Monday, December 28, 2009


Miscellaneous snippets:

A dear friend posted on her f-book page about how this was her first Christmas as a mother, and how she was more excited about seeing her boys with their gifts than about her own gifts. And it made me chuckle because of my own reaction. A few years ago in the throws of infertility angst, it would probably have made me seethe with jealousy, and I would have stifled a tear or two because she got to be a mother and I didn't. Or something. But now? Now I thought "awww, you were previously excited about your own gifts? Man, my family Christmas sucks ass in comparison then, because I'm never excited about getting gifts." I think the last time I can remember being excited about getting gifts was when I was about 7. I have been disappointed ever since. No, I should rephrase that. I don't get disappointed because I now have sufficiently low expectations. And actually, this year, I got quite a good haul - from the family I got some nice jammies (that I can get into - I have in the past received clothing that is too small, as a "hint" to make me want to lose weight), a cute silver necklace, a bottle of vino, and chocolate, and from friends I got an interesting cookbook, more vino, more chocolate, a cool reusable shopping bag, and a couple of gift cards. Not bad at all, really.

I met a nice man who is interesting, and who maybe kinda seems interested in me. Whether it will go anywhere, I have no idea, as I am the worst, most lame person in the history of lameness at flirting. But he bought me a cup of coffee last week, and then on Thursday I got a Merry Christmas hug. So, we'll see. I hope he's the patient type. And that he perseveres in the face of lameness. But it has brought up all sorts of feelings about if I can get him to try to have kids together as a last ditch effort on my part (nota bene: we haven't even had a date yet, so this is wildly inappropriate thinking). And I came to a realization, which startled me. I realized that it is more important for me to approach any potential relationship in its own time, than to be a crazy person and try to rush somebody into ditching contraception just because I have a half-baked fantasy that 9 IVFs were wrong and that I'm actually still fertile. So, finally, a relationship will be more important to me because of its own merits than because of anything it can provide me in the way of kids. I think that's a pretty huge step, as it means I am at last putting away all of the kid fantasies, and am getting on with real life. Whatever real life has in store.

I freakin' love the public library. Just saying. Every time I go (which is sadly not often these days due to school commitments) I am bowled over by how libraries have changed with the times. You can renew books over the internet. You can order them over the internet. They have magazines! DVDs! All sorts of things. For freeeeee. Awesomeness. If only they had all my school books, I'd be set, as I wouldn't have to pay hundreds of dollars every year to get new text books. Anyway, this year I am determined to keep going to the library even during school time, so I can have a little mental break from studying with some nice piece of fiction, or whatever.

Merry New Year, one and all. I hope that if you are crushed by your own infertility pain (or any pain, really), that 2010 is the year that things finally go your way. Even if that means getting off the pain treadmill and finding other things to do with your life. Because that can be rewarding too, I promise.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Do you dream of home?

I don't know about you, but until recently I never dreamt of my own house when dreaming of anything set at any home. It was always either the house I grew up in (I lived in the same house from the time I was 6 months old until I left home at 18) or my paternal grandparents' house (similarly, they never moved when I was a kid). Even if the dream was set in the present day. Or if I was conjuring up a scene from a book. It would be set in one of those houses. Other relatives' homes or even other homes that I have lived in never really factored in to the equation, even though they or I may have stayed in them for long periods of time, but I assumed that because they were not "permanent" meant they were lost to my unconscious. Although sometimes I'd dream of my maternal grandparents, and those were set at the house they lived in the longest (that I remember), but if they weren't the main characters in the dream, their house wasn't in it either. I suppose I assumed you get hard wired to certain archetypes of "home" so I figured mine was set. I'd be interested how those of you that moved around as kids dream of home.

Until this weekend. I dreamt of my current house. But more specifically, it was a bit of a nightmare. You see, my house got broken into. AGAIN. And I lost my brand new laptop, and more importantly, more sentimental jewelry (my mother's and great-grandmother's engagement rings). The police said that I'm now being targeted and watched, because now they know that I live alone, that I'm out of the house a lot, the house isn't very secure, there's no big dog, and I have expensive taste in electronics (I'm paraphrasing here). And there's a huge crime wave in the neighborhood and they're trying really hard to catch them.

Blah. This time the front door was damaged as they jimmied the lock. I have had it repaired, but I have ordered a new, swankier, tougher door, with no soft wood that can be splintered with a pry-bar type of a deal. I can't wait for it to be installed, as I don't feel all that safe any more. [Yes, the alarm was on, and went off, but it was a smash, run in and grab type thing. They were long gone before the police and I arrived.] I also have the alarm company coming on Wednesday to beef up the alarm system.

So, my dream. I dreamt that I was in my house, my current house, and there were evil zombie-type people outside trying to get in. They were banging against the living room window and the front door, rattling things, and generally being very menacing and zombie like. But in the dream I knew that I had awesome and terrible magic power, and so I raised myself up and boomed out "by the power vested in me, you shall NOT gain access to this house. This house is SAFE. You will LEAVE this property and not gain entry." And I zapped 'em with the power rays coming out of my hands. And then there were all the zombies with their hands on the windows, melting away and dying these rather horrible deaths. But oh, the evil looks that they gave me as they writhed and melted away were awful and fearsome, and I knew that it was not over and that they were going to try to come back again.

I just need to find my inner awesome and terrible power and make my house safe again, and then I'll be good.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Up, Down, On Pain

Have you seen the movie "Up" - you know, the animated one with the old guy and the house and balloons and the little fat kid?

I rented it last night. Oh my lord, it made me bawl. I'm not sure that that was the intended effect on the moviegoing public, seeing as it's a Disney movie, and all, and I'm sure it is supposed to be a comedy. But still, there was bawling in my house. The kind of crying that is so loud and involved that you have to snort hard to get gasps of breath in your body inbetween wails. The kind of crying that makes your cat look up in alarm at the terrible racket you are making.

You see, at the beginning there's a little montage of the history of how the old crotchety guy got to be the old crotchety guy. It's lovely really, but includes a tiny scene where him and his wife suffer what appears to be the loss of a pregnancy and then never have kids. Presumably because they can't. And of course, to an infertile, this cuts like a knife wound, so it started me off with the sobbing. Of course, they make the best of things, and have a lovely relationship which is shown over the years, but which to my eyes was always tinged with the sadness of what never was. And yet they never get to go off and have the adventures they dreamed of, because there's always some emergency or other to pay for. And then the wife dies. And the man loses his last link to happiness, but has to carry on in his lonely life. And that had me wailing even harder.

It got me thinking of course, if they HAD been able to have children, would we have NOT expected them to still dream of having adventures? Is having children enough of an adventure that it leads to a satisfying life? I think the general answer is yes - it is an adventure into how you can live with your heart walking around outside of your body, in having your heart opened up so wide, with learning about responsibility and caring and having to be there and having to be responsive to that little being even when every fiber of your being is worn out, worn down and just plain bored of just one more repetition of "the wheels on the bus" or whatever. But those of us that do not have children, we seem to be expected to go out and find that grand adventure, that BIG life that is allegedly denied to those with children, to find meaning elsewhere. And if we don't do that, are we failures to be pitied? I suppose we are. I suppose I was pitying the old guy in the cartoon. I suppose that's what I was meant to do. And then we are supposed to cry again at the happy, yet poignant, ending montage. Which I did too. Of course there's a happy ending. It's Disney. And WE have to hope for a happy ending too.

And yet, there's a story there about loss here. And yes, redemption. There is so much love and loss, and pain in the world, that anything that shows it breaks my heart open anew these days. Any death of a child, of a spouse, of a sibling, of a parent, of any loved one, is terrible. Any infertility, especially if it involves a permanent loss - of a pregnancy, of a hope, of a dream, of a link to a genetic child, is terrible. But what gets me is the people who are left behind, who have to soldier on. Who have to continue living their life because it's not their time to die too. What a terrible fate. We who are left behind have to wallow in the grief even while we're secretly waiting for our own improbable Disney-like happy ending, for redemption, for a fat, obnoxious, annoying kid to knock on our door and change our lives.

And yet, I have seen my own pain and how it has changed me. Inside. Without a kid coming along and doing it for me. And would I change that for all the world? That realization that I can change my viewpoint about things and see the good in the bad? Actually, of course I would. I'm not yet so evolved that I cherish all of my pain, that I wouldn't gladly have changed it for success - but I CAN see that it has been in some ways beneficial. That it IS changing my life for the better, and that I can cherish parts of it, parts of my journey. And I am thankful that I can see that much. So why can't I see that pain for others could be good too, in the end? I suppose it's because we all just want to spare everyone from the depths of despair. We see pain in others, yes, even in a Disney cartoon, and are reminded of our own torment. And that hurts.

Nobody wants to go through the depths, the dark night of the soul, and yet the depths is precisely where the rebirth of a new hope, a new life, a new light can take place. It's a scary, horrible place, and not everyone has that new hope experience of course, but I wish, I wish, that those that ARE in pain, that have to go through it, can get something good out of it. I wish that we all could fully live in this wonderful adventure of life. Fully live. Even if we have to suffer through pain and loss and disappointment while we're doing it. I wish we could fully take to heart the words of the wise people who have been there before us and come out the other side. I wish we could all find the joy in pain.

On pain

And a woman spoke, saying, Tell us of Pain.
And he said:
Your pain is the breaking of the shell that encloses your understanding.
Even as the stone of the fruit must break, that its heart may stand in the sun, so must you know pain.
And could you keep your heart in wonder at the daily miracles of your life, your pain would not seem less wondrous than your joy;
And you would accept the seasons of your heart, even as you have always accepted the seasons that pass over your field.
And you would watch with serenity though the winters of your grief.

