Wednesday, January 30, 2008

My childhood, revisited...?

(Thanks, Jess, for the info!)

So People magazine is reporting that New Kids on the Block are getting back together.


Okay, dorky admission time... once upon a brief time, like most of the girls my age, I adored them. I had all of their tapes (tapes!), posters on my wall, buttons on my jacket, and I saw them in concert at least twice. Donnie was my favorite. I even dressed up as him for Halloween... with a shirt that said "Home Boy" and a peace sign around my neck. LOL.

So yeah, I'm really amused that they're getting back together. Too funny. A bunch of 35-to-40-year-olds dancing around, calling themselves "New Kids"... tee hee. I can't wait. I'm making my friend Jess promise that we will go see them in concert (if it comes to that). I'll have to dig out my buttons...

Monday, January 28, 2008


I have to say that for 3 days post-op, I feel pretty damn good. Not like I want to run a marathon, but just the fact that I'm awake and alert and not howling in pain is good. I'm even off the Percocet and just taking Aleve now.

My surgery went very well; as I suspected, my reproductive system was a hot mess. I'll spare you all the intimate details, but suffice it to say that my chances of achieving a pregnancy are now significantly improved. (Yay!) And on top of that, the unbearable pain in my right hip and across my lower back is gone. (Yay again!)

I got to the hospital around 10:30 am, had my vitals checked and received my lovely hospital wardrobe (gown, robe, non-slip socks). After taking my medical history, the nurse started my IV and then Matt was able to come sit with me for a while and read from our Paris guidebook before they wheeled me off to the OR.

Once I was in the OR, I got onto the table and the nurses made me warm and comfy. I was trying not to freak out about the anestheisia; I think I did okay. The anesthesiologist came and put those awful sticky things on my chest and started the medicine to make me sleepy. The dots on the ceiling started swimming, but I fought the urge to sleep because I wanted to see my doctor's face before I drifted off. I turned my head to the side and I saw him. He waved at me and I laughed. I asked him for some U2, and he obliged. I drifted off to the opening verse of "One" :)

Afterwards, I had a hard time waking up from the anesthesia. I kept forgetting to breathe on my own, and my pulse ox stats would drop each time they tried to take me off oxygen. And then I had a lovely bout of vomiting in the recovery room. But eventually I made it through. And my throat isn't even sore.

My sister was here to take care of Jacob during my surgery, and she stayed in town an additional day to help out and cook us all kinds of yummy food. And Matt, my hero, has been working himself so hard to take good care of me that he wound up getting sick! So he's napping now... poor guy. Good thing he took a week off from work.

My post-op appointment is two weeks from today, and at that point we'll assess and figure out when we can start another cycle of treatment. I'm very hopeful! In the meantime, Matt and I are watching movies (last night: Paris Je T'aime and Harold and Kumar go to White Castle... lol) and doing crosswords and such. I have a feeling I'm going to be missing the gym soon...


Sunday, January 27, 2008

I'm alive :)

Just a quick hello from Percocet-land... I'll post more tomorrow, but wanted to let you guys know I'm okay.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Offline for a bit

Warning: this blog is a little bitchy and angst-ridden...

So I'll be offline for the next few days. My surgery is tomorrow (look! I already have my pretty plastic bracelet!) and I'm trying really hard not to freak out. It's not the surgery itself that scares me, but the anesthesia. I hate being under, I hate being on a ventilator because my lungs will be paralyzed, I hate loss of control, I hate that general anesthesia always carries the risk of death. Matt has instructions on what to do if I don't wake up, but that really gives me no peace of mind...

I'm cooking myself a big pot of Italian wedding soup today to eat over the weekend (last time I had surgery my throat was so sore from the vent tube, I could only eat soft foods for about a month) and trying to get some laundry and cleaning done. I hurt my shoulder last night and I'm not allowed any pain meds because they can interfere with bleeding. So I get to go to the gym today in pain, and with this goofy hospital bracelet on my arm. Fun stuff.

Hyperventilating? Me? What gave you that idea?

*deep breath*

Okay... on another subject... here's an amazing video:

I mean, not only is it Johnny Cash, but Bono, the Dixie Chicks, Johnny Depp... could there be a more perfect video? (I think not!) I even love the song. Yep... I've definitely been cut down, as of late.

Wish me luck. I'll be back sometime next week... hopefully.


Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Blog for Choice Day

Taking a slightly different than usual perspective on the matter of choice...

I am a mother. I always wanted to be a mother. I wanted my career to be my life with my family. In one high school class, we were required to make a collage of things we wanted in our lives, and mine had a big picture of a gorgeous, smiling baby in the middle.

