Saturday, February 25, 2012


Last night, I found out that a relative of a relative had passed away -- a woman in her early 70s, slightly older than my mother, who knew her in high school even before her family moved from the farm into town, a few doors away from my grandparents, and her younger sister started dating my uncle.

She wasn't my aunt -- she was my cousins' aunt -- but I thought of her like an aunt and I think I even called her "Auntie" as a child. Her daughter (my cousins' cousin) was just a few months older than I, and a favourite childhood playmate in those sweet summer days we both spent at our neighbouring grandparents' houses.

I have not seen my playmate in almost 30 years (I last remember seeing her mom at my grandmother's funeral, 12+ years ago) -- she is a grandmother now herself (!) -- but I recently reconnected with her through (where else?) Facebook. I sent her a message of condolence last night, & she messaged back her thanks, adding, heartbreakingly, "It is harder than I ever thought it would be."

I am sad for her & her brother, for my aunt & uncle & cousins. Her mom had been ill; she has carried a heavy load for some years.

I'm also, perhaps selfishly, feeling a little sad for me. It's a reminder -- yet another one -- that I am getting older, that a long time has gone by since those idyllic summer days of my childhood. And the older I get, the older everyone else gets, too... and we all know (those of us in this ALI community most of all) that none of us is here forever. My parents were always young, much younger than the parents of my peers -- they were both barely out of their teens when I arrived. They're still relatively young senior citizens -- but they ARE senior citizens -- and while their energy & to-do lists and extensive social networks put dh & me to shame, every time I see them (two or three times a year), I can see that they are getting older and perhaps just a touch slower. I still have all my aunts & uncles, including two uncles now in their 80s -- but the people who were a part of my childhood are slowly starting to fade from the picture.

What's more, many of the little towns where I grew up are dying too. The sign on the road outside the little town in Minnesota where my grandparents lived, where my mother grew up and where I spent so many happy childhood days -- perhaps the closest thing to a hometown I know, in a lifetime full of moving around -- was recently updated to reflect the latest population numbers -- and, for the first time, the figure dipped below 1,000 people. When I was a kid, & for many, many years, the population was listed at almost 1,500; it was more than that when my mother was growing up.

My mother can tell stories of the town's glory days in the 1940s & 50s, about the movie theatre, the shops, the restaurants, the rivalry with the town down the road. Even when I was a kid in the 1970s, there were several cafes, including a drive-in where my grandpa would take us for ice cream cones and slushies; both the movie theatre and drive-in were still in operation; and while people were beginning to go to the big town about an hour down the roead more frequently to shop -- especially since the brand new mall opened -- there were still lots of stores and businesses offering lots of products and services in town.

When my sister & I rode our bikes uptown, we would stop at my one of two grocery stores to say hello to Liz, the friendly cashier who would sometimes come to have coffee with my grandmother, bringing me a stack of old copies of Modern Screen and Photoplay and Rona Barrett's Hollywood to pore over. Then we'd go to Mecca -- i.e., the Ben Franklin five and dime, where we'd load up on penny candy and 45 records; the jewelry store, where we'd admire the charms we could buy for our bracelets; and the drug store, where we'd browse through the magazines and comic books. There were a couple of women's wear stores, and a furniture store, and several hair salons. There were always cars and people -- it was a small town, but it was the county seat, drawing business from the other small towns and farms around it, and it bustled. The pool where my sister & I took swimming lessons and spent long afternoons with our cousins was always packed and the adjacent campground was always full of camper trailers and tents. My grandparents knew everyone, & my mom still knew just about everyone too -- so, as a result, lots of people knew my sister & me too. "The little Canadian girls," they would call us.

I remember taking dh there for the first time in May 1982, when we were still a fairly new couple, for my grandpa's 70th birthday. The stores stayed open late on Thursday night, and as an added attraction, there was a draw at the gazebo in the centre of town right after the stores closed. The high school band would be there to play, the streets were full of parked cars, & everyone would be greeting each other & visiting. They'd draw the name -- and within five minutes, the streets would be deserted; everyone had gone home. Dh (born & raised in Canada's biggest city) thought it was the funniest thing he'd ever seen.

