because the last thing I wanted was for her to be stressed out or pissed off while in my uterus.

The biopy itself was about as much fun as it had sounded. I asked her before she started how it would compare, pain-wise, to the HSG, and she said it was probably comparable. I think that's pretty accurate.

The upside is that we (me, Shrike, Dr E and Nurse M) were all chatting and laughing during the whole thing, so that helped to distract me.

Although, laughing with a speculum in is not the best idea!

I'm not sure how we got on this subject, but we were talking about how old people can get away with saying inappropriate and un-PC things, and she told a story about an older, male doctor with whom she worked during her residency, who refered to all women as "broads."

Him: "You know, for a broad, you're a pretty good doctor."
Her: "Well, coming from an old guy like you, that's quite a compliment."
Can you see why we like her? Stay tuned, there's more!

When she was done with me, we went over to my OldWorkCenter to drop off and pick up some things, and visited with ED2 for a few minutes.

Then, back to the clinic for our chat.

Part of that involved going over all the medical history paperwork that Shrike had filled out. After some questioning about whether her last Pap smear (late January 2007) was recent enough ("within a year" - no it's not), Dr E asked if she had one scheduled yet, with Dr B.

"No? Well, come on, girlfriend!"

(Jumping up and heading out the door to the exam room, popping her head into Nurse M's office to say, "We're doin' a Pap!")

Ruh-ruh. And I had promised her she could keep her clothes on. No such luck.

After a quick trip to the potty, she got a Pap smear, cervical culture, breast exam and heart/lung test. Everything seems to have checked out okay, so far.

Then, after more debate about when she'd had the previous infectious-disease bloodwork (July) they decided it was time to do it again (every six months, for "donors").

Oh, and look, it seems that we need a urine specimen, too. Can you do that?

"Oh, no problem," Shrike said, "I can always do that!"

(She is the peeingest girl that I ever did see.)

She wasn't able to give them much (because she had just gone) but it seemed to be okay.

Then she had a bunch more paperwork to fill out, and I went up front to give them all our my parents' money.

When I got back, Shrike told me that she had to pee some more, because it seems she also needed a drugscreen, and it requires a larger volume.

Eight vials of blood later, it was decided that we should go get some lunch (large iced tea for Shrike, please) and come back afterward for the rest of the pee.

When we got back, she tried again, but still wasn't able to give them enough, even with all three attempts combined.

So, she hit the water cooler and we read out of date magazines while waiting for her kidneys to do their thing.

After about four glasses of water, she tried again, and did a bang-up job this time, almost filling the cup on that one trip alone!

Of course, it was so dilute that it was almost clear, but they said it would do. Victory!

About ten minutes into our trip home, we saw a sign at the mall about a going-out-of-business sale at a clothing store, and decided to check it out.

On the way in she said, "Can we stop at the bathroom, I have to go again." Of course, I figured I'd better go too.

The store turned out to be pretty skanky, so we didn't even consider buying anything.

On the way out, "We'd better stop at the bathroom again."

Of course. To pee and to wash our hands, after touching those clothes.

While I was still in the stall, and she was at the sink, she asked me, "Honey, where's your ring?"

"What are you talking about?" I asked, as I checked for my ring. "Oh shit, do you have it?"

"I do now. It's sitting on the counter."


(This is my college ring, of course, not my wedding ring, which I've already lost after a hand-washing mishap.)

Now we're home, have had a yummy dinner, and can actually go to bed early, without waiting up to giftme a shot!

So, after this exciting day, what's next in our baby-hunt?

No more shots for now, and I wait to bleed. I should "have a heavy period" (oh goody!) in about four days. I'll call Nurse D and let her know when I start, and she'll give me further instructions.

I might go on birth control pills for a bit, or we might be able to jump right in to my meds for the real IVF cycle, if we've got our other things taken care of.

The big "other thing" is that I need to call the social worker with the clinic, to find out whether Dr T's letter is sufficient, or if she also needs to talk to us, and to schedule at least Shrike, and maybe both of us, to take the MMPI.