Much of your pain is self-chosen.
It is the bitter potion by which the physician within you heals your sick self.
Therefore trust the physician, and drink his remedy in silence and tranquility;
For his hand, though heavy and hard, is guided by the tender hand of the Unseen,
And the cup he brings, though it burns your lips, has been fashioned of the clay which the Potter has moistened with his own sacred tears.

From The Prophet, by Kahlil Gibran

Sunday, December 06, 2009

A funny thing happened

See, I was just thinking "hmmm, I really better do a blog post before my 2 remaining readers think I have shuffled off this mortal coil..." when my A/C broke. What's that got to do with blogging, you might wonder. Well, if one doesn't have A/C it gets kinda hot. And when it's kinda hot, you tend to open a window. Or two. So there is my house, sitting there with windows open while I am at work one Friday, thinking "I really should call the A/C repair guys, but I don't want to spend the money and maybe I can last out until the cool weather arrives." And wouldn't you know it, the open windows looked so inviting that a couple of guys just couldn't resist popping the screens off the windows and climbing in. In broad daylight. On a Friday afternoon. As some of my neighbors were walking past with their dogs, and shouting that they were calling the police. So, that was that for my laptop. And my iPod. And some jewelry. Sigh. Off it all went into one of my pillowcases and on to whatever pawn shop/fence is currently paying the most for such things.

So, no computer = no blogging. And you thought I was just lazy - shame on you. Well, OK, I am lazy. Uh, I mean, busy. Uh, well, not living an interesting infertility-related life. But now I have finally got myself a new computer, so I feel obliged to post that I am not dead.

I am doing OK, actually. I'm taking stock of the fact that I'll probably never have kids. You'd think I would have been dealing with that all along, and I have. Kind of. But I always had this fantasy that I'd meet a nice guy and get knocked up the old fashioned way, against all the odds. But the odds are climbing higher and higher every day so it's featuring less and less in my imaginings of what my life is going to be like in the future. And that's surprisingly OK. I spend some time every now and then imagining my child-free life, and it brings me comfort. In fact, it's been one of the main ways that I have used in order to be able to crawl out from the pit of despair. What I do is picture myself at 70 and see what I've been able to accomplish without children - what sort of life I've built for myself. See, without paying for kids' things, and school and college, without needing to live in a place with extra bedrooms in a good school district, I figure you can afford to make different life choices.

In my imaginings I have built up a picture of myself as a thin, elegant lady who lives in a bijou apartment in NYC (or some other great city like Paris or London), who you might find dashing off to a yoga class, or to the library, or to tea with a dear friend, or to a free concert in Central Park. I have a small wardrobe of high quality designer clothes, and I have minimal but carefully cherished possessions. I am happy and serene, and although I don't live an expensive life, it is interesting and fulfilling.

It's funny, when I first started doing this, I set myself a task of picturing ANY sort of life, money no object, reality be damned - let's just picture anything that might make me happy without kids. I had spent so much of my life imagining that kids were the natural progression that I couldn't picture an adulthood without them. So I felt that I had to re-imagine life, and come up with a goal. And this is what gradually emerged. No fabulous yacht sailing around the south Pacific islands, no large mansion, not really anything that wasn't totally unattainable. So when I am wallowing in pity or feeling annoyed with life, I return to this picture, and try to put into action concrete steps that will help me get from here to there. I mean, without kids, why not be totally selfish and just make a life that will feel right.

So, I am doing yoga. I am doing it 2 or 3 times a week, and am getting back to bendiness and am gaining some good muscles. I am slowly losing the weight I gained doing infertility treatments. It's taken me over a year, but I am down nearly 25 pounds. I have a ways to go, but one of these days I will be in shape. Each time something no longer fits right, I am being brutal about putting it aside to take to Goodwill. I am no longer hanging on to bigger clothes in case I need them when I am pregnant. Slowly my giant wardrobe that is mostly clothes I can't fit in is being whittled down. Not that I'm at the stage of buying expensive designer things to replace the stuff I am giving away, but I am trying to think about buying things that are stylish and work well together. See, they're little steps, but they are actual, concrete steps that help me to feel like I am doing something. That I am creating my imagined life.

And there's school. It's a little (lot) crazy right now because we have a big comprehensive year-end exam coming up. But I am liking my class (yes, even the annoying guy has calmed down a lot and is growing on me), I am liking what I am learning and I can use it as an opportunity to have a fulfilling not-too-stressful job and to move anywhere I want when I graduate. And maybe I will move nowhere at all, and will stay put. But it'll be a choice because I like my friends and my life here, rather than just being in my current city because that's where my job is.

So. There. That's where my head is. If I could give one piece of advice to anyone mired in the pain of infertility, it's to start imaging a life without kids. Maybe you'll find that parenting really is the most important thing, and you'll adopt or succeed through treatment. Or maybe you'll find that life might not be so bad and lonely after all.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

The Infertility Book

What, wait, where did a whole month go since I last posted?

Sorry about that. Well, not that many people care, but hey. I feel that I don't really have all that much to say. I don't have a kid I can post regular updates on, and it's not like I suddenly have any great insight into how to fix infertility. I mean, I'm learning more each week about acupuncture theories and about the points, and how to tie it together into treatments, but am not yet in any position to really pull everything together in a cogent way. And there's only so many times I can post "I'm really busy" before it gets uber-tedious. But if you were to walk into the student clinic next semester with low back pain, and I was working there, I finally know what to do off the top of my head without having to go and look it up in the book. Woot.

However, I will report that I spend much of my time when I am aimlessly driving to and from the grocery store, or other humdrum activity, mentally composing the introduction to my great work - the book to end all books on infertility. Hah. If only, eh? But, just so you know, it starts off humbly detailing my abject failures in IVF, goes on to say how I met my wonderful husband (already we're in fantasy land here, because no wonderful husband is yet in sight), how I naturally conceived quickly (snort), had my amazing child at 42/43/44, then went on to discover how to reliably treat infertility patients in my busy and successful acupuncture practice (lalalalala-land). OR, in the alternative version, it starts off by saying that even though I remained an abject infertile failure, I still have something to say on the topic. Due to said fabulous and successful acupuncture practice. Bwahahaha.

My interest was piqued this week by news that my school is thisclose to starting up a PhD program in acu. And that certain students in my class (who are, ahem, not quite as brainily inclined as moi) are contemplating doing it once we have graduated from the Masters program. And I thought, hey, why are they contemplating it, and not I?? If it takes a few years to build a practice, and you are effectively experimenting on your patients during that time, to find out what really works for you, why not spend that time really experimenting, by formally conducting research and writing a thesis? Into infertility, of course. And then use said research as the basis for my aforementioned fantasy book.

I have no idea how the financing would work out, or if I really could do this, or what. But it certainly gives me something else to mentally chew over in the car. I wonder if the local IVF clinic would cut a deal with an old patient and do a joint study with me? Hmmm....

Friday, September 11, 2009

The school food hierarchy

It seems at an alternative health type school, we are all a bit freaky about our eating. Or perhaps we all just only pretend to be uber-healthy when in public, and secretly scarf down pints of ice cream at home (as I did tonight, but I don't mind telling you guys because I freakin' enjoyed it, damn it).

Anyway, it seems to be a cool acupuncture student you must:

Only eat home-cooked food (commercially prepared food is so last century).
Only eat organic food (duh).
Only eat Chinese-style food (because we're studying Chinese medicine, after all).
Only eat out of pyrex containers (because plastic is bad).
Only use the toaster oven to heat up said home-cooked Chinese-style food in said pyrex containers (because microwaves are evil).
Only use your own chopsticks that you bring from home (forks are for idiots).

Except for the bozos like me who bring in an Amy's frozen meal and nuke it in the microwave. Which I then eat with a good old-fashioned western-style fork. I felt so embarrassed at school yesterday with two frozen meals - one for lunch and one for dinner. The sodium! The laziness! The horror! Ah well. I guess I am not cool after all.

Perhaps in a week or two when the crushing exhaustion that comes with the start of the semester lifts I will start trying to cook for myself again. But for now, Amy's is all I can muster the energy for.

Monday, September 07, 2009


So, all that house cleaning that I was determined I was going to do on my break? Yeah, it didn't happen. I mean, some cleaning happened. Some closet clearing and such. But not the big spring clean that it really needed. And it is back to school tomorrow, so it is back to the time crunch.

Of course, instead of actually cleaning the whole house today, I have written myself out a detailed chore schedule, which I'm going to print and stick on the fridge. And oh yes, you betcha it has spaces for check marks to fill in when I have completed something.

Despite my love of study schedules, I am really not the type of person that loves to schedule the remainder of my time. I like to do things as I feel like them rather than have a routine. I like NOT knowing that Monday is laundry night, or whatever. I think it comes from my childhood, where we had a rigid meal schedule. I mean, sure, I liked casserole, but that didn't mean that I wanted to have it every Tuesday. Or fish sticks every Saturday. So I have generally lived a bit more free flowing than that. Which is fine and dandy if you have the time, but I don't any more. I don't have the time to catch up, because if I don't feel like emptying the dishwasher today, there's no freakin' time to spend tomorrow to do it.

But I also just cannot allow things to disintegrate around the house as I have done the past two semesters. I cannot be too embarrassed to have people come to my home. I cannot live like a slob any more. Thusly, the schedule.

