"Security is mostly a superstition. It does not exist in nature, nor do the children of men as a whole experience it. Avoiding danger is no safer in the long run than outright exposure. Life is either a daring adventure, or nothing. " -Helen Keller

Saturday, March 31, 2012

The A to Z Blogging Challenge

As if I weren't enough of a glutton for punishment, I've decided to do the A to Z Blogging Challenge again this year.
Now, normally blogging every day or even following a daily challenge wouldn't be an issue for me but y'all know how crazy my life has been lately. Marty is doing a bit better with his migraine but he's still hurting. My house is still a mess because of dealing with everything. But, damn it, I am determined to do it.

I'm sure some of you are wondering about the A to Z Blogging Challenge. What is it? How do you join? What does it involve? Well, it's a blog hop with an alphabet theme. The idea is to blog every day of the month except for Sundays starting with A and ending the month on Z. If the month starts on a Sunday, that is the one and only Sunday you are asked to blog that month. You're also asked to visit 6 blogs on the list a day. Unlike ICLW, there is pretty much no way your going to cover the whole list because there are currently about 1600 blogs signed up.

So, how many of you are crazy enough to join me? You have 2 days left to join the insanity. Just click on that little yellow dragon above and have fun! Let me know if you sign up.

PS...a special thanks and shout out to Lynn aka Wistfulgirl for reminding me of this yearly challenge.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

10 Reasons I Know God Isn't A Woman (we're up to 11)

I recently had a revelation. There is no way God is a woman. Now, I know there are some of you screaming about the heresy. After all, God can be anything God wants to be. And, I'm sure there are a lot of you feminists screaming, "Why can't God be a woman? Women can do anything." I'm here to tell you that the proof is irrefutable. God is not a woman and here's why...
  1. If God was a woman, we'd have an on/off switch for our uterus. That way, we wouldn't have to bleed like a stuck pig once a month. Just think, flip the switch to off until we want to start trying for a family and then flip it on.
  2. If God was a woman, we wouldn't have to give birth by squeezing a bowling ball through our hooha. Instead, we'd all have a camouflaged zipper in our abdomen and the OB would just unzip it when it was time for the baby to come out and zip us back up afterward.
  3. Then, look at the bladder discrepancy. On a day to day basis, the average male's bladder is twice the size of the average females bladder. But, that all ends with pregnancy. By 8 months along, the small female bladder has been squeezed and squished down to the size of a pencil...and that pencil gets flattened to the thickness of a paper every time we sneeze or the baby moves. There is no way a woman God would have done that to us.
  4. If God were a woman, the men in our lives would also wake up every time a baby cries at night or a child stirs. Seriously, what woman can sleep through a baby screaming over a baby monitor put right next to their ear like Vic did when Marty was 3 months old? Further proof that God is not a woman.
  5. FROM RYS: If God was a woman, we wouldn't have menopause. The switch would be flipped off, simple as that. No hot flashes, no going dry down there. The switch is just never able to flip on again. Just because you're done with that part of life shouldn't mean you should never enjoy sex again, particularly since men never suffer the same thing!
  6. FROM MRS. GAMGEE: The ever-so-hard-to-achieve female orgasm (particularly in comparison with a male orgasm). If God were a woman, it wouldn't be so elusive.
  7. FROM ST. ELSEWHERE: If God was a woman, she would have put an expiration date on sperm too.
  8. FROM ST. ELSEWHERE: If God was a woman, she would have known how painful hair removal is, and there would be no hair in the ahem places.
  9. FROM ST. ELSEWHERE: If God was a woman, men would have had as tough post-puberty phenomenon as women do.
  10. FROM ST. ELSEWHERE: If God was a woman, breastfeeding would be a shared function between men and women
  11. FROM BEAUTIFUL MESS: God isn't a woman because if he were, we wouldn't remember EVERY little thing that has hurt us. We'd probably be able to let it go too...
All right y'all, I need more examples. A good list needs 10 reasons and I'm sadly short of that standard. So, tell me reasons why you know God is not a woman.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

It's ALIVE!...no, it's not...

I was so excited when the tech gurus at Staples called and said they had my computer booting up again. I was not so excited when they told me that a few viruses had worked their way through my virus protection and were frakking up my hard drive.

Rather than shelling out another bundle of cash I don't really have to spend, I decided I would take care of that myself. After all, we've done the reformat, re-install the operating system dance before and it really isn't that hard. So, after we got back from Marty's chiropractor appointment, I started the whole process. I got it all done. My beloved 'puter was booting up and had a fresh, clean slate. The lovely tech help guy over in India told me exactly which drivers I needed from the Dell website and I put those on a flash drive so I could finish fixing my laptop.

I followed his instructions exactly. I loaded the systems utility driver and then rebooted the 'puter...or, more precisely, tried to reboot the 'puter.  It told me no operating system found. Well, fuck me. So, I repaired the system, tried again with the systems utility driver, and, once again, systems utility driver + fresh clean system = disappearing operating system.

So, I'm back where I started. I have to format the damned hard drive AGAIN. I have to re-install Windows AGAIN. Then, I have to convince myself to believe introducing the drivers to my fresh clean system won't fuck it up again.

I think I might just be back to hating March 2012.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Wit's End

I'm at my wit's end. If you had talked to me yesterday, I would have been a lot more positive. Marty actually seemed to be doing better yesterday. But, today happened. Another weather front moved on through and his head ramped right back up.