I fought a difficult battle with infertility to get to be a mother. I was 23 when I started treatments, and at that time I was the youngest patient my doctor had ever treated. Through his skill and a stroke of good fortune, I was able to conceive and give birth to a wonderful little boy (who is almost as tall as me now!). And I am still fighting the battle with infertility, as I don't feel my family is yet complete.

The choice to become a parent is maybe *the* most life-altering decision a woman can make. I didn't make it lightly. But this is my choice. I chose to be a mother. I'm choosing to have a second child, if possible. There are some who don't agree with my decisions. With my IQ (148) I had the potential to "do something" with my life, and at 23 having babies should have been the furthest thing from my mind. But I made the choice that was right for me, and I don't regret it.

I imagine what it might have been like not to have a choice. What if I had gone to the doctor at age 23 and he had refused to treat me, because of my age or economic status? What if he refused to treat me now, because of my advancing years? What if the law stated that people under a certain age -- or over a certain IQ! -- couldn't have children, and had to make some sort of economic contribution to society? Should someone else be able to decide for me if and when I should become a parent? Even if they believe with their whole heart and soul that it's not the right path for me?

Of course not. It's my decision, and nobody else has the right to interfere with my choice for my life. We can't just arbitrarily decide for someone else what their choice should be, no matter how strong our convictions to the contrary.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

They took your life, they could not take your pride

This is a repost (with a few slight modifications) of a blog entry I originally posted on my Myspace, January 15, 2007:

Two years ago, I traveled to Atlanta, GA to attend the funeral of my close friend Jimmy. While I was in the city, I also had a chance to visit the Martin Luther King, Jr. National Historical Site, which included a tour of the home in which Dr. King was born and raised, the church where he began his ministry, and his and his wife's gravesites. It was an amazing honor to be able to stand in the room in which he took his first breath, and to stand in front of his grave.

In my churchgoing days I used to say that the first person I wanted to meet when I got to heaven was Dr. King. My beliefs in the afterlife may have changed somewhat, but that desire is still with me. What an amazing human being.

Happy Birthday, Dr. King... and may your Dream come true.

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Hooray for celebrity gossip

It's so much fun to stand in line at the supermarket. Where else can a woman who's battling infertility read no less than six different magazine covers telling her which celebrities have recently had babies (Christina Aguilera, Nicole Richie), which celebrities are expecting (Halle Berry, Jennifer Aniston, Matthew McConaughey), and which ones are trying again? (Britney? Oh sweetie, really?)

At least Halle, pregnant at 41, gives me hope... the rest of it is just annoying. Are people really this obsessed by celebs, that we need every magazine at eye level to be talking about pregnancy, pregnancy, pregnancy? Whatever happened to Kirstie Alley's battle with her weight?


Oh, and just to prove that I'm no better than anyone else in the celebrity-obsession department, has anyone else heard the rumor that Will Smith is now a scientologist? Say it ain't so, Will!

*big heaving sigh*

Joyeux anniversaire à moi!

I don't want to turn 34.

34 is a scary number. Because 34 is right before 35, and I don't EVER want to turn 35.

I'm not done having babies, and my fertility is already in the crapper, but 35 is when things are supposed to *really* get bad fertility-wise. And if I do get pregnant, want to know what the term is for a pregnancy in which the mother is over 35? A senile pregnancy. Isn't that nice?

So, yeah, I'm really not to keen on turning 34, what with all the senility lingering just around the bend. So I've cooked up a scheme -- if I'm not in the country or time zone in which I was born, then 34 won't be able to find me, and therefore I can bypass all the age-changing.

And so I'm going to Paris.

Yep -- for several lovely days at the beginning of March, I will be in La Ville-lumière (City of Lights) with my wonderful husband. I have dreamed of going to Paris my entire life. It's always topped my "Places I want to see before I die" list. I can't even really believe I am going. Somebody pinch me!

Now, what should I pack....?

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

More on Mindfulness

So I figured out one other thing -- besides making spaghetti sauce -- that I do mindfully, and that is boxing. The fact is, when you're boxing, you really can't focus on anything else. And, if you do, your trainer will sucker-punch you in the gut like mine did today. LOL.

Before my trainer session today, I did the yoga class at my gym, hoping for a bit of mindfulness as well as expanding my practice beyond the one DVD I own. The class was harder than I thought it would be, but I kept up pretty well. The only problem I had was that I was watching myself among all the skinnier women in the mirrors, thinking "dear god I'm fat... good lord, if I'm this fat now, how fat was I when I was fatter than this?" Yeah... well. We all do it. But... I enjoyed the class overall, so I'm going again next week, and I'm not going to look in the mirror at all :P

So, two hours at the gym, and I couldn't figure out just why I was so exhausted tonight lying on the couch while watching American Idol. Ha ha. I'm sore, but I feel good...


