Friday, August 29, 2003
It's quite a haul. The cooler it shipped in was about 18" by 16" by 22", and it was chock full of truffles, wafers, one of just about every bar Lindt makes, baking bits, hot cocoa, hot fudge sauce, and a coffee mug. Even the serious chocoholics in the office are a bit intimidated. The person who sits in the area outside my office just said that all she's hearing whenever anyone comes in is "Wow! Oh my god!"
Thursday, August 28, 2003
As for the car, the guys at the garage were giving big props to Hyundai. Apparently they can check out all the parts, recall, service bulletin, etc., info online very easily, which they liked. Plus they gave good marks to the Elantra (and Hyundai in general) for reliability and ease of maintenance, which is good to hear.
Finally, it looks like it'll only be partly cloudy tonight and no rain, so we might be able to get a good look at Mars!
Yesterday, Evelin surveyed the damage the Tuesday-night storm caused to the garden. We lost one tomato plant, but she was able to upright a downed bell pepper. Borers or some other bug had hit the one remaining zucchini, so it got pulled out and we're hoping nothing spread to the butternut squash. Now I have to figure out what to do with all the green tomatoes from the lost plant. Martha Stewart Living had a green tomato chutney recipe that looked interesting ...
And, finally, the Hyundai is ready for its first oil change. 3,750 miles passed so quickly.... Still, it'll be nice to drop it off for an oil change without having to worry about that phone call asking if I want to replace this, that, and the other.
Wednesday, August 27, 2003
Evelin was feeling worn out -- probably a side effect of the MTX -- so she came home early. When I got home, the lights had been out for an hour and she was reading by candlelight.
On the downside (yep, losing power actually counts as fun, so long as it doesn't happen too often or stay out too long), our neighbor fired up his generator a little bit before I got home, breaking the quiet of the blackout. Maybe he has a sick old aunt who lives with him or something, and she requires the electricity to breathe. However, I don't think that's actually the case. I think he has a whole house generator just because he wants to watch TV or something.
Of course this means opening the windows in hopes of getting a little cooler air also invites in all his noise. In the past, it's kept us from sitting on the porch to enjoy the thunder and lightning (this has happened several times now).
Trying to go to sleep, Evelin was able to focus on the chirping of the crickets and the rustle of leaves in the wind. I wasn't feeling so generous.
Irritated, I took a walk through the neighborhood. There were people milling around, kids playing flashlight tag, candle-lit living rooms, and lots of dark, quiet houses. About two blocks in most directions, the power was still on with the normal hum of air conditioning. That's what a blackout should be like, not the roar of one diesel generator keeping a single house lit while everyone else is spending a quiet night talking or reading or playing a game (or even blogging to a Palm) by candlelight.
At some point the generator shut down. I don't know if it was shut off or if it ran out of fuel. A little before 3:00 a.m. the power came back on.
Tuesday, August 26, 2003
Even if we are able to go away for that week, it's unclear where we'd end up. I've been playing with a couple of ideas, but Evelin's not sure which she really feels like doing: Alberta and Montana; Ontario and Québec; the Navajo Nation; Washington state and British Columbia; the Wisconsin cheese, beer, and wine tour. All see to involve a fair amount of driving, which is typical for us ... well for me. I just don't cotton to the go-to-the-beach-and-sit-in-the-sun type of vacation. I want to see multiple things -- natural wonders, historic sites, museums, bookstores, etc. -- and I'd rather go hiking or visit a winery or something. Last year when we went to Scotland, we ended up driving 400-plus miles up from Edinburgh to Tain and then around Loch Ness and through Glen Coe on the way back to Edi with side trips to family grave sites, Pictish ruins, museums, castles, pubs, distilleries and even a winery. And a good chunk of that was on roads a lot smaller than the Interstates and highways we would be using to get around in North America.