On today's docket:
Go for a walk - not done, but I did some yardwork that I should have done yesterday, so I'm counting it as done as that's enough exercise for the day.
Laundry - check. Well, it's in the washer, but not completed.
Clean out kitty litter - check.
Clean shower - not yet

Buy groceries - not yet
Load today's dishes into dishwasher - not yet, or yesterday's dishes if I'm being honest
Clean kitchen surfaces - not yet
Take out garbage and recycling - not yet
Spend 6 mins* dusting/vacuuming - not yet
Do qi gong - not yet

Oh lordy. It seems such a huge and insurmountable list when it's written out. Maybe I'd better get on with it. At least today there's no work to get in the way so I can do things leisurely around the studying and hulu watching that is also going on.

*the 6 mins of dusting and vacuuming is because I have a handheld Dyson that I can use for both. And its battery only lasts for 6 minutes on one charge. The plan is to just go at a portion of the house until the battery dies. And the next day do the next portion of the house, and repeat on most days until eventually I am back to where I started.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

I used to be a blogger

Whenever I read about how another blogger, no, let me correct myself, a blogger is feeling bad because she's out of touch, and then goes on to explain in detail why, it reminds me just how out of touch I am now. Because I'm always way more out of touch than they are. Way, way more. I basically read about three blogs now. No, strike that. At any one time I may, on a good day, read three blogs. But that covers about 10 actual blogs - it's just that some of them may only get read once in three months, whereas others I might read, ooh, as often as once every three days. Not three times a day as I sometimes used to.

It's my own fault, I know. But where do you fit once you've had an infertility blog and then given up? Most infertility blogs morph into mommy blogs, and hooray for that. But I'm not even writing about getting on with life after infertility. I mean, sure, I could post every time I'm wistful, or jealous, or bitter, or even dream about something (last night I dreamt I had a fantastic beta result - that was a disappointing wake up moment, I can tell ya). But I think that would rapidly get boring, because who wants to hear all the time that I'm wistful? Or even, happy. Because, yes, most of the time I'm actually happy these days. Thank GOD I am not going through infertility any more. Thank the little baby jesus for that.

So instead, I don't blog about anything really. Which is even more boring I'm sure. So here are some snippets:


I have finally discovered And am working my way through the entire back catalog of Arrested Development. Love that show! And by the way, has anyone seen Dr. Horrible's Singalong Blog? Genius.


I have, for the first time ever, almost thrown out some books. I say "almost" because I have two piles - one to go to work to our employee "library" and one pile to go in the recycling bin (all useless free books that came with magazines that are really more booklets than books). But they haven't made it out of the house yet, and so I could still chicken out.

You see, I am trying to pare down my stuff so that it actually fits within the storage that I have available. So far this week I've worked through my closet (apart from the shoes and dresses) and my t-shirt drawer. And one bookshelf. It's a start people, it's a start. I have this dream of living this very minimalist, organized, neat and tidy life, which is sadly always destroyed due to my love of shopping. And my habit of not fitting into 3/4 of my clothes as I gain and lose weight. But really, there's no need for me to have 5 pairs of black ballet flats. Or 7 pairs of sneakers. Or 6 pairs of black pants. I am slooowly improving on that score. Why, just this week I resisted buying another pair of sneakers, but instead am throwing away the pair that I've been wearing as they're now falling apart, and have dug an old pair out of the back of the closet. So what if they made my feet bleed the last time I wore them? I will wear them in and make use of them, damn it.

One of these days I shall be that elegant lady who lives in a miniscule apartment with minimal possessions, but each of whose possessions are treasured, wonderful quality, just so, and fabulous. Even if it takes me until I am 90.


Still haven't rejoined a dating site. But I'm still working on it. Kinda sorta.


Cousin was not sent overboard by Hurricane Bill. But last heard of was in danger due to (remains of?) tropical storm Danny. Ah well, I'm sure they will go back out to sea again, and ride this one out too.


I'm actually looking forward to school starting up again. At least while at school I'm busy as anything and feeling like life has a purpose. The many evenings of doing nothing this week have just been a reminder of my lack of social life. Hence trying to update my blog on a Saturday night instead of going out and having fun. Bleh. OK, back off to hulu...

Saturday, August 22, 2009


I am home.  Tired, but home. I made the possibly mistaken decision to drive all the way home from Asheville, NC to So. Fla. in one day. Through a giant rainstorm that lasted all through Georgia.  So today, I ache. And I feel depleted. And all kinds of tired.

But I had a lovely time. I feel renewed and refreshed. I feel ready to tackle projects around the house, and projects in my life.  Why, I even started on an online dating profile. Whether I actually complete any of these projects is another matter of course, but I took the opportunity of being on vacation to take lots of photos of myself for said profile, so we'll see.  The photo posted here is not, of course, of me, but of some flowers from Biltmore Estate.  They have quite lovely gardens there, I must say.  Perhaps I will post more soon when I have more energy.


I have arrived home to a freaking-out aunt.  My cousin, last we heard of him, was in a fishing boat off the Grand Banks near Newfoundland in an area called the Flemish Cap.  [Such is my family - you never know what will crop up next.] In case you've never heard of the area (and I must admit, I hadn't), it's where Perfect Storm is set. Where the Titanic sank.  In other words, not a pleasant place to be on a fishing boat when a hurricane is bearing down on  you. The boat is going to go further out to sea in the hopes of avoiding the storm, but one never knows with these things if a storm will jog off its predicted course at the last minute.  And of course, being an idiot, I have promptly opened up my copy of Perfect Storm and started freaking myself out by reading about the harsh conditions.  So, if you are the praying type (or the sending good thoughts type), please send some thoughts for all the shipping vessels that are in the way of the current hurricane. We always breathe a sigh of relief when these things are predicted to avoid land, but of course on this crowded planet there are always some people who are in the path of danger. And as one of them is a relative of mine this time, that is where my thoughts are straying.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

School's out for summer

I get a whole 3 weeks off. So I am heading off on vacation for 1 week, then I'll be back in town.

I was pleased with the final week at school. I did the best in class at the Chinese massage first time around (although he let people have another try the following day if they wanted to improve their grade so it ended up that I was not the only A).  The other exams went well - I underperformed slightly on one (it was damn hard) but then so did most everyone else. By the time he added in the grades from the quizzes we'd done during the semester, and he curved a bit, I was back up to where I wanted to be.  So I think I'll either have straight A's, or one A-. Wait, do you count A-'s as being included in "straight A" tallies? I never know if you should or not. I guess there's always a chance of an A+ from anatomy this semester (haven't seen that grade, but she's generous and gave me A+ last time), so maybe if I do get an A- that will be cancelled out.

Anyway, I shouldn't be so concerned. It's not freakin' Harvard. A good grade doesn't make a good acupuncturist. But I keep thinking that if there are opportunities to go and study in China, or to intern with the best professors, they will go to the high performing students, and that's one reason why I keep trying to do well. And there's the little matter of my own Type A tendencies coming to the fore, I guess.

Back in town in a week, barring hurricanes. 

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Just so you know...

It took until Tuesday morning to get an (almost) definitive answer on the question of whether I was fired or not. My department head said "well, I don't think you were fired. Maybe they just cut your benefits." Then the office manager expounded on how you have to do 30 hours a week for benefits, and maybe they were looking at certain figures and not other figures and that could be an answer. To which I replied that they would still have had to have given me advanced notice. And that it would be nice if someone, anyone, had shown a bit more confidence in whether I was still an employee or not.  Even my own boss. And the HR woman, when she finally got back to me sent me a one line email saying "I show you as OK."  Which raised the question as to precisely what OK meant.

But on Tuesday morning the HR woman sent me an email saying that she had spoken to the insurance company and that my benefits had been reinstated.  No confirming that it had been a mistake, or apologizing for the stress, or anything. Thanks a lot, employer, for all the warm and fuzzies.

Sunday, August 09, 2009


Packing: such a chore since moving to S. Fla. Everywhere else that I go is cooler than here, but yet how much cooler? Does one take endless sweaters or does one assume that it's summer and will be plenty hot enough, thank you. I am going on vacation in a week (yay!) and am trying to figure out what on earth I will wear.  The high temperature will be about 83. Which is the current overnight low at home. And the low will be a nippy 61. But that's when I'll be tucked up in bed. How cool will the evenings be? Will I be shivering if I don't take fleece and woolies? I am not so tolerant of low temperatures now that I'm a tropical little flower.  And then there'll be some hiking in the mountains. I'm only used to hiking in England, where one basically prepares for a blizzard, or at the very least, a freezing downpour, and hopes like hell that one won't encounter that. Will I feel like a tool if I'm wrapped up as if for winter with my Kendal mint cake in my giant backpack and everyone else is in shorts and t-shirts? Will I end up with a suitcase the size of a house to account for all the layers of clothes I will have to take?

School: we were discussing Type A personalities in Anatomy class, you know, how they're hard driving people that aren't happy unless they get 100 on their tests.  Half the heads in the class swiveled in my direction with knowing grins. What? Said I. That is SO not me. I am PERFECTLY HAPPY with a 99!  Heh. Coming from a law firm where I am one of the most type B people in the place, it amuses me that I appear type A to my classmates. Of course, I'm sure I'm a bit of both, and I do love me a 100 on a test...

More on school: we were doing some qi gong the other day in class, and had to hold our balls of qi in front of us (imaginary energy, that is) with our eyes shut.  I was pronounced the best, because the teacher could feel heat in-between my hands, and I opened my eyes when he moved his hand between my two. I felt a slight breeze when he did it, so I don't know if there was anything really to it or if there was a slight bit of physics-nerd cheating going on, but hey. I went up in the estimation of some of my classmates, and more importantly, in the eyes of the teacher. The daily qi gong practice is really paying off with the hot hands thing.

