Saturday, April 30, 2011

Z is for Zenith

Well, this is the final post of the A to Z Blogging Challenge, so we have reached our Zenith! I have truly enjoyed participating this month (even if a few of my astute readers may have noticed I've once or twice posted late....oops!) and I'm hoping this will encourage me to post more often.

I've met some new bloggers who I hope to continue to follow! Sadly, my computer at work has taken to refusing to let me view most Blogspot blogs and I usually leave the evenings to The Hubs to post, but I will still try to get around to your blogs. If it takes me a few days, please bear with me! I will get to you!

I hope you've enjoyed reading my posts this month and I hope you'll stick around for those posts to come!

Friday, April 29, 2011

Y is for Yum!

Good recipes are always yummy! I may have posted this one before (can't remember) but I'll share it again anyway because it's one of my favourites! I love French Onion Soup and this is a great recipe for it. Hope you enjoy it!

Difficulty: Medium

Serves 4-6

  • 6 large red or yellow onions, peeled and thinly sliced

  • Olive or vegetable oil (olive oil is better for taste, but I usually use vegetable oil because its much less expensive and the difference isn’t that great)

  • ½ teaspoon sugar

  • 2 cloves garlic, minced

  • 8 cups beef stock

  • ½ cup dry white wine

  • 1 bay leaf

  • 1 teaspoon dry thyme (I generally use dry Italian herbs because I always forget to buy thyme and I have this in the pantry)

  • Salt and pepper to taste

  • 8 slices (or however many slices you have enough soup to go over) of toasted French bread

  • 1 ½ cups grated Swiss Gruyere (I use regular Swiss cheese) with a little grated Parmesan cheese (I use fresh Parmesan, not the dry kind)

  1. In a large saucepan, saut̩ the onions in the oil on medium high heat until well browned, but not burned, about 30-40 minutes (or longer РI usually cook them for about an hour). Add the sugar about 10 minutes into the process to help with the caramelization.

  2. Add garlic and sauté for 1 minute. Add the stock, wine, bay leaf and thyme. Cover partially and simmer until the flavors are well blended, about 30 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Discard the bay leaf.

  3. To serve you can use either individual oven-proof bowls or a large casserole dish. Ladle the soup into the bowls or casserole dish. Cover with toast and sprinkle with cheese. Put into the broiler for 10 minutes at 350 F or until the cheese bubbles and is slightly browned. Serve immediately.

I make what I want to have in one serving with the toast and cheese, then put the rest of the soup in the fridge. When I’m ready to have it again (I always use it within a week of the original preparation to avoid foodbourne illnesses), I take the soup out, make fresh toast then repeat step 3. Hope you enjoy it!

Thursday, April 28, 2011

X is for Xenophobia

Xenophobia is the fear of strangers or foreigners. I can honestly say that we have encountered our fair share of Xenophobia. Being in a relationship with someone from a different country and both of us having lived in one another's country opens you up to all sorts of prejudice. These two countries are not that different from one another, England and the USA, but, for some people, they might as well be on different planets and the people be different species.

Now, don't get me wrong, not everyone I met while in England nor everyone The Hubs has met in the US have been this way. In fact, most of the people we've each met in the other's country have been very nice. However, there have been the odd folks who would fall in the Supremely Xenophobic category. This post is about those people, not the ones who have been very nice. I say that now because I know some of my readers are from other countries and some of them are even friends of mine from England. I do not want to cause any offense to them. You guys know I love you! But I would like to share some of our experiences with you.

I'll start with my experiences in England. There are three main examples of how I experienced the prejudice behind xenophobia while in England. The first one happened very soon after I moved over. The Hubs was at work and I was taking the bus in to meet him that evening so that we could go out to eat and go to the movies. I got on the bus and was seated two seats behind the driver. There was an older man - probably in his late 70's or early 80's - seated across the aisle from me. I noticed that he (the older man) kept looking at me funny, but I couldn't figure out why. Well, apparently he had heard my accent when I got on the bus and paid the driver, because he muttered "D*mn asylum seekers! They need to stay in their own country rather than coming here and taking our jobs and living off our charity!" I looked around because I was trying to figure out whom he was talking about. There was no one else on the bus but me and him! When we got to his destination, he gave me one last disgusted look and then got off the bus.

I have to say I couldn't believe anyone could believe I was an asylum seeker! I'm American for crying out loud! Why would I go to England seeking asylum?! There is no need for me to seek asylum! I'm not from a country where my life would be in danger for my beliefs (not yet, anyway), so why would he think that? The ignorance just really agitated and frustrated me.

The next experience was also on a bus, but this time it was actually with the bus driver. At this point, I had been in the country a year or so and was familiar with the places I traveled to by bus. I was also familiar with how much it cost to get to where I was going. So, I would often get on the bus and order my ticket from the driver by saying the price rather than where I was going (this was actually common practice, at least in our town). This particular day, I got on the bus and said "60p (pence), please". The bus driver looked at me, rolled his eyes and said "Where you going, love?" in a very sarcastic tone. It irritated me that he acted as if I didn't know what I was talking about (the price of the ticket) but I told him where I was going and, sure enough, it was 60p to get there. I took my ticket and turned to walk down the aisle to find a seat and he muttered "F**king Yank!" Oh, my Lord! I couldn't believe anyone would actually say that where I could hear it! It made me so mad! I did report him to the bus authority, but all I got was a form letter from them (with my name spelled incorrectly, no less) stating they would investigate it and let me know their findings. That was about 8 1/2 years ago and, to date, I still don't know what the findings were because they never got back in touch.

The final episode for me happened when I had been in England for about 2 1/2 years. I was standing in line at the supermarket waiting to purchase a block of cheese (not sure why what I was purchasing is relevant, but it is a detail that sticks in my mind), when, out of the blue, the lady ahead of me in line turned around and started talking to me. That should have been my first clue there, because it wasn't common practice for people you didn't know to randomly start talking to you in a supermarket, but I didn't pay that any attention. So we chatte for a minute or so and she suddenly asked "You're not from here, are you?" I confirmed that I wasn't. She asked where I was from and I told her "Georgia, in the US." (This had to be differentiated from the Georgia in Russia in some instances, so I took to stating it that way for everyone). She said "Oh. Is that in the South?" I told her it was. Her response was "Oh." Long pause. Turning back to me with a puzzled look on her face, "Can you read?"

I was dumbfounded. I looked back and her and said "I'm sorry?" She repeated "Can you read?" I answered her "Yes, why?" Her response? "Oh, well, I just thought all Southerners were stupid." My jaw dropped open, but I recovered quickly and said "No. I'm quite intelligent, thank you!" Needless to say, that ended the conversation. She spent the next few minutes she was waiting in line glancing back over her shoulder and giving me frightened looks as though she thought I was going to attack her.

Those were my run-ins with xenophobia. Now onto The Hubs' experience.