But with everything that's going on, Evelin's not sure she feels like flying somewhere just to drive a few hundred miles this year. Probably, we'll wait until after the embryo transfer and then just take a quiet week somewhere nearby, maybe a cabin in the mountains or even a place along the beach ... either way getting away from the office would be nice.
Monday, August 25, 2003
Even though they said they were game, we ended up skipping Howard Dean's appearance in Northern Virginia. I'm a bit bummed about that -- especially because after talking to them about Dean a bit over the weekend, my dad claims he's interested to learn more (color me skeptical, but he can be a pretty contrarian Republican, so maybe there's hope) -- but an MP3 of the rally has been posted (link through Dean's Blog for America).
After my folks left on Sunday, we headed back to the clinic for Evelin's shot of MTX. She talked to the doctor on Saturday morning before my folks arrived and he was adamant that she come in ASAP for the shot. Evelin'd wanted to wait and let things grow a little more so that we might be able to figure out where the embryo was, but the doctor was concerned -- because we didn't know where it was -- that we stop things now so that no damage occurred, i.e., a tube rupturing. The nurse who administered the shot was a former oncology nurse, so she had lots of extra cautions about the drug that we hadn't gotten before (for example, flush twice because an active form of the drug is excreted through the urine for about 48 hours after getting the shot and it can become airborne from the toilet. She also said that she really liked the color of the methotrexate (MTX), a vivid yellow-green. Apparently two other common anticancer drugs are red and blue and the three together in syringes look really pretty. I guess you have to come up with all sorts of coping mechanisms as a nurse.... Evelin got two shots with long needles (one into each haunch), but only a little yelp.
She dropped me off at the Zoo on her way home, about 30 minutes early for my panda watch shift, so I got to watch an Asian elephant, Toni, swimming around in the pool in the elephant yard for a while. It was a really different vantage point and she moved so differently than an elephant does on dry land. Especially neat was watching her roll onto her side to scratch her back on the wall of the pool. I also kept waiting for her to spray the crowd with water, but she remained well behaved. I guess she hasn't seen the reaction Shamu gets whenever he soaks the crowd.... Nothing to really report about the bears: Mei isn't quite back to her pre-pseudopregnancy self, but she's much more active. She and Tian are scheduled to get reintroduced to each other today, so it could be a fun day to watch on the webcams.
Saturday, August 23, 2003
Evelin didn't hear back from the doctor yesterday, so he may call today or Monday, so we're basically floating along right now. No change from yesterday. Evelin got a bit weepy last night for no particular reason, so the hormone drop might be starting. We still haven't told my parents about this miscarriage, so I don't know if Evelin will want to wait until after they're gone to tell them or not. She told her folks last week, and they're going to see my parents over Labor Day Weekend, so we should let them know, I guess ...
Friday, August 22, 2003
Anita reminded me that I haven't blogged about Mei Xiang lately. Well, the Zoo called off the pregnancy watch this morning: Mei is getting more active, looking to go outside more often, and the hormone levels have been at baseline for a few days now, so it's officially being called a pseudopregnancy and Mei and Tian should be back to their normal selves in a week or three. Out in San Diego, however, Bai Yun gave birth to a cub on Tuesday. She was/is pregnant with twins and the second cub has yet to be born, which means the second one isn't likely to be born alive. Bai Yun is caring for the first cub, however, and hopefully he or she (there's no knowledge of the sex yet) will successfully grow to adulthood. Interestingly enough, the four-year-old Hui Mei, Bai Yun's first cub, just went through her first estrus and is likely entering into pseudopregnancy.