Work: my buddy at work swears that he was told that nobody from our office was getting laid off, and nobody from our department either. So he thinks that I am NOT fired, but I'm still awaiting the verdict. He concurs with me that I may have been on a "bad list" of people with low billable hours, but then they realized that I was part time.  But the "bad list" might have gone to the health insurance people.  Or something.  He said I should have called our boss to find out for sure, but I didn't want him going loopy on the HR people at the weekend, or having the awkward "ah well, I was going to tell you on Monday..." conversation on the phone, so I didn't. We will see. My classmate who I carpool to school with on Saturdays says that even if I AM fired, things happen for a reason, and on the whole I agree with her, so I'm not stressing too much.

Babies: I find myself wistful again for babies. I mourn the passing of each ovulation, as I'm no nearer to finding a reliable source of sperm. I tend to think that I'll need the hormone surge of a new relationship to have any hope of conceiving, so I don't think that ordering a man in a can will do me any good. I have plans to get out and about to new places while on summer break, so you never know, maybe I'll meet me a nice guy at a Buddhist meditation class.

Friday, August 07, 2009

Oops! You're fired!

I arrived home today to a certificate from the health insurance company that I had coverage up to 8/1/09.  I blinked. And turned it over, and blinked again. Yup. There was a clear "date coverage ended" field that was filled in.

I emailed someone in HR. Of course, being as it was 7pm on a Friday night, I do not expect much of a response until Monday. I called the insurance company.  Oh no, the lady said, it's not a mistake. We received paperwork which included a termination date of August 1, 2009.  Right, said I, but if that paperwork was sent to you by mistake, because either it's that or my employer forgot to mention that they fired me, forgot to march me out of the building, and forgot to disconnect my email, what happens to me if I get in a car crash this weekend?  Oh, she said, well, if they write to us and explain that it was a mistake, we'd give you the coverage back retroactively. But they'll have to send us the paperwork, we can't do anything about it based on your say-so. Obviously not, says I. Convenient that it's a Friday night, isn't it?

The thing is, normally I'd blow this off as a silly mistake, but they DID lay off some people last Friday. August 1st. Although I think they were given a week's notice until today but I'm not sure.  So it could be that my name was included in the paperwork for a reason.  And in this economy you can't exactly take a job for granted.

Or it could just be a misunderstanding. They could have just effed it up again. My HR stuff is ALWAYS effed up.  First of all, there is someone else at my employer with the same first and last name as me. Which is not unique in the company, as it's fairly large. In fact, at one point there were 3 guys with the same name and I think two of them had the same middle initial too. But despite the fact that you'd think they'd plan that over a certain size there could very well be people with similar or the same names, they still eff stuff up because of it.  Second, I am the only one in my company with my job title right now.  Well, we used to have 4 people in the same job but the other 3 have all left. And it doesn't quite fit nicely in the usual categories, so they often make the rules up as they go along.  Leading to effed-uppedness. Third, I'm now ALSO part time, which effs things up even more.

Sigh.  I know I should be grateful that I have a job. And I AM, trust me.  My bro' has now been unemployed for 11 months. I know the deal.  It'd just be nice not to be scared shitless by your mail.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Not-so-secret Hermione

I admit it, I relish big exams. I relish a studying challenge. Well, I hate it while doing it, but I enjoy the challenge, the planning, the feeling of undertaking a giant mission. And finally, and most importantly, the relief and sense of accomplishment when it is all done.  But I'm talking the really big exams here. The bar exams. The boards. Finals at college that are really finals - i.e. year or course-end cumulative finals.

When I did my equivalent of bar exams in the UK, back in the day, I'd go to a quiet corner of the law library and settle myself in, plotting out 12 hour days. Yes, 12 hours. That was only at the very end, of course, when I took some time off work to study. Prior to that it had been mere 8 hour days at weekends. I'd plan out what I'd study, when I'd take breaks. Where I'd eat. All of that. And then I'd hole myself up, dig in, and not permit myself any distractions. 

For acupuncture, the big deal is the boards. There are 4 boards as far as I can tell, although it may be 5 - I get confused because they changed the rules, and then people complained and they changed them back. So sometimes I think something is right, but then I find that that was what it was going to be, but isn't now. Confusing, huh. You have to pass varying numbers for licensing in various states.  For my state, I could get away with 3, although my plan is to do all 4 (or 5) so that I could possibly move to another state if I wanted to. Besides, it's just better to do them all.  Some of them I can do pre-graduation, after a certain number of credit hours, some I may wait until after graduation.  In preparation for the boards, my school has cumulative year-end exams. So at the end of the first year, you review anything you've ever studied that might come up on the boards. At the end of the second year, ditto. At the end of the third year, you're basically taking exams that are the equivalent of the boards, so it's good practice.

We got our class schedules for next semester this week (although I should say trimester as there are three terms in the school year, not two, but trimester is uncomfortably pregnancy-related), and there looming on it is the year-end exam.  It scared me at first, and I felt like I couldn't possibly fit in enough studying for it. But then my inner Hermione kicked in, and I dug out a notebook and started mapping out a study plan. It is uber-ambitious. My classmates would probably kill me if they found out how much I'm planning on doing.  But several of them have said they're just going to study all semester long, and that's what I'm planning, so maybe they are being equally ambitious.  Although I tend to like to go back and read the textbooks and then study from study aids or tables, rather than stick with the Cliff notes all along.  I am probably therefore planning on more hours than most.

Doing the study plan made me feel good in the moment, but now I have to admit, looking at it gives me a sinking feeling in my stomach again. Erk.  OK, I just have to keep my eyes on the prize. Relish the challenge, and all that. I can DO this. 

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Where was I?

Oh yes, when last you heard from me I was bone tired. It was just a phase, and now I am back to my usual vim and vigor.  Well, OK, not vim or vigor exactly, but not deadbeat tired either.

I feel oddly disconnected from the world, and it's almost entirely of my own choosing. That and, you know, busy-ness.  Work has "upgraded" our internet experience, which means that I can no longer access any blogspot or typepad or any number of bloggy-type sites from the office. I suppose it's fair, given that I am supposed to be there working and not goofing off and surfing, but it does cut into my access to the world somewhat. You'd think that I'd fire up the old internet when I get home, but I am mostly reluctant to these days. I feel worn out by sitting in front of a computer screen all day at work, so that I don't want to turn the damn thing on at home. So, even though previously I was hopelessly behind in blog reading, now I'm woefully behind.  I don't even want to fire up the TV either. In fact, I can't remember the last time it was actually turned on. I think I watched a rerun of House about 3 weeks ago.  Now I get my news and entertainment from NPR, the New York Times online, and a music station (the best of the 80's, 90's and today, don't ya know).  And that's pretty much it.  I am turning into a hermit, rereading old familiar books when I should be studying. And studying when I should be sleeping. Although I did go and see the Harry Potter movie last weekend with my tenant/roommate. And was sorely disappointed at its slow pace and lack of magicky action. Sigh.

And then I got a private message from an IVF board. Asking me questions based on a post of mine from 18 months ago. I'm too tired and heart sore to respond to it. I have nothing to add to anyone's fertility journey at the moment. I have no expertise that I wish to pour forth. I am tired of being barren and childless. Tired of being single. Tired of knowing all about IVF cycles. Tired of trying to be healthy so that I might have a chance of a fertile egg before my ovaries completely shrivel up, although given that I am making no headway in finding a boyfriend, what's the damn point?  No, actually, it's not true that I am trying to be healthy just for the sake of my eggs. I am trying to be healthy because I am aging, and I don't want to be a miserable old lady with aches and pains. The egg thing is just wistful nonsense.

Bah. This post is coming off all bitter and twisted, which is not what I wanted. Mostly I am doing fine these days. I am enjoying school, and am slowly climbing the mountain of information I have to cram into my brain before I graduate. I am enjoying most of my fellow students (except for the asshole, who annoys me daily - I am starting to think that he is the cross I have to bear, the one that has been sent to test my patience so that I can finally dispense with my ego and let the annoyances wash over me. Or something. Well, let's face it, if I don't tell myself that he was sent to try me, all that is left is believing that he's just an asshole. And I'm trying to think better of him than that.)  I have melancholy moments when I think about being childless and a failure in that department.  But they do not make up the majority of my days.  Most of my days are spent trying to remember exactly what a purplish-blue tongue means as opposed to a purplish-red tongue, or exactly what acupuncture point SJ 19 is for, or doing endless hours of practice at twisting needles or massage techniques. Or some such.  I don't have any miraculous cures for anyone out there at the moment, though I will say: take Floradix liquid iron + herbs, and get thee some B12 shots (or, failing that, the dissolvable sublingual B12 tablets). Not very Chinese-y, I know.  But you'll thank me in the end.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Energy shmenergy

I am tired. Bone tired. Weary. Just...tired.

I have not been sleeping well lately, combined with going to bed later than I used to, combined with stress at work and school, turns me into a tired, irritable lady. I have booked a vacation for the summer break, but that's a month away. And I have a bunch of exams between now and then. Grumble, grumble, grumble. It all makes me wonder what on earth I am doing, signing up for this school thing and having the audacity to think that I can just change my career like that. Some days I think I'll never be a good acupuncturist, because I just don't have time to practice or do enough other things to hone the physical side of this job. And then there are SO many things to memorize and learn.


In other news, a few of us were discussing chakras and acu in one of our breaks. They don't teach us about the chakras at school (being as it's not strictly part of Chinese theory) but there are some books out there on it, and some practitioners work with the chakras. I find it pretty interesting - after all, if this stuff is real, it should all work and all the different energy medicine theories should line up and have plenty of correspondences. If it's all voodoo, it won't.