Shortly after we moved to the US, The Hubs started a job selling life and health insurance. We had some fliers to put up with his information on them so that people could contact him if they wanted to set up a consultation, which we were going around town trying to find places to disburse the signs. We entered a local business, a place I have known my entire life and the people who own it know me. They, however, would not let The Hubs put one of his fliers in their store. They told him "We only advertise for local businesses and people." The Hubs explained to them that he lived in this town, that he was married to me, who his mother-in-law was (my mom knows EVERYONE), all to no avail. They told him they didn't advertise for "out-of-towners", which could only mean they wouldn't advertise for him because he wasn't American. It made me so angry and I wanted to say something to them, but The Hubs asked me to just let it go, so I did.

I loathe xenophobia. Not one of us (apart from those of us who are Native Americans) were originally from this country. We all came from foreign stock. The ignorance and fear that permeates the country really aggravates me. Does this mean I think immigrants should be allowed to come to this country illegally? Nope. But I do think anyone who chooses to come here and follows the legal pathways to get here (or, in fact, to any country) should be given the same advantages those who were born here have.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

W is for Water For Elephants

I was intrigued when I first heard about the book Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen. I decided I absolutely had to read the book. I couldn't wait. I attempted to check it out at our library, but it was on hold for 16 other people before I could get my hands on it. So, I checked with friends to see if any of them had it and would let me borrow it.

Apparently, I was the only one of my friends desperate to read the book, because none of them had it (or they wouldn't tell me they did, lol). Finally, I did what I should have done in the first place, but try not to do. I went and bought the book. Why do I try not to buy books? Because this is me and, generally (although you couldn't tell it from my reading list this year!), I devour books. If I bought a book everytime I wanted to read it, we'd be living in a cardboard box somewhere because I would spend all of my salary on books.

So, I finally had access to the book. I worried it would take me some time to read because I've been really unmotivated with my reading pursuits this year - most have taken me several days, sometimes weeks to finish. That was not the case with Water for Elephants. I started the book on a Friday afternoon, read it for an hour that day and finished it Saturday morning! It was such a wonderful book! I felt really lucky to get to experience the story (something I know is strange but is often how I feel when I read a realy good book).

Moving forward, when I found out the book was going to be released as a film, I was super excited. Add in that the part of Jacob Jankowski was going to be played by Rob Pattinson and my excitement level went off the charts!

This past weekend, The Hubs and I went to the cinema to see Water for Elephants. I was worried that the movie wouldn't live up to the book. We all know that movies are never exactly like the book and they're usually not as good, so I was filled with some trepidation. I am overjoyed to say that the film, while a little different from the book, was AWESOME!! I really, really enjoyed it. I highly recommend it.

What book have you been extremely excited to read? Has it been made into a film? If so, did you see the film? Was it what you hoped for?

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

V is for Vocabulary - Wistfulgirl Style!

Vocabulary is the main part of how we communicate. In school, we're encouraged to expand our vocabulary and we do so with (usually) weekly vocabulary tests. It's considered a sign of intelligence to have a large vocabulary and this is something that I pride myself on having.

However, this post is not exactly about that kind of vocabulary. Because, in addition to the vocabulary our English and Reading teachers would be dancing around to know we have, we each also have our own vocabulary of words others don't really use. This is our own personal "language" if you will. This is a phenomenon common to twins, but is also something each person develops. So, for today's post, I thought I would introduce you to some of the Wistfulgirl vocabulary. This doesn't mean all of these are words that no one else uses, but simply that they are words or phrases I use commonly and often in a different way to others. I hope you enjoy this look into the weirdness that is me =D

  • bloody hell - Not an original statement - a very British one - but one that I picked up while in England and one I use very frequently.

  • boycotting a friendship (on boycott) - Statement of my intent to treat a friend the way I'm being treated by them by ignoring them. This doesn't happen often, but occassionally I get fed up with a friend who is all about talking and texting and then suddenly acts like I don't exist. Usually only takes one day of this for the friend to correct him/herself.

  • Bunny (or Bun) - An affectionate name for The Hubs. I'm not sure how it developed that this became my nickname for him, but it's been this for years and years (before we even got married).

  • cool-ala - (Pronounced with the beginning sounding like cool and the end like that of koala) An expression of excited approval.

  • freakin' - A derogatory expression used (frequently) as a description of something that is irritating me. Example: The freakin' office sent over the wrong demographics. Now I can't get hold of the freakin' patient to tell them about their freakin' appointment! (Yes, this is a true statement I use daily - I told you I used freakin' a lot!)

  • Hooker/Hooch - An affectionate name for my co-workers. Technically, I'm their boss and this could be construed as abuse, but they know it's not meant that way and they call me this as well. Now, aren't you all glad you're my friend? Lol!

  • Hot Snot! - An expression of alarm or dissatisfaction. Picked up from one of my co-workers.

  • inbetweener - An attached friend who is used by their single friend to flirt with while between relationships/dates whom the single friend promptly forgets about when a new love interest comes into the picture but whom the single friend expects to still be there and available to be flirted with (if not dated) when the single friend is once again single. Complicated description, I know, but I've been here a few times (currently am an inbetweener and not happy about it - if I'm your friend, don't ignore my existence while your dating your latest conquest).

  • loo - British name for the bathroom/restroom. I tend to use this name much more than either of the others because it sounds nicer, lol!

  • meep - An expression The Hubs and I use with one another. This word can be a noun, adjective, verb or adverb. It can be sweet, loving, scared, angry,'s very versatile, lol!

  • One day - The elusive future where things will be much better for us, we will have children, our own house, vehicles that run without problems, not having to worry about my fertility, plenty of money for paying bills, having the things we want and being able to go on really wonderful vacations. Yeah....

  • Parent-shaped objects - This kind of defines itself, but it is what I typically call my parents. Started when in my teens, it continues to dominate my internal description of them.

  • Pog - Our inside (and first together) dog. If I remember correctly (we've had her for almost 9 years), it stands for people dog because she tries to do "people" things. She tries to play the piano when she sees The Hubs doing it, she pulls the duvet/comforter over herself in bed, she lays back on pillows (she's not supposed to be on the bed, but try telling her that, lol)....she's very funny!

  • Really?! Really? - Said with the first really sounding questioning and the second really sounding more like a statement. An expression of disbelief, picked up from my co-worker (not the same one who says hot snot).

  • sprogling - Our word for the children we hope to one day have.

  • That's Gleetastic! - Very geeky expression I use to say how wonderful I find something. (Glee is an AWESOME show!!!! Don't hate!!)

  • The List - The wonderful, amazing list of names that The Hubs and I each have naming the people (all celebrity save one on my list) that we are allowed to - um, *throat clear* - you know with without it being considered cheating. Gotta love that list, even if it is all fantasy, lol!

  • you know what I mean - A phrase I use every single time I am telling someone a story about something. I never noticed I used it so often until my loving co-workers (Hookers!) pointed it out to me and it is now something that embarasses me and I can't now not notice. I'm trying to just embrace it, but that's coming slowly.

That's my vocabulary list for now. I know there are others I use frequently, but I can't think of them now. However, I have had such a great time writing this post (and laughed at myself more than a few times), I think I will update it periodically and repost to keep you up-to-date on the Wistfulgirl vocabulary. Maybe a weekly post? What do you think? No vocab tests, I promise!

you know what I mean

Monday, April 25, 2011

U is for Unfulfilled

Unfulfilled is a word with which infertiles are very familiar. We feel it every month. We butt heads with it constantly. It becomes our unwelcome guest.