If the levels are dropping (at a good rate), then we'll probably keep monitoring and let things happen naturally. If they're still increasing, then it probably means an MTX shot to end things and to hurry the miscarriage along, or maybe a D&C, although there is little likelihood of finding tissue that could be tested for abnormalities and it might miss something as we don't know if the embryo is in a tube or somewhere else. *sigh*
Thursday, August 21, 2003
- 3 medium or 1 very large zucchini
- 1 egg, lightly beaten
- 1 Tablespoon mayonnaise
- 1/2 cup corn kernels
- 1 cup bread crumbs
- 2 Tablespoons minced onion
- 1 Tablespoon dried parsley flakes
- 4 pinches celery seed
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 Tablespoon Old Bay seafood seasoning
Peel the zucchini. If it's large, remove the seeds and pulpy interior; this step's not necessary for smaller ones with solid flesh. Grate the zucchini until you have about 2 cups, firmly packed. Put the grated zucchini into a colander, weigh it down, and drain for 2 hours or so. Mix the zucchini well with all the other ingredients. Form into small cakes and fry in a little canola oil until lightly brown on both sides.
It seems simple enough, and it is, but I don't know if I use too high a heat for the frying or what. None really burned, but some did get a little charring in places (I think mostly from the drippings from previous cakes; I had to fry them in about four batches).
Wednesday, August 20, 2003
The plan is, once Evelin has her next period, is to start on birth control pills (which seems like an odd thing to do when you are trying to get pregnant, but that's the first step). Then we start in with Lupron shots, which leads up to egg retrieval and sperm collection. Then the lab checks the eggs and sperm for abnormalities, pulls out the good ones from each, mixes 'em up and then we wait a few days. At the blastocyst stage (either 5 or 7 days), the PGD folks do an analysis and then we put back two or three into Evelin and hopefully everything grows into a healthy girl or boy or twins ... I'm sure I've oversimplified some of this and/or misstated it, but I'll blog more accurately when we're actually in the process. At this point, we just have to wait.
Oh, the doctor also agreed to let Evelin start with the Lovenox shots before a positive pregnancy test; he said that the clinical evidence doesn't support that, but in the past they used to err towards giving the shots too early and Evelin has talked to other people online and elsewhere who started earlier and she thinks it can only help.
Since we didn't get out of the doctors until around 10:00 a.m., and because we had to stop by Staples to buy a new printer (the old HP Desk Jet 550C died ... or so we thought, one of the cables turned out to be poorly seated; but the new printer is cheap (an Epson Stylus C62), smaller and quieter, and the old HP does have some "quirks" that make it less than reliable, so the replacement is a good thing), I decided to work from home. I offered to take it as a sick day, so I guess I'll find out tomorrow if I have to or if I'll get credit for what I get done.
Not surprisingly, I seem to get more done from home than in the office; there are plenty of distractions here, but it seems easier to actually work when I'm not being called in for a meeting or consultation or general whinging from someone or another. Plus, I can crank up some old-school De La Soul or something at home and no one minds. (Right now, I'm listening to the Reality Bites soundtrack and the Me Phi Me cut, "Revival!," is making want to break out 3 Feet High and Rising ... on vinyl. See, this is the sort of distraction -- along with compiling this blog entry -- I have at home, which is no where near as bad as what happens in the office ...)
UPDATE: Okay ... we just heard from the clinic; the numbers are back up to 580, which is doubling from the 137 of last week, but it shouldn't be doing that. There's a possibility of ectopic, but the number is up decently from the 137, so we have no idea what that could mean. I want to be optimistic, but that isn't really realistic. We're going in Friday morning; originally it was just for bloodwork, but they'll do an ultrasound now to see if there's any evidence of a placental sac or anything. If nothing is evident in the uterus, then it's likely ectopic. If there is a sac ... who knows? The going backwards could indicate irreparable damage, even if things were to progress from here. Urgh, maybe we'll be having another consultation next week ...
UPDATE: Vinyl is excellent. After De La Soul, I was flipping through some other albums and just put on Romeo Void's "Never Say Never" 12". The new wave saxophone is great. Next up ... Mental As Anything, Lords of the New Church, The Itals, The Long Ryders ... the possibilities boggle the mind. I definitely need to get a good turntable for the main stereo system.