I also need to call the attorney that they recommended, and get more information about what the laws are in neighbor state (where we will also deliver this hypothetical child, as the closest in-network hospital is there), and ask her to draw up the right kind of paperwork for our situation, as the only default consent forms they have are for either donors or surrogates to relinquish their parental rights, and rights to control the fate of the eggs / embryos, and neither of us is doing that.

On the consent forms that Shrike's already signed, she just signed off on the treatment things and we crossed out anything saying she would give up anything.

We have to have the social work stuff taken care of before beginning the meds for the real cycle and should have the lawyer stuff, but don't have to.

We also have to sign a "shared risk" contract. I'm guessing that's a "have to" before actually beginning.

Then, they'll take me off the pill to start a new cycle, I'll take the same sort of shots that I did this cycle, plus a few days of Lupron, to supress ovulation, and Shrike will be on the pill to get her in sync, then we'll start her cycle about five days after mine.

She'll get a day 3 ultrasound, and starting that day, I think, she'll get 3 meds per day, but we can probably do it in two shots, because the Gonal-F and Menopur can probably be combined into one. The Lupron (to keep her from ovulating before we want!) will be a separate shot.

Around day 10 or so, she'll start monitoring (blood / dildo-cam) every day or two. When her follicles are at 18 mm or so, she'll get an intramuscular injection of ovidrel (mine was subcutaneous, but they do it IM for IVF, because they were getting too many immature follicles the other way) and exactly thirty-six hours later, we'll do the retrieval.

I won't be allowed in the room with her for that, because it's an OR environment, but I'll be with her right before and right after, and she'll be asleep during.

Then they'll inseminate the eggies, on day 3 post-insemination they'll take a cell out of each embryo for the genetic testing.

Of the ones that are chromosomally normal, they'll pick the best-looking ones (in terms of cell division, symmetry, etc) to transfer to me on day 5, or possibly 6.

Dr E recommends transferring two embryos, if they are good quality, or three if they're not so great-looking.

She also says that the odds of pregnany are about 50% per cycle. I commented that they must be pretty confident about our chances, if they are willing to gamble their money on us. She said that we got no "no" votes from the approval committee.

I asked if that one year between us makes that much difference (since we got the "big fat no" on shared risk with my eggs), and she said that it does, but that, "Her antral follicles and hormones were a lot better, too."

Oh. We knew about the thirty-freakin-six follicles but I didn't realize she was kicking hormonal ass, too. Show off.

Oh - I almost forgot the "more" funny story from Dr E. First I guess I have to explain how this came up, I guess.

Shrike has a bit of a heart murmer, mitral valve regurgitation (I make her heart puke, evidently.) which, of course, was mentioned on the medical history. Dr E was asking about it, and I said that she was told it's nothing to worry about, but that she does have to take antibiotics for dental work - and "Oh, does that mean she needs antibiotics for the retrieval?"

Dr E said they give them to everyone for that, and Shrike and I were laughing about and - of course, I had to tell her about - the World's Most Innappropriate Christmas Letter, which we received this year.

This woman, whom I know through my political activities is about the complainingist old biddie you've ever met. Even their annual Christmas letter is nothing but a full page of pissing and moaning.

A sample from last year: "I'm still teaching medical terminology, but I must not be doing a very good job of it, because after ten years, I still haven't gotten a raise."

But nothing could top this year: "I'm having a knee replacement in December. I was surprised to learn that I will have to take antibiotics for any invasive procedure, even a Pap smear."

What? The? Fuck?

Shrike says, "I don't care of you are a gynecologist, no one should ever use the phrase "Pap smear" in their Christmas letter!"

After telling Dr E about that, I said, "And she's about eighty, so I really didn't need that image."

She then launched into another story from her residency. She had to do a geriatric rotation, and when the others learned about her future speciality, she got stuck with all the gynecological issues, and Pap smears and the such.