Everytime we start a new cycle when we were hoping for a positive pregnancy test, everytime we hear another pregnancy announcement from a friend or relative, everytime someone brings their baby home safe and sound while we remain empty-armed, everytime we get excited about an adoption match and it falls through, we feel that sense of being unfulfilled.

I've read recently about several of my blogging friends who've reached their unfulfilled due dates. My heart just breaks for them when I read the sadness they're feeling. To hear the heartbreak they're feeling when they should be feeling such joy is almost more than I can take. It's simply gut-wrenching.

I've never known that feeling, although I know my own brand of being unfulfilled. It's a different kind of hurt to never have been pregnant. In most ways, I'm grateful I've never had to experience the kind of pain I've watched many of my friends go through. Having said that, I am left with the emptiness of not knowing if I can evan achieve a pregnancy. That leaves me unfulfilled.

Watching all my non-IF acquaintances experience holidays with their children also leaves me feeling unfulfilled. Never knowing if I'll have the opportunity to experience that is an awful feeling.

This week is National Infertility Awareness Week. Be sure to do what you can this week to make others aware of this very important week. Resolve is asking us to bust myths about infertility this week and I'll be writing a post about that later in the week, so be on the lookout for it!

Saturday, April 23, 2011

T is for Two-Cents Worth

....and I'm asking for yours! I'm working on a project - the details of which I am keeping secret for now (when the time is right, I'll give you more info) - and I need your help. I need you to tell me your favourite Christmas/Wintertime Carol. It can be religious or secular. I just need to know, when the winter holidays come around, what song can you not wait to hear?

Second two-cents worth I'm asking for....if you were going on vacation (sadly, we're not, but we're thinking about something for the future), which of the following places would you recommend/most like to go? New York, Boston, Washington DC, Disney World, a cruise, Los Angeles....or somewhere else? I'm up for suggestions!

Have a great Easter weekend, my friends!

Friday, April 22, 2011

S is for Something

No, not just any something, but, specifically, "Something" by the Beatles.

A beautiful song, written by George Harrison in 1969, "Something" featured on the Abbey Road album. The song was a double A-side with "Come Together" (for which I have another post to write at a later date). It was the first song written by Harrison to appear as an A-side track for the Beatles. The song is the second-most covered Beatles' song, second only to "Yesterday".

While Pattie Boyd (Harrison's wife at the time and later to become the wife of Eric Clapton) claimed to be the inspiration behind the song, Harrison stated in a 1996 interview that when he wrote the song, he was thinking of Ray Charles. That's an interesting way to think of Ray Charles, but whatever floated his boat!

The video of the song features scenes of the band members with their respective wives (at the time): Harrison and Boyd, John Lennon and Yoko Ono, Paul and Linda McCartney, and Ringo Starr and Maureen Cox. I find the song and video both extremely soothing, so here it is for you to enjoy as well!

While this isn't my favourite Beatles tune (that honour would have to go to either "In My Life" or "Eleanor Rigby"), it does rank high. Do you like the Beatles? If so, what's your favourite song? If not, what band do you like and what song of their's would you recommend me to hear?

Thursday, April 21, 2011

R is for Regret

Regret, like jealousy, will eat you up if you allow it. But, regret can also be a good thing, in an odd sort of way.

The Hubs made a very wise statement last night (at least from my way of seeing it). He said "It's better to regret the things you've done than the things you haven't done." I asked him what he meant exactly and he stated that he'd rather do things and regret having done them than to not have done them and always wonder if they would have worked out. I think that's a profound observation.

There are so many things in my life that I regret doing (making the decision to move back to the States when we did, not seeking help for our infertility earlier, etc.) but I'm glad I made those choices, even if they now seem like the wrong ones.

Sounds contradictory, right? Let me explain...

When we made the decision to move back to this country, I was very homesick. I really missed my family and I missed the things that were familiar to me. We moved back to the US in January 2006. In April 2006, my dad got very, very sick. He was in ICU for 10 weeks and the family was called in several times and told he was not going to make it. Fortunately, he pulled through and is doing much better these days, but I'm very glad I was here for that time. My family needed me here and my dad needed me here if for nothing more than to hear my voice while he was in a coma. Could he really hear me? I don't know, but I'd rather he had that opportunity than to not have had it.

So, although the decision to leave England has led to a really rough five years and is a decision I do regret sometimes, I also know it was the right decision for us. And, although I wish we had sought treatment for IF sooner, I know that we would not have been in a position earlier to afford the treatment or be effective parents. But that doesn't change the fact I regret the way it's been.

What do you regret? Looking back, even though you regret the decisions, have they worked out better for you than if things had been different? Would you rather regret the things you have done or the things you didn't do?

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Q is for Quadruplets and Quintuplets

For those of us undergoing/contemplating/working towards fertility treatment, multiples in pregnancy are a big concern. 35% of pregnancy acheived via fertility treatment (medication, IUI, IVF) result in a multiples pregnancy. Most of these pregnancies conclude in premature births. This may sound like those undergoing fertility treatment are irresponsible, but that is not necessarily the case. Considering very few insurance companies will cover IF treatment and IVF is around $15,000 to $20,000 a pop, women undergoing this procedure are simply hoping to give themselves the best opportunity of achieving pregnancy. With an IVF success rate of around 35% to 40% for achieving pregnancy and only 45% to 53% of these resulting in live births, who can blame a person undergoing this treatment for attempting to give themself the absolute best chance possible?

But, as interesting as that is and as much a case it is for requiring insurance companies to cover infertility treatment (which, I might add, only adds approximately $0.16 to the premium of insurance policies - but that's a post for another time), that is not what this post is about. No, in this post, I would like to tell you about two very interesting cases of multiples. The first of these is the story of a set of identical quadruplets and the second is the story of a set of identical quintuplets.

The quadruplets are known by the fictitious name Genain. You may be wondering why their name is fictitious and what makes them important enough for me to blog about them. Well, both of these questions can be answered with the same response: in addition to being identical quadruplets, all four sisters were diagnosed with schizophrenia. There was a long history of mental illness in their father's family, thus indicating that genetics played a major part in the quadruplets' schizophrenia.

Not a lot of information on that story, but I found it interesting.

I do have a little more information on the quintuplets. Also girls, the Dionne quintuplets were the first set of quints to survive infancy. They were born in Ontario, Canada in 1934 and were identical quintuplets. Their mother had suspected she may be carrying twins, but the quints were a surprise to everyone. The girls were not expected to live, but live they did! At four months old, the Ontario government intervened and declared their parents incompetent to care for them and the Ontario government took custody of the girls. Whether the parents were incompetent or not remains to be seen, but the true reason behind the desire of the Ontario government to be guardians of the girls was the interest they invoked in the public and tourist attraction they became. It was extremely profitable for the Ontario government to have the girls in their custody.

The Dionne Quintuplets

When the girls were 9-years-old, their parents won back custody, however, in their adult years, the surviving sisters (two of the girls passed away before middle-adulthood - one from suffocating during a seizure, the other from a blood clot to the brain) recounted that their parents were very resentful of the "trouble" the girls had caused due to their existence. Three of the girls married; two had children of their own (including a set of twins born to Cecile). There are currently two of the sisters still living.