Every time I go there now -- which is not that often any more, since my grandparents passed away, perhaps once every few summers -- I am saddened to see the lifeblood draining out of the little town I love. Farming is not what it once was. The kids who still grow up on the remaining farms in the area go off to university or community college and never return. The people who are left are mostly greying. My grandfather came from a family of nine children and my grandmother was one of six; when I was growing up, I still had several great aunts & uncles living in the area, as well as some of their children & grandchildren -- my mother's cousins and their families. The only family members living there now are two of my mother's cousins, both well into in their 70s, and both of them spend large chunks of the year elsewhere these days. I know very few people in town these days; even my mother, who once knew everyone in town and half of the rest of the county as well admits she is recognizing fewer and fewer people when she goes there these days.

My grandparents' old house was torn down more than a decade ago. The grocery store where Liz presided at the cash register, a charming old brick building (where my great-aunt lived in an apartment upstairs for some years) with wooden floors and glass display cases, was torn down and replaced by a metal siding monstrosity, and Liz passed away at least 20 years ago. The Ben Franklin closed, stayed empty for years and eventually that building was torn down too. The movie theatre burned down when I was a teenager & the lot remains vacant to this day. Main Street -- once a major north-south highway, until the interstate was built a few miles away -- is now full of shuttered buildings and gaping holes where prosperous businesses once stood. The county fair, the highlight of my childhood summers, didn't even have a midway last year. The swimmning pool, thankfully, is still there, but it is much quieter there now than it was when I practically lived there.

I took the picture above in 2004 when I was there for a family reunion. We had dinner at one of the few restaurants left in town (it's now closed too -- there is one restaurant of any consequence lft in town, and you can buy coffee and pre-fab pizza & subs at the gas station), & then many of us walked down Main Street back to our motel on the other side of town. It was Friday night & eerily quiet. You could have shot a cannon down the road.

As I walked along, taking photos, two songs echoed through my head: Simon & Garfunkel's "My Little Town" and Bruce Springsteen's "My Hometown." Taken literally, neither song really applies to "my" little town. All three singers come from New York/New Jersey; the songs talk about factories and textile mills. You might as well be singing about castles or Buddhist temples in this midwestern, rural, agricultural community. Bruce sings about troubles between black & white; this little town was probably about as whitebread as you could get. In the summers, there would be a few Mexican migrant workers around, working in, the sugar beet fields. That was about as exotic as things got thereabouts then, and it's not that much different today.

But the sad, wistful, melancholy tone of both songs is spot on.

"Nothing but the dead and dying back in my little town," Simon & Garfunkel sing. When I hear those lines, part of me protests "No!" -- and part of me sadly acknowledges the truth.

Bruce's song is both full of sadness at what his hometown has become, mingled with pride and memory of what it once was.

My little town was, is and always will be a part of me.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Sorry, Charlie...

We usually get home from work somewhere just before 6 p.m., & dh turns on the TV. Tonight, we caught the tail end of Charlie Rose on our local PBS station, interviewing the actor Gary Oldman, who is nominated for an Oscar for his role as Cold War spy George Smiley in "Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy." 

Normally, I think Rose is a great interviewer -- but he almost immediately raised my childless/free hackles. He showed Oldman a clip of a 1993 interview he did with John LeCarre -- the author of the book the movie was based on -- in which LeCarre says "I think I'm better at work than at living, which is Smiley's situation." 

Oldman says, "I understand the thing about being better at work... I'm getting better at living... as I get older." 

And then Rose asked him: "Because you are a parent?... or what?" (!!!) 

(At this point, I groaned aloud. Because of course, we ALL know what an ennobling experience parenthood is and how having children automatically makes you a better person, right.... :p) 

Oldman (to his credit): "Aaahh... I've just mellowed. And more... I don't have that same... it's that ambition and that drive that you have when you're younger... it's the first thing you think about when you wake up... when you're young and you're an actor... is you think about acting." 

Rose (doggedly pursuing the kid theme): "And the first thing you think about now is your kids -- taking them to school... and watching them emerge in front of your very eyes." 

Oldman: "Yes... but..." 

Dh mercifully turned the channel. (Oldman went on to talk about the focus that acting requires, and how work was all that Smiley had.) 