She tried to make the argument that she would have plenty of opportunities to do Pap smears, but the other docs needed the practice, and she should go learn about blood pressure medication or something, but it didn't work.

She went on for quite a while about having to do Paps on ninety-year-olds and dealing with pessaries that have been in forever.

(Follow the link if you really want to know - she said, "you don't want to know, but I'll tell you . . . . ")

She said something along the lines of "You can imagine what it's like in there when it hasn't been cleaned out in forever, and it's not been properly maintained or groomed."

Not to mention being told things like, "Now, you won't be able to spread her legs very far, because of her arthritis."

She said, "I'm thinking at that point, maybe a Pap smear isn't your most pressing medical need. Your broken hip's going to kill you long before cervical cancer does!"

And, once again, that is why we like her.

Manic Monday #20

Manic Monday is back after a holiday break.

  1. What was the last thing you regret buying?
    The second glass of wine with dinner on New Years Eve. But we hung around long enough that I decided to drink it anyway. And survived.

  2. If you had a crystal ball that could tell you the truth about any one thing you wished to know about yourself, life, the future or anything else, what would you want to know?
    When will I be pregnant?

  3. How do you know when you're in love?
    Ah, funny you should ask. I was just thinking about this the other day.

    Before I met Shrike, I had been single and, I must admit, rather bitter about it, for several years. As you can imagine I became quite the not-a-fan of Valentine's Day.

    Ten years ago, Shrike and I were emailing and talking by phone, but had not yet met in person. A few days after Christmas, I walked into a mailing center (to send a package off to her - containing a mix tape, if I remember correctly) and saw that they had all their Valentine merchandise out already.

    When I realized that my immediate reaction was "Awww, Valentine's Day!" rather than "Ew, Valentine's Day!" I knew I that was screwed.

    A few weeks later - on Valentine's weekend, in fact - she came to visit me and we met in person for the first time. I was right.

Learn more about Manic Monday.

Sunday, January 6, 2008

Back in the Kitchen

I'm posting this "recipe" not so much because it's that stellar, or because you couldn't figure it out on your own, but because Hey! I cooked something!

Actually, I've been scrambling up egg(beater)s with some stuff in them for the past three days, but this was the prettiest, so I took a photo and decided to share.

Also, there's a surprise (to us) ingredient - spinach!

We didn't really know that we liked fresh spinach, until we had some in a salad at LiPA's house. Of course, we were guests, so we tried a bit of everything and hey - whaddya know - that's pretty darn good.

As I mentioned earlier, we bought a bag of baby spinach salad for New Years Day and enjoyed it so much that we bought some more on Sunday. This time, we got the grown-up kind because it's cheaper.

I also picked up an onion (I was eating on a very sad one for the past few days - definitely past its prime) and a couple of surprisingly good-looking-for-January bellpeppers (one green, one red).

When I got ready to make my egg this morning, I got crazy and decided to use a bit of all those - plus some lunch meat and, of course, cheese.

As I was getting out the ingredients, and had an armful of veggies, Shrike walked through the kitchen and asked, "What are you doing? "

I said, "Scrambling an egg."

"With everything in the refrigerator?"

"Well, yes, evidently."

So, here it is. As usual, most measurements are approximate.

Turkey & Veggie Scramble
1 egg, or 1/4 cup egg substitute
1 oz milk
2 T chopped onion
2 T chopped red bellpepper
2 T chopped green bellpepper
2 T chopped chopped fresh spinach
3 slices deli turkey (chopped)
2 T shredded cheese

  1. Grease up a non-stick skillet in some tasty way. I use I Can't Believe It's Not Butter spray, 'cause that's how I roll, but you're welcome to use the real deal. Heat the pan.

  2. Add veggies and meat, stirring until they are warm and soft and cooked-like.

  3. Combine egg and milk in a bowl, and add to skillet. Stir / scrape / scramble until doneish and no longer runny.

  4. Sprinkle cheese on top and stir until melted.

Saturday, January 5, 2008

Photo Hunter #42 v. 2.0: Also Delicious

MamaCat Agrees!