Tuesday, August 19, 2003
Needless to say Evelin wasn't happy. "I'm in the middle of my fifth miscarriage, there's nothing the doctor can do for me." They insisted (I don't know if it's an office rule or an HMO rule), so she's going in early this morning. Hopefully, for everyone involved's sake, they won't keep her waiting too long and they give her the referral then and there, instead of trying to say it takes 36 hours or something.
UPDATE [10:40:22 AM]: I just heard from Evelin. She got the referral, but we've going to change GPs. After arguing yesterday, she got an 8:30 a.m. appointment; the doctor didn’t get in until 9:30 a.m. She was upset already, and his bedside manner mostly involved telling her to calm down. Now we just have to find someone (preferably convenient to her office) who's practice is accepting new patients ...
Monday, August 18, 2003
Sunday, August 17, 2003
Dinner tonight should be zucchini. We have three we harvested earlier in the week and there's one on the plant that I may pull off this evening. The crookneck squash gave up the ghost last week, so Evelin pulled it out, and the rolly-poly squash has yet to produce a single gourd. The butternut squash, however, are starting to fruit, so we may get some good ones in October.
The first bell pepper is looking like it might be ready for plucking in another week and a few others seem to be moving beyond the bud stage. Tomatoes ... we got to eat the first four cherries this weekend. Sadly, that's been it. The rest remain sitting on the vine getting neither ripe, nor red (or yellow or peach or less green, depending upon variety). I pulled one carrot; it was all of two inches long. Evelin's calendar says we should be sowing our second crop of carrot by now. The basil is looking good however; we may make a big batch of pesto this week, setting some aside to freeze and hoping the plants produce enough more leaves for a second big batch before winter. Yesterday, while cutting the grass, I did find a small strawberry in the front flowerbed that was ripe; nice and tasty. This morning I found two more, but the ants/birds/something had already gotten to them (sigh). The fig tree is as prolific as ever, which the birds enjoy, and if it keeps them away from the raspberries (not that there are any berries on the canes) then that's fine.
Saturday, August 16, 2003
We didn't tell them what's going on and, thankfully, they were a bit tired after walking around The Mall and downtown all day yesterday, so we were able to go to bed early instead of sitting around talking. Evelin's doing well right now; things'll start to hit harder when the hormone levels drop and the actually loss begins, but we're sadly too familiar with this now.
I finished cutting the grass this morning and got a haircut and a shave. Evelin's working on some résumés, and we may go see Fellowship of the Ring at the Outdoor Film Festival for NIH Charities tonight. Probably we'll just play things by ear ...
Friday, August 15, 2003
I'm blogging this on my Palm on the Metro on the way home (well, writing on the Palm and will upload to the computer to blog it). I can't scream or cry the way I want to, and I'm sure I'm making a parent or two worried when I sort of zone out looking at their baby or child.
In the Pentagon City Metro Station (which is where I boarded the train) the police were talking to two guys. I didn't really look at them as much as at the two handguns and other objects neatly placed on the station floor.
A few stops before the end of the Yellow Line, I almost got off the train thinking I hadn't switched lines. I guess I'm a bit distracted. Other passengers probably do think I'm a bit nuts or something.
The thing I'm least looking forward to is telling Evelin. Especially with her brother and his girlfriend visiting. One thing I haven't blogged about yet is Evelin's sister, who announced that she's pregnant when we were up in Massachusetts for her cousin’s wedding two weekends back. Although the immediate family knows about our previous losses, we've been keeping this cycle very quiet with the family, not telling anyone. When Evelin's sister announced (which was post-IUI, but pre-positive beta) it was a bit of a shock. Understandably, everyone was trying to be sensitive to/about Evelin's feelings, and it didn't work. Long story short, while we're very happy for them, we may have reacted more with stun than glee, which left Evelin’s mom telling her what a good aunt she'd be, which was exactly *not* what she needed to hear. They've all talked since then and 90% of the air's been cleared, but it still is going to complicate the feelings surrounding this loss. Plus, my brother's wife is due with twins in November (another long story short, IVF, and we're very happy for them), so we'll be an aunt and an uncle well before we're parents (assuming we don't go Raising Arizona or some other speed adoption route).