My poor son is on Day 29 of a debilitating migraine. Day 29, y'all. He has missed 4 completed weeks of school and it isn't looking good for this week. The poor kid could deal with the pain if we could just get rid of the damned light and sound sensitivity...but, so far, it's sticking around. It's just not fucking fair. He's a good kid. He has worked his ass off this school year. We got him through the allergy medicine induce medical issues of last semester and this semester got off to a great start. He was pulling all As. Then this damned fucking migraine hit. Y'all, he can't even concentrate/focus to read. This is a child who consumes books and the same books he was reading 4 weeks ago are sitting on his desk with the same pages marked. About the only thing he can do is watch tv with the volume turned way, way down (thank God for closed captioning) or play computer games (and that's only been for the past week and a half).  He's even getting tired of the game...about an hour ago he turned off the game he was playing and went out to sit in the darkened den.

This makes me so sad and so worried. It truly hurts my heart to see him this way. He's paler than I've seen him in years (no sunlight does that to you). And, we're reaching the point where I'm truly worried about him being able to complete this semester in school and I know it would kill him if that happened.

I want my vibrant, happy, healthy son back. I want noise to rule this house again. I want our house to bustle with activity and I want Marty to be surrounded by his friends. Damn it, I just want him healthy.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

The Geek In Me

My geeky soul has found something to sing about despite the fact that it is in mourning for the computer situation in our house...still no word about my laptop and issues with the kids' desktop. What could be fabulous enough to have my geeky soul singing despite the dire state of connectivity around here? Why, games, of course!

I have found 3 omy favorite things have free online MMORPGs (massively multi-player online role playing game for the uninitiated). There is a brand new Doctor Who MMO called Worlds in Time...
In this game, you get to enter the T.A.R.D.I.S., join the Doctor, fight his many enemies, and save the universe. I can NOT wait to play.

I think I might even be more excited for the upgraded, updated version of the Star Trek Online MMO.
You get to captain your own customizable starship and explore the Star Trek universe including classic locations from the show and new areas never before explored. And, when you create your character, you can even create your own race of beings and the back story that puts them in the Star Trek universe. When I was growing up and reading the innumerable Star Trek books I consumed, I use to dream about being able to join the crew on their adventures. This will be the next best thing.

Finally, I am and always have been a sucker for comic books and comic book heroes. Now, I can create and be one by playing DC Universe Online.
My oldest kids have already started playing this and it looks like a total blast. I don't know where I'll find the time to play these games but I intend to try.

Do you like to play role playing games? If so, what's your favorite or which one of these appeal to you the most?

This post is in no way sponsored or inspired by anyone or anything except my inner geek.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Today was a much better day

Y'all, I am humbled by the love and support my whiny, woe-is-me post got. Thank you.

Today was a much, much better day. No, Marty isn't better yet. And, no, my laptop isn't home yet (please keep your fingers crossed that the wonder geek at Staples can fix it). But, a lot of other really cool shit happened today.

Today, I went with Joey to the regional Science Olympiad competition. This was the first year that Joey's school fielded a team and their coach, Ms. Amanda Pritchard, did a phenomenal job. She and all the parent volunteers put in a huge amount of work with our kids and it showed. Kingswood elementary took 1/5 of all the ribbons awarded, took home a 2nd place overall for the JV team, took home a 2nd overall for the Varsity team, and won the award for the school with the best team spirit and sportsmanship. Joey competed in 3 events and he and his partner won a first place ribbon in Landformers (all about geography and geology). I am so proud of all the kids. I also have to say that it's incredibly cool to be surrounded by a bunch of kids who gave up a bunch of mornings for practice and an entire weekend day for academic pursuits.

At the last minute, the organizers of the tournament put out a plea for some parent volunteers from the participating schools to help run some events. With my genetic inability to say no (thanks Mom), I piped up and ended up helping run two events. It was incredibly easy but it ended up paying big dividends for me. I really hit it off with the lady I was helping with the first event. We talked about our kids, summer camps, and lots of other things. When I was telling her that a summer camp we both know about has horses, that sparked conversation and I'm not sure what prompted me but I mentioned that I use to ride a lot, had been on the Equestrian team in college, and even spent a summer training horses professionally. She got excited and said that she had three horses (2 were rescues) that she could really use help exercising and wanted to know if I would be interested in coming out and riding. It was all I could do to keep from jumping up and down and yelling hell yes. I love riding and miss it terribly but it has been way too expensive to fit into our budget, I am so thrilled that I'll have an outlet for this passion of mine again.

So, all in all, I had a damned fine day and (yes, Monica) I've decided I was a bit too hasty in my decision to hate March 2012.

How was your day?

Friday, March 23, 2012

It's official...*UPDATED*

I have officially screwed up NaBloPoMo. I am way, way behind on an Alexa review group I am in. I've sucked at the first few days of ICLW. My house is a disaster. And, Marty is on Day 26 of his migraine.

Cruz: Pity party of one, your table is ready.

March sucks.

I demand a do over.

*Updated to add that my beloved laptop decided to die today. Couldn't even get the reinstall feature to work. My baby is in Staples' hands right now and I'm praying it comes home running.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

What would you do if...

Mrs.Gamgee posed the question earlier today "What would you do if you won the lottery?" and I thought it would be fun to play along. Since this is totally fantasyland here, I decided I'd pretend I had won the equal to the largest lottery jackpot in the US with a lump sum pay out of $233.1 million (probably about $115 million after taxes).
  • The first thing I'd do (before my winnings are even announced) is find a top notch financial adviser with plans of investing about $60 million.
  • I would donate to St. Jude Children's Research Hospital, Parenthood For Me, Muscular Dystrophy Association, The Liz Logelin Foundation, a good diabetes research group, and Planned Parenthood. 
  • My first personal indulgence would be to donate enough money to Duke University to become an Iron Duke and be able to buy season tickets to Duke Basketball games.
  • I'd take my family on an around the world cruise while someone came in, leveled the house we live in and the one next to us, and then built us our dream house (including an office and craft room for me) on this location because I refuse to move ever again.
  • I'd make sure my parents were completely set with the house of their dreams and money to travel.
  • Since we've already upgraded our two desktop computers, I'd buy myself a kick ass laptop, some type of tablet computer, and a nicer smart phone.
  • Buy two brand new, completely reliable family vehicles.
  • I would have to buy a '64 1/2 Mustang rag top.
So, what would you do if you won the lottery?