Photo Hunter #42: Delicious

Both pups say leftovers are delicious!

One Down, Fifty-One To Go

Weeks in 2008, that is. Well, work weeks. Or something like that. Somehow, for a week with a day off in the middle, it sure was long. Monday seems like it was forever ago. Almost like it was . . . last year!

So, what have we been up to, in the shiny new year?

I've been doing pretty well with the Five Day Pouch Test, and am at the tail-end of Day Three - Soft Proteins. I had a scrambled egg for breakfast, a couple of servings of leftover black-eyed peas at work and most of a small bowl of chili when I met Shrike for dinner. Since I've been home, I've scrambled up another egg, finished off the chili, and whipped up some very-light-on-the-mayo chicken salad. Maybe not salad, maybe just chicken with some stuff in it.

Still pissed about the cottage cheese / sour cream mix-up.

On the baby front, we got our "not crazy" letter from Dr. T yesterday morning (Thanks, Dr T!), and then the check from my parents arrived in the mail that afternoon. (Big thanks, Anonyparents!)

We were kind of freaking out about the check, looking for a "safe place" to put it, where it'll come to no harm, but we'll remember to take it with us to our appointments on Monday.

Silly, really. It's a check. A big check, but still a check.

It's not a briefcase full of hundred dollar bills.

And it's from my parents. Who would trust me if I had to tell them that BigGaloot had eaten it or something and it needed replaced.

And who would know where to find us if both checks were somehow cashed, after all.

(Or not, depending on what we did with the money, I suppose.)

And who are smart enough to stop payment on a missing big-ass check.

But, so far, so good. I'm looking at it right now, it's out of Galoot's reach, and I can't imagine we'll forget it on Monday.

It wouldn't be a huge thing if we were to forget it, anyway. Right now we just owe a $4000 deposit, which is less than the part we'll be paying, anyway.

As far as that goes, we've got a home equity line of credit lined up with our credit union. We just have to get hold of the mortgage bank (phone tag) and have them close the line that we have with them, and then tell the credit union about it, before they'll let us sign the paperwork.

No huge rush on that, as we have room on our credit card for it. We'll just put our share on there and then use the line of credit to pay that off when the bill comes. I just mailed off a payment, so we've got some time before the next one is due.

"Our share" is the most efficient way that I can think of to say "the portion of the IVF bill that we'll be paying ourselves, after using my parents' incredibly generous contribution to pay the majority of it," but, on the other hand, it doesn't sit quite right, in my mind.

If we have "a share" that's anything less that 100%, that would seem to indicate that my parents' contribution is somehow "their share" or the portion that they "owe" when it's nothing of the sort.

Every penny of the money they are giving us is way above and beyond the parental call of duty - not to mention the grandparental call of duty which, really, only requires love and spoilage - and I certainly don't want my language to give a false impression that we don't fully realize that.
Other than that, the only other news of note here is that, a couple of hours ago, my throat started feeling funky, and I'm not optimistic about what that might be foreshadowing. Which is just fucking ridiculous, given that I've only been over my last cold for a few weeks. Maybe it's just a fake. I hope.

Thursday, January 3, 2008

Hey, We're Still Not Crazy!

Here's another one for the baby book!

Re: Shrike & Whozat

Dear Reproductive Endrocrinologist's Psychological Services Lady:

I am writing again to recommend that this couple proceed in the fertility process, moving forward with IVF. We have continued to work together through their trials with IUI, processing their emotional reactions to the lack of success and discussing further options. While they have been disappointed not to have become pregnant thus far, they are excited that IVF will allow Shrike to be biologically connected to their child. In fact, IVF with Shrike as the egg "donor" would have been pursued initially had they been financially able to do so at the time. They have well explored questions related to this new dynamic. Issues connected to donor sperm remain resolved.

Therapy will continue in order to address particular problems and provide ongoing support. Each remains psychologically able to advance with the next steps toward becoming parents.

