Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Apparently, Some of the Advice Works

Yesterday was the last day of classes for this school year.



Besides being THRILLED OUT OF MY SKULL that the last day of classes was here, I realized I had not worn the pretty dress I bought last fall with the express purpose of impressing my students that I actually could look decent. I also had purchased the Appropriate Support Garmet (girdle slip) as recommended by my How Not to Look Like a Used Up Old Hag book. I have to admit that I felt pretty.

I walked into the classroom and everyone oohed and ahhed over my new dress. (Although I do try more on days that I teach, I still think it's obvious that my usual motto for dressing is to Not Be Naked) Then one particularly attractive woman said "Oh my GOSH! You've lost so much weight!! How much weight did you lose?!!?!?"

I replied, "20 lbs??? 30?? Exactly how fat did you think I was? Check minus for you!"

Actually, no I did not say that. It would have been funny. Admit it. And I didn't even say "Girrrrl! I'm wearing a girdle! I haven't lost any weight at all!!!" Normally, I would say that, but I'm trying to be more discreet lately. (ha!) I just said, Oh, I don't know! But I thought this was such a pretty dress!!

And then I thought, good advice, this control slip. I do look nice!

Monday, April 28, 2008


Conor can now reconize and read two words effortlessly:




Glorious, Gorgeous Rain

It's really clear that we haven't had a lot of rain around here when I sit in my home office watching this steady rain and am happy. This rain could make a great deal of difference in our drought if it stays steady.

The weather is also coolish. We've had our heat/AC off for nearly 3 weeks now. And the windows we installed last fall may actually let us keep the AC off for another month or so. We can finally get cool air in our kitchen and in our bedroom. We can also hear the birds chirping in the morning which on the one hand is nice, but on the other is a bit annoying. I know the early bird gets the worm. But the early bird might also get a shoe thrown at his head if he doesn't watch it.

I've got most of the garden in including my tomatoes and peppers who I do not think are going to like the 40 degree low they are forecasting tomorrow night. Any suggestions on what to do?

I'm also really, really excited that Dave put up a fancy trellis that we're going to try to grow both the cucumbers and the tomatoes on this year. If we can train them to grow up instead of out, we'll have a lot more room in the garden and supposedly better veggies. I also realized why my carrots have all died. I wasn't supposed to plant them until this weekend, not a month ago. Whoops! I can see the new rhubarb from here and I'm very disappointed with this year's asparagus crop. I did something wrong last year (maybe trimming back the ferns?) and we are not getting much at all this year.

Finally, I hate slugs. I think we have the worms and bunnies under control, but I can now spot slug eatage. And somebody is going to pay for that. I may have gained weight in the last few years, but I be damned if a slug is going to get the better of my garden.

Now, back to the article I'm reading on bribery. Interesting, but not enough so to keep me from checking email.

Friday, April 25, 2008

Thank God(dess) for Photoshop

Oh my word. Why didn't anyone tell me about the full set of baggage I've been carrying under my eyes? I had my official headshot made for campus this week. They are doing a feature on my research for the alumni magazine and needed a mugshot, I mean, headshot for the story. Why oh why did I not get this picture made 6 years and 20 pounds ago when I arrived?

I looked like a complete and utter HAG! The photographer assured me that he could help with photoshop and demonstrated by covering up the ginourmous vein on my forehand, my deep crow's feet and even the pores around my nose.

Ummm, thanks, for making me feel so beautiful!

In all honesty, I have rarely felt so ugly.

That said, I'm thrilled about the photoshopped results. I do look a lot younger if not much thinner.

Oh, I haven't shared much about the Not to Look Old efforts. I'm using most all of the Oil of Olay Prescriptives products. I *thought* they were working until I saw the bags under my eyes and the wrinkles around my eyes. I guess that the problem is that I don't grin like a complete fool when I look in the mirror, but I nonetheless cannot help myself in front of a camera.

Oh, joy.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Packin' Heat

It's been an eventful week already. (Did I mention spending last Thursday in two doctor's offices because they thought I had a hole in my eye? No? Well, now I did. Everything is fine, but I was not amused at the time). Ok. Back to this week.

The doctor's visit on Monday was uneventful but exciting. They did an ultrasound to check for ovarian cysts and a blood test to check that my hormones have stopped. Everything looked great and they have given me my schedule for the estrogen and hcg. It looks like we're aiming for retrieval starting next Friday and up to Monday. I felt like they were wanting to have me hold off until Monday so that the embryologist could do the ICSI (sperm injection) and monitor embryo growth, but I guess we'll have to wait to see what happens when it happens!