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

45s, 380s, 9 mms...

in other words, Bullets.

I feel like all I'm doing lately is writing posts with bullet points. It's sad but that's about all I've had the energy for lately...

  • Gabe is reading now. I'm so proud of my boy. He loves that I've downloaded a few books onto my Nook for him. His favorite is the Puppies book.
  • It's amazing how much better you feel after a few days of TheraFlu and a decent night of sleep.
  • It's sad when you consider a night that you get woken up at 6 am by a thunderstorm a good night's sleep.
  • We've had two thunderstorms in the past two days that have been powerful enough that they made the house shake...kind of scary even when you like storms.
  • My dog is a total chicken when it comes to thunderstorms. She's glued to you when there is a storm raging.
  • I am loving my new, properly fitting, sexy, colorful bras. It's so nice having bras that make the girls look perky.
  • It is seriously scary how much bigger my boobage looks when it's being properly supported and held up. We won't even talk about what cup size I have to buy...that really is scary.
  • On Sunday, Joey started to get a migraine too. Luckily, the Migranal that didn't work for Marty stopped Joey's migraine in it's tracks with only one dose. It's a really good thing because it truly felt like it would be the very last straw if I had to deal with two kids with migraines.
  • I took Marty back to the neurologist today on day 23 of his migraine. Since the attempts with abortive migraine meds didn't work, we now have Marty on Topamax which is a preventative migraine med and some vitamins which have been proven to help prevent/lessen the severity of migraines. Please pray these make a difference.
  • It just kills me that I can't make him feel better. It also kills me that it's something he inherited from me that is putting him in so much pain. It really makes me feel like shit. I'm suppose to be able to take care of my kid and I feel like I'm failing him in this.
I'd love it if you share something that would make me smile. It can be personal, a joke, or a silly story. I'd really appreciate it.

Monday, March 19, 2012

A Government in Need

This campaign season has illustrated an area that many of our congressmen and senators have a gaping deficit in. This deficit is so gigantic, so huge, that they have needed to dabble in it by messing with us. What lack could possibly create such a gaping hole in the lives of these powerful men? Why, it's the lack of a uterus. Yup, I seriously think Santorum and all the congressmen on the Penis Panel need their own uterus to play with because they seem awfully fascinated with ours. Maybe if they each had their own uterus to play with, they would leave ours the hell alone.

While I'm not the only one who thinks this way, I won't pretend I came up with this idea on my own. I saw the blurb on facebook and it led me to the Jezebel article about a movement to knit or crochet a uterus for a senator in need. The Jezebel article led me to the Government Free VJJ page and there I found patterns and a link to the Government Free VJJ facebook page and their twitter account. My crochet skills are much stronger than my knitting skills so I'll be crocheting this
for Senator Richard Burr of North Carolina and I invite all my friends who knit or crochet to join me in this fun.

So, who is going to join in? I don't know if it will change anything but it certainly can't hurt and it might just open a few eyes.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

The Explosion Is HUUUUUUUGE

Jennifer came to my rescue and hung out with me and the boys tonight. Honestly, I was close to just losing it from exhaustion (mental and physical) and it helped incredibly to have another adult around. It especially helped because Gabriel absolutely adores his Aunt Jennifer and gloms onto her while she is here. In fact, (thank you Jennifer) Gabe insisted his Aunt Jennifer give him his bath. Now, giving Gabe a bath pretty much just means running the bath for him and keeping him company and reminding him that taking a bath doesn't mean just lying in the bath...that you really and truly have to wash your body.

Well, after his bath, Jennifer came out laughing so hard she almost couldn't catch her breath. See, Gabe climbed into the bath and stretched out on his back. Then, he started bouncing his butt up and down which, of course, bounced other things in and out of the water. At this point, he looked at Jennifer and announced, "I'm pretending my penis is a volcano. It's a really small volcano (picture him holding his fingers about an inch apart) but the explosion is HUUUUUUUGE."

Thank god everyone knows about his obsession with volcanoes or I don't know how I'd ever explain this one.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

I'm going crazy why don't you come along

*I'm going crazy why don't you come along
I'm going crazy just singing this song
  • Day 20 of Marty's migraine, Day 2 of a 100 degree temp for me (thanks Gabe)...'nuf said
Once I had a little dog and all it ate was cans and when those little puppies came they came them pots and pans!
My old girl is more than a little spoiled. You'd think she was
allowed on the couch all the time. BTW, she loves the blanket
Michell aka BattyNurse made me.
I'm going crazy why don't you come along
I'm going crazy just singing this song
  • Why is it you can dose a sick kid (Gabriel) with meds and they rebound and have energy to spare but give an adult the same cooties and we're dragging ass and feel like death warmed over.
Once I had a little cat and all it ate was yarn and when those little kittens came they came with sweaters on!
Joey's kitty, Butterball, fits right in with the family.
He's basically healthy but has medical quirks. The
seasonal fun of giving him allergy meds has begun.
I'm going crazy why don't you come along
I'm going crazy just singing this song
  • I have projects galore, including moneymakers, that are waiting for me but I feel too damned crappy to do anything. It is driving me stir crazy.
When Mary had a little Lamb the doctor was surprised, when old McDonald had a farm the doctor nearly died!
  • Doctors, doctors, doctors...I've had my fill of freaking doctors. We've spent more on co-pays and prescriptions and gas too and from in the past month than we did in the previous 3 months. I am done, done, done!
I'm going crazy why don't you come along
I'm going crazy just singing this song

What's driving you crazy? What's making you climb the walls? Share with me and make me feel a little more normal.