I haven't seen any of the interview before this point, so I have no idea what if anything was said about parenting before then. I would like to watch the whole thing, eventually (I saw part of "Sid & Nancy" many years ago, and thought he was an eerily accurate Lee Harvey Oswald in "JFK.") It's available online, here. The interview is an hour long; this particular segment starts around the 40-minute mark.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Family Day odds & ends

  • Today is "Family Day" in Ontario. It's a made-up holiday that was only instituted in 2008, & while the political contrivance around both the institution of the holiday and its name still make me roll my eyes, I have to admit: February has become a much more tolerable month since we (finally) got a long weekend to look forward to. (I've posted about Family Day in 2011, 2010, 2009 and 2008.)
  • The Globe & Mail had a front-page article today about Family Day. Sample wince-inducing quote: “Family Day is a great time to get everyone together and sort of remember why we have families and why we get married.” Ouch.
  • That said, the article did include some interesting information & stats on how businesses are cashing in on Family Day. "...the day has, in its relatively short history, rapidly turned into one of Canada’s most important holiday weekends – and for those able to profit from it, a strong source of new revenue. Last year, WestJet set a single-day passenger record on Family Day, a remarkable statistic given that some major provinces, including British Columbia, don’t yet mark the day. B.C. plans to add it to the calendar in 2013." I guess that explains why I found it so difficult to get a flight to Florida (see earlier post).
  • I've fallen behind in sharing some of the interesting ALI-related articles I find on this blog. That said, The Globe & Mail had an article in Satuday's paper about "The painful new realities of international adoption." "Just adopt," indeed...
  • I haven't read all the comments yet (more than 200 so far)... but I was amused to see this early response to a 20-something saying they had always dreamed of adopting: "Why not have children of your own?" Followed a few comments down by: "I've never understood why Canadian couples would want to adopt a Chinese baby when there are Canadian babies to adopt." You just can't win when it comes to family building, can you??
  • Dh & I were watching an episode of "Little People, Big World" on TLC Sunday afternoon. (We used to watch it all the time, but I gather it's not on regularly any more. I think this episode originally aired last fall.) The oldest son (one of fraternal twin boys), Jeremy, was heading off to California to study photography, & the parents, Matt & Amy, were having dinner together and talking about how rare an experience that was, and the prospect of becoming empty nesters and having to adjust to a new phase in their life. (They still have three kids at home, but I guess this got them thinking.) I looked at dh & said, "Not a problem for us!" I've had several friends whose kids have left home to go to school over the past year or so, and had to listen to them about how difficult it was. Sorry, gals, you're barking up the wrong tree here... (I did cry when Jeremy left at the end, just the same.)
  • I had a really weird dream last night. I think it was triggered partly by photos I got via e-mail of The Princess having her first taste of rice cereal and partly by Betty Rubble's post about Rocky and his Swaddleme. In it, I was given a baby to take care of (not mine). The baby was tightly swaddled, & I put her in the top drawer of my dresser (!) & closed it. In the morning, I heard a faint "wah!" coming from the dresser, opened the drawer & took out the baby. I'm sure dream interpreters would have a field day with that one. ; )

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Holy cr*p...

"what should i do with my hair for grad pics?? plz help" 

I don't know why this post on Facebook tonight, from dh's cousin's son -- the one born in April 1998, six months before Katie should have been born -- should have been such an "OMFG" moment for me. 

I know Katie would have been in Grade 8 this year at school. 

I know that, at local schools, Grade 8 is the last year before high school (at others, it's Grade 9). 

I know that junior high school grad has become a big f-ing deal for teenagers these days (the preparations so elaborate, including fancy dresses, tuxes, manicures & pedicures & hairdos and even limousines, that I have heard some of parents wonder what their kids will have to look forward to when they graduate from high school, nevermind get married). 

I even voted on dress photos posted by an online friend in another province, whose daughter is graduating Grade 9 this spring & already desperately seeking THE Perfect Dress and planning her prom.

And it never dawned on me that, in a parallel universe, I might be doing exactly the same things -- shopping for prom dresses, fussing over hair for grad pictures. With Katie. This year. 

Maybe it did dawn on me and I was just in denial. (I'm not old enough to have a daughter who would be graduating junior high school, am I? It hasn't really been FOURTEEN!!! years, has it??) 

Thank goodness Little Girl Next Door (born in April 1999, six months after Katie would have been born) is only in Grade 7 this year. I'm not quite ready to see her leaving the house wearing a prom dress yet.