It's interesting what the unusual inspires, is it not?

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

P is for Pet Peeves

Pet Peeves. We all have them! Mine are numerous. There are so many things that I need done just a certain way or things I can't stand to hear. I'll name just a few.

Being lied to - If there is one thing I hate, it's being lied to. There's just no need for it! If you don't want to do something or haven't done something you said you'd do, just tell me. I'm a big girl, I can take it. I'm not going to cry and it's certainly not going to be the end of my world. Just don't lie to me because that is a quick way to lose me as a friend. I detest a liar.

Silliness when I'm in an irritable mood - This drives me crazy! And it's one of the things The Hubs and I get into the most arguments about. He responds to stressful situations by acting silly and doing silly things. I respond to stressful situations by getting extremely grouchy and intolerant to silliness. Combine these two things and it does not make for a pretty picture. Generally, I'm okay with silliness - I get that way myself frequently - but when I'm in a bad mood or stressed out, it's not a smart idea.

Having a plan and it not working out as planned - What this really means is I don't like being late or things not going the way I imagined them. It really frustrates me to be ready to go somewhere and have a time planned to leave and then it gets pushed back or someone else is running late so we don't get to leave on time. OMG, it drives me crazy! The Hubs is so much more laid back about this kind of thing, so it doesn't bother him if he doesn't leave on time or even if we're several hours late leaving. However, it leaves me feeling out of control and anxious. I just hate it.

Texting someone and getting no response - This one is pretty self-explanatory. If I text you and it has a question or requires some sort of response, please respond. It's just rude not to.

I know that I'm a little crazy about some of these and too much of a control freak, but that's just the way it goes!

What are your pet peeves? What really drives you crazy? Do you think your pet peeves are rational? Or do you, like me, feel you're a little psycho to be like this about them?

Monday, April 18, 2011

O is for Ollivander's

I admit it. I am a Harry Potter fanatic! I love the series. Despite having read the books countless numbers of times, I still stay up into the wee hours some nights re-reading them. I own all the movies (apart from the latest two) and I watch them over and over again. I am counting down the days until July 15th. I'm considering taking that day off from work (it's a Friday) so that I can go to the midnight showing as it opens. I'm an addict. I get it.

One of the places in the Harry Potter world I would dearly love to visit is Ollivander's Wand Shop. I mean, come on, who wouldn't want to go to a place where you get your own magic wand? And not only that, but the wand picks you! If you've ever felt like an outsider, here's your opportunity to feel special! Even if you get picked last for every team or game there ever is, you'll have a wand pick you!! It wants to be with you because it's specially made just for you!!!!

It's like finding your soul mate. Who doesn't want that?

Ollivander's and butterbeer are probably my two favourite things from Harry Potter's world (are you going to try to tell me you've never wanted to try butterbeer? I think of it like alcohol in a creamy, buttery, caramelly form....yum!!).

Are you a Harry Potter fan? If so, what's your favourite thing from the series? If not, what's your favourite book/series? The thing you like best about it?

We're now more than halfway through the alphabet, folks! I'm enjoying this month more than I thought I would. I've found the last few days a little difficult, but I'm striving on! I think it helps that The Hubs is also blogging away at the challenge with me. It makes it easier to stick to it when there are two of you working at it!

Hope you all have a great week! Mondays generally have the tendency to get the best of me, so we'll see how today goes!

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Something Shiny Giveaway Winner!

Okay, call me stupid, but I can NOT figure out how to copy the True Random Number Generator as a jpg, so I've simply copied the text from the box. Sorry to be such an idiot about this!! I've spent over an hour trying to figure it out, so I now give up, lol!

Anyway, we have a winner! Congratulations to Danni!! You'll need to contact me with your contact details so I can get your necklace in the mail!

True Random Number Generator

Min: 1
Max: 10
Powered by RANDOM.ORG

Saturday, April 16, 2011

N is for Names

Names are so much a part of who we are. They are our very identity. I've seen several posts over the last few days devoted to different individuals names, so I decided I would dedicate my N post to names as well.

My full name is Vickie Lynn. My first name is a shortening of my mother's first name and my middle name begins with the same initial as my mom's middle name. For the first two weeks of my life, I was known as Vickie, but then my mom and dad decided I wasn't really a Vickie so I became Lynn. Which, I always was a Lynn and I've always since been a Vickie, but you get the point of what I mean.

On government forms, in school and in doctor's offices, I've always been Vickie. It's difficult because when I hear someone call me by Vickie, it often takes me a minute to realize they're speaking to me. Even with age, it still doesn't register usually.

The Hubs is, in one way, more fortunate than I with his name and, in another, less so. He does go by his first name (occassionally by a shortened version of it), however, he has four names (yes, four) plus his surname. I'm lucky in that I simply have my first and middle names, but The Hubs has his first name and three middle names.

The Hubs and I have talked through names many, many times (this sort of thing happens when you've been trying for a baby for over 7 years) and we decided that a first and middle name for our child is enough. We have names picked out that we'd like to use for our children: two names for boys and two names for girls. Hopefully one day we'll get the chance to use those names. One of the female names means "industrious assistant"; the other means "child of Maude who is like a bird" (Maude was my grandmother's name - this name wasn't chosen for that reason; it was just a nice coincidence that it meant that). For the boys, the first name means "comforting, long-lived twin" and the other means "jewelled gift from God". I won't post the actual names, so if you figure them out, please do not post the names.

What does your name mean? Do you like it? What does your spouse's/partner's/child's/sibling's name? If you have children, what name have you chosen for them and, if you don't have children, what name would you like to use for your child?

Friday, April 15, 2011

M is for Morrison (Van Morrison to be precise)

I have wracked my brain all day today to think of an "M" word. I had a word all picked out, but when today got here I decided it wasn't exactly what I wanted. I've since had a barrage of words to come to me, however none have been "just right". So I've been Youtubing for the last hour while striving to find exactly the right "M" to post on. While doing my marathon video-hopping, I stumbled across the perfect M post.

Most couples have "their song" and most of those are slow songs. Well, The Hubs and I are a little different. Our song isn't a slow one and isn't traditionally used as a couple's song. And, it doesn't really describe me because I have blue eyes. But, you can thank Mr. Van Morrison for the song that The Hubs and I call ours: Brown-Eyed Girl.

For your listening pleasure:

Thursday, April 14, 2011

L is for Long-Distance Relationship (or Love - take your pick!)

Long-distance relationships are hard. Trust me, I was in one with The Hubs (when he was still The Boyfriend) for almost two years. Some of my long-term readers may have heard this story, but for my more recent followers, this will be new to you.

My first foray onto the iternet was on August 30, 2000. How do you remember the exact date, you may ask? Well, it's the day I met The Hubs, so it comes easily. I had a friend (who we shall call Goldie) who had met a guy online and she was all about her internet chats. She was over at my house one day and decided we just had to go to the library so she could chat with her beau (who was English, I might add). This was in the days before everyone here in the boonies had internet in their homes. In fact, the library had only recently gotten it, so off the two of us went to the library.