* The words in italics are the lyrics from a song we use to sing in Girl Scouts.

PS...sorry for all the bitching and moaning about sickness. I've just been feeling a bit overwhelmed.

Happy Day

Happy St. Patrick's Day
image found via

Friday, March 16, 2012

Random Shit from My Cootie Addled Brain

  • I feel like I need to apologize. When I wrote my post for the healing salon, I inadvertently left out an entire segment of the ALI community - those who are living child free after infertility. I certainly didn't mean to leave anyone out and I'm truly sorry if it made anyone feel bad.
  • Someone forgot to tell the powers that be that my family's turn for illness and physical bullshit was over. Seriously, I am so done with it. Gabe is still congested. I feel like crap (thanks for sharing your cold Gabe). Marty's head still isn't better. And, I'm at my wits end.
  • Gabe is totally cracking me up lately. He has taken to telling me I am his dear heart. I have this crazy urge to giggle every time he says that.
  • This week, I've been researching OCR software (optical character recognition) and hand held scanners for a project I'm working on. OCR software lets you take a scan of a document and turn it into an editable PDF. Does it make me a total geek that I know and care about these things?
  • Our phone is messing up and it's pissing me off. We have a VOIP line and, for some God unknown reason, people have been getting a rapid busy signal type tone when they call in. We've rebooted the VOIP modem once but it started doing it again today. Thanks to that damned modem, I missed a call back from the neurologist.
  • As much as I love technology, it's also been pissing me off. I was loading books onto my Nook this week and, with 2 books left, it tells me device is full. My first response was "Bullshit. I know I don't have enough books on there to match the capacity I see talked about." Well,  I found out that on a 2 Gig Nook Simple Touch, about 1 Gig is taken up by the operating system. I can hang with that. But, what ticked me off was that out of the remaining Gig of space, 3/4 of it is reserved for books or content loaded directly from Barnes and Noble and only 1/4 is available for books from other sources. The reason it pissed me off is that they don't tell you this up front. So, yeah, my Nook space really was full. Had to go order a micro SD card to take care of that issue.
  • I need to make 4 dozen plus cookies tomorrow...4 dozen for a church thing and the plus part remains here at home. Whose going to come help me? 
What's going on with you?

Thursday, March 15, 2012

All is right in my Whoniverse

Marty is still dealing with his migraine. Gabe shared his cold with me. My house is a disaster because of having sick kids. But, all is right in my Whoniverse. I indulged my geeky soul and my Nook now looks like this...
Now, the only thing that would make me happier is if they made this
in an adult size. It would be a hell of a lot of fun to go tooling through the neighborhood in this.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

What The Fuck Wednesday: Welcome to the Fecal Fest

Welcome one, welcome all! Welcome back to What The Fuck Wednesday, the prime location to read about products, items, and events that make your head snap around and your mouth utter the phrase "What the fuck is that?"

I have this really bad habit. When I see something on TV that I can't quite believe, I head straight to the internet to find out if it really exists. Sometimes that habit comes back to bite me in the ass. It started way back in the day when King of the Hill was on TV and popular and they joked about Peggy Hill's big feet and made a comment about a web site called Spank Peggy's Feet. After I stopped laughing, I typed in the url to see if it was real and was slightly terrified to find out out it was.This habit also led to me googling info about Ozzy Osbourne colonoscopy sweepstakes commercial which led to a past What The Fuck Wednesday post. You would think that I'd know better by now. Evidently, I don't.

I was watching some past episodes of Pawn Stars earlier this week and there was this episode where Chumlee bought a can of ZooDoo. According to the show, ZooDoo is canned poop from zoo animals. I gave in to the urge and googled it. ZooDoo is produced by the Woodland Park Zoo and sold as compost. You can buy 2 gallons for $12.95 or 4 gallons of Holidoo (only available over the holidays) for only $20. What's more, ZooDoo is so popular that twice a year, the Woodlawn Park Zoo hosts the Fecal Fest to enable people to buy ZooDoo in bulk. But hurry, because the spring Fecal Fest ends on Saturday.

Guys, I get buying compost. I really do. It's great for gardening. But, ZooDoo...really?!? The prices are outrageous and, even at these prices, it is so popular that they have 2 Fecal Fests a year and so many people want to buy it that they have to have a lottery to determine who gets to buy the ZooDoo. What the fuck?!?!?

So, share a What The Fuck Story. Tell me what's the weirdest thing you've seen or heard about recently. Come on y'all, entertain me!

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

A little of this and a little of that

  • Marty finally saw some improvement of his migraine. He is still hurting and sensitive to light but he can finally sit down in front of a computer without getting nauseous. This gives me great hope that his final IV pain treatment will give him great relief.
  • Gabe has been so incredibly sweet lately. He's told me I'm beautiful, that I sing nicely, and that he wants to always keep me safe. My little boy can always make me smile.
  • Gabe got sick this Sunday. He was vomiting Sunday afternoon and night and had a fever of 102.5 midday on Monday. But, his fever broke Monday evening and he swore he felt good this am and was desperate to go to school. I didn't follow my gut instinct and let Gabe go. It was a bad decision because, even though he made it through the day, his temp went back up this evening. It never fucking ends.
  • Did I ever tell you that when my kids were little, there were times they ate so many fruit loops that they turned their poop crayon green?
  • I feel so bad that I haven't been commenting much and I haven't managed to visit most of the healing salons but my brain is fried. I have been trying to keep Marty company but his migraine pain has sort of forced him into weird hours. So, I've been staying up really, really late with him and then getting up early with Gabe and Joey...and, I've been doing this for about 2 weeks now. My reserve is empty and my brain function is hovering just above comatose.
  • I found out black jelly beans turn your poop a slightly less vibrant shade of green...especially when the individual in question consumes almost an entire bag of black jelly beans. Don't ask me how I found this out.
  • Vic has his second appointment with the bariatric surgery clinic. We're hoping that he can jump through all the proper hoops and get a date with the gastric bypass surgeon by early summer. Maybe this will finally let him beat that bitch, diabetes.
  • My parents totally rock. These past two days they have helped me with my sick kids so I could take Marty to the neurologist for his pain treatment.
  • My mom's physical therapists think she is slightly demented because she informed them that shoulder replacement be damned, she intended to teach swimming and life guarding this summer so they better get s moving.
What random stuff is going on in your life?