The blackout didn't affect Evelin's brother's flight down from Boston. We picked him and his girlfriend up in Baltimore and then sat around chatting for a while in the evening. Today, they're headed into the city while Evelin goes for a beta and more bloodwork (to see if we need to scale back or up the Lovenox shots). Tonight we may go out for dinner ... I'm hoping everyone else will be interested in Ethiopian, but Lebanese, Indonesian or tapas would work, too.
Thursday, August 14, 2003
Thinking of this weekend, Evelin's brother and his girlfriend fly in tonight to pick up the Mazda. We're not sure what their plans are, although he said something about driving down to southern Virginia to visit his girlfriend's sister. So we're not sure how much we'll see of them or when exactly.
Federalism is a good thing in principle and it seemed to work well in the pre-modern era. But nowadays -- at least when it comes to things automotive -- I would gladly swap the 55 or more department of motor vehicles around the country for a single federal entity. (And they aren't even all DMVs: Maryland has the Motor Vehicle Administration (MVA), Massachusetts has the Registry of Motor Vehicles (RMV), and there must be other variations out there.) Both the MVA and RMV websites have info on private vehicle sales (although neither makes it easy), but neither makes it easy or very clear about how to handle a private vehicle sale that involves parties from other states. Previously, when I've moved from state to state, the whole register/reregister in the new state and then deregister in the old state process has been a real pain the ass. At least three of the five or six times I've had to go through the process I've hit some snag that involved multiple letters back and forth with the authorities. Hopefully, Evelin's brother has done some looking into things from his side, and we can achieve the legal transfer smoothly.
Wednesday, August 13, 2003
Each night, I've been trying to "talk" to the little bean(s) (fetus or embryo seem like too technical of terms; baby doesn't feel right for this stage of development), placing my hand on Evelin's belly and thinking good thoughts towards her/him/them each night; trying to tell her/him/them that we're a safe place, to burrow in and grow well, etc. Hopefully she/he/they is/are listening and this spotting is nothing to worry about ... :|
More on the chocolate, apparently it was the Art of Indulgence contest, sponsored by Lindt, Angel Records and Robert Mondavi, and I was the first place winner. Apparently, I wrote a 25- to 75-word answer to the question "How do wine, chocolate and music enhance your life?" The person I spoke to last night said they would post my answer, but I was a bit stunned and forgot to ask where it would be posted. (I'd like to see what I wrote, as well as to see what the person who won the grand prize (a week-long trip to Switzerland) wrote ...)
Tuesday, August 12, 2003
But things in Europe are even weirder. My editor in Paris escaped the city last weekend to visit friends in Normandy, where it was still hot. Heathrow Airport in London reached 100 degrees Fahrenheit. 100 in DC, yeah, that happens. In London? Never. And this heat (not to mention forest fires across the Continent) are on top of the massive floods last autumn. Which leads me to this story from the BBC about a seal from Zoo Praha: Prague's hero seal is posthumous father. I missed the story of this breakout when it happened last year, but I'm not surprised the seal made a run for it. I really like zoos because they play an important role in preserving species and expanding knowledge (both public knowledge and scientific), but many are old, underfunded and suffering from crumbling infrastructure, which isn't good for the animals, science or the public. I'm conflicted.
In zoo news closer to home, I just heard that on the radio that Mei Xiang is exhibiting some cradling behavior, which is yet another inconclusive sign of pregnancy or psuedopregnancy. On Sunday, she was a little more active than she has been in recent weeks, which isn't saying much, but there was no nestbuilding or other pregnancy-related behaviors. I don't know if she is or if she isn't, and she's not giving any definite clues. I think there's another ultrasound scheduled for tomorrow, so maybe we'll find something out. To tell the truth, I hope Mei isn't pregnant because she still is pretty young (plus if Tian Tian has to stay by himself for a year or more while she's raising a cub, it could get a bit ugly -- he really seems to thrive on interaction), but if she is it'll be quite exciting ...