I'll state right here and now that I was extremely dubious of her "relationship" with English guy and I wasn't sure how I felt about the internet, having never been on it. But, Goldie really wanted to chat to English guy, so I accompanied her and figured I might as well get my feet wet internet-wise and see what all the fuss was about.

While she loaded up to chat with English guy, I browsed through the chat rooms on Yahoo. Some of the rooms really freaked me out, but I figured music chat was safe (boy, was I naive!) and, since I love Fleetwood Mac, I decided to enter the chatroom devoted to that greatest of bands. While Goldie chatted away with her man, I was having my eyes opened to a whole new universe! Not all of it was good, but not all bad either. I didn't feel comfortable talking to anyone though, so I basically just sat there and read what the others in the room were saying to one another. After about half an hour, I was getting ready to leave the room when a name popped up as having entered the room. I don't know what it was, but I felt this overwhelming need to talk to this person. It was a pull like I'd never felt before and have never felt since. So, I instant messaged him.

You can probably guess who it was, right? Well, don't get ahead of me!

He messaged me back and we started a conversation. It turned out he was also from England, just like Goldie's English guy, however, he was from a different part of England. We chatted for about two hours that first day. I had just gone through a very bad breakup and it was nice to have someone to talk to about it who was outside the situation and whom I was obviously never going to meet in real life (shows what I knew!). We also found we had a lot in common. We exchanged email addresses and decided to meet the next afternoon (evening for him) to chat again.

Thus began our long-distance relationship. Everytime we chatted, we grew a little closer. By mid-September, we had decided we wanted to chat on the phone, so I called him. Oh, my gosh! His accent was so dreamy I could almost melt in it! (Sadly, I don't hear it so much these days....he still has it, it's just become normal to me, so I miss that melty feeling.) We exchanged letters and photos. We talked on the phone every day. We chatted online every day. Goldie laughed at me repeatedly and asked me was meeting someone online so silly to me now. For my 22nd birthday in November, he sent me a gorgeous fall basket of flowers. It was amazing!

Months passed and we decided we wanted to meet in person. So on June 13, 2001 (nine months after we first met online), The Hubs (Boyfriend) boarded a plane and flew over 3000 miles to see me. We picked him up at the airport in Atlanta. We didn't make it out of the airport before we were making out (I know, it's disgusting, lol!). We completely fit one another. It was perfect :D

It wasn't long though (9 days) before I had to take him back to catch the plane home. That was the hardest thing I had ever had to do to that point. It was so heartbreaking to let him go. We had decided I would go visit him for Christmas that year, but that was six months away! And, at the time, that seemed an interminably long way off.

But, the months passed and on December 21, 2001, I arrived in England. The feeling of completeness was still there for both of us and we had a wonderful Christmas and New Year together (a story about going through the airport 3 months after 9/11 and right at Christmas is due, but I'll save that for another time). Too soon it was time for me to head back home. The waiting game started over again.

It wasn't long, though, before he was back in the US. I picked him up from the airport on February 28, 2002. He spent his 25th birthday with me and we went to Savannah to celebrate. We took a Riverboat Cruise, visited the Tybee Island Lighthouse (and went all the way to the top!) and walked all over Savannah in that weekend! It was a great visit.

At this point, we had decided we had had enough of the back and forthing and being apart. Plans started being made. It was decided that I would come over to see him in June and I would stay for six months. We needed to know that things were going to work between the two of us for more than two weeks at a time. So, I gave notice at my job, said goodbye to my family and friends and on May 31, 2002 I loaded up my mom's car and she took me to the airport. Saying goodbye to my family was really, really difficult, particularly to my mom, dad and sister. But I knew The Hubs (Boyfriend) was waiting for me! And I knew that, whatever happened between the two of us, my family would always be there for me to come back to.

On June 1, 2002, I landed in England. The Hubs (Boyfriend) was there to welcome me with open arms. The first couple of weeks went by and things were as great in person as they were long-distance. Another month went by and The Hubs (Boyfriend) asked me a question I had waited a long time to hear - "Will you marry me?" Obviously, I said yes!

We waited until September to tell any of our family. Possibly not the best decision, but it was the one we made. The plan was to get married in the US in November (my visa waiver expired December 3, 2002, so I had to leave the UK before then) and then go to New York to get my spousal visa. On November 23, 2002 - the day after my 24th birthday - we were married. We spent our honeymoon going to New York to get my visa (not nearly as romantic as it sounds - 23 hours on a Greyhound bus up to New York, all day spent in the British Embassy to get the visa, spending the night with my brother in Pennsylvania, then 26 hours on a Greyhound bus back to Georgia). Then on December 3, 2002, we boarded a plane back to England as a married couple.

It would be 11 months before I returned to the US. 11 months before I saw my family again. That is a very long time. Has it been worth it, you ask? Definitely. Would I do it again? In a heartbeat.

Long-distance relationships are hard, but, if you are devoted to the other person involved, they're definitely worth it.

Have you ever been involved in a long-distance relationship? If so, what's been the most difficult part for you? The easiest? Would you do it again? If you've never been involved in a long-distance relationship, is it something you think you could ever consider?

If you made it all the way through this post, I hope you enjoyed our story :D It's been a tough road, but I'm glad I took that turn. It's definitely been worth the cost.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

K is for Kristin and Kakunaa

Two of my very favourite bloggers are Kristin and Kakunaa (Genevieve). What can I say about these two beautiful women? Well, they're two of the reasons I keep blogging, they've become two of my closest online friends and they inspire me. I met them both through the ALI (Adoption, Loss and Infertility) blogging community - just one of the many reasons I'm grateful for having found that extremely supportive and helpful community - and the friendships sprang from there!

Kristin is like me in so many ways! We're both crafters (she does some AWESOME projects). We both love to read. She has a fabulous sense of humour (something I like to think I have, at any rate) and she has more than once made my day simply by offering her support or saying "I'm here for you".

Kristin has been through so much over the last few years. She suffered through secondary infertility and had many losses, but through it all, she's kept her sense of self, her amazingly positive attitude, her wicked sense of humour and her awesome friend skills! On top of all that, she's super-duper smart! I mean, that girl is sharp as a tack! Rarely misses anything and finds a way to solve all the mishaps her three brilliant - if sometimes mischevious - sons get up to!

When I'm having a really bad day, I think about the fact I have this amazing woman to call friend and it makes me a feel a little better.

Kakunaa (Genevieve) is another friend I met through the ALI community. She has also been through the ringer infertility-wise, but has recently come out the other side (so to speak) and given birth to her son (who is a blooming doll, let me tell you!).

What I see in Gen that matches up with me? We both have a sense of adventure and a love of body piercings (although, these days mine are less obvious - work and all that). What I love about her? She's not afraid to say exactly what she thinks and she doesn't really care what others think about what she does. She's as close to a free-spirit as I've ever found. She is also super smart, sarcastic, witty, charming and brilliant! She makes me want to embrace my wild side - a side I had let go of about 11 years ago - and just be who I am. She's inspired me to reconsider getting that tattoo I've always wanted.