As for school, so far none of my colleagues have had anyone demonstrating with their empty holsters. And interesting very few of the students have heard about the protest, but as I predicted, those who have heard are appalled. As one grad student commented, would you really want to give an F to as student with a gun?

In any case, there has been no holster or gun sighting. Until today.

Today was the first day of presentations for the students in my class. I was sitting in the middle of the room listening to an interesting talk on interent gambling when there was an usual and persistent knock on the door. People do not knock on closed university classroom doors.

"Come in," I called out.

Some dude with his hat on backwards, jeans, and a baggy jacket said "I need to see the class instructor."

I noted how odd it must be for me to rise from the middle of the classroom and I walked to the door.

"Yes, what is it?" I asked him.

"I am a police officer and I need to see one of your students," he said.

Sure you are, punk, I thought to myself, being well versed in stalking and domestic violence and I was generally not trusting this dude whom could I towerover. Out loud I said, "Can I see your badge?"

He pulled back his jacket and then I could note, quite easily, that he was packin'.

OHMYGOD! I thought!! IT'S A NUTJOB!! (I'm a psychologist; I use the technical terms.) OHMYGOD!!! OHMYGOD!! Out loud I said pointing to his gun, "ARE YOU ONE OF THOSE PROTESTERS????" and regretting my post earlier that I trusted the protesters not to really bring guns on campus.

"I'm not in uniform. I'm doing a lot of undercover work."

The dude looked 18 years old at max. He handed me an ID and a badge. I remember he did because I remember the physical motion. But I am here to tell you that I have no idea what either one had written on it or what they looked like. As I have taught both Intro to Psych and Critical Thinking, I can tell that I know about the weapon effect, which basically means that whenever a gun is involved, all focus goes to the gun (which was snapped into his holster). I'm here to testify that it's true, even for people who know about it.

"I need to see your student AC. Her car was broken into and we think we know who did it." We've had a string of on campus crimes and the police have not been amused.

Ironically, guess who was giving the very interesting talk on internet gambling?? AC!

"She is doing her class presentation right now," I told him. "I mean Right Now! Right Now!! You're going to have to wait."

So then I came back into class, and honestly, the presentation was so good that the students were questioning AC without me being in there. That is not typical! I reassured them that all was ok and waited for the questions to subside. They didn't and I had to call out "One last question!" in a high pitched voice. And then as AC went back to her seat, I had to intercept her in the middle of class to let her know that oh, by the way, the officer is here for you and your car has been broken into! And I want to do this giving the woman some privacy while we are standing in the middle of class and all the other students are watching. This is a small, interactive class that has developed real feelings of groupiness together, so let's just say it was awkward and I was still freaking out about the gun outside!

So we did find out later that she's ok and a good samaritan student called the cops to stop there being more damage on her car. (We're such a tight class, she just posted her update on the class blog) I really am still a bit amazed by the whole experience. Of all weeks to have an armed undercover cop show up at my classroom door...

Really. Can I have an easy uneventful week or two until I can get this IVF thing done? I'd really like it.

Sunday, April 20, 2008


What is up with It's the best site to obsess over beta numbers and it's been down since Friday. The only thing I've been able to find is this, the google cached version of the main page. If anybody has any information, please leave a comment.

This and That

You know, considering the name of the blog, I do think it's ok to sometimes have a collection of topics in one post.

So, the lupron. I am not having night sweats or hot flashes. No indeedy. I am not having any of the typical menopause symptons. Instead, my main side effect is that I am a bitch. (More so than usual) And I am tired, really, really tired. Yeah, so I'm bitchy and tired. Who wants to be around me in about 15 years!? Won't that be fun!

On a more amusing note, last week I went to collect Conor from daycare. His school has a separate class for art and the kids go there at assigned times. I arrived when Conor was still arting. I walked into the atelier (really, that's what they call it), and I saw my son running around the room with his Thomas the Tank sunglasses on, a wand, wings, and a long pink frilly dress.

"Mommy!! I'm a butterfly! I'm a butterfly!"

"You're beautiful, son!" I called back to him. The teacher was worried that I would be upset upon seeing my son in a long pink frilly dress. (Little does she know!)

"The kids all love that dress," she reassured me. "They all want to wear it."

"Oh, that's fine," I assure her. "But the next time he puts it on, could you get a camera?!" I was thinking to myself, I don't care if he goes to the prom with a girl, a boy or a turtle, that picture is definitely coming back out!