Monday, August 11, 2003
Sunday, August 10, 2003
Anyone who lives in the Mid Atlantic knows what the weather has been like this spring and summer -- rain, more rain, some dreary days, followed by more rain. By July it did calm down some, but we've had way more days of rain than not.
Anyway, I had been putting off cleaning out the gutters for a few weeks. It seemed like, after the previous years of drought and near drought, the oaks were determined to get as much reproduction in as possible and the oak silks (the little "feathers" that hold the pollen and then fall off; I'm not sure that the technical term for them is, we've always just called them oak silks) just kept falling. I only wanted to clean things out once, so I was waiting.
The night we flew back (a roundabout route from New Orleans to Chicago to Baltimore) there was a massive downpour, so while we were disturbed to find water on the floor, we were glad it was only in one room and we started planning to replace the windows. (The house has old windows that were put in the 1980s or so, and they're crap. We know they need to be replaced, but the inertia is great ...) The next day, however, the sorry truth came out.
The rain started in the afternoon, so I headed up to the bedroom just to see if I could tell where the leak was coming from. Well, it seems the gutters were so clogged that the water was just sheeting down the side of the house, into the window jamb and then extruding out to the inside sill. It was also happening in all three rooms upstairs (although our bedroom was the worst). We went through every towel in the house and several T-shirts trying to sop up the water as it came in.
As soon as the lightning tapered off (but before the rain ended), I was on the roof, digging tons of crap out of the gutters. I also added little light bulb-shaped wire nets to the top of each downspout to help keep them clear.
This morning, I was back up on the roof. I had noticed a week ago that there were some oak leaves hanging over the edge over the gutters, so I figured it would be a good idea to get up there to check the gutters and to clean out any clogs (with all the rains, a lot of stray leaves, sticks, large branches, squirrel dreys, etc. have been falling). It was good to see that there wasn't much in the way of clogs up there. The wire things seem to be doing their job, although a fair amount of clutter was accumulating around them.
Nothing new to report on the baby front. We go in Monday for the second beta: That'll be the really scary thing to hear. It'll have been three days, so we're hoping for a number at least in the 70s, although the higher the more reassuring ... fingers crossed.
And on the other baby front, I'm going to watch Mei this afternoon. The pregnancy watch is on 24-hours a day now, so maybe we'll have a cub in a few weeks or maybe not.
Saturday, August 09, 2003
Yesterday, however, another old scam surfaced in the office -- check washing. One of my writers in Africa had a check stolen (either intercepted somewhere in the mail stream or from his mailbox) and it was cashed, but instead of someone just getting the fee we were paying the writer, they washed the check and reprinted the payee, date, and amount fields ... boosting its value to several thousand. The payee was changed to a textile concern in Pakistan, so our CFO is convinced the money has gone to fund al- Qa'ida or something, but the truth is probably much more mundane ... Oh well, the bankers are in the process of trying to track back the money and to credit our accounts.
Evelin got the first Lovenox shot (a low molecular-weight version of heparin). The syringes are kind of neat. The meds are premeasured/mixed and all you have to do is pull off the cap, make the injection and then depress the plunger further and a protective sheath pops up to cover the needle. It still has to be disposed in a sharps biohazard box, but it's kind of cool.
I'm in the office today to try and get caught up with the September issue. We should have finished it by Friday, but it looks like it won't get off to the printer until Tuesday or so. It shouldn't cause any delays in printing or mailing, however, as it's August in Italy and the printer is closed until the 14th anyway ...
Friday, August 08, 2003
Also, I have decided to announce that I will not run for governor in the California recall. Not only am I not a registered voter in California, I think the entire process is quite silly. I urge anyone who was considering voting for me in the recall to first vote no on the question of whether or not to recall Gray Davis, and to then vote for Cruz Bustamante in the event the recall is approved. Or vote for Gary Coleman.
