Archive | February, 2014

Dresses

27 Feb

When I was a kid, I was kind of a tomboy.  I hated shopping–my mom and Val would go to the mall, and I’d stay home to read or play outside with the boys down the street.  When I made my first Communion, my parents dropped the rest of the kids off at my Oma and Grandpa’s house.  I insisted I should just stay there too, my mom could pick out a dress for me.  They forced me to come to “pick out something I liked.”  We walked in and I pointed to the first dress in the store–“that’s the one.”

I don’t know when the change from hating dresses to loving them happened.  But I can honestly say I love dresses.  Casual, knit comfy dresses or satiny, fancy dresses.  Anything in between.  I love them.  In the summer, they are the most comfortable thing to wear–so cool and breezy.  You can dress them up or dress them down.  They can be cute, sexy or comfy.  They say every girl needs a little black dress. I have 4 LBDs (and a couple more that are black and another color).

I love getting dressed up.  I wish there were more occasions to do so.  When I wish that I had pursued a career in law, I think part of it is that I wish I did something that warranted beautiful suits and pencil skirts and fancy heels.  I used to dress up more for work, but now especially that I’m working with little kids, it’s not practical.

This past weekend, we were at a wedding.  I had forgotten to grab a scarf for over my shoulders during the ceremony.  I asked my mom to borrow one of hers and she directed me to her closet.  I opened it and found half a closet full of dresses.  All different colors and styles.  Beautiful, fun dresses.  And my first thought was: “This is where I get my dress-buying problem from.  It must be a genetic thing.”

While I own a lot of dresses, I love that I never spend much on my collection.  The most expensive dress I own is the black one I wore this weekend–it was on sale for 25 bucks and I almost put it back because that was more than I’d spent on a dress in a long time.  I’m so glad I didn’t put it back–it’s one of my favorite dresses of all time.  I own a ton of them, but I wear them all the time AND I also have loaned dresses out to friends.  So if you are ever looking for a dress, I’ve got various sizes, styles and colors, and you’re more than welcome to come “shop” my closet for a dress to borrow.  Some of my favorites are below:

dress2

Little red dress!

dress3

My all time favorite LBD–black lace 🙂

dress4

one of the oldest dresses I own–this bad boy dates back to high school days…

dress5

wish I had a better pic of my dress from Espana…

dress6

My rehearsal dinner dress…that I’ve worn several times since including here, in Bermuda for Charlie and Jen’s wedding!

dress7

The infinity dress that I sewed for myself–you can tie the top in a billion different ways!

dress8

yet another little red dress…

My wedding dress played on the playground on our wedding day, danced like crazy all night long, got trashed at letchworth on the trails and train tracks and in the creek, and then got cut up and made into a party dress and tree skirt.  lotta miles on this baby...

My wedding dress played on the playground on our wedding day, danced like crazy all night long, got trashed at letchworth on the trails and train tracks and in the creek, and then got cut up and made into a party dress and tree skirt. lotta miles on this baby…

FINALLY

26 Feb

Things at the Eagan house have been pretty blah these days.  Blah might actually not even be bad enough.  Devastating might be a better adjective.  2 weeks ago, we found out that the latest round of Clomid didn’t do it’s job.  I was already in a rotten mood from the medicine, and this just put the nail in the coffin that I was going to be miserable and depressed for a while.  Then we got a call that Eric’s dad (who’d already been in the hospital for a few weeks not doing great) had taken a turn for the worse and we needed to come to Buffalo immediately.  My plans for a weekend pity party got left behind in Rochester and we went to Buffalo to visit in the hospital.  My mind was just not there–my mind was back at home, in my sweats, under a blanket on the couch, crying my eyes out.  Seeing his dad so sick made things worse–Eric and I have always talked about how we really want our children to meet my grandparents and our parents and have memories of them.  Every year that we are still not pregnant is one year of missed memories for our kids.  So sitting in ICU  was just a reminder that my body’s failure had gigantic consequences…*sigh*

 

Things did seem worse with his dad, so we came back to Rochester emotionally drained–bad news for us, bad news for his dad.  When it rains it pours, I guess.