But more than that, these two women make me want to be a better friend. They are the epitome of what friendship should be. They don't judge me when I'm feeling down, whiny and sorry for myself. They simply let me know they're there for me and they support me. They don't mind if I'm feeling bitchy - they take it in stride and are usually right there with me shaking their fist at the world and whatever person/thing is pissing me off. They're there to hold my hand when our RE is being a cretin and there to celebrate with me when things are going great.

I haven't known either of them for a great length of time (about 2 years with Kristin and a little of a year with Gen), but I can honestly say they are two people I hope to remain friends with for a long time to come. I love these girls and I wish nothing but the best for them. They both deserve great things!

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Blog Awards - Catching Up

Two posts in one day! I's a freaking miracle, lol! So, I'm playing catch-up and this post is LONG overdue. I should have posted it months ago, but here it is anyway....

I have been given several blog awards. The first is from Rochelle over at For All The Things We Hope For. Thanks so much!

Here are the rules for the acceptance of the award:
1. Thank and link back to the person who awarded you the award.
2. Share 7 things about yourself.
3. Award 15 other bloggers.
4. Contact these bloggers and tell them about the award.

I'll start with the 7 things about me.

  1. For some reason, babies and animals seem to instinctively like me, even if they don't seem to feel that way about anyone else.

  2. I love candles, particularly those that smell like cinnamon, pumpkin or gingerbread. I know it's strange, but they make me feel like it's Thanksgiving time and that makes me feel happy.

  3. Despite living only two hours away at most for my whole life, I was 31 years old before I ever stepped foot in the ocean.

  4. While I'm not scared of the dark, I don't like being by myself in it. It makes me feel vulnerable.

  5. There is a person who works at the same place I do whom I dislike immensely. She's never really done anything to me (she does not work in my immediate department), but if I thought I could get away with it without losing my job, I'd slap her one good time.

  6. I'm uncomfortable being touched by people I don't know. Even if it's something like a manicure/pedicure, facial or massage, I don't like it. I tend to avoid these scenarios.

  7. I love cheese! Any kind, it really doesn't matter, I just love cheese! I know that's kind of weird, but I don't care. Cheese is awesome!

And now to name my winners of this award!

  1. Kristin at Dragondreamer's Lair

  2. Danni at Random Thoughts By Danni

  3. Lindsay at Waiting For That Positive

  4. Junebug at Junebug's Musings

  5. Genevieve at Spermination Station

  6. Suzy at Not A Fertile Myrtle

  7. Alana at Alana-isms

  8. TasIVFer at Riding the IVF Roller Coaster

  9. Mama J at Her Womb, Our Hearts

  10. Low Fat Lady at Tales of My Follies

  11. Wonder Woman at Make Me!

  12. Trisha at Such a Short Time - Such a Long Road

  13. Empty Arms, Broken Heart at Empty Arms, Broken Heart

  14. Ashlee G. at Savor the Moment

  15. And last, but not least, Mojo at What's the Matter? With Mojo

Also received another award yesterday from Deirdra. Thank you!

J is for Jealousy

Jealousy is simply and clearly the fear that you do not have value. Jealousy scans for evidence to prove the point - that others will be preferred and rewarded more than you. There is only one alternative - self-value. If you cannot love yourself, you will not believe that you are loved. You will always think it's a mistake or luck. Take your eyes off others and turn the scanner within. Find the seeds of your jealousy, clear the old voices and experiences. Put all the energy into building your personal and emotional security. Then you will be the one others envy, and you can remember the pain and reach out to them.

~Jennifer James

Jealousy is an emotion we all feel at some point in time. For some of us, it's a feeling we have on a daily basis. We envy the things others have - their car, their home, their job, their clothes, their jewelry, their children, their husband, their fertility - the list goes on and on.

Very rarely do we find ourselves content entirely with what we have. While we may not be eaten up with jealousy, there is always something someone else has that we wish we had instead. Maybe it's their hair color or eye color. Maybe it's the shape of their body or the way they can effortlessly turn heads as they walk through a room. Maybe it's simply the confidence they have in themselves or the way they make children smile when they laugh.

Whatever it is, there is always some small thing we find in others that we're envious of. For me, the thing I find myself most often jealous of others about is their children (go figure, eh?). I could live without all the other things that I want, but my desire for children burns through me and I feel the evil green-eyed monster rear his head every time I see a Facebook status update from my friends about their children or every time one of my co-workers or friends talks about their children and the silly things they say or do. It eats away at me, this longing for children of my own, and it makes me bitter.

I've spent most of my life walking under that hovering cloud, jealousy, whose acid raindrops blurred my vision and burned holes in my heart.

~Astrid Alauda

Learning to live without feeling such deep-seated jealousy is difficult. I haven't mastered it yet; in fact, I haven't even gotten very good in the beginner's class yet. I want to be able to be around my friends and family with children and not feel so envious of them. I want to not constantly be thinking what it would be like if we had children who could play with the other children in our lives. I don't see how to make this happen, though. As long as we are still hoping and still trying, I don't know how to not imagine the children we should have. I don't know how to not browse through the children's clothing at stores and imagine what it would look like on a child of our own, or how it would look in the pictures I would like to take of our children. I don't know how to not mingle through the toy department and imagine which toys might be the right choice for my own non-existent children. I don't know how to wander through the bedding department at shops and not imagine how I would decorate their rooms.

It's crazy, I know, but how do I not feel this all-consuming jealousy? How do I release this intense longing for something I want but may never have? Have any of you experienced jealousy on this level? If so, how did you let it go? Or have you managed to do so?

For now, I guess I'll just have to accept myself the way I am....jealousy and all.

Monday, April 11, 2011

I is for Infertility

Infertility does not define who I am, however, I would be remiss and the story of me would be incomplete without the mention of it, because it is a large part of who I am.

For those of you who are unfamiliar with my story, I'll give you a bit of background (please note this is discussing infertility, so there may be some information included that may not be comfortable reading for some people). The Hubs and I have been married for 8 1/2 years. We began TTC (trying to conceive) 7 1/2 years ago. We started out like any normal couple and tried, tried, tried. After a couple of years of trying, we began to wonder if something was wrong, but we were in the midst of moving to the US from England (I'm from the US, The Hubs is English), so we didn't panic too much about it. Once we were settled in the US, we began to think about it a little more. At my annual check-up the first year we were here, I asked the nurse doing the check up about it. She stated she thought I might have Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS) but she wasn't sure. She told me we should keep trying and give it another year. So we let it sink to the back of our minds again for a while.

Early the next year, I had some serious abdominal pains and had to have my gallbladder removed. During the routine surgery to remove the gallbladder, it was discovered that I had a cyst containing more than 2 litres of fluid (yes, you read that right!) sitting on my right ovary. The cyst was removed during the surgery as well and, in my two week follow-up appointment, I asked the surgeon if it would affect our chances of getting pregnant. He stated it should not, as he had only removed a cyst, but that if we continued having problems, we should probably see my doctor.