Thursday, August 07, 2003
First off, Evelin decided she didn't want another inconclusive test or, worse, a negative from the First Response test, so we're just going to wait for the beta tomorrow...
Second, yesterday's Los Angeles Times food section included a roundup from the judging of the 2003 American Cheese Society annual conference. It sounds so yummy. Last year, the society meet in D.C. and while we didn't try to go to any of the sessions or tastings, they did get a special stand at the Duport Circle Farmers Market the weekend of the convention -- tons of artisan cheeses, including some really unique styles, all available super cheap. We picked up a mild crumbly sheep’s milk cheese, an excellent creamy blue cheese, a fairly piquant jack and a few others that I can't remember right now.
The farmers market we usually go to on Sundays in Takoma Park has an artisan cheesemaker who is now a regular, Keswick Creamery, and they have some excellent fetas and a nice jack cheese called Wallaby.
A year or two ago, I wanted to try to make cheese, but I never took the plunge to buy the equipment, plus I'm a little worried about the level of cleanliness needed to make sure the cheese isn't contaminated. Maybe if I get the winemaking under my belt first I'll feel up to the cheesemaking. Or if I ever get around to taking a cheesemaking class ...
Wednesday, August 06, 2003
On the car front, we still haven't donated the Mazda to the Kidney Foundation. It started as just keeping it around because it would be handy to have a second car for a series of appointments and stuff and then Evelin's brother thought he might want it (a car would give his bike-messenger business in Boston the ability to deliver large packages further), but after this morning, I'm not sure he really should want it. The sunroof leaks, that we knew. Usually it would just be a few drips and a quarter inch of water in the driver-side well after a heavy rain. This morning, Evelin wanted to use the car to go to her acupuncture appointment. Since it hadn't been driven in about two weeks, I went out to check the fluids and to make sure it would start up. There was some weird corrosion on the battery tie-down strap (none on the terminals, though) and it needed some oil, but it started up as nosily and stinky as always. I decided to take it for a quick spin around the corner to help dissipate the cloud of oil smoke it always gives off when first started and to shake out any rainwater that might be hiding in the roof.
You can guess where this is going.
As I head up the hill, I hear a pretty loud slosh sound and think it sounds weird. As I crest the hill and get to a stop sign (the deluge begins). Three gallons -- at least -- comes crashing down on my head, soaking the passenger and driver's seats. The water continues in drips, dribbles and cascades, all the way downhill and around the corner until I get back onto the incline in front of the house. I need to talk to Evelin's brother about this car. Donating it, I know it may have some utility/value for parts and scrap metal; as a business car, I'm having serious doubts.
Tuesday, August 05, 2003
Actually, I grew the full beard as part of the fertility thing. For those who haven't gone through visiting a reproductive endocrinologist (RE) and/or a fertility clinic, the first step is a lot of tests. Men have to give a vial or two of blood for basic tests for STDs and other issue and maybe an additional vial for DNA karyotyping; they also may have to have a semen analysis done. But these are usually one-time tests. Women seem to have to give more blood for additional tests, and they have to give them more often, as well as go through regular ultrasounds and other examinations. Plus the meds (if a medicated cycle is being pursued) go into her, not him. As silly as it may sound, I figured that if nothing else, I could grow a bigger beard to help the effort.
Okay, now that you've stopped laughing (or should I wait a bit longer?) ...
Okay, now, I know it sounds stupid and really won't make a difference in all this, but growing a beard did make me at least feel like I was doing something to help the process along. So far it hasn't proved effective, but fingers remain crossed and I probably won't adjust the facial hair until we have a positive that sticks.
Last night, I took a look at the test Evelin took in the morning. There's a really, really, really faint line that can be seen under proper lighting conditions. Positive? Evaporation line? Fluke? We're not sure. I bought a First Response home pregnancy test (HPT) on the way home last night, but Evelin decided (at my urging) to wait until Wednesday morning to test again. Fingers crossed.