Wishes and Favorites

I'm stealing these two ideas from Misty and combining them into one blog post! It's good to have things like this to focus on (waste my time doing?) to take my mind off being depressed and dreading my surgery in ten days...

First, a few of my favorite things:

1. Flowers. Daisies, in particular.
2. Strawberries, especially when they're so ripe that they're almost purple, and the juice dribbles down your chin the second you bite into them.
3. The ocean.
4. Books.
5. Clean sheets on my bed.
6. Working out with my trainer.
7. Johnny Depp.
8. Reese's Peanut Butter Cups.
9. Brown Cow Whole Milk Yogurt (especially the Apricot Mango).
10. Vietnamese grilled meatballs wrapped in rice paper with noodles and basil and mint...
11. Knowing that there is a U2 CD to fit every one of my moods.
12. Travel.
13. Dr. Bronner's Peppermint Castille Soap.
14. Going out dancing and drinking with friends, both old and new.
15. Swimming.
16. Campfires.
17. Jeans that fit (and are 3 sizes smaller than last year).
18. Sunshine.
19. Buying apples at the farmer's market.
20. Growing vegetables, herbs, and flowers in my garden.
21. Giving gifts.
22. Musicals.
23. Movies I've seen dozens of times and still want to watch again.
24. Learning new things.
25. Curling up in Matt's arms and feeling perfectly content.

Now, two wish lists (and no, not like my 13-page wishlist!)

My Materialistic Wish List:

1. A new baby, preferably of the female variety, but I'll happily take one (or two) of either gender.
2. A house with an actual kitchen, instead of a closet-sized room with only 2 square feet of counter space...
3. More books... because, you know, the overstuffed bookshelves in my dining room surrounded by stacks of books piled on the floor isn't nearly enough ;)
4. Time to write. (Maybe that's not materialistic enough?)
5. Let's be truly self-indulgent, here: A housekeeper/cook.

My Spiritual Wish List:

1. The self-discipline to get up each morning before the kiddo and spend time meditating.
2. The ability to let go of the little (and big) things that bug me and get in the way of my relationships.
3. Mindfulness.
4. The ability to answer questions like, "But why shouldn't Anakin have killed Count Dooku?" in a way that makes sense to an 8-year-old.
5. To meet and talk with Elizabeth Gilbert (author of Eat Pray Love).
6. (Can I add one more?) To love myself the way Matt loves me -- unconditionally, dutifully, completely, despite all my shortcomings and failures.

Feel free to steal these ideas for your own blog!


Friday, January 11, 2008

The Zen spaghetti sauce recipe

Per Jenn's request, here is my spaghetti sauce recipe. I took photos of the process, but now I can't figure out how to add more than one photo to the blog. Ah, well, at least I enjoyed myself!

I posted this recipe to a Myspace group a few months back, too. My sister taught me how to make this sauce, which is cheaper, healthier and infinitely yummier than anything you can buy in a jar. Not to mention, of course, the meditative quality of the preparation ;)

The recipe:

1 28-oz. can crushed tomatoes
1 14.5-oz can diced tomatoes, drained
1 6 oz can tomato paste
3-8 cloves garlic, peeled and diced (depending on size of cloves and your personal preference -- I like my sauce extra garlicky)
1/2 small onion, peeled and diced (optional - I'm not a big fan of onion, so I don't usually add it, but it can be yummy!)
basil and oregano to taste (in the summer I use fresh basil and oregano from my garden; in the cooler months I used dried)
olive oil
1-2 tbsp sugar (optional)
meatballs (optional -- recipe follows)

In large pot (dutch oven, soup pot, etc), slowly heat enough olive oil to cover bottom of pot over medium heat. When the oil gets shimmery, raise heat slightly, then add garlic and onions and sautee, stirring frequently, until onions are translucent. Add tomato paste and stir until well combined. Next, add basil and oregano and diced tomatoes and continue to stir. Then add crushed tomatoes, stir again, reduce heat to simmer and cover. (If you want to add meatballs, do it now!) Let simmer at least 1 hour, stirring occasionally. If the sauce is a bit more acidic than you'd like, adding 1-2 tbsp. sugar will reduce the acidity. Skim fat if desired before serving. Serve over hot cooked pasta.

For meatballs:

While the sauce is simmering, combine 1 lb. ground beef (or turkey, or beef/pork/veal meatball mix) with 1 egg and about 1/4 cup Italian seasoned bread crumbs. When well combined, roll by hand into balls about 1 inch in diameter. Brown meatballs in a large frying pan over medium-high heat, until they are browned all over (doesn't matter if they are cooked through -- they have plenty of time to do this while they are simmering in the sauce.) Drop one by one into the sauce, stir gently to cover the meatballs, and simmer for at least 1 hour.