Call us stupid, but we waited another year before we saw my doctor for help. We thought for sure that it would happen on it's own, but when nada continued to be our answer every month, we decided something needed to be done. So, in 2008, we consulted with my OB/GYN. She diagnosed me with PCOS and Insulin Resistance and started me on a regimen of Metformin. We continued this pattern for several months in an attempt to regulate my cycle (which had been sketchy at best up to this point). Finally, she prescribed Provera to kick-start my cycle and prescribed Clomid to increase our chances of getting an egg that could be fertilized. Four months of this brought nothing but negative news. After the disappointment of these negative cycles coupled with The Hubs losing his job, we decided to have a break for a few months. We continued TTC with natural supplements (Soy Isoflavones) for the ensuing months with no success.

We eventually (when The Hubs became employed again) returned to my OB/GYN to give it another shot. This time, she prescribed Femara to increase the likelihood of us getting pregnant. This, too, was a complete bust with the added complication of completely screwing my cycle up. We finally opted for/talked my OB/GYN into a referral to a Reproductive Endocrinologist (RE).

Our first visit with the RE resulted in orders for tons of bloodwork, a physical exam and an ultrasound. The results? I have Type II Diabetes, Hypothyroidism, PCOS and Endometrial Hyperplasia. In addition to this, it came to light through the notes from my earlier surgery that, when removing the cyst from my ovary, the surgeon had also removed my right fallopian tube (it had been embedded in the cyst)! While I'm aware the tube could not have been saved, my problem with this was that I was not informed of the removal! This seemed incredibly remiss to me, so I called his office to ask why I had not been given this information. I was told "He probably didn't know." When I asked how this could be, seeing it was in the pathology report and he got that 3 days after the surgery and saw me two weeks after the surgery, I was told "He probably didn't read that far down." I feel this was criminal, however, the surgeon is employed by the hospital for which I work, so there is no action I can safely take without the risk of losing my job. Once again, the universe had succeeded in screwing me over.

Back to the RE. The big concern at that time was the hyperplasia, due to the increased risk of cancer. Throw in a D&C to clear out the affected tissue, six months of medicinal therapy (Megace) and an additional six months (we are currently in the fourth of those six months) of additional medicinal therapy (Provera), along with our RE's refusal to do any fertility treatment until I lose weight (which he never thought to mention until January when we had been seeing him for nearly a year and a total amount of weight loss for which he won't give me a number). Essentially, we are in the great waiting game.

In addition to our medical history, we also have a failed adoption in our past, but that is really too painful for me to talk about these days.

That's our background. But what that doesn't touch on is what the emotional side of infertility is like. It doesn't tell you the tears we've cried. It doesn't mention the tension our marriage has been under at times. It doesn't discuss the depression we both feel. It doesn't take into account the emptiness we feel or the longing we have or the holidays we endure being the only childless ones in our circle of family and friends or the hopelessness we feel when we think about the possiblity of us ever becoming parents.

Infertility is the most painful thing I have ever experienced. I would never wish it on anyone, even my worst enemy. It is so difficult to see parents who take their children for granted (and we've all seen those parents) when we would so happily trade places with them. Infertility is a soul-destroying disease. It hurts everyone it affects. Even those who come through it with their long-fought for children in tow never forget the pain they experienced. Once you've been through infertility, it is a part of you. It's there. It doesn't go away. If you let it, it'll eat away at you. It'll take hold of your life and it will be the only thing you can think about. It will destroy the things you love. You simply have to find a way to get through it without allowing it to take you over completely. That's what I'm working on now.

April 24 through April 30, 2011 is National Infertility Awareness Week. Please get involved! If you know someone suffering from infertility, give them your support! A simple hug and an "I'm here to listen if you need to talk" will go so much farther than you could ever imagine. Don't know anyone suffering from infertility? You can still help! Make others aware of NIAW. Chances are, someone you know is suffering, they may just not be telling anyone. 7.3 million Americans alone (not to mention those in other countries!) suffer from infertility. 1 in 4 women is facing it. Please let those in your life know they're not alone!

Saturday, April 9, 2011

H is for Happiness

Happiness is a sometimes elusive and often fleeting emotion, particularly for a chronic depressive such as myself. However, it seems to be the thing I spend my days and nights looking for.

In many ways, I've found it! I have a fantastic husband, we have several wonderful dogs (our collection keeps growing as we can't seem to turn a stray away and the word has gone round the neighborhood to all the strays that we're suckers for mutts, lol), I have great (if extremely invasive at times) parents and siblings who rock (well, apart from one of them). I'm blessed with 2 gorgeous nieces and a fabulous nephew (who's closer in age to me than any of my siblings) and I have a pretty good job in an economy where many people do not have a job of any description, let alone one that could be classed as "pretty good". I have amazing blog friends and I'm developing and cultivating some real life, local friends as well. I really have very little to complain about lacking in the happiness department, yet I find myself sinking into unhappiness most days.

Maybe this is down to hormones or medication - what with IF, diabetes, hypothyroidism and the other problems I have, I'm on some medication that makes me quite crazy at times - or maybe it goes back to that chronic depression thing. Maybe its situational (despite loving my parents dearly, I'd be lying to state I was happy with our living arrangements and being right next door to them) or maybe it's just that I'm one of those people who can never be happy with anything I have. I'm open to believing any of the above is true. Whatever the case, happiness is the thing I'd most like to find.

I do see ways in which I could see myself finding the kind of happiness I'm looking for - becoming a mother, having a house of our own, developing some of my creative skills into a career I could enjoy more or, more salaciously, winning the lottery. While the lottery thing is more a dream and not realistic, I can see how the others could happen, eventually.....hopefully.

Why is it that we can so easily let undesirable things that happen to us make us unhappy, but allowing the good things that happen to us make us happy is so difficult? What makes you happy? What happiness are you most grateful to have in your life? What makes you smile when you're day is not going so great?

Don't forget to enter the Something Shiny Giveaway! I will try to get those better photos of the necklace up tomorrow! I apologize for not getting them up's been a very long day complete with a 9-hour roundtrip to the airport to drop my parents off for their trip to New Jersey to see my brother, so I haven't had an opportunity to get the photos taken and up yet. More later.....

Friday, April 8, 2011

G is for Giveaway!

For today's A to Z Blogging Challenge, I thought I would take the opportunity to host my first giveaway!

What's the prize? Funny you should ask that! I've said it before and I'll say it again - I think I must have fairy blood, because I am a sucker for shiny things! With that in mind, for the Something Shiny Giveaway, I'm offering one lucky blogger a beautiful silver necklace (24" in length) with a rhinestone studded pendant. The rhinestones are a mixture of clear and pastel (blue, pink and green) stones. I thought it was gorgeous when I first saw it. I have taken a few photos, altough they were taken with my phone and are not the best photos. They fail to show some of the detail I'd like to pick up. However, I will try tomorrow night to upload some better photos and replace the ones in this post with the new ones.

The entire necklace.

Close up of the pendant.

Further close-up of the pendant.