Dear Aunt Flo...

You & I go back a long (LONG) way, don't we? Forty (gulp) years, give or take a few months.

I was 11 the first time you came to visit. I remember how proud and excited I was. It wasn't like today, when moms take daughters to lunch or celebrate with cakes (!), but your arrival meant that I was growing up!! I was entering a whole new phase of my life. I was going to be a TEENAGER soon!! I could have BABIES someday!! The delicious possibilities of my whole adult life unfolded before my eyes.

We sent away in the mail for one of those "Now That You're a Woman" booklets. Not only did we get the booklet (a set of them, actually -- including one that contained a few vaguely worded paragraphs warning about "social ills" -- what the heck were they??) -- I also got a fairly substantial sized cardboard box filled with free Kotex products, including a box of regular sized sanitary napkins, a couple of samples of other sizes of napkins, & at least one (possibly two?) sanitary napkin belts. (Definitely no tampons.)

Note to my younger readers: You don't know what a napkin belt is/was? Be glad, my dears... be very, very glad. Have a look at the photos, left. [ETA:  I have deleted the photos, but just Google "sanitary napkin belt," and I'm sure you'll find some images!) In those prehistoric times before adhesive strips (and in my own defense, this was JUST before adhesive strips made belts obsolete -- thank goodness...!), sanitary napkins were thick & fluffy, like layers of cotton batten, with two long "tails" of gauze at either end.

A belt was a circle of elastic that you wore around your waist (pulling it up over your hips like a pair of panties, but worn under your panties, with a strip of elastic dangling down in front and another at the back. Each strip had a metal loop at the end. You pulled the long ends of the sanitary napkin through the loops and wound the ends around them to secure the pad. And that's how you'd wear a sanitary napkin. (Needless to say, women of the world, we owe the inventor of the adhesive strip a great deal of gratitude....)

(When we were cleaning out my parents' basement a few summers ago, my sister found HER cardboard box full of samples. I don't think it had even been opened before -- the contents were all still packed neatly away. "Anyone want a 35-year-old sanitary napkin??" We howled with laughter, & wondered if there was a museum that would want it??)

(I digress.)

It wasn't long, though, before the novelty quickly wore off. I soon learned about the joy (not) of cramps, and sometimes missed school because of them. And I think it was only your second or third visit when you decided to make a really grand entrance. I was sitting on a wooden bleacher in the grandstand at the local fair on 4-H Rally Day with my mom, sister, our friends & their mom, surrounded by our other friends from our club. I was wearing white pants (of course). I stood up at the end of the show -- and promptly sat back down again when I saw the red smear on the white paint of the bleachers. We waited until the crowd had mostly cleared out before making our own exit. My girlfriend loaned me her cardigan & I tied it around my waist until we could get back to the car.

(I had something similar happen years later, when I was at the Canadian figure skating championships in Hamilton, Ontario, in January 1998. I WAS wearing a pad, but it was a heavy day, the lineups at the washroom were long, and the skating was so good, I wound up (almost literally, as it turned out... ) glued to my seat. I waited until the people around me had left and cleaned off my (thankfully hard plastic) seat as best I could with a kleenex dipped in melted ice from my empty soft drink cup, then hailed a cab back to my hotel. I sat on a newspaper, folded it up as I exited the cab, & threw it away in a trashbin as I entered the hotel. Necessity is the mother of invention...)

Over the years, dear Flo, you've also left your calling card on our sheets (the housekeeping staff at my university dorm wouldn't give us clean sheets for our beds until we'd soaked the stains out of the soiled ones out first), mattress, sofa (when we got a new one a few years ago, I started sitting on a towel at "that time of the month" -- lesson learned), kitchen chair cushions, carseats (I spent a week driving around Nova Scotia with a newspaper tucked underneath me, so as not to muck up the rental car), as well as clothes.

In university, I met dh, & made the acquaintance of that marvel of modern medicine, the birth control pill. Besides making certain (well, about as certain as anyone could get) that I didn't get pregnant when I was still unmarried and in school and unable to support a child, an added bonus was the effect that it had on your visits. Suddenly, I knew exactly when I could expect your arrival. (My cycle was never, ever, the 28 days cited by most of literature I read. 32 to 35 days was the norm for me.) And while I still didn't enjoy your visits, they weren't as heavy or as crampy as they had been.