Please feel free to contact me with questions or for further information.

Dr. T.
Shrike & Whozat's Shrink

Thursday Thirteen #44

Thirteen Things I Have Eaten - Or May Eat - During the Five Day Pouch Test
What the hell is the Five Day Pouch Test?

Days One & Two

  1. Carnation Instant Breakfast, sugar free chocolate (These went from something I choked down immediately pre-op (the added protein powder or dry milk did not help) to something that I now view as I treat. Especially with a bit of Kahlua. Or butterscotch schnapps. But I digress. And fantasize. Mmmm schnapps)

  2. Carnation Instant Breakfast, sugar free vanilla with a bit of orange juice (Dreamsicle!)

  3. Tomato "Soup at Hand" (I can never remember the name, just that it's "soup somewhere inappropriate." I prefer to call it "soup in my pocket.")

  4. Cream of chicken soup (Minor confession: this has tiny bits of solidish chicken. No, I did not pick them out. Mmmm - chewing!)

  5. Sugar Free Italian Ice (Does not travel well, unless one remembers to eat it early in the day. It was more like Italian flavored water today.)

  6. Smoothie - Dannon Light n' Fit Strawberry Vanilla (Not very good. Rum would help. See above, re Kahlua and schnapps.)

  7. Cream of potato soup - with a bit of 2% Velveeta melted in it

    Day Three

  8. Cottage Cheese Aw crap. Not unless I go back to the grocery store. I just realized that I bought sour cream instead. What a dumbass.

  9. Scrambled Egg (Looking forward to this for breakfast tomorrow, probably with some shredded cheese melted in it. Will also order one with some cheese when I go out for breakfast on Saturday with some of my Democratic buddies. We do that monthly.)

  10. Black-eyed peas (leftovers)

  11. Canned Chicken

    Day Four

  12. Ground beef

    Day Five

  13. Chicken breast

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Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Wordless Wednesday #41: The Party's Over

Three weeks ago, this was filled with Hershey Kisses. Yesterday, there were still several a few left. Today, at my request, Shrike took the rest to work, to get them the hell out of my sight. And my mouth. And my hips.

I'm not sure why she left that one, sad little cinnamon disk in there.
Learn more about Wordless Wednesday.

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

Overheard in Our Bed Last Night

(Oh, get your mind out of the gutter!)

Shrike: What are you thinking about?
Whozat: I was wondering whether my blog audience is getting tired of hearing about my ass.
Shrike: Who?
Whozat: My blog audience.
Shrike: You mean your mom and LadyKay and Toni?
Whozat: Yeah, them.

What to Eat Tomorrow

As I might have mentioned a time or two, after having had gastric bypass surgery three years ago, losing about 200 lbs in eighteen months and then maintaining my weight at goal for over a year, I've put back on a few pounds in the past few months, and I'm now about 25 lbs above my drop-dead-no-way-I'm-allowed-to-go-over-that weight.

For over a year, I was doing fine following my dietitian's advice to "eat when I'm hungry, stop when I'm full, and try to make healthy choices most of the time," but I seem to be leaving off that third step quite a bit lately. And, occasionally, the first two steps, as well.

Actually, for that first year, was able to even make some not-so-healthy choices and still maintain, but I was getting a lot more exercise than I am now.

When I was working for the BlueState Democratic Party, I parked about 3/4 mile from work (in the $3/day lot, rather than the nearby $14/day lot), so I was walking 1 1/2 miles each day without even intending to exercise.

Then, while I was out of work, I walked with Shrike and the dogs nearly every day, which counter-balanced any boredom eating I was doing while sitting around the house.

Since I went back to work in late April, I've done much less walking, and then I've been taking various hormones since July and, since August, there's been pretty much unlimited chocolate candy available at work.

A very dangerous combination, evidently.

Of course, it hasn't helped that, as the scale's been inching up, I've been thinking, "Oh, I'll be pregnant in a few weeks anyway, so . . . ."