Canned tomatoes are readily available in any supermarket. Tastiest brands (IMO) are Muir Glen and Hunt's; cheapest way to go is store brand.

Storing/freezing extra sauce is great for a quick meal (just heat sauce on stove or in microwave, cook some pasta, and you have dinner in less than 15 minutes). I store sauce in the plastic quart wonton soup containers from Chinese takeout (thoroughly washed, of course!) You can also use Ziploc freezer bags for storage -- just make sure the sauce is cooled and that you have someone to help you, as you will need 4 hands to get the sauce into the bag! Sauce can be stored in the fridge for up to a week and in the freezer for several months.

Feel free to experiment by adding sauteed mushrooms, green peppers, etc. to your sauce, and spices such as crushed red pepper, rosemary, etc. It's your own homemade sauce, after all, so it should reflect your tastes :)

Warning: your house will smell AMAZING while the sauce is cooking. Neighbors may drop in unannounced!

The Prince of Darkness!

Matt and I attended the Ozzy Osbourne concert tonight!

<-- This is Matt being Metal. LOL.

I'd never been to an Ozzy concert before, though Matt has seen him 3 times.... way back before we were together. I tried to remember why I hadn't listened to Ozzy back then and then I remembered that I went to one of those fundie mind-control churches where they considered stuff like Ozzy "devil music" and showed us videos that told us how satanic he was. And that just made me (and my inner rebellious teenager) even happier to be there! LOL.

It was an *awesome* show! Pyrotechnics, a huge coffin-shaped cross with OZZY written across it, girls in the audience flashing boobie, and Ozzy spraying the crowd with foam... lol. I bought a TIGHT t-shirt with "OZZY" across the front in rhinestones. The show was definitely NOT long enough, but concerts rarely are. Ozzy is so cute with his little pot belly. I love just listening to him talk, lol. And Zakk Wilde is amazing on guitar.

He sang one or two songs from his newest album... I *loved* "Not Going Away":

Get out of my way.
There's nothing you can do to change what I say.
I won't ever let go.
I've got the answer,
But you'll never know.
I got my eyes opened wide,
Ain't gonna slip up or slide,
Can't take me down,
After all I'm still crazy...

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

I love when things like this just fall into your line of vision...

“You may have a fresh start any moment you choose, for this thing that we call 'failure' is not the falling down, but the staying down.” ~ Mary Pickford

Monday, January 7, 2008

Zen and the art of spaghetti sauce

The past few weeks have been exceedingly stressful for me. My determination to enjoy the holidays no matter what notwithstanding, I've had to deal with not only the minor annoyances that the season always brings, but several things that have sent me reeling.

One of these events was taking my son to get evaluated for Non-verbal Learning Disorder (NLD), putting him through several weeks of testing, and then being told that the reason he displays these symptoms is not because he has a neurological disorder, but because I've done such a shitty job homeschooling him. Yeah -- his inability to write or tie his shoes, his tendency to take things literally, etc are, apparently, all my fault. And the cure, of course? Enroll him in the local public school.

If that doesn't make someone feel like a terrible parent, what will?

Then, of course, there was the negative pregnancy test, finding out I have to have surgery, not getting my father's Xmas gift until January 5th (a word of advice: NEVER order anything from!), and best of all, old addictive behaviors rearing their ugly head. If there was an award for failure, I think I would win it this year.

I could really use some inner peace.

I've been trying for a long time now to practice meditation, but I always wind up failing. My brain doesn't seem to be wired for it; I can't shut off my thoughts. I've read several books and websites to try and get some insight into the practice, but I always wind up frustrated... and then, of course, I quit trying, which isn't conducive to anything except feeling like a failure, yet again.

Then there's mindfulness, which is sort of a meditative state in which you completely focus on the present moment and the task at hand. I have to admit I'm not very good at this, either -- my mind races at about a billion miles per second and I tend not to experience things while they're happening because my mind is someplace else. However, I do have one task that I am able to do mindfully. Don't laugh -- it's making spaghetti sauce.

Making spaghetti sauce engages all my senses and allows my mind to quiet itself. As I peel and mince the garlic, open the cans of tomatoes, add the spices, I am able to be fully focused on what I'm doing. I don't know why spaghetti sauce does this for me, but I'm grateful that it does. (And I think it's probably not a coincidence that I make a pretty kick-ass sauce.)

Needless to say, I try and make spaghetti pretty often. I may not be a Zen master yet, I may be a terrible parent, I may still be a stressed-out spazz, but at least I have this...