 

Then a week ago, the Rochester Rhinos posted that they were looking for someone to help them with their digital media to help them grow their brand–so basically what Eric loves doing and has been very successful doing with #TrailsRoc.  He sent his resume, got an interview, kicked ass (of course), and got offered a part-time job doing  their digital media stuff.  So exciting!   FINALLY some good news around here.  I’m so proud of him for working so hard for so long and trusting that thiings would work out in the end.  And I’m super excited that he’s going to be getting paid to do something he loves!

 

Don’t get me wrong–it doesn’t take away the sadness or pain from the shitstorm that’s been hanging over us for weeks now.  But at least there’s something good to think about in the midst of all the bad stuff that seems to be going on. 

 

To our friends who have been so quietly supportive the past few weeks, thank you.  We’ve both been in  pretty rough places mentally, so your patience and tolerance are appreciated.  ❤

months

16 Feb

It takes 9 months for a woman to carry a baby to term.

Coincidentally, it’s been about 9 months since I finally said to my doctor that I was ready to pursue more aggressive medical treatment to have a baby.  9 very long months.  I was completely against medicine when we decided to try to have a baby three and a half years ago–I don’t like it, I don’t trust it, and I was convinced that we could fix my issues without any heavy-duty medical treatments.  So 9 months ago, this was a big step to take.  And when you take a big step, you think, logically, that things should start falling into place quickly.  I had such high hopes that my body would be so easy to fix.  When I think about the fact that this is how long it would’ve taken to have a baby, I get sad.  I thought even if we didn’t have a baby, we’d be farther along in this process by now.  I wish I’d have kept track of how much money we’ve already blown on useless treatments, tests and exams.  We’ve started saving all the receipts now–mostly out of morbid curiousity (and also because there’s apparently a tax write-off).  And we haven’t even gotten to any of the costly treatment options yet…

The 9 months started innocently enough.  A month taking meds to force myself to have a period so we could wait for the right time to go get poked with needles to get my blood screened to make sure everything was ok.  Another month waiting for my HSG appointment (aka the day they injected liquid fire into my uterus and fallopian tubes while they watched on an xray machine and I squirmed and writhed in pain).  And then ultrasounds to check on the status of the cysts currently on my ovaries (these new ultrasound techs are also impressed by the quantity of cysts I have–ultrasound people LOVE my beautiful examples of polycystic ovaries) .  A doctor visit for a pelvic exam to check my ovaries, and I thought we were on our way.  That was the end of August, three months after I’d told my doctor it was time to get more aggressive.

I thought by Thanksgiving at the LATEST, we’d be sharing with our families that we were thankful for modern medicine.  Not so much.

I thought by Christmas, we’d be wrapping pictures of positive pregnancy tests to give to our parents.  Not so much.

I thought by Joe’s wedding, I’d be shopping for a new dress because I’d have a baby bump.  No need for a hotel room–I won’t be able to drink anyway, so I’ll DD us.  Not so much.

Instead it’s been 6 months of drugs with nasty side effects.  I wouldn’t care about the side effects as much if the medicine was actually doing what it should and forcing my ovaries to work.   I would take all the side effects–I’d double them or triple them even.

It’s been 6 months of not sleeping well, because all night I have hot flashes–too hot, take off the covers; too cold, try to find all the covers again and pull Picasso up to snuggle me;  dammit Picasso it’s too hot you gotta move to the bottom of the bed so I can take off these covers and some of my layers of clothes;  waking up shortly thereafter to try to find my clothes, which are now freezing cold from laying on the floor, and laying in bed shivering and cold and miserable until I get too hot again.  Wanting so badly to sleep, laying there feeling how swollen my eyes are from lack of it, but being unable to.  Upset because I know I’m disturbing Eric and Picasso, too.  I have hot flashes all day long, but they are only really bothersome at night, and they seem to be more frequent at night, too.

It’s been 6 months of a hormone-induced roller coaster ride of emotions.  Yay happy life is so beautiful.  Then suddenly, I’m sobbing.  The Olympics are on.  Cry.  There’s a cute kid somewhere.  Cry.  A sappy commercial happens.  Cry.  Just sitting around.  Cry.  And if I’m not super happy or sobbing??  I’m ready to pick a fight, to yell and scream.  This is not me.  I am a Libra.  I am balanced.  I am a peacemaker, I am the logical one, I am the level-headed one.  I don’t want to see anyone half the time–I don’t even want to be around myself–how can I make anyone else deal with me???