But of course, the annoying student in my class was all "it's Chh-ak-ras, not shak-ras." So I responded "Chh-ak-ras, shakras, energy centers, what-evah, who cares what we call them?" But the dude would not shut up, about how he knew more about the chakras than us because he's a yogi and blah blah blah. And it's CHh-ak-ra. Yeah mate, I thought, you've got a really looong way to go before you really understand what being a yogi is. A little bit of humility mixed in is definitely necessary. Anyhoo, how come the world and their uncle says shakras then?

Grrr. You can see how the irritability is not helping me right about now.

Friday, July 10, 2009

On the chair situation

Just an update: employer was very happy to arrange an ergonomic assessment for my secretary, which is set for July 22nd. She's actually looking forward to it now, go figure. And they said they would have no problem buying a new chair or whatever is necessary. Which fits in with my own experience - I got a new chair a couple of years ago when the other one was giving me lower back pain. So even though they'll generally say "no spending," if there's something that is causing an actual problem, they will replace it.

And yes, they would have to pay for the surgery, not the insurance company. We have "self-funded coverage" where my employer picks up the entire tab, using the insurance company for administration only. Apparently it's cheaper to do it that way than buy the full insurance. Again, go figure.

So, a combination of knowing what would be cheaper combined with a huge fear of workers' comp claims and there you go. I figured all along that it wasn't our employer dragging their feet but my secretary.

But thanks for the info on the surgery being easy for most people. I guess it's always the problem cases that stick in my mind...

Tuesday, July 07, 2009

The problem with acupuncture acceptance...

Two posts in one day, it's a miracle!

I share a secretary, and she's recently developed carpal tunnel syndrome, although she says it's been coming on for years. I said she should get her workstation looked at, because I'm convinced her chair is wrong, her keyboard set up is wrong and her monitor is at the wrong height. She's very petite, and the standard-sized stuff just doesn't fit her. She didn't want to bother anyone, and anyway, our employer has been cost-cutting, so she was sure there was nothing that could be done. She didn't want the surgery. I pointed out that acu is supposed to be very good for carpal tunnel. She didn't want to do acu because she was scared of the pain of needles, although by this point, she was unable to sleep because of the terrible pain in her wrists.

Finally she said she'd give acu a try. She's now been 3 times. The acu thinks it might take 8 sessions to really help. In the meantime, I kept nagging her to ask about having someone come in to do an ergonomic assessment for her desk, because why fix the problem once and then go on aggravating it. She kept hemming and hawing. She told the office manager that it wasn't such a big issue.

Then this weekend she spoke to a nurse at a nursing home where she was visiting, who spotted the wrist brace, and told her about her own carpal tunnel surgery, which was outpatient and such a relief and all that. Super easy! So now my secretary wants to quit acu because she has to pay for it, as it's not covered by insurance, and go and have the surgery instead as that will be covered by the insurance. Aargh! Is it just me that thinks it's ridiculous to put yourself through surgery when something natural and non-invasive is already helping and could help longer term? Just because you don't want to pay for it? And how much would she have to pay in co-pays for the surgery and the drugs she'd need to take? Is surgery really easier than acupuncture? And even if our employer is cost-cutting, surely it's cheaper for them to buy a new damn chair than pay for surgery?

After hearing this new plan of hers, I've stopped nagging her to ask for an ergonomic assessment, and just gone over her head and demanded one. It's already been agreed to, and is going to go ahead soon. Oy. I just hope that will help so she can avoid surgery, which I'm sure is not quick and super easy for everybody.

The problem with restricting certain foods... that nobody takes any damn notice. Case in point, lunch today:

Sarah, to waiter: I'd like the tofu masaman curry please, with brown rice. That doesn't have peanuts in it does it? Because I can't eat peanuts, so if it comes with peanuts, I don't want them.

Waiter, to Sarah: Oh no, no peanuts; that curry is potato-based. There's no peanuts at all.

Of course, the meal arrives with a GIANT handful of peanuts dumped on top of it. Uh huh. Thankyouverymuch a-hole. So I spent the first part of lunch and much of the rest of the picking the darn things out, accidentally ate two halves and now I feel sick. I've been shoveling the Tums in, which is my usual remedy for accidental peanut-induced nausea, which works if I can do it quick enough. Otherwise I may have to go and stick my fingers down my throat. Bleh.

I mean, thank god I'm not actually allergic to the damn things, like anaphalactic shock allergic. Although I suppose then a) I wouldn't have set foot in a Thai restaurant, no matter how my coworkers wheedled and tried to get me to, and b) I'd have sent the meal back. Next time it happens, though, I will NOT be such a lame ass and I WILL send the meal back.

No doubt it had flour in it too, as the tofu seemed coated in something. So much for gluten free, as well.

Monday, July 06, 2009


I went out to lunch with my boss today, who said that he has a daydream that I'm still going to want to work for him when I've got my acupuncture license. I said "uh, you do know that I'm not doing this for fun, right? I am planning to leave and do it full time." He said "I know, I know, but I was hoping that maybe while you're building up your acupuncture practice you could keep working with me, maybe even one day a week, hell, whatever percentage I can get. Just for you to keep the money coming in the door until you're overwhelmed with acu work and need to switch to it full time. And for me to still have you working for us, because you're awesome."

Awwww. It quite brought a lump to my throat . But it does make me think more about the future. See, I have been giving it lots of thought and I think I'd like to work with someone else for a few years, to get some experience. I've never believed that it is right to go and hang a shingle the moment you're qualified in anything that requires thinking. Ignoring art and such, where you can and probably should go off to do your own creative thing right from the get go. I think it's best to gain experience, to have someone to bounce questions off, and all that good stuff. So it'd be good to find a part-time job (or heck, even a full time one) that I could do for the pittance that a freshly-minted acu can command, and keep money coming in with a few hours a week at the current, more lucrative job.

It's nice to know I have options.

Wednesday, July 01, 2009


I have this feeling that July is going to be a good month. I hope it is!

My horoscope is pretty darn stellar, I've got a lottery ticket sitting in my purse that I'm putting a lot of hope in, I have been feeling fit and healthy, and I just changed my hair style (I've gone straight). And I got that appraising "look" from a guy in the supermarket the other day. You know, the "you're kind of a foxy lady and I want you to know it" type look. I haven't had that look in, like forever, so it was a bit of an ego boost. I think it was the new hairdo, as I've been walking around with a frizzy bird's nest on my head, looking like I just didn't care any more, and suddenly I look like I DO care and I think that causes a second look from guys. That and the fact that I feel like I look better gives me more confidence to radiate out to the world. Anyway, that's my theory and I'm sticking to it!

AND it is Grandpa's birthday today, so I called him and we had a nice chat. 93! Woot!

So, I'm in a great mood. I hope it lasts all month and that THIS is the month when I finally meet the boyfriend of my dreams. Or you know, the month when I win the lottery. That'd do too.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Fibro and all that jazz

SS said...
Hi- I am curious about you saying you had fibromyalgia- do you no longer have it? My sisters suffer from this condition and with the limited medication available even with a good rheumatologist they've had trouble controlling it. Were you able to do this through acupuncture or diet? Did you have positive ANA titer? Just curious- good luck with the diet changes. They tried a million of those to no avail.

Ah, yes, well, the fibro issue. OK, so I never got a real diagnosis from a rheumatologist or an MD. Usually I hesitate before mentioning anything about fibro because it all seems a bit...unlikely, even to me. Can you have it and then not have it? What happened was this...I had a super stressful time at work for an ongoing period, and basically burned myself out. Then for months afterwards I had fibro symptoms - intense muscle and joint pain, fatigue, fogginess, etc, but was refusing to believe anything was necessarily amiss. Then I went to a naturopathic doc, or ND, at the urging of auntie, who "diagnosed" me with fibro (not even sure they're technically allowed to diagnose - she may have used whatever wording she had to - suggested or believed or whatever) based on tender points, symptoms and some bioelectric feedback machine thingie. I never had a positive titer or any blood test. I never wanted to go to a regular doctor because I knew they didn't have much to offer and I didn't want it on my insurance records.

The thing is, I know it was mild, even though it was mildly debilitating at the time - it was never so debilitating that I couldn't force myself to get to work. I couldn't do much else, but I could work. My aunt has fibro, and she has it way worse than I ever did, and also can't get rid of it so I always had a comparison and knew that I was lucky. I was also lucky in that it was "diagnosed" very early - after only a few months rather than years as most people suffer through. I think that was very helpful in addition to the mildness. So the first, and only, thing I took specifically for fibro was magnesium malate (also known as malic magnesium). I took it up to my digestive tolerance level, I had to ramp up the amount until I got pain relief, then was able to taper back down when it wasn't so bad. Basically it's a muscle relaxant, but it relaxes everything so you end up with diarrhea - you have to find the balancing point of what you can tolerate, and your body does get digestively used to it after a while. The biggest thing I did I think was deciding that my job was not worth making myself sick over. I decided that if they fired me, oh well. So I cut back down on the hours I was working and the stress that I put myself under. I decided I didn't care any more, didn't want to do the job any more and would look for something else I could do. And 6+ years later, they still haven't fired me, but it came close at various points, I am sure. And now I am on the path to a new job and hopefully not so much stress.