We're anticipating fun times at school this week. In "honor" of the Va Tech massacre, students who believe that they should be able to carry concealed weapons on campus with the correct permits are planning on wearing their empty holsters to class all next week. As this is their first amendment right to protest (which I fully support), we have been instructed on not drawing attention to the students nor singling them out of anything bad. However, that's definitely NOT what we need: students who are hopped up on hormones, lacking the requisite amount of sleep and often hungover or high being able to carry guns to class. Yeah. Not so much. We have been instructed about how to contact the police should something be amiss, but I doubt there will be problems. I imagine the students are taking very seriously the limits of what they can and cannot do as part of their protest. I also suspect there will soon be a counter demonstration and that their goals are going to backfire. I am not looking forward to class next week. I sincerely hope none of my students are going to do this.

That's about all! (It's enough!) My cycle started over the weekend, so I'm going in on Monday to have my next round of blood work and then find out when I start my estrogen and Hcg! I'm hoping that This, That and the Mother Bitch will be able to retire for a few more years.

Friday, April 18, 2008


Besides my fat a$$, it's possible that emails sent to me in the last 2 days will bounce. We upgraded our cable and like the phone companies of yore, they switched our internet service provider without our consent. We are working to get our account back.


Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Trial Transfer

I'm just back from my trial transfer for the IVF. The point of this visit was to make sure there were no surprises when the doctor moves the (hopefully) two blastocysts from the "test tube" to my warm welcoming uterus.

As the doc said, now the hard part begins.

On the one hand, I'm excited. On the other, I feel like we're just paying good money so that 10 years from now we can say "We gave it our best."

Running Around Outside

(((Brrrringgg. Brrrrring)))


"Anita? This is your neighbor, C***."

"Hey! How are you doing?!"

"Fine. I just thought you'd want to know that Patches is running around in your backyard with something that looks like shorts."


"Are you sure it's shorts and not underwear?"

"I'm just saying it looks like shorts."


Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Still Psyched

Despite being absolutely knackered from the lupron, I am still quite happy to have the official word about tenure. I've known since January that it was highly likely. My letter from the Dean in support of tenure, which I got in January, was quite positive. Although I've only ever seen one letter for tenure (my own), my chair described the letter as very enthusiatic. That's always nice to hear!

Folks, I honestly have typed and deleted, typed and deleted, and typed and deleted half a dozen other thoughts about this process. But I have to tell you that I am not kidding when I say I am absolutely exhausted. I'm not even sure I can think straight to write much more on how happy I am about tenure and how I can't wait to see what happens next.

Monday, April 14, 2008

Big Ass Promotion

One of the frustrating things, I discovered, about being an assistant professor is abbreviating one's profession. I don't really want to write down that I am an ass professor (I'm not that self-deprecating!). And asst professor doesn't adequately distinguish between being an assistant and an associate professor. So for the last 6 1/2 years, I've not been able to abbreviate my job.

However, as of about 45 minutes ago, I can now write assoc professor (with tenure). Yes, I've finally received the official notice that I have been promoted to associate professor with tenure as of July 1. I'm a Big Ass now.

This has been a hellish process. I have not been able to blog about it as I would have liked for fear of being dooced. But the nice thing about tenure is that they can't fire me now unless I skip my office hours or sleep with a student. Unless, I'm a man. But that's a whole other story.

I fully realize that the tenure process is rough on everyone. But no one who knows my situation would deny me when I say I've had it rougher than most. Let me let you in on a few secrets. My miscarriages have run about lockstep with most of the really bad things that have happened at work here. A false correlation? Maybe. But I have yet to have the pleasure of saying, well, my job has problems, but at least my family is growing. (Or vice verse, but truly the former is more important).

I will hopefully reveal a bit of my anger over this tenure process with a story: Over the Christmas holidays when we went to Omaha for a wedding, we had to fly through Chicago. As we landed in Chicago, we hit some turbulence, and my morbid mind immediately thought "We're all going to die." And then I followed up with a scenario in which the Charlotte Observer profiled all the local residents who died in the crash. In this scene, they are interviewing my chair who says "Yes, she was in the middle of the tenure process. It's very sad. We've decided to award her tenure posthumously." A millisecond later, I imagined my bony, charred arms rising from the grave to give a two bird salute to this man.

To say that none of my good friends or family would be surprised to see a whirligig of birds being flipped from my raised and rotating arms would be an understatement. Indeed, my favorite response when people ask me about my future plans at work is to say "I really want to apply environmental psychology to virtual communities. I see myself really making new inroads into the theory of online behavior. Actually, I envision a lot of bird flipping."