Recently, I've come to the realization that if I keep this up, by the time I actually am pregnant, I will have already put on more than I'm "allowed" to gain during pregnancy.

Of course, I knew that trying to make any changes during the holidays would be a recipe (so to speak) for failure, but I've been saying for weeks, "Come the first of the year . . . ."

So, now we're here, and it's time to get my shit together.

(Of course, today was all about the ritual food, so the shit-together-getting starts tomorrow.)

Not only to do I need to cut back on my calorie intake in general, I've also gotten very lax about making sure that I'm getting lots of protein, which is very important for those who've had gastric bypass surgery.

I've also gotten pretty lax about some of the other post-op "rules," particularly since I really have no food intolerances (not necessarily a good thing) and can eat lots of things that I really shouldn't.

I've been wracking my brain trying to remember what sorts of things I ate on a regular basis (especially what I took to work) when I was losing weight, and following the rules.

In order to get some guidance - and inspiration - I went back to a website that I found incredibly helpful when I was preparing for my surgery, and when I was in the weight loss and early maintenance phases,

In the "WLS (weight loss surgery) Grads" forum (for those a year or more post-op), several people were talking about something called the "5 Day Pouch Test."

(This was quite confusing for me at first, because they were abbreviating it "5dpt" which, to me, means "5 days post-(embryo)transfer. But I digress.)

I'm definitely not one for quick-fixes or fad diets or "cleansing" plans, but I'm going to give this a try.

I can't do any major nutritional damage in less than a week, and it might just be the kick in the ass that I need, so I figure it falls into the "can't hurt, might help" category.

The pouch test is a short-term (five day, would ya believe) back-to-basics refresher course, of sorts, for folks who've had weight loss surgery and now find themselves off track. Sort of a boost back up onto the wagon, so to speak.

The purpose is to "rediscover your pouch" (teeny tummy), convincing yourself that it still "works" and, they claim, tightening it back up a bit.

It's also a way to "get back to basics," break some harmful eating patterns and, although they say this isn't the goal, probably jump-start weight loss.

It's basically a speeded-up version of the original post-op diet steps that we went through over the first few months after surgery.

Here's the gist:

Days One & Two: Liquid Protein
Low-carb protein shakes, broth, clear or cream soups, sugar-free gelatin and pudding

Day 3: Soft Protein
Canned fish (tuna or salmon) eggs, fresh soft fish (tilapia, sole, orange roughy)

Day 4: Firm Protein
Ground meat (turkey, beef, chicken, lamb), shellfish, scallops, lobster, fresh salmon or halibut

Day 5: Solid Protein
White meat poultry, beef steak, pork, lamb, wild game

You can eat as much of the above menu as you want during the day to satiate hunger and prevent snacking on other foods.

Measure your portion (1 cup volume or 4-6 ounces weight) and eat only until you feel full, not overfull.

You must drink a minimum of 64 ounces of water each day. Limit each meal to 15 minutes. No drinking 30 minutes before or after meals and no drinking with your food.
Most of these rules are the basics that I should have been following all along.

We went grocery shopping on Sunday and I stocked up on liquid and soft things (had to keep reminding myself that it's just a few days!) and I plan to start on this tomorrow.

I'm a bit nervous about it but even if I'm not "perfect" with it, I think it will be a good jump-start, to remind me of what I'm supposed to be doing, to get me away from some of the bad habits that I've developed and - mostly - to make me appreciate what I can eat, come next week!

After these five days, I probably won't follow any specific "rules" or any prohibitions about specific foods (except, perhaps, the candy at work because once I start, I can't stop), but will go back to tracking everything I'm eating on, trying to keep my calories in the 1000 - 1250 range, and making sure that I'm getting enough protein, calcium and other things that are of particular concern to gastric bypass patients.

I'm hoping to drop a few pounds before I get pregnant (which is probably at least two months away) but, more importantly, I'll be eating more healthily, and getting all the nutrients that I'll need to build a healthy baby.

Updates to come, no doubt.