For 13 years, I was spoiled. But then, we realized that we were getting older, and that if we were going to have that family we had been talking about for so long, we were going to have to take a deep breath, take the plunge, and toss the pills.

I went to my family dr to tell him our plans and ask for advice. He was delighted, but advised me we should "use something else" for three or four cycles while the hormones cleared my body and it readjusted to life after the pill. He also warned me that my cycles might take awhile to re-regulate.

The first month I went off the pill, it was 53 days before you visited again. The next three cycles were almost textbook perfect -- 35 days each. The fourth cycle, when we actually started ttc? You tease, Aunt Flo (you b*tch!), it was 49 days. I finally went to my family dr for a pregnancy test and of course you showed up before they could even call me with the beta #s. The next cycle was 42 days, and the next 40. After that, they ranged from 30 to 39 days, with one more 48 day cycle thrown in there for good measure.

It took 26 cycles over the next 2 & 1/2 years before I found myself pregnant. Even then, you kept hovering around. I spotted all through my first trimester, and while everyone kept assuring me that spotting was normal, I couldn't shake the sense that something was wrong (quite rightly, as it turned out).

I bled for 2-3 weeks after my wee baby girl was stillborn. You returned on Sept. 15, 39 days later, and resumed your regular schedule of visits. And, despite dh's & my best efforts, including assistance from various fertility drs & drugs, you've hung around ever since, refusing to go away, even for the 9 months necessary to grow another baby in my uncooperative bicornuate uterus.

Sometimes you teased us, played hide and seek. I had one cycle that lasted 57 days, and another that was only 19 (and that wasn't when I was doing fertility treatments). Occasionally I'd go to the dr (even to emergency, once), where the medical staff would generally pat me on the head, tell me that these things happened to women my age and it was perfectly normal (hmmm, where I have heard THAT before...??), & send me on my way, feeling angry and confused.

Post-loss and pre-menopause, the cramps of my younger, pre-pill years have returned -- sometimes with a vengeance. At least once or twice, maybe three times a year, they're bad enough that I wind up staying home from work. (I've used very few of my sick days at work over the past several years -- and the vast majority of the days I have taken have been Aunt Flo-related.) Sometimes, I break out into a cold, drenching sweat; once in a great while, I have to make a run for the bathroom to throw up. I find the best way to cope is simply lie very still in bed, under the covers, until the spasm passes. A couple of times, I've been at work, and wound curled up in a ball on the floor of the women's washroom at work. Believe me, I had to be feeling pretty rotten to do that -- have you SEEN the women's washroom at work??? (That made me feel even sicker than I already felt...)

But you know, Flo, while I've never been your biggest fan, and as bad as the above sounds, I've never wished you gone, either (aside from the 9 months+ of pregnancy). I might not have welcomed your visits with open arms, but I did accept them, to some degree, as a natual part of life, part of what it means to be female, part of what had to happen in order to have a baby.

Many of my infertile friends, of course, want to know why we should have to put up with your visits if you're holding out on us with the other part of the female physiological equation (i.e., pregnancy & babies). And even my fertile friends have looked for ways to get rid of you once they've completed their families.

Of course, my complaints about the discomfort your visits cause are small potatos compared to what you inflict on some of my friends (both fertile & in-), for the most part. I can't blame some of them for seeking relief by deliberately suppressing your visits (by going back on birth control or other pills) or ending them altogether with endometrial ablations -- or even complete hysterectomies, in some cases. Still, I hesitated to do anything that would put a halt to your visits before their natural time. It seemed like tinkering unnecessarily with Mother Nature. (I'd already dipped my toe in that pond, with infertility treatments, & look how well that ended....)

But really, Aunt Flo, 40 years is an awfully long time. If I knew when you planned to make your final exit, I might feel better about putting up with you for awhile longer. The problem is, nobody can tell me just how long you plan to hang around. Every woman is different, yadda yadda yadda... I once had to ask my mother, when we had an appointment with a genetic counsellor during my pregnancy, a bunch of questions, including whether premature menopause ran in our family. "Good Lord, no," Mom said, "I thought it would never end." She didn't say exactly when it DID end for her, though, although I believe she was over 50 as well.