Monday, August 04, 2003
The wedding was in Newbury Port, Massachusetts, a cute little town on the coast, just south of New Hampshire. The wedding coincided with Yankee Homecoming Days, a big street festival about three blocks away from the church and reception site. We arrived early (the happy couple had warned everyone that parking was tight at the site even without the festival) and got to see a bit of the festival before heading in to the wedding. I toyed with the idea of getting some big pink and blue dolphin balloons to release during the ceremony, but Evelin talked me out of it. If only they'd had penguin balloons. I don't think I could have been dissuaded if there were penguin balloons... While the Yankee Homecoming Days did mean a lot of traffic trying to leave town about the same time the reception broke up, it was cool because the town fireworks were visible through the windows of the reception hall. It was a pretty good display.
Evelin's family is pretty large. Her mother is one of nine children and Evelin's generation has 25 (maybe more, I'm sure I'm miscounting) people, including spouses and long-term significant others. During the wedding, when the minister asked the family members to stand to affirm their support for the couple and their marriage, our side of the church would have tipped on its side had we been in some sort of cartoon (I'm not sure that metaphor works, but the basic idea is there were a LOT of family members on that side of the aisle).
On Saturday, before leaving for the wedding, we ran around Evelin's hometown a little bit, visiting family and friends, and we got to stop at the grocery store to pick up some Wachusett Summer Breeze. I know I'm supposed to be off beer, whisky, wine, et al., until we have a pregnancy that sticks, but this beer is sooooooooo gooooood and it's only available in Central Massachusetts (or at least only available in New England, according to their website, it looks like they've increased production a bit since I lived up there). I did have a few drinks at the wedding (just doing my duty to throw off any suspicious aunts and uncles), including a Summer Breeze, but, for now, the case is sitting in the cellar, aging alongside a bunch of other bottles.
When we got home on Sunday, I had a little surprise in Dave Barry's column, a mention of my old boss. Neil Barnard is president of Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine, which is where Evelin and I met a decade ago, and while Barry does make him sound a bit goofy, it's always neat to run across him in the news or elsewhere. I may not still be vegan (cheese is tasty, even if it is full of fat, and I'm as fascinated by artisan cheesemaking as I am with artisan winemaking), but my time at PCRM really did help me get a good understanding of nutrition and I support what the committee is trying to do.
Now it's just a week of waiting for Evelin's beta (the official blood test for pregnancy) on Friday. She took a home test this morning and called to say it was negative, but then she called back later saying that there was a faint line. At this point, she doesn't feel like she has any symptoms, but it's still early (12 days post ovulation), I think, and she's been doing so much (acupuncture, dietary changes, homeopathy, meditation, etc.) to strengthen her body since the last miscarriage that I don't think she can count on feeling the same symptoms as the previous pregnancies. I'm keeping my fingers crossed, and if it didn't work this time, then we still have next cycle...
Funny language observation: I may be an editor, but I tend to be a fairly sloppy speller, particularly when I'm focused on writing (as opposed to editing). In spellchecking this entry, I had to doublecheck myself over the word "dissuaded." My instinct was to use "disswayed" meaning that I could not be swayed in the decision to get penguin balloons. "Sway" does work if I were being influence to do something or I could say that "I could not be swayed from" getting the balloons, but dissuade seems more natural. The root for sway, according to my Shorter Oxford English Dictionary, is of uncertain origin, but it could come from Old Norse sveigja, Dutch zwaaien, or Low German swājen, all of which mean (roughly) "swinging." Dissuade, on the other hand, is clearly from the Latin dissuadere, meaning to advise against. Even if dissway is not an established word, I like the homophone/synonym possibilities for dissway/dissuade, and googling dissway does yield a few hits (although googling for neologisms can be a dangerous hobby).
© 2003–2010 T. Carter Ross