But enough of the negative. I can only bitch about this so long. I have tenure. I am an associate professor. I'm going to go home and drink champagne. Finally.

Friday, April 11, 2008

Conversations You Don't Have

"You know, things are still a little tweaked. And the weirdest thing is that I can poop on demand."

"Poor Demand."

Monday, April 07, 2008


You'd think I'd be referring to yesterday's war declared on slugs and bunnies. However, I'm actually referring to the low flying planes canvasing our 'hood today and aiming to kill those evil cankerworms that inhabit and eat our trees. I grew up in the era of mosquito trucks which sprayed the campgrounds we stayed in and I even recall running behind these trucks and their non-organic pesticides. (Explains a bit, eh?) This, however, is a massive spraying of BT, my favorite organic pesticide, which will cause the cankerworms' bellies to explode. As our local columnist implied , at this point, if the best option involved pointing flamethrowers at our house to kill them, we'd take it.

I thought the planes would go by just once, but they keep coming around. It's Bizarre, folks. But Charlotte apparently has the worst canker worm infestation in North America and if I have to run from my house to my office like a scene from North by Northwest, I'll do it.

Sunday, April 06, 2008

Are Guns Organic?

The IVF lab was packed, PACKED, this morning when I went in for my lab work. This would not seem surprising except this morning (depending on when you read this) was Sunday morning. Who knew that infertility clinics that were busy every single day of the week. I guess that ovulation happens all the day. Still it was surprising.

I spent the rest of the day working in the yard and the garden. This spring is really beautiful and I don't know if it's because I'm actually paying attention to it because I'm not working as hard or if we are really getting a nice extended spring this year. I did not mention this, but a couple of weeks ago, Dave and I were featured in the Charlotte Observer for practicing organic techniques in our vegetable garden. (I would link to the story, but it's no longer live). Although one might think the keyword in this story was "organic", truly the most important word is "practicing."

This point was brought home to us when we proudly walked out to survey our organic garden and saw that all our lettuce had been eaten. The two main culprits are slugs and bunnies. Personally, I think the bunnies were responsible for this lettuce-i-cide. (I blame the slugs for what I saw killed today). Being that we had just been featured as presumably being successful organic gardeners, I felt very much like a loser. I then recalled that last year we had really didn't get nearly what we planted because something....some DAMN BUNNY....kept eating our young vegetables.

"A gun. Is a gun organic?" I asked Dave. "If we shot it and ate it, would that be a natural gardening technique?"

Instead, I busted out the Deer and Rabbit repellent and marked around the garden. I'm not really sure it has worked. I'm not 100% convinced it wasn't slugs. However, we left a plate of beer out and didn't catch any slugs (or drunk rabbits), so I'm not sure they are the culprits either. I am spraying the heck out of everything with BT, a bacterium that makes worms stomachs explode. That is helping our cabbage and broccoli, but the bok choi and lettuce are really taking it hard.

I have to be honest that today I was feeling pretty damn rough as a gardener. I'd like to find a hobby thta doesn't make me feel so bad about myself. I feel behind on getting the seeds in and I'm really discouraged that some FREAKING evil animal is eating my seeds. I just want some lettuce. I'd like to actually have a few carrots make it. I HATE whoever ate my cilantro. And I had BETTER get some turnips and beets this year or someone or someTHING is going to pay (Bunny/slug, did you hear that?).

In other more pro-chemical warfare news, since I could not pull up ivy due to my surgery, Dave mowed it down and sprayed it with Round Up. It's Dead. I mean, it is dead dead. Not kinda dead. Not wounded and able to make a comeback. I mean the ivy is finally gone from the side of our house. Some of our greener neighbors say that Round Up is not a bad chemical because it becomes inert as soon as it touches the soil. Still. I was once again discouraged.

I can tell you right now that if I don't get some lettuce this year, I will seriously consider some chemicals in our garden. I don't mind hard labor. But when there are not fruits of my labor, something has got to give.

Thursday, April 03, 2008


"Why, oh, why, oh, why did I post that we were going to cycle?" I asked myself as I headed to an unscheduled visit with the surgeon. I really am not particularly superstitious but sometimes I do feel like I can jinx myself when I publicly express a hope that is not yet real.

So why was I heading back to my surgeon? Well, it had to do with the blood in my stool that's been happening on and off for the last 5 days. And this blood is nothing like the problems I had with my booty previously. This was obviously Blood In and Around the Things You Do Not Want Me to Discuss on this Blog. When it started on Sunday/Monday, I thought it was due to the double dose of naproxin I took for the HSG. Indeed, when it went away on Tuesday, I rejoiced. And then, when it came back Wednesday night, I despaired.