I asked Dr. Ob-Gyn at my most recent appointment with him, and he said he is seeing more and more women in their 50s who are still getting your visits. (Oh, lovely... I suppose the fact that I have company is supposed to make me feel better?) And so long as things weren't getting "out of hand," he told me it was nothing to worry about. Easy for him to say -- he doesn't have to put up with your visits.

This month, you arrived on Feb. 8th. Exactly 14 years ago, you also arrived on Feb. 8th. That was the cycle when I got pregnant, and the date that I found myself reciting ad nauseum throughout my pregnancy in response to the question "first day of last period?" While I know that, as long as you're around, pregnancy is technically possible, I very much doubt it, at this late stage of my life and with my track record. Furthermore, at this late stage of my life, I no longer welcome the idea of pregnancy. As much as I once wanted a baby, the time has long passed. It took a long time for me to adjust to the realization that I wasn't going to have children, but I'm done with that idea.

And, similarly, I think I've finally realized that I'm ready to say goodbye to you, too. I'll admit -- whereas 11-year-old me was anxious to learn all about menstruation -- a whole new phase of my life, full of possibility -- 51-year-old me is less enthusiastic about that other "M" word that heralds a completely different phase of life (i.e., menopause). But I know it's inevitable -- and I'm getting tired wondering every 30-35 days, "Will she? Won't she? Is this the month she doesn't come?"

Sorry, Aunt Flo. We've had a good run together, but you've overstayed your welcome. It's time to take the hint and say goodbye.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

How you remind me

I've often thought it might be interesting to try to observe just how many reminders I, as a childless/free (not by choice) woman encounter in one day related to motherhood, pregnancy and family life -- themes that saturate our culture, that the majority of people take for granted as theirs (or theirs to be, someday) but do not necessarily relate to my own life. 

I decided, on the spur of the moment, that today would be the day. Here are some of the things I noticed from the time I got up at 5 until I posted this:
  • Around 6 a.m., while eating breakfast & listening to the radio: Annoying ad for local French schools, beginning with a little boy singing "Frere Jacques" and piping up at the end, "Daddy, I'll teach you my song!" (There may have been more such ads -- there often are -- but I hadn't decided yet that today would be the day, so I didn't take note, lol.)
  • Driving past the local high school, with a reminder still on the sign outside about exams.
  • Listening in the car to a morning show radio hosts' chatter about kids & school.
  • News headline, in the sports section of all places: I don't think the print version was exactly the same, but you'll get the idea from the online header: "Canadian hurdler Priscilla Lopes Schliep ready to roll after pregnant pause." (She had a baby five months ago but is back training for London this summer.)
  • Article towards the back of the front section about a breastfeed-in at local Facebook headquarters, protesting their removal of photos of mothers breastfeeding babies.
  • Other child-related topics in the paper, mostly in the "Life" section.
  • Walk past a toy store in the concourse en route to work.
  • Posters in the concourse of our office tower for a new ad campaign, based on various (not necessarily monetary) definitions of "" The first ad featured (what else??) a closeup photo of a sleeping newborn baby. (Two others on display feature various family groupings.) "The when," the tagline reads. Um, yeah, right. Want to hear about MY life-changing moment?
  • 9:15ish: Team meeting (not mine) in the senior manager's cubicle opposite mine -- which begins (of course) with the daily update on her new granddaughter, how breastfeeding is going, etc. Followed by numerous calls throughout the day to & from the new mom, as well as friends & relatives seeking status updates. All within easy earshot.
  • Mid-morning coffee break: two pregnant women in the lineup at Tim's (one behind the other), and another working behind the counter.
  • Lunchtime: I go for a 20-minute stroll before picking up some food to take back to my desk... 20 minutes in which I take note of five conspicuously pregnant women. And pass by a hockey display downstairs, with a poster illustrated by a drawing of a peewee hockey player.
  • Afternoon coffee break: no pregnant women spotted, but passed by the magazine stand, where the covers of People, US & the like each contain at least one reference to pregnancy, babies or celebrity offspring.
  • Two more pregnant women spotted on the late afternoon walk to the train station.
  • Commuter train en route home, and walking to the car when we reach out stop: overhearing snatches of conversations between moms, talking about their kids.
And I wouldn't say this was a particularly difficult day -- there are days when I think the reminders have been much more numerous, and (sometimes) painful. (It might be worth repeating this experiment sometime & seeing if I come up with different results. Or -- I would love to hear if any of you try this!) I haven't even really watched much TV yet tonight -- commercials are always ripe with references to babies these days, it seems... 