Monday, March 12, 2012

A Tribute to Mel's Chocolate Salty Balls

For those of you who aren't sure about this tribute, check out the second paragraph of this post. For the rest of you, sit back and enjoy this tribute to our very own Stirrup Queen, Mel, and her mad baking skillz. Just a warning befor eyou click play, this is from South Park.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Healing Our Community

When you've been around the *ALI community as long as I have, you are bound to see some squabbles. Hell, even in the most tight knit of families, there are arguments. Well, recently our little family had a major spat. For those of you who missed the hubbub, a group of women who've been lucky enough to make it to the other side of the infertility battle formed a blogroll, PAIL (Parenting After Infertility and Loss). The women who are part of this new blogroll were feeling like they didn't really have a place in the ALI community.  However, many of the women who haven't reached the parenting stage felt this new blogroll was exclusionary. Words were exchanged. Feelings were hurt. People felt their work and ideas weren't being valued. In other words, it was a typical family spat.

In my view, this whole to do got started because people were feeling left out and I was wondering what we could do to ease that feeling. I think the first thing we need to do is talk. Here are some of the things I really feel we need to talk about...
  1. If you're still fighting infertility, do you feel uncomfortable continuing to visit a blog after someone finally becomes pregnant or becomes a mom? Does it make a difference whether the blog belongs to someone you are close to or someone who is just a casual acquaintance?
  2. Is there anything an ALI community member who is pregnant or a new parent could do to make you feel more comfortable?
  3. If  you've manage to get pregnant or become a parent, have you noticed a drop in support from the community? Do you feel like you still belong or do you feel left out?
  4. Is there anything the ALI community can do to make you feel like you belong even after you've become a parent?
If you have another topic you'd like to bring up, feel free to address it here or on your own blog. The only rules I'd like you to follow are as follows...
  1. Enter the Salon with the understanding that each blogger is a unique individual with unique personal, cultural, and social identities that inform her/his perspective. Every person's experience is significant and valid.
  2. Comments in the Salon will encompass respect towards all three entities: a) yourself; b) the blogger/commenter with whom you might disagree; c) the ALI community at large.
  3.  It's okay to agree to disagree.
  4.  Avoid scapegoating or assigning intent to a person. Only respond to the words on the screen.
And, please head on over to the LFCA and check out the rest of blogs participating in the Healing Salon experiment.
My experience in this community is very different from a lot of people's experiences. I didn't really find the ALI community until after I already had 2 kids and we were fighting secondary infertility. I never felt like I didn't have a place here. Because of this, I can't really speak to a lot of these issues. Truly, I feel that those of us who have made it through infertility play a vitally important role in this community. We're a resource for hope and for ideas as to what works and what doesn't. Because we've made it through, we often have the emotional fortitude to support our friends who are still in the trenches. I hope opening up my bloggy home will help heal the rift in our community.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

The Mail Has Been Very, Very Good To Me

I've had so many cool things come in the mail recently. Tax season retail therapy + Mel's Purim giveaway goodies have made me a very happy woman.

I'd love to show you pictures of the incredibly delicious goodies that came in Mel's famous Purim box (robot themed this year) but the vultures I fondly refer to as family devoured that box and left nothing in their wake. But let me tell y'all something, I think my husband would sell his soul for the recipe for Mel's Chocolate Salty Balls (otherwise known as Chocolate and sea salt nutella cups). So, Mel, a huge thanks for all the goodies. They were amazing.

And, let me tell you, have I ever indulged in retail therapy. I've indulged my inner geek, my shoe addiction, and my need for new bras. I got a new camera. I did restrain myself just a little bit. I desperately wanted a DSLR but I got the next best thing. I got a Nikon CoolPix L120. It's 14 megapixel, has an incredible zoom, and I freaking love it.

We also got a phenomenal new computer to replace the dinosaur of a desktop we've had for the past 5 years. Our new computer has 12 Gigs of RAM, a 2 terabyte hard drive, a 3 megahertz processor, and a 23 in flat screen monitor. I am in heaven. The only thing that comes close to matching the sheer geeky delight induced by the computer is our new 46 in LED tv. That's right, we have finally joined the modern era of tv viewing. My husband said he loves the picture on this new tv so much that, if money weren't an issue, he would go back and buy the 70 in tv we saw.

And, shoes, I gave in and fed my shoe habit. I bought a gorgeous pair of black wedges. I can honestly say I needed a pair of black heels (yeah, that's my story and I'm stickin' to it). I was a bit bummed they were sold out of the red wedges and the taupe wedges but I assuaged my disappointment by browsing through all the other phenomenal shoes...aaah, shoe porn is my true weakness. I totally banished my disappointment by
adding a simply gorgeous pair of sparkly gold platform pumps. I don't know where I will wear them. Maybe I'll wear them in NYC for BlogHer '12 parties, then my legs will look as good as my boobs will look in my new bras. Y'all I am beyond excited. I have bras that fit...really fit. And, I have bras that are a multitude of colors...hot pink, pale yellow, chocolate brown, black, and I even have a white one. If you need bras, check out SimplyBe.com. They have bras all the way up to a 54 band and a P cup (in the UK it would be a K cup). I got 8 bras for only $150. That's not even $20 a bra...hellaciously better priced than the $80 a bra I use to pay for custom made bras. Wow, wow, wow, I have pretty bras and I'm loving it.