It’s been 6 months of being bloated.  After the first round of Clomid, my doctor actually told me at my don’t-explode-the-ovaries check-up that I was going to bloat even more with each successive round–and then laughed–all while looking at my poor swollen tummy.  6 months of breaking out.  Of my hair falling out.  Of cramps and exhaustion and super-unsexy-feelings.  You would think drugs designed to get you knocked up would make you feel beautiful and desirable.  Instead, I feel hideous.  It’s like I’m in middle school again–uncomfortable in my own skin and wanting to hide myself.  Every morning, I look at the quote on my fridge–“confident women are captivating women”–and remind myself to put on a smile and own it, to work the room.  Fake it til you make it, baby.  But some days, it’s really hard to get dressed and go to work…

It’s been 6 months of gradually cutting back my running, at first unintentionally and subconsciously, but then completely intentionally.  A month or two ago, I even thought I might be pregnant.  I dogged it on every run–can’t push too hard, don’t want to jiggle the baby loose (even though I know that’s not actually possible).

It’s been 6 months of hearing all kinds of unwanted, unsolicited, unthinking advice.  “Just relax, it’ll happen” (yes because relaxing is the cure for diseases).  “Maybe it’s just not the right time right now.”  “If you stop taking the medicine, you will get pregnant.  It always happens” (yeah thanks, doctor).  “Maybe you’re not meant to be a mom” (and maybe we’re not meant to be friends anymore–peace).  “You can have my kids” (you hating the fact that you have what I want so badly makes me feel SO much better).  “Well there’s always IVF and adoption” (because we have tens of thousands of dollars laying around–not to mention the physical and emotional consequences of either of those options).

It’s been 6 months of working with kids who are starving for affection and attention.  Getting hugs from children I don’t even know, having them ask me for help tying their shoes or washing their hands.  Hearing about how they are tired because they were out with mom at a party last night until she got into a fight with so-and-so and they had to go because the cops came.  Seeing kids who are dirty, hungry, don’t want to go home because school is better and safer and happier than what SHOULD be the happiest, safest place for them.

Yesterday I went to another ultrasound appointment.  Nothing says Happy Valentine’s Day like having an internal ultrasound done–not to get graphic, but basically they have this long, skinny vaguely-dildo-looking thing that they put in you and use to look around your shit.  It’s completely painless, but I find it super uncomfortable emotionally (and yesterday somehow physically–apparently my ovaries had shifted from 2 weeks ago and she was having a really hard time finding and getting good pictures of them, which was completely unnecessary because there was apparently still nothing worth seeing besides all those beautiful cysts).  You would think with how often I’ve been in the stirrups these days and how many of these ultrasounds I’ve had, it would be no big deal to me.  Every time it gets worse.  It’s humiliating laying there, half naked, having people poke and prod you and look pityingly at you.  Again, I might feel differently if the medicines were having the intended effects.  But they’re not, and every time I hear “sorry” it’s another reason to find the appointment humiliating and depressing.

So I left my appointment and for the first time in 6 months, I didn’t cry when I got in my car.  Normally, I get in and sit there for a couple of minutes and cry it out before I leave, but this time, there weren’t any tears.  I just went straight to the liquor store and wandered for a while before buying a big bottle of cherry rum.  I ran into Wegmans next, and almost had to leave.  Right there in the front was one of those stupid carts with the race cars on them so your kids can have fun while you shop for Kool-Aid and cookies and Go-Gurt because hey you have kids!  I almost lost my shit, but I pulled it together.  I went in quickly, grabbed my diet coke and a package of peeps (hooray–they put out holiday stuff MONTHS before the holiday–which means Easter candy’s out!) and got the hell out of there.  I walked in the door to a hug from Eric, which instantaneously made me burst into tears, and then made dinner and a drink.  We watched some new episodes of House of Cards, I fell asleep on the couch (becoming typical for me).  We went to bed and I cried again.  Nothing says Happy V-day for my husband than going to bed with a half-asleep, sobbing woman.  Sorry, babe.

So yeah.  I’m trying to stay positive, and I’m sure in a couple of days, I’ll be able to see the humor in all of this (for example, I got onto the table for my ultrasound after changing and realizing that I had on the most ridiculous striped knee socks).  I’ll be able to think positively and to find something to hope for or some reason to believe that things will work out.  But right now, I just don’t.  Right now, I just want to be depressed and pissed off at how unfair life is and cry my eyes out and then get drunk on cherry rum and diet cokes until I forget that life sometimes sucks.  Sometimes for months…

Aside

comparison is the thief of joy

13 Feb

This morning, I read this article, “Their House is Better Than Ours.”  It’s perfect.  It’s exactly how Eric and I feel.