And this is 14 years out from my pregnancy. It would have hurt a heck of a lot more in those early days, post-stillbirth, during & post-IF treatment. 

But I still can't help but notice now, sometimes. 

 *** *** *** 

Since this is a post all about the daily reminders of what I don't have in my life, "How you remind me" popped into my head when I was trying to think of a title. Now don't laugh -- I'm not a big Nickelback fan (some of their stuff is pretty misogynistic) -- but some of their stuff is pretty catchy, and I do like this song (although I got kind of tired of it when it first came out & was hugely overplayed). 

Just for fun I looked up the lyrics -- & while I very much doubt these guys have ever thought about infertility (!) & not all the lyrics apply, here are a few excerpts: 

This is how you remind me of what I really am 
It's not like you to say sorry 
I was waiting on a different story 

these five words in my head scream 
"are we having fun yet?" 
yet, yet, yet, no, no... 

"This is how you remind me of who I really am... I was waiting on a different story." 

 What I am is a childless woman in a world that worships pregnancies, babies, mommyhood and family (the idea if not the reality). And some days, that's a hard thing to be. 

Sometimes, yes, we ARE having fun. ; ) 

Sometimes, it just sucks. :p 

 *** *** *** 

Tomorrow, Feb. 8th, was my LMP date in 1998 -- day one of the cycle that, by some miracle, resulted in our Katie -- my one & only, albeit all too brief, pregnancy. And, as luck would have it, Aunt Flo is due for a visit any day now, too. Maybe that's why I'm in "a mood." :p 

Hit it, boys. ; )


Thursday, February 2, 2012

Odds & ends

  • February. Blah humbug. :p
  • My parents found out a few days ago that they got the lease on a condo in Florida for a month. They were so excited, it was cute ; ) and they wanted dh & I to come visit. Well, I'm an obedient child. ; ) I've never had a sun vacation, & it seemed like I was finally going to get one.
  • Scratch that brilliant idea. :p :( Half the time they are going to be there runs smack up against one of our busy times at work. And the dates when it was good for me to go, workwise, run smack up against our Family Day weekend (which, apparently, many parents interpret as Family WEEK and pull the kids out of school to travel) and "reading week" at many universities here. (When I was in university, it was widely known as "Ski Week," but apparently it is also Fun in the Sun Week these days.)
  • So as you can imagine, availability for that week sucks, especially at this relatively late date -- and what is available is highly priced, at odd times, and often involves a side trip & flight change in Montreal, or Newark, or someplace exotic like that. :p I looked on the Internet & couldn't believe the prices I was coming up with -- so I called my travel agent. She couldn't do much better. One price she quoted was $1200. EACH. The next best rates were in the range of $700 per person. Even driving two hours & crossing the border to Buffalo (where flights are often much cheaper) would only net us very slight savings (& would mean either getting up in the middle of the night, or staying over at a hotel there to make an 8 a.m. flight).
  • Did I mention that February sucks? :p
  • My grandmother-to-be coworker didn't show up for work yesterday. Yep, her daughter went into labour, and the baby was born last night. She's coming in tomorrow to wrap up some loose ends & then will be off for a week or two, helping her daughter and revelling in her first grandchild (do you blame her?). Can I say I am NOT going to miss the daily baby status update at her morning team check-in meetings, held directly across the hall from my cubicle??? (But of course, I will be hearing plenty tomorrow... & when she returns to work...!)
  • Thanks to everyone who left comments, voice outrage & offered suggestions on my recent post about being plagiarized. Dear Melissa actually came up with the name of the offending blog's hosting service, & I sent them an e-mail, but I got a standard form response, outlining all the steps I'd have to take to pursue my complaint (including, I think, a signed affadavit!!). I'm not happy about letting anyone get away with plagiarism, but on the other hand, I'm not sure I have the energy to pursue this & I'm wondering if it would do any good anyway? :p
  • Thanks also to everyone who commented on the recent murder trial here in Canada. The Globe & Mail had an interesting article today about the polygamous first wife who died along with the three teenaged girls. And Judith Timson's column in tomorrow's paper, online already, has more to say about the family.