So I drove to the surgeon, not at all happy that I was bleeding out my butt again and that I had talked about starting the cycle on the blog before everything was official. The "good" news is that I'd had my final blood panel to prep for the IVF on Tuesday and I was able to call my IVF nurse and ask her for the results, telling her I was feeling a bit dizzy. (I didn't want to mention the extra blood as she might automatically cancel my IVF).

Let me pause for a moment and say that there is NO WAY I want to do this without being 100% healthy. I don't want to waste the money nor the eggs without knowing that I will actually live to give birth and not leave my children motherless. So I am more than willing to wait however long the doctors want until I'm in a fit state (as opposed to pitching a fit). So I was and am more than willing to wait to be a healthy woman to start this.

The nurse called back and although my hemoglobin was quite high for me (12.6 when 12 is the cut off. I usually run around 11.9), my hematocrit was low at 35.6 when normal is 37. Crap. (Literally, if you will)

So into the surgeon's office I went, having my IVF nurse fax over the results, both of us feeling crappy.

And then guess what? No. Big. Whoop. The surgeon says it isn't typical, but it's not abnormal either. Essentially, it's like I have an internal scab that my poop has picked off my colon. (Lovely!!) But it's *nothing* to be concerned about and *nothing* to stop this cycle.

So we're still on!!!!

And when I called my IVF nurse for the third time today and told her that I had a positive OPK and she called back making it the fifth time we talked to each other *just today*, we were both pretty dang excited. I go in Sunday for my first set of bloodwork for this cycle to make sure I've ovulated and then, I will start Lupron next week.

What an emotional day.

ETA: I forgot to put in here yesterday that the reason for the title of this post is that the surgeon dismissed me from this illness and seeing him again. I'm done! I'm healthy or soon enough I will be.

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

I Think This is Really Happening

I've been waiting for the official word that things are going to be starting for us for IVF, and apparently there is no "YES! You may proceed after surgery!" proclamation that is handed out. (And no, this isn't an April Fool's joke....unlike the one I pulled on my class this morning when I told them they were going to have a pop quiz. The look on their faces! The dread!! The "Oh Shit" attitude!!! Teehee! In case you're wondering, you just don't give pop quizzes to senior level students. So when I said "April Fools!", it took them a while to recover, but it was heee-sterical!)

Ok. Back to the real stuff. Dudes. We're starting our suppression cycle! Now! YIKES! I just got off the phone with the special order pharmacy and the medication arrives tomorrow. And our insurance is covering A LOT more than we thought!! And for the other medications, we joined a VIP/Frequent flier program at the special order pharmacy for $12 a year and a boatload of the meds will be less than half price. All in all the medications have thus far turned out to be half what we budgeted! Whew!! We still have to pick up some things from our local pharmacy, but it's antibiotics and a Valium for the transfer so things are looking great medication-wise.

And tomorrow we take our injectibles class where Dave and I learn to give each other shots. Well, he learns to give me shots and I learn to give myself shots. And on Friday, I had another HSG (just to make sure there is nothing in the way to prevent a pregnancy). We have our trial transfer scheduled in 2 weeks (to make sure the docs can actually do the transfer of embryos with no big surprises). And presently, we are just waiting for me to ovulate so we can wait a week or so before starting the Lupron to turn off all my hormones. (And put me into a menopausal state and scare the crap out of Dave. I might have read somewhere that "irritability" can occur.)

So despite trying to be up on everything I just leared that the first month, the docs turn off everything and the second month, they slowly turn everything back on so they can do all the things they need to do when they want to do them. Or something like that. Hopefully, I'm going to be responsive to the drugs which means that things will go quicker rather than upping the dosages and waiting until I respond before everything starts.


The good news is that because of the timing of my cycle, the retrieval/transfer will happen at approximately 2 months after my surgery date which is when our doc said we could do this. Really, folks. It was Friday when he did my HSG that he gave us the go-ahead based on my cycle and the surgery and the expected timing of everything that we got the OK for this.

This may have something to do with my insomnia lately. Do you think? But it appears to be really happening. Really! Of course, now I fear that my excitement will lead to abject failure and that tomorrow we'll be told it's a No Go and that everything was not as we expected and that this is not going to happen. I have to tell you that although that fear may seem irrational to you, it seems all too real to me based on everything that has happened these last two and a half years. And of course, the probability of success is pretty low. So don't anybody get their hopes up!

Nonetheless, I *think* it might work. And I know I just told everyone not to hope, but I do hope that it will.