Are there things about our house and our lot that I wish we could change?  Of course!  But I also know that where we live allows us to have “wiggle room” (especially now, with my better job).  It allows us to go out for beers with friends after we run.  It allows us to aggressively pay off student loans (which are a horrible idea, for what it’s worth).  We don’t have to worry about what happens if one of us loses our job–we will keep the house because we purposely bought smaller “just in case.”

We bought the house with the 5-year starter home mentality.  Truth is, we might be here longer.  This house allows us to make financial decisions that are good for us and our goals.  It works for us.  In fact, it’s often  too big for us.  Our ideal house will always be right around this size–even if/when we have children.  Some of our friends and family may not understand or agree with our housing decisions–they might not agree with any of our decisions.  And that’s fine, because we’re all different.

Our house may not be physically perfect.  But it is ALWAYS filled with love and laughter.  There are so many good memories of parties and get-togethers and cozy nights with our little family snuggled up on the couch together.  Campfires with visits from the fire department and new foods and DIY home improvement projects.  Our house is a home, and the size of our mortgage or the “stuff” we fill it with has nothing to do with that “home” feel.  Comparing what you have with what someone else has is silly–everyone’s got different ideas about what’s good, what’s “worth it,” and what success is.  Their house is not “better” than ours–their house is “different” than ours.  And different is OK.

comparison

undecided

6 Feb

There was a time when I considered myself to be very religious.  As a teenager, I read some book about martyrs, prayed the rosary and even got up early to go to church on Sundays (sometimes alone).  I read the Bible to myself some nights–randomly opening it, picking a section and trying to figure it all out.  I prayed every night for a good guy to come around, marry me, take my virginity and give me a bunch of babies.  Life was going to be perfect because I was so loved by such an amazing God.  I believed.  Hard core.

I got to college, and my whole worldview shifted, as I suspect it does for so many (most?) people.  I could get into the things that happened to make me question my religious beliefs, but that would take forever and that’s not really the point.  I think it suffices to give you one culminating example.  Every year, Nazareth participates in Take Back the Night.  It’s a day of activities to educate about and prevent future sexual violence, particularly date rape.  In the evening, people gathered at the Cab (one of the dining hall type places) and there was a segment for anyone who wanted to speak out to do so.  I sat with some of my friends from my feminist classes and held back tears of pain silently as I listened to stories detailing rape and abuse and sadness and heartbreak.  And then I really began to cry–tears of frustration as people who had clearly never experienced any sort of sexual abuse took the stage to say that God was there, if you prayed you’d find comfort, if you trust in his greater plan, things would work out.

I couldn’t take it.  I got up and stood on that stage, knees trembling, crying in front of a room of mostly strangers, while one of my friends stood next to me.  I talked about how I loved people who could have blind faith in a greater being who had some divine plan  and that everything would work out and be all rainbows and butterflies for people who were going through hell right now.  How I wished I could believe like that, too.  But that I didn’t.  I talked about how I stood there for all the people who were pissed off at God, because I was too.  And how being pissed off at him was ok.  Questioning was OK.  That praying doesn’t make you feel better when the prayers go unanswered or they shouldn’t have to be said because no one should ever suffer violence of any kind for any reason.  And a good God would know that.

I lived pretty content with my decision to give up my faith.  I had quit going to church in college, except for a VERY ocassional Saturday evening with one of my roommates.  After college, I met Eric, who at the time, had pretty strong faith.  We would have lengthy conversations, arguing over religion.  I remember telling friends that a relationship between us would never work because I could never be with someone who believed those things.  But the truth is that I love a good debate, and I think Eric may have exaggerated his stance a bit, just to play devil’s advocate, just to keep talking to me.

We obviously overlooked our differeing viewpoints and got together, and the “God talks” continued.  Eric lived on campus as an AD at Naz, so he began hosting a weekly Bible study.  We had atheists, agnostics, all different branches and levels of Christianity, and people who just weren’t sure what they believed.  It was truly one of the best experiences of my religious life.  Hearing other people’s thoughts and teasing out the meanings behind different passages of the Bible was really cool. It was around this time that we started talking about getting married and having babies, and we both agreed that even though at this point neither of us was really sure what we believed in, we wanted our children to be raised with some sort of religious background.