Other than that, I can't really say what worked. I mean, acupuncture I'm sure has helped. I've done so much of it, but we weren't focusing on fibro. Changes in my diet have helped but I don't recall exactly what I did or didn't do. I just generally eat healthier. I took vitamins and supplements, but did any of those help other than the magnesium malate? I don't know. At some point, the pain just faded away and then stopped. Occasionally, it will start to come back - it has lately. I find when I am under stress, or not taking my vitamins, or not eating so healthily, it starts playing around with my middle back, then starts stretching around my ribs, then starts invading my hands and feet. Actually, as I'm typing this, I'm wondering if it's the dairy, as that's the only thing I started eating more of lately just before the pain started coming back. Although school is stressful in its own way, so it could be that too. It may be a combination - maybe I can deal with dairy (and/or wheat) when under no stress, or vice versa, but can't handle both/all together? When it does return, I jump back on the magnesium malate, and make a conscious effort to reduce the stress, and pay attention to my diet again. And luckily, for the last few years, the pain fades out again after a few weeks.

So, did I ever really have it? Maybe not. Did it ever go away? Maybe not. It, whatever it is, lurks. But these days, the majority of the time, I don't have any symptoms.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

A food thing

I am all better now, by the way. It was a 24-hour bug thingie, so I was actually feeling pretty tip-top by about 5pm on Friday. Weird.

Anyway, I wanted to write about food. And specifically whether it contributes to infertility. My aunt has been diagnosed with some gluten intolerance issue within the last year, and she's lately been reading a book all about it, and called me up in a lather. She said she kept thinking of me as she read how gluten intolerance could cause infertility, lead to weight gain, fibromyalgia, fatigue, etc, etc, all things that I have had. Now, personally, I think I got fat because I ate too much, not from any other reason. But whatever, I indulged her in the conversation although I pointed out that the infertility aspect was pretty much moot by this point. She said that she was reading how it could be genetic, and could lead to all sorts of microcirculation problems later in life (that she is dealing with now), and eventually to stroke. Which we have running rampant in our family - if family history is anything to go by, we are both doomed to have strokes. Well, actually, I am. She's already had a minor stroke, so I should say she is doomed to have more and I am doomed to rinse and repeat. [I mean, actually, it's a minor medical miracle that my aunt is walking around - both her cardiologist and her internist have told her that she's their most interesting/confounding patient, and would probably not be here if she hadn't led such a healthy lifestyle. Personally, I wish they'd use their interest to finally diagnose the root of her many issues, but they're working on it. Anyhoo, it's a good incentive for me to live a healthy lifestyle, as I don't want to drop dead in my 50's of an aneurysm.]

So I thought I might give it a go. Although I've tried cutting out wheat before, but didn't specifically go to the extent of trying to be 100% gluten free. And I'm not yet gluten free, either, as I refuse to throw food out so I'm using up things in my cupboard. I'm trying to buy gluten free things as I shop, though.

But then, as a vegetarian, it's damn hard to be gluten free AND dairy free. So I decided I would reintroduce more dairy. I'd cut way back on the dairy intake as the Chinese frown on it, but the decision to try gluten free was coupled with the discovery that greek yogurt is, like, totally the best thing in the world so I thought, hey, perfect excuse! Except, I'm starting to wake up in the mornings with the old arthritic feelings in my hands and feet. And I'm feeling a bit more phlegmy in the sinuses. I had forgotten about how those issues used to bug me and how they went away when I reduced the dairy to a very small amount. So, sadly, I may have to cut out the dairy again as well as it looks like I have a slight intolerance to it. Bleh. I feel like I will be a complete social pariah, not able to eat out anywhere.

Of course, it all makes me wonder. If I have a slight intolerance to dairy, and a slight intolerance to wheat, and I know I have an intolerance to peanuts, did a combination of these things contribute to my infertility? Are they contributing to yours? How on earth would we know, and how could we find out? I tried so many things while I was TTC'ing, from cutting out caffeine, to cutting out alcohol, wheat, and dairy. But only for periods of a couple of months at at time - after all, when you're under that much stress, it's only natural to want to comfort yourself with pizza and ice cream after a while. And it wasn't as if I was doing it scientifically, as I was flailing around and grabbing on to anyone's half-baked theories of what and what not to eat, hoping it would bring a result, and then giving up in disgust when it didn't. If only someone would figure this out - if you know about any studies on these issues, please let me know in the comments, as I'd like to read them for my own edification (and, you know me, I'm already planning my infertility treatments for future patients).

Friday, June 19, 2009

To work or not to work?

That is the question of the hour. It's 8.23am. I have not exercised, not showered, not dressed. Not gone to work. I am debating going to work. Endlessly it seems.

Yesterday, I skipped my first school class. I started feeling very flu-ish, and thought I might be prone to throwing up as I was feeling distinctly nauseous. I'd already had a bout of diarrhea seemingly out of the blue before leaving home, and didn't like the thought of having to make a mad dash for the school bathrooms. My head felt hot, my throat was sore, and I started coughing and sniffling.  There's been something going around school. So I left after my first class, and skipped the second.

I got home, and took my temperature, convinced it would say 101 or something and that I'd have the swine flu. Nope, totally normal. No flu even though my forehead felt hot. Nevertheless, I went to bed at 8pm feeling fairly miserable.

And this morning? I'm mostly fine. A tiny bit achy, a tiny bit sniffly. A tiny bit raw around the lungs. The tiniest of headaches. How can you have a 12-hour flu? You can't, I think. So it was not flu. In normal times, I would not hesitate at popping a few pharmaceuticals and heading in to work. But now, I don't know. I know it would be the safe thing to stay home, just in case. I mean, even if this is just a run-of-the-mill virus, I am a person who prides herself on having a cast-iron immune system. What if someone else would actually get sick from this? Then I'd feel guilty.

[And yes, Stephanie if you're reading, I did think "that the lawd that I didn't go to see the babies and give this to them." I guess there really are no coincidences in life. I didn't go because it just didn't work out timing-wise. But did it not work out timing-wise because I was already incubating a virus?]

8.32am. Still thinking.

Friday, June 12, 2009

I gots da hot hands

One of the things I have been doing since starting school is qi gong. If you don't know it, it's like tai chi - well, one of our professors says that tai chi is a form of qi gong. I did it sporadically last semester, but this semester I committed to doing it every single day, because we were told that to really reap the benefits you need to do it for 100 days (the Chinese are big on this 100 days thing - take herbs for 100 days, do qi gong for 100 days, do anything for 100 days). I just spend 5 minutes a day on 8 simple, slow exercises.

And I have to say, there's something about the consistency of doing something every single day that really brings about changes. Not just physical changes, but mental changes too. Yes, there are days when even 5 minutes seems like a monumental chore. I just don't want to do it. I'm too tired. Too busy. Too...too. But I make myself, and that's a good feeling in and of itself. Knowing that I can follow through with a commitment and stick to it is reassuring.

So, first, I noticed that my breathing really slowed down fairly quickly into the exercises. It relaxed me. I have been feeling calmer and more centered. I can't say I noticed any big flow of qi (energy) or anything, and nothing magical had happened. But I stuck with it. It's now been about 6 weeks I think that I've done it every day. Still a ways to go to get to 100.

This week, however, I've noticed something else. My hands. They are hot. Constantly. A few years ago, they used to often be blocks of ice, but I have gradually improved my circulation and energy, and for the last year or two I'd say that they were "normal" temperature - cold when it was cold, not cold when it was warm. But some of my professors have these super hot hands, especially this one new teacher that we have. He has these amazing hands (I am kind of in love with his hands, I think) - they are super flexible, and strong, and like little furnaces on the ends of his arms. When he touches me to demonstrate some acpuncture technique or something, it's like I just feel warmth and healing radiating from his hands. Wowzer. I was a bit in awe of the hot hands. It's like there's this huge reservoir of energy in his body ready to jump out and heal people. And now, thanks entirely to the qi gong I am pretty sure, my hands are hot too! Awesome. The qi it is a-flowing. My handies are not as hot as the prof's, of course, but then he's been doing qi gong for decades. It sometimes surprises me - to feel my hands being hot, it's such a new sensation! I am excited, and hope that this will continue and that I'll really be able to use it to improve my acupuncturing.

One of my fellow students was doing some acu point location on me the other day, and I noticed that her hands were cold clammy pieces of fish. Heh. She doesn't do qi gong. It makes me want to give a public service announcement - make sure your acu has da hot hands! Otherwise you might not be getting their qi with your needles to reinforce your own.

Friday, June 05, 2009

Baby Time

My dear infertilibuddy Stephanie had twins a little over two weeks ago. I popped in briefly to the hospital but I only got to see little J. as N. was in the NICU. I mean, they were healthy 37 weekers, but one had aspirated fluids. Or something. I don't think I was quite listening at the time. They are both fine and home now though.

Yesterday morning, I got some baby time as I went round to Stephanie's house to get me some snuggles. Err, I mean, to help Stephanie out tremendously with all my expert baby wrangling techniques so she could get a shower. Ahem. No ulterior motive on my part at all... But ohmygosh, they are precious. And little. And did I mention precious? And so little. One forgets how that newborn stage is, so delicate and fit-in-the-palm-of-your-hand foldable with balled up little legs and arms. And they smell so pure and new babyish. It quite brought a smile to my heart.

Of course, this time last year, or two years ago, or three years ago...wait, any time in the last 5 years or so, I could not have done this without some crying or raging at the universe for not letting me have mine. Actually, I could not have done it at all. But now I really am over all that. It still amazes me sometimes how peaceful I can be. How I can appreciate someone else's cute babies without any pangs of jealousy. I mean, I still work on an ongoing basis at expanding my heart and being more peaceful in general, so it's not like I don't do anything, but the basic switch from angst to acceptance was pretty much a one day thing - my spiritual conversion moment, I suppose you could say. It was still a test for me to be left alone (albeit briefly) with babies but I'm still so awed and grateful that I was able to pass that test to my own satisfaction, and just find the joy in precious new little humans. Ahhhh.