Now, onto the ways you can enter to win this necklace if you're interested:

  1. First off, leave me a comment telling me something difficult you've gone through in the last year that would be an indication of why you could use a little pampering. (1 entry)

  2. Follow my blog through Google Friends Connect and leave me a comment stating you're a follower. If you already follow, that counts as well. (1 entry)

  3. Follow me on Twitter and leave me a comment telling me you're a follower. (1 entry)

  4. Tweet about the giveaway and leave me a comment stating you did and linking to the tweet. - I entered the Something Shiny giveaway at Wistfulgirl's World: You could too!
    (1 entry per day)

  5. Blog about the Something Shiny #giveaway and leave me a comment with the link to the post. (3 entries so 3 comments

I hope you all enjoy my first giveaway! The contest will be open until midnight on April 15, 2011. The winner will be drawn via Please be sure to leave me your email address so I can contact the winner. Be sure to stop by on April 16 to find out who won!

P.S. Btw, for those who were interested in the results of last night's competition.....I placed 2nd out of 20 competitors!!! I was very excited and happy. My prize? $100 and the opportunity to perform tonight at the Street Dance in town, as well as an opportunity to perform in December at the Winter Wonderland celebration! It was an awesome experience!

Thursday, April 7, 2011

F is for Festival

I thought I'd opt for a lighter post today!

April is festival time in Georgia and one of the cities near where we live is having their annual Tree Fest this weekend. The Tree Fest is always a lot of fun! This weekend, we won't be able to attend the actual festival because we'll be taking my parents to the airport to take their very first flight (they're going to visit my brother in New Jersey).

However, the festivities actually go on the entire week prior to the major celebration on the weekend. One of the many activities involved in the celebration is Tree Fest Idol (actually called "Name of the City" Idol, but I'm not entirely comfortable with revealing that info). As the name suggests, the competition works similarly to American Idol in that the competitors all perform a singing selection and the judges choose a winner.

Tonight is Tree Fest Idol and yours truly will be competing! I'm looking very forward to the competition. It should be a lot of fun. In case you're wondering, I'll be singing "Let Er' Rip" by the Dixie Chicks. I'm not usually a country music fan, but in this area everyone performs either country or gospel, so I decided to go with this song. It has a lot of attitude and that works for me :D

Wish me luck and think of me this evening as I go out there and put on a show for the folks at Tree Fest Idol!

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

E is for Expectations

Anger always comes from frustrated expectations.

- Elliott Larson

Expectations, I've come to realize, are one of the main reasons for disappointment in my life. It is because of expectations that I plan on things happening a certain way. It goes back to that control thing - I plan for things to happen a certain way with the expectation that the result will turn a certain way as well.

This doesn't usually work out. I can almost, without doubt, know that, if I expect a certain outcome, I will get the opposite. And, still, I expect things to work the way I want them. It makes no sense whatsoever that, after years of being disappointed and repeatedly being shown that life does not work out the way I plan, I still maintain expectations.

I expected to, at 32 years of age, have a career and a home of my own. I expected to be a mother. I expected to be happier with where I am. I expected to have savings and a will. I expected not to be living next door to my parents.

One could say that the lack of these expectations coming to fruition was the sign of poor planning, but I think we've already established that I am an epic planner. My plans just don't usually go to plan! Something intervenes to change the path I had weaved. My life generally decides to go off on a path and stop to smell flowers, then when it gets ready to move on - well, lo and behold, the group has moved on and my life is left behind with no clear sign of where it needs to be headed.

As someone who does need iron control of her life, I find this aspect of my life very frustrating! Why should my expectations be so difficult to achieve? Is it, perhaps, that I expect too much? Or is it just that life doesn't work to anyone's expectations?

What are your expectations? Do you find that they usually happen the way you hope? Or are you, like me, left a little blindsighted wondering where your life took a turn and left you behind?

I hope you all aren't minding that I'm asking questions in my post. I'm really finding this whole A to Z Blogging Challenge very therapeutic and I'm enjoying getting feedback. Your comments are making my days!

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

D is for Divergence

Two roads diverged in a wood, and I-
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.

- Robert Frost

Divergence - That place where what could be becomes what might have been.

We've all been there, looking to the future, trying to choose the correct path for ourself, making the decision and then turning around in the weeks, months and years to come and wondering if the decision was the correct one. It's human nature, although it serves no real purpose but to drive us crazy.

This is one of my faults. This is one of the places (and trust me, there are hundreds, if not thousands of them) where I fall down. It is my innate character to second-guess myself and to torture myself with those "what might have been" moments. Truly what might have been would probably have been no better than what is and, in fact in many cases, would have been worse. But you can't see fault in what might have been. There is no hindsight, no 20/20 vision into what we can't know.

I've spent my whole life wondering: what if I had looked different growing up? What if I had acted differently? What if my parents had been a different sort?

Then, as I moved into adulthood, the questions became: what if I had finished college immediately after high school? What if I hadn't gone through my wild stage? What if I hadn't met The Hubs? What if I hadn't gotten married at 24?

And in more recent years: what if we hadn't made the decision to leave England? What if we had bought a home there and undergone fertility treatment there? What if some of the personal decision we made had been different?

Would we still be the people we are today? Or would we be better? Worse? Would we be facing the problems we currently face? Or would the new problems we would have be worse than the current ones?

If I could change one thing about myself, it would be this overwhelming need to torture myself with the what-might-have-beens of my life. It serves no real purpose but to depress me, yet it isn't something I seem able to let go of.

Do you have what-might-have-been moments in your life? If so, what are they? Or have you managed to convince yourself to let this habit go? If so, how?

Monday, April 4, 2011

C is for Control

This is a story about control, my control
Control of what I say, control of what I do
And this time, I'm gonna do it my way
I hope you enjoy this as much as I do
Are we ready? I am. Cause it's all about control.
And I've got lots of it.

-Control by Janet Jackson

Anyone of you who've read my blog for any length of time will know by now that I am a control freak. Those of you who are new here (and I'm so pleased to welcome quite a few of you along for the ride! Buckle your's often a bumpy journey!) will quickly learn that I'm one of those people who really needs to be able to control what is going on around me. I feel helpless when I can't and that is not a feeling I enjoy.

I'm not sure why I need to be in control so much. Maybe it's because, as a child, I had an uber-strict, controlled upbringing. I wasn't allowed to go out with friends; I didn't spend the night at a girlfriend's house until I was around 14; I wasn't even allowed to go to the movies without my older (11 years older) sister until I was 16. These things have lasting consequences - not that this is a post complaining about the strictness of that upbringing, only that it does (to a point) explain my extreme need to control the moments of my life.

However, Life doesn't always take your feelings into consideration. Take, for instance, the fact that we suffer from infertility. I have always known exactly how our marriage would go: we got married when I was 24, we were going to move back to the US by the time I was 28 and we would definitely be parents at least twice by the time I was 30. Yeah. Life took a great big breath and let out an enormous chuckle and told me "we'll just see about that"! We did marry when I was 24 and we did move back to the US when I was 27, but the parent thing still hasn't happened and I'm now 32 (and nearly a half...eek!).

Also, since moving back to the US, my best-laid plans have been going to the dogs! It was never our intention to settle back into my hometown (where we currently live) or even the town next door (where we both currently work), but Life saw differently. It was never my plan to live next door to my parents (yup, the strict ones who still try to control what The Hubs and I do), but that's where we wound up. And it was never my