So we began “church shopping.”  We went with some friends, every Sunday checking out another branch of Christianity.  We never found a “home.”  Eventually we quit looking.  I figured we’d find a church when we had a kid…so we had 9 months or so…how cute naive little Shme was…

So now we’re here, 3.5 years later, still churchless.  I am no longer sure I want my children to be raised in a church environment.  I still don’t know what I believe (and trust me, I question it a lot), but I know that in a world as fucked up, full of hatred and evil and sadness as this one, there just CAN’T be a god that’s all powerful and all knowing. That makes it sound like I can never see the good things that god may have a hand in–and that’s not true at all.  It just means that in my viewpoint, god can’t let amazingly good things happen for some people and then really terrible things happen to others.   A god like that couldn’t let terrible things happen to children.  He couldn’t let genocide and famine and natural disasters and horrible accidents happen.  And on a very personal note, he couldn’t give babies to thousands of people who weren’t ready and won’t take care of them, when there are thousands more wannabe mommas and poppas whose hearts are aching every night wanting to hold and care for and nurture a child.

Yesterday, a first-grade girl at one of the schools I work with came running up to me to get a hug.  She’s adorable–big, round face covered in freckles.  Short dirty-blond bob.  A total tomboy-looking baby girl.  Most days, she comes to school wearing dirty clothes.  Her hair is greasy and a mess–clearly no one does it for her.  She barely knows me, but if she sees me, she comes running to me to give me a hug (which is typical of many city school kids.  I get hugs from children I don’t know from classrooms I don’t work with on a daily basis).  Every time I see this particular baby, my throat catches.  This baby whose mom or dad is obviously ill-equipped to deal with her.  She is often tired, struggles with work, gets into trouble a lot.  In first grade, this is a reflection of parenting.  And it’s a reflection that breaks my infertile heart for two reasons.  The first is obvious–it’s unfair that her parents got to have a child while we are ready and waiting and trying for years.  The second is that it’s so ugly to feel so judge-y and mean-spirited towards people who have what I want just because I don’t have what I want.  It’s terrible and it’s not who I am, not who I used to be anyway.  Yet here we are, me judging every person I deem to be a shitty parent (and don’t worry, when I say shitty parent I mean really shitty, like allowing abuse to go on, not loving their kids or neglecting them) and wondering why them???  More importantly–why not me????

Last night we were watching the Nye/Ham debate.  I couldn’t stop thinking about how ridiculous Ham sounded.  There was not one iota of actual provable evidence that he could give.  All he could do was back up what he was saying with the Bible.  A book.  Can I use a fairy tale book to prove things are true??  Or any fictional work??  No.  So why is this an acceptable form of proof.  For me, it’s not.  For me, if you believe, it’s because you believe.  You have faith.  You don’t need or expect proof, and you are willing to overlook things in the name of your faith.  “It just is because that’s how God made it.”  I can respect that, I can understand that.  I was there at one time, too.

But I can’t do it.  I can’t look around me and honestly say that I believe in the Christian God.  When people say “you’ll have babies–just give it time–there’s a great plan at work–God works in mysterious ways–you should pray more so you will get pregnant”–I want to scream, I want to tear down all the walls, throw a temper tantrum.  Don’t tell me to pray–don’t you think people dealing with genocide and poverty and abuse and every other atrocity that is 100 times worse than anything I’ve ever experienced pray??? And where does that get them?  Don’t tell me that God has some grand plan for everyone.  Then maybe God shouldn’t have put it in my heart to want to be a mom so badly.

For  anyone that’s reading this and thinks that I look at the world as a terrible place, that I am miserably unhappy or completely off my rocker with grief and frustration and anger, know that I do not and I am not.  Do I look at the world, especially when I’m in nature, and get a tremendous sense of “something” that I have yet to identify?  Do I sometimes sit in a room full of friends and feel a complete and total contentedness and wonder if there is a greater power at work bringing kindred spirits together to love each other?  Of course.  Which is why I would still put myself in the “undecided” religious camp.  And for now, at least, that’s going to have to be good enough for me…