Have you bought anything fun recently? Do you have any plans for a post tax return shopping spree? Have you found any great places to shop? Spill it!

First, Do No Harm

I read something over on Cecily's blog and I am absolutely horrified. The Arizona Senate passed a bill that allows a doctor to violate the Hippocratic oath with impunity. The Arizona Senate has just passed Senate Bill 1359. This bill "stipulates a person is not liable for damages in a civil action for wrongful birth, wrongful life..." We need to hope and pray that this bill remains a bill and never, ever makes it to law.

To really understand how horrific this bill is, you have to read the provisions it puts forth...
1. Specifies that a person is not liable for damages in a civil action for wrongful birth based on claim that a child would not or should not have been born, but for the act or omission of the defendant.
2. Stipulates that a person is not liable for damages in a civil action for wrongful life based on a claim that the person bringing the action would not or should not have been born, but for the act or omission of the defendant.
3. Specifies that a person is not liable for damages in a civil action for necessary expenses to raise a child within a wrongful pregnancy or wrongful conception claim that the child would not or should not have been conceived, but for an act or omission of the defendant.
4. States that these provisions apply to any claim regardless of whether the child was born healthy or with a birth defect or other adverse medical condition.
5. Specifies these provisions do not apply to civil action for damages for an intentional or grossly negligent act or omission, including one that violates criminal law.
6. Becomes effective on the general effective date.
This bill means a doctor is under no obligation to tell you if your fetus has a defect incompatible with life. This bill means a doctor is under no obligation to tell you about any problem with your fetus at all. This bill infringes so far into the rights of a woman it isn't even funny. Can you imagine what a doctor who is morally opposed to abortion could do if this bill became law? Holy hell, even if I did decide to carry a fetus that was destined to die, IT SHOULD BE MY CHOICE. Dear God, between this bill and all the personhood amendments, I think Cecily might just be right. There might really be a war against women.

Spread the word. Let people know about the bullshit going on in Arizona so they can fight and rage against the injustice of this.

Friday, March 09, 2012

My New Favorite Snack

Y'all, I have a new favorite snack. It's sweet, it's salty, it's crunchy, and, best of all, it only takes three ingredients...triscuits, extra sharp cheddar cheese, and lingonberry jam (you can order it online).
Just slice your cheddar cheese super thin (vegetable peelers are a great way to do that), put it on a triscuit, and smear it with a little bit of lingonberry jam...yum yum.

What is your favorite snack?

Thursday, March 08, 2012

International Women's Day

I'm late to the party today but I couldn't let a day designed to celebrate women pass without notice from me. From childhood one, I've been lucky enough to be surrounded by some of the most amazing women anyone could ever know. And, once I grew up and discovered the wild and wonderful world of the internet, well my circle of amazing women just exploded. I'd like to share a little about some of the wonderful women in my life.

My mom
My mom, Karin O'Donnell, is a truly amazing woman. She's smart, funny, and generous to a fault. She's a brilliant teacher and, not only has she shared her talents in the classroom, but she has spent years volunteering and teaching for the American Red Cross. My mom spent years leading our Girl Scout troops and making sure my sisters and I had every opportunity to become strong, powerful women. My mom has provided just as much support to us as adults. I honestly can't put into words how incredible she is and just how much I love her.

My sisters
I'm lucky enough to have two of the most beautiful, wonderful, fabulous sisters in the world. They are so different from each other but both of them are so very special to me. My sister Keri has faced things in her life that no one should ever have to face. She's not only managed to overcome but has truly grown into a phenomenal woman, wife, and mother. She has done an amazing job with her two gorgeous daughters. They both have such a strong sense of self. And, Keri has one of the strongest faiths I have ever seen. She is unwavering in her belief and, as a result, has been witness to some truly miraculous events. Keri truly wears her heart and her faith on her sleeve and I admire her for it.

Becky is my baby sister and I have to say that I'm so glad my mom didn't listen to my 2 yr old self when I told her that one sister was enough. I often think that Becky doesn't realize just how amazing she is. Becky is smart and has so much love in her heart. Becky has also overcome a lot...things that might make someone pause and find it difficult to trust and believe in love. She hasn't let it stop her. Not only does Becky show her love to her family but she has truly fallen in love with the girls she coaches in basketball. I can't even explain how impressed I am with my baby sister.

My sisters-by-choice
I have a group of the most amazing friends in the world. Jennifer and Kristi and Rys and Pam are so special and dear to me. These are women who know my heart and soul. They carried me through the hell of repeat pregnancy loss and celebrated the joy when we finally beat that bitch and welcomed Gabe into this world. They know my flaws and foibles and deep dark secrets that are better left untold and love me despite or maybe because of all them. They are strong, powerful, intelligent, successful women and my life would seem empty without them.

Jennifer and I have known each other for almost 30 years. We spent high school French class playing with play-doh, singing Christmas carols, and doing work for imaginary classmates. I think we drove our French teacher more than a little crazy.  Jennifer is such an amazing, compassionate, smart woman that the retirement community her bank serves has more loyalty to her than they do to the institution that safeguards their money. She goes above and beyond her job as a banker...she does things for her clients that sometimes they are no longer capable of doing (balancing check books, keeping the one's whose minds are slipping from making disastrous financial mistakes, making sure her clients' families and social workers are aware of their needs). I want to be like her when I grow up.

Kristi is phenomenal. In fact, without her, my husband and I might not have ever gone on our first date (she set us up). Kristi and I have been friends for nearly 20 years (holy shit, has it really been that long?). We've been friends through wild crazy times, through ecstatic highs, and desperate lows in both our lives. I am so very lucky to have met her back in our rescue squad days and I'm even luckier to still have her in my life now.