Friday, May 29, 2009

Crazy thoughts

Oh, the flights of fancy one's mind conjures up while in the shower.

I've been trying out some new Chinese herbs lately. And dang, they've made me feel perky and healthy, and full of vim and vigor. And you know where this is going, right? I keep thinking that I bet my ovaries are also perky and full of life. And therefore, full of good eggs. Or, at least one good egg.

And so this morning I was mulling over how next month it'll be a year since my last IVF, and how I was supposed to be getting a boyfriend, but have failed at that so far (although I haven't given up hope). And that it'd be really nice to be trying to conceive the old fashioned way before my eggs get far too ancient even for me to kid myself that there's any life left in them. So then I mulled over getting someone to donate, but it's so hard to ask people that. So then I thought about going to an RE and asking if they'd do some IUI's for me - after all, it wouldn't go on their stats like an IVF would. But I thought, nah, that'd never work. So, yes, my mind went.....there. What, I thought, what if I went back to Big NY Clinic and did another IVF? I bet they'd still treat me - they treat women up to the age of 45. I have a 2.5 week break in August. I could travel to NY, shoot myself up with some drugs, and bingo! The new healthy me would produce some awesome eggs and I'd get knocked up before I hit my next birthday.

But don't worry, Anonymous, I said it myself: What, are you CRAZY????

It's not going to happen. I don't have the money. It's a ridonkulous idea.

But I really must try harder on that "finding a boyfriend" thing...clearly my mind is never going to rest until something happens.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009


As always, it comes back to infertility. It shouldn't. It won't, at some point, because I will find other ways of looking at the world, but for right now, I reference everything through the same lens.

I was watching a PBS show yesterday about American war cemeteries overseas. It made me cry. Which is as it should be. One should spend some time on Memorial day thinking about those who gave their lives for us.

But it also made me feel guilty. Here I am, with so many choices open to me. OK, so I was not so lucky in love and ended up trying to conceive on my own and it didn't work. But wow, what choices are those - first not to be forced into an arranged marriage with someone I didn't even know, second to have any option outside spinsterhood or the church if marriage was not on the cards, and third to have the option to bear a child out of wedlock and not have it be a terrible sin. Wow. Then, here I am, earning my living, making my own way in the world. I own property, I have leisure time, I have a life expectancy longer than 39. I can go to school and have an education. I live in a free country. And finally, I have not been drafted off into the hellish nightmare of a war. And have not been maimed or killed. So what if my genes are not going forward into the future? Should it really matter so much? At least I am alive and free and healthy. I can still leave a legacy in the world by making at least one person's life better. It makes me think about all the hundreds of thousands, nay millions, of people whose genes also did not make it into the future, but because of war or conquest or famine or natural disasters or atrocities or even just plain old car crashes. I should wallow less, and feel grateful more. At least I'm still here.

Therefore, thank you, to the people who gave your lives so that I may have freedom. Thank you for laying down your lives so that I may live mine by making my own choices, even if those choices don't always work out. At least I am, and I was, able to try.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Morning coffee

It was almost like being in New York today. Almost.

I don't know about you, but where I work and live, it doesn't feel like I'm in a real city. I'm a city girl at heart, so it pains me that while parts of my (small-ish) city are vaguely city-ish, the area immediately around my place of employment was until recently full of 1960's-1980's era high rises (well, actually small to mid rises because, let's fact it, it ain't New York). With parking garages. Interspersed with run down old car dealers or empty lots. So it's like each building was an island surrounded by a great forbidding moat of wasteland or a parking garage, and is not exactly pedestrian friendly, to say the least. And let's not even mention the unbearable heat and humidity in summer. But let's face it, people have a tendency to drive absolutely everywhere in this town.

But my city saw the light in the 1990's and imposed new codes which required pedestrian friendliness, and sidewalks, and shade trees, and mixed use, and internal/hidden parking, and street level retail space. And some areas slooowly started to come back to life a bit. But not the area right around where I work. Except for when the heady building boom of the last few years hit, and they suddenly started to fill in some vacant lots and knock down a few underperforming buildings, and....presto! There are fancy new places with fancy sidewalks and retail space.

The problem is, the retail space is mostly empty. No great revival has come, because of course the recession hit just as these buildings were being finished up. Oh sure, some of the fancy condos got sold, and some people are living in them, but there are swathes of empty, vacant windows staring out into the world.

But right across the street from my building they put in a hotel. A hotel! And it opened a couple of months ago. And we all said "but who's going to want to stay there? It's not on the beach, it's not by the shops, it's not a fancy resort or upscale business establishment, it's not right downtown near the little nightlife that there is around here." But lo and behold, I guess it is priced right or something, but there has been a steady and growing trickle of guests. And I also heard this week that they have a Starbucks kiosk in there. It's not a real Starbucks, you understand, just one of those mini "We proudly brew Starbucks" arrangements. But I was all excited. Gosh, I mean, a Starbucks right next door. I almost did a little dance.

So, even though I shouldn't, and didn't I just post about getting healthier (but, hey, it's all about balance, people - I won't do it every day), this morning I walked across the street to get a Starbucks on my way into work. I stopped in, dealt with the inept receptionist who actually forgot she was supposed to be brewing me a latte half way through and walked off to clean up the breakfast area. But once I'd got her back, finally got my beverage and walked out with my distinctive paper cup and sleeve, I felt all grown-up and citified walking the half block back to the building entrance.

It's the little things in life that please me these days...

Friday, May 15, 2009

Does acupuncture really help infertility?

OK, so I didn't ask for any opinions on the effectiveness of acupuncture for infertility, but seeing as I got them, I thought I'd give my views. And yes, Anonymous, I know you snuck a comment in there, but seeing as it was just a study that most of us know about anyway, I let it stand.

Now, bear in mind, that these thoughts have been formed after much infertility, but not much acupuncture school (yet). I will probably revise my thoughts as I learn more.

Right, that's that out of the way.

I do think acupuncture can be very helpful. But I don't think that acupuncture performs well in the context of the studies that have been undertaken, and when used short-term as the studies tend to do. I also wonder some times whether Randine Lewis' The Infertility Cure didn't do some harm as well as good - for example, she talks about flooding the ovaries with energy during the follicular phase. Which is all well and good if your body has energy to spare in the first place. However, if your issue is that you don't have enough energy, where is this extra going to come from? It's like we've got into this Western medicine mindset that a quick fix can be achieved. I mean, yes, she stresses a lot that it's not short term, but we all tend to take segments out of books and focus on those component parts without really taking in the whole teaching.

To my mind, infertility is caused at the end of a long chain of events (ignoring blocked tubes caused by an infection, say). We don't eat well, or we don't exercise enough, or we weigh too much or too little, or we are under stress, or we are getting older. Or, let's put it another way, we are just living in this stressful, difficult time on earth. Our bodies will fight hard to keep the important functions performing well - our hearts will beat, our lungs will work, our stomachs will digest food. But if something is a little off, it'll draw on some resources from systems that are not essential to survival - maybe our skin starts to look a little tired. Maybe our hair starts to go grey. Maybe our thyroid starts to have trouble. Maybe we start getting digestive issues. Maybe we find ourselves not sleeping well, stressing. Maybe our ovaries start to run out of steam. Reproduction is an energy-intensive business, and especially the female system is extremely delicately balanced. But let's face it, it's not that important in our bodies' orders of priority, so it may go into decline before the rest of us.

So, can we fix things by shooting some drugs in? Sure, some of the time we can. Sometimes it doesn't work quite so well, though. Can we fix things by doing some acupuncture for the 2-week period before an egg retrieval? Well, maybe sometimes, but most of the time, it is not enough time, and it's not specific enough. If my problem is that my digestion is off because I haven't eaten enough protein and have had too much sugar and not enough exercise for the last 20 years, and this means I am lacking in energy, will 2 weeks worth of acu fix it? No. Similarly, if your problem is that you are a stockbroker/lawyer/tax accountant who is also marathon runner and arguing with your husband and you are so stressed out that you are not ovulating at all any more, can you be fixed with 2 weeks worth of acu? And, more importantly, will using the same acupuncture points on both of us work equally well for both of us? No, and no.

The studies use particular points in particular combinations for particular periods of time. That's like using one cholesterol medication for a short period of time to see if it is effective on every cardiovascular problem - when some of the problems may be due to high blood pressure, or high blood sugar, and not high cholesterol. The cholesterol medication may work for some people, but perhaps others needed a different drug, or needed to be on it for a longer period of time. Or maybe they just needed to go on vacation and de-stress. Likewise with acupuncture. While there are a fairly large number of points that are useful for "infertility," each point can have a slightly different effect. If it is on the spleen channel, maybe it helps with infertility that is related to poor digestion/diet (because in Chinese medicine, the spleen is related to digestion). If it is on the liver channel, maybe it helps with infertility that is related to stress. One size does not fit all.

It seems that infertility acupuncture has got away from its basics. Acupuncture is very good for chronic health problems, and pain. Infertility is mostly a chronic health problem, and needs to be treated using a very individualized approach on a long term basis, to build up the patient's energy reserves or whatever they need. And if that means not using points for infertility, or ignoring the infertility aspect for a while to just bring the patient's health into balance while letting the body deal with the ovaries in its own way, then that's what should be done. So that when the patient gets to an IVF cycle, their own body is more prepared to do what it needs to do to respond to the medications.