Rys and Pam came into my life almost 12 years ago. We've been through pregnancies, losses, family disasters, and arguments. These women dropped their lives, packed up their children, and came to take care of me and my family when I needed support the most. That kind of generosity of spirit, that kind of love can't be bought and I am blessed to have them in my life. Hey Pam, I finally got Rys living around the corner from me. When are you, Angie, and the kids going to move to North Carolina?

I have so many other women I want to tell you about, so many other women I love and admire, but this post is getting ridiculously long. I think I'm going to have to make this a weekly feature. That way I can introduce you to all the fabulous women I know and, in many cases, introduce you to their blogs too.

Wednesday, March 07, 2012

Just wiped out

I want to write but I honestly can't form a coherent thought. I'm so damned tired both physically and emotionally. Marty still isn't better. He says he feels as bad as ever but I think I see some improvement...maybe that's just my wishful thinking. We are up to 3 doctors appointments (one with a neurologist) and counting for this migraine of Marty's. Right now, I'm praying for a miraculous improvement over night. Please dear God let him feel better.

Tuesday, March 06, 2012

PrintRunner Sticker Giveaway

Hey y'all, I've got a great giveaway for you. PrintRunner, a fabulous and convenient source for online printing has offered one of my readers 250 custom print stickers. These stickers have so many possibilities. If you're going to any blogging conferences this year, you could promote your blog on these stickers. They could be a really fun alternative (or addition) to your business cards. Another great idea would be to print a bunch of simple black and white designs that your child (or maybe their class) could color. Truly, the possibilities are endless.
Here are the giveaway specs...
            Sticker Shape:    Standard Stickers
            Flat Width:    2"
            Flat Height:    3.5"
            Quantity:    250
            Paper:    Premium Sticker Stock
            Colors:    Full Color ( 4 Color Process), Black and White
            Proof:    NONE
            Ready to Ship In:    3 Business Days
        *Giveaway is open to US Residents only, ages 18 years old and above.

Giveaway ends at 12:01 am on 3/12/2012

To enter the giveaway via the Rafflecopter widget, click on through (just click on that little more link)

Monday, March 05, 2012

Infertility: Take 2

There are some of you who have been hanging around the Lair for quite a while. I have to guess that some of you remember way back in September '08 when I told y'all that Vic and I had decided to try for our 4th and final baby.  I'm sure those of you who remember also wonder why I went almost completely silent on the subject. With Vic's encouragement and consent, I'm finally going to tel you what's been going on.

Here in the Cruz household, we never tend to do anything in half measures. That applies to medical issues as well as just about everything else. Back in early 2006, Vic was diagnosed with type II diabetes. While it's not a diagnosis anyone wants to get, our attitude at the time was that at least it was a treatable and a manageable disease...little did we know.

I still remember one of the first things Vic's doctor asked him at that first appointment he had about learning to manage his diabetes. Dr. T looked at Vic and asked, "Have you noticed any decrease in your sex drive or ability to perform?" Vic laughed and said, "We have a 3 month old baby. Any change in sex drive has been chalked up to exhaustion." Well, Dr. T told him that erectile dysfunction is a frequent side effect of diabetes (due to impaired blood flow) and, if the sex drive didn't pick back up as the diabetes came under control, Vic should let him know. Viagra was mentioned but nothing was really pursued at that point.

Eventually, Viagra was prescribed and daddy's little helper took care of the issue. When we decided to try to complete our family, Viagra was obviously part of the plan but I didn't think it would have a major roll. Guess once again, thinking should have been labeled as being highly over-rated. Less than 3 months after we started trying again, Vic's diabetes decided to rebel. Blood sugars that had previously been fairly well controlled spiraled out of control. A pancreas that was feeling ignored by the body decided that since the body wasn't using it's insulin well that it would stop making insulin at all. Although he was still technically a type II diabetic, he was now completely insulin dependent and, when you factored in his extreme insulin resistance, he might as well have been a true brittle diabetic. At this point,Viagra did become a big part of our efforts but it became a big part of our TTC efforts not because it helped but because it stopped working reliably.

While Vic's endocrinologist eventually got his blood sugar under control, it took massive doses of insulin to do so. I swear, he takes insulin doses massive enough to drop an elephant in it's tracks. Those massive doses of insulin control his blood sugar levels but they never allowed the Viagra to work well again and the doses of insulin definitely never allowed us to ditch daddy's little helper. In fact, the massive doses of insulin caused (and still cause) all kinds of other issues such as weight gain (yeah, it really is a side effect of large doses of insulin) which exacerbated the diabetes. And, while Vic's blood sugar levels were mostly controlled, his weight went up, his energy levels went way down, and he started to develop peripheral neuropathy.

And, let me tell you, that peripheral neuropathy is a real bitch. When people talk about peripheral diabetic neuropathy, they think about it affecting primarily the feet with numbness and some pain. What no one ever tells you is that peripheral diabetic neuropathy can also cause some loss of sensation in the genital area for men. So, at this point you have blood flow issues and loss of sensation and Viagra not working, our TTC efforts came to a screeching halt. Honestly, I was mourning. I was mourning not only the loss of that potential 4th child but I was mourning the loss of our sex life. I loved and do love my husband. Nothing would ever change that but I missed our sex life.

At some point in all this, Vic had to change endocrinologists and that turned out to be a truly fabulous thing. His new doctor was the one who finally got a handle on his blood sugar and, a little over a year ago, that endocrinologist finally tested Vic's thyroid function...something that should have been checked from day one of his diabetic diagnosis but we didn't know to ask and his doc's missed it. Vic turned out to have a pretty severe case of hypothyroidism. His severely under functioning thyroid was a major cause of his lack of energy. Then, about 3 1/2 months ago, Vic switched endocrinologists once again because, while he loved the doc, the office staff for that doc sucked. The missed getting prescriptions called in, were slack about following up on requests, and Vic had had enough.

Once again, the doctor change turned out to be a wonderful thing. His new is truly sharp and on the ball. She was the first one who ever mentioned to Vic that not only is the thyroid frequently affected by diabetes but, often times, testosterone levels often hit the bottom of the barrel when the thyroid is so severely affected. Sure enough, once again it was a case of doing things in grand fashion. When it was tested, Vic's testosterone levels came back as being abnormally low. It was strike three against any possible TTC efforts and it was a classic case of male factor infertility diabetes style. It was infertility: take 2 for the Cruz family.

And, that is why I went silent on the topic for so long. While it was part of our infertility journey, it wasn't my story to tell...at least, not my story to tell without permission. Also, I just couldn't quite deal with it all until there was a possibility of some solution, some resolution. It was just too disheartening to talk about it all without a possible solution and there is now a potential for a solution. If anyone's interested in the possible solution (strictly medical info), I can talk about that later. This post is massive enough as it is. Thank you to all of you who've bravely soldiered through the reading of it.

Finally, I want to say a special and heartfelt thank you to my wonderful husband, Vic, for allowing me to share this story. It takes a special man to have the confidence to share a story like this. When I asked Vic if it was all right to share about this, he not only said yes, but he told me that he thought it was really important to get this information out so it could possibly help someone. To quote Vic directly, "When your body says fuck you, start getting tests done."

Sunday, March 04, 2012

The Least I Can Do

It's almost midnight. Almost all the lights are off in my house. I really wanted to go to bed about 2 hours ago. Instead, I'm sitting in front of the TV, watching shows with my son, and typing this post.

I'm sitting here feeling totally helpless and like I've failed my son. Poor Marty has had a migraine since last Sunday night. That's right, he hasn't felt well over 7 days (I could round it off to about 173 hours). He hasn't felt well in over a week because of something he inherited from me and that just makes me feel lower than low.

My poor son has missed the last 5 days of school and will likely miss one more because I can't make him feel better. He can't sit in front of a computer to do any work because it makes his nauseous. All the lights are out in the house because he is so extremely light sensitive right now. And, any loud or sharp noises can bring him to his knees.

We've tried motrin, tylenol, pain meds, ice packs, caffeine, prednisone, and anything we can think of to help Marty feel better. I think the prednisone might have worked but the horrible weather fronts have come one after another after another. Since I can't make him feel better, I'll sit here with him until his exhaustion is greater than the pain and he is able to sleep. It's the least I can do.

Saturday, March 03, 2012

And They Shall Walk!

I saw an incredible story on TV the other night and I had to share. It was a story about an organization call They Shall Walk. They Shall Walk was founded by Monty Reed, a disabled veteran. to pursue his dream of walking and helping others to walk again. Mr. Reed was inspired by the science fiction great, Robert Heinlein, and his story Starship Troopers to develop his Lifesuit exoskeleton that allows paralyzed people to get up and walk. Take a look at these super short videos and I bet you'll be as impressed as I was.

You can find out more about the incredible work being done by this group at the They Shall Walk home page or on the They Shall Walk Facebook page or by following Monty Reed on Twitter.

Friday, March 02, 2012

Are they too much like me?

When your kids are little, you can't help but dreaming and imagining what they are going to be like when they grow up. Is he going to have my smile? Is she going to look like me? Are my sons going to get their daddy's sense of humor? Some times you wonder where they got their chin from or whose beautiful, long fingers found their way onto your baby's hand. It's like a daily discovery watching your child grow and trying to figure out where all the facets of them came from.

Even with all the things we delight in seeing in our children, there are inevitably things we hope they don't get from us.  We might hope they avoid getting the crooked teeth or the myopic eyes. We hope that some miracle lets our child inherit grandpa's mellow singing voice instead of our flat as a pancake singing voice. Sadly, and it some cases, thankfully, we don't get a vote as to what our children inherit. It's random chance what our kids get from us.

One thing I never found myself hoping for, never found myself imagining was what if my babies inherit my migraines or gee I hope they get my asthma. Luckily, none of them seem to have gotten my asthma (why do I always hear miasma when I say my asthma).  Sadly, though, 2 out of my 3 kids have inherited my weather induced migraines and this week has been a real bitch for them. I fucking hate seeing my children in pain, especially when I can't make that damned pain go away and I know they got it from me. I think knowing they got this medical issue from me bothers me more than seeing tough personality quirks they might have got from me. Personality quirks can be dealt with. You can learn to work around personality quirks or possibly even learn to exploit them and use them to your advantage. My poor sons can't avoid the migraines since their trigger is the weather, something they have NO control over, and I sure as hell don't see any way the migraines can be used to their advantage. And, it truly sucks beyond belief that I can't make this lovely inherited trait go away.

What characteristics do you hope your kids (current, future, adopted, whatever) get from you and what do you hope and pray they avoid?

Thursday, March 01, 2012

Round and Round and Round I Go

Right now I have so many things I want to write about, so many things I want to say. I have all these thoughts swirling through my head and it's making it hard for me to get my words down on screen. I simply don't know what I want to write about first. Can y'all help me pick a topic?
  1. I want and need to write about the new type of infertility we've been dealing with and all the medical issues and complications that go along with it.
  2. I have the next part of my story The Dying of the Light swirling around and need to write it out.
  3. I'm itching to tell y'all about all the fabulous new things we are getting and doing with our tax return...especially the fabulous source for bras I have found.
  4. I also have a possible post about things you don't want to see your children inherit from you that I've been thinking about writing.
So, what do you want to read the most? Help me decide what to write first.