And, the patient needs to be involved - they need to be given clear help with food intake, exercise and stress management. Because I think these are key with infertility. We patients don't like to admit it, but it's our own lifestyles that are big contributors. But it's no good to just throw suggestions out there in a random fashion - people need to be sat down and really taken through all this. And, importantly, acupuncturists need to be flexible and keep looking for answers and ways to help the patient. My first acupuncturist told me to eat meat. I said no. We reached an impasse and got no further. Actually, there are plenty of vegetarian foods he could have suggested that would have helped me - not as quickly as me tucking into a steak, admittedly. But I would have slowly got somewhere if I had known how important it was for me to limit sugar and fat, and increase protein, and pay attention to whether foods are "warming" or "cooling" and the like. Likewise, telling someone to give up coffee when that is what they love and what gets them through the morning isn't going to go down well - perhaps the acupuncturist can work with the patient and say, OK, it's either give up coffee, OR cut down on the coffee but also give up ice cream and chocolate and do some meditation in the evening - in other words, work with them to find out what they really don't want to change and offer alternatives. It's got to be something that the patient can actually do. Books like The Infertility Cure offer plenty of diet suggestions, but they are so confusing, especially when it's not clear what your problem really is, and you are trying to incorporate two or three different patterns like spleen qi deficiency and liver blood deficiency - if one list of foods says "eat black beans" and the other says "don't eat black beans" what is a patient to do?

Now, I know that many acupuncturists don't want to offer diet and lifestyle suggestions until the patient is an established patient and trusts the acupuncturist. You don't want to scare someone off at their first visit by telling them to do and change too much. But I also think that there's scope with some of the more chronic problems (and infertility is just one of them) to sit with the patient at the first visit, and spell out that it'll take a number of sessions to help, and that it's going to be a partnership, both the patient and the acupuncturist working together and making changes to the body. And to say, if it's not working (or not working fast enough), let's keep talking and making adjustments until we get it right. I think I would have appreciated that - after all, to know that there is a plan in place and to know that it might take a few weeks to see changes are both helpful, and help you to keep hope alive that things will improve.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Remembering failures

My school is running a big infertility seminar. Which you would think would please me, but sadly, no, it does not. First of all, various people have been going around smugly saying how much acupuncture helps with infertility. Which it DOES, don't get me wrong. But they are implying that it is the answer to everything for everyone, which it is not. And when I say meekly "but it doesn't help everyone" I am usually met with a blank stare, or some tale of how someone somewhere got pregnant after acupuncture treatment. Uh huh. Ye-es. But you don't know if that person would have gotten pregnant anyway, even without treatment, and how much of any gain was actually caused by the treatment.

And then the annoying guy in my class is of course friends with one of the RE's from the big local practice (where I went, and was a patient of the senior RE before he fired me for being too, well, infertile). So the annoying guy is being insufferable about how amazing his friend is and how open he is to acupuncture, and that they are making these huge gains, and blah blah blah.

Oh god, it is going to be tough over the next few weeks leading up to this thing. It's like the whole school is buzzing about infertility and it is reopening some old wounds. But none of the people who are spouting off as experts are really thinking things through. Since going to school, I have realized that one of the people I went to (who sells himself as an infertility "guru") basically just used every single acupuncture point that was ever related to infertility. Rii-ight. And I'm sure it worked for a lot of women, but then again, there are many reasons WHY women become infertile, and one should presumably treat those reasons differently. A more targeted treatment may have been better for the harder cases like me, rather than using a scattergun approach. It seems to me like most of the acupuncturists only remember their successes, and don't think hard enough about their failures. They don't continue trying to find out the reasons for infertility. They don't keep trying to change the treatment, they don't keep refining. They don't know WHY it doesn't work for everyone. They don't remember that the failures gradually drift away and try something else. When they should dagnabbit.

If they were being rigorous about wanting this stuff to work, they would be researching more. Asking WHY more. But many, sadly I think, have some successes and rest on their laurels. And THAT'S what's annoying me. It's like like anyone who remains barren after acupuncture must be somehow wilfully barren, or something. Not like perhaps the practitioners could be at fault.

Monday, May 04, 2009


I am dreading school, which starts again this week.

Well, I should rephrase. I am not dreading school per se. I am dreading the driving to and fro, the studying, the time involved, and most of all, giving up my Saturdays and any free time. It is so hard to just be able to function during term time, and I have to live a very regimented life in order to be able to do it.

Oh well, at least I do get a 2-week break every now and then. I suppose if I'd been successful in having a kid I wouldn't get any breaks at all. I suppose that is a silver lining. Maybe.

Sunday, May 03, 2009


UB40 were actually a lot of fun, and I thoroughly enjoyed watching them and dancing and singing along, but I failed at:

a) Operating my cameraphone with any degree of success.
b) Stopping my tenant from driving drunk even though I offered to drive her and her even drunker friend anywhere they wanted several times, and asked several times if she was SURE she was OK to drive, and admonishing them to be safe, and offering AGAIN to drive them. What is one to do when you're not close enough to demand that they do not drive? I suppose I should have demanded anyway. Like I said, fail. I feel like a shit for it.
c) Remembering to take hand sanitizer, so had to use porta-potties and probably get all sorts of germs when swine flu has been confirmed in the next county, allegedly. Not to mention wearing long jeans that drag on the floor through urine even though I was trying to hold them up.
d) Flirting with anybody. Tenant managed this, successfully it seems. In fact, she was even flirting in the porta-potty line.
e) Stopping myself from planning IUI's in my dreams during today's afternoon nap after berating myself at my failure over flirting. No, I DON'T want to sign up for more IUI's. But clearly I have a one-track mind, and I wish I could relax over this once and for all.
f) Feeling like an old fart for wanting to go home after the band and not wanting to go on elsewhere. Likewise with not wanting to have any more than 2 drinks when driving. Time was I used to be able to go out and enjoy myself and not worry about drinking or hand sanitizer.

Back to school this week, and I have also failed at doing any studying while on break. Oh well, c'est la vie.

Friday, May 01, 2009

Red, red wine...

I am feeling quite proud of myself.

This week I:
a) hired a pool boy. OK, it's a pool old man. But he is going to keep my pool in tip-top shape so that's one less job for me to do and means I can swim all summer. Yay! No more scooping leaves out of the darn thing.
b) discovered Pandora for my Blackberry. Free cool music!
c) cleaned a bit. I made a good dent in the cleaning work, though it isn't finished yet.
d) finally got on the scale after weeks of bingeing. I'm only up 3.5 lbs so that's nowhere near as bad as I thought.
e) went out to dinner with my friend P. We went to "the island" that is near where I live. Where all the rich people hang out. It was fun, but full of super-wealthy types. And us.
f) went out to dinner with my tenant A. Also fun. And we made plans to -

g) go out to a music festival on Saturday afternoon/evening with some of A's friends and see UB40.

Social life! And yes, there was wine drunk. And there may be dancing, when my life's theme song comes on.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Did I?

Did I call someone to arrange a Saturday night out? No, I did not. I stayed in with a bottle of wine and a DVD. But somehow I didn't feel quite so lame as I did on Friday. I did make it a mission to arrange at least two outings this week though, before school starts again. And preferably 3 or even 4.  Ha, maybe not 4. Maybe that's a bit too much.

Anyway, I will go out at least once because I have quasi-arranged something with my quasi-roommate, who is finishing her semester at college on Monday. We'd already said that we'd go out for a meal sometime next week to catch up. We don't usually see one another because she lives in my guest cottage, which is a separate building in my garden, and we are both out of the house a lot, so we are usually like ships passing in the night. So there's that. And I will talk to some other people about arranging something.

I went to my last qi gong class today with my cute (but sadly, married) professor. I felt really good that I was the only person that has gone to all of the classes and I felt that he respected my commitment to the class. I have made a commitment to myself to practice what he taught us for at least 100 days in a row, as he says that's how long you should give it and when you really start seeing results. I am already seeing results though. For those that don't know, qi gong is a Chinese exercise practice. It is very slow and meditative - tai ji (tai chi) is a form of qi gong. Anyway, when we first started learning it, I didn't feel like it was doing anything for me. It is not strenuous, so you start wondering why you are doing it at all as it doesn't seem hard enough to be real exercise.  But now I find my body really starts relaxing and de-stressing by about half way through. I get very focussed.  It's pretty cool.

Then I spent some time doing some pand-emic fl'u preparations. Yes, I'm probably crazy. I hope we will not be getting into that. But hurricane season is about 6 weeks away (gack, so soon) so I need to stock up on non-perishable food items at some point anyway. I checked out the cupboards yesterday and realized that I could survive for a few months if I was shut up in the house avoiding germs on the amount of dried grains and legumes that I have, but that I would run out of vegetables, toilet paper and cat food pretty quickly. At the end, I could be living on dried mung beans, and amaranth (weird-tasting grain that I tried once and never had again), possibly flavored only with cinnamon or cumin. You know, the dregs of the store cupboard. Or I could be living on a steady diet of coconut, which is the only edible thing that grows in my yard. So I stocked up. I now have a nice assortment of cans (but only from one company - Eden Organics - that I recall doesn't use BPA in its can linings except I think for the tomatoes), frozen veggies, and even dried seaweed, dried vegetables and dried fruit. I have jars of sauerkraut, roasted peppers, olives, and tapenade. I have apple sauce. I have toilet tissue and hand sanitizer.

It makes me happy to have a well stocked house. I guess I'm just a survivalist homebody at heart. There are some things I forgot (cat food!) but plenty of time this week to get some. In-between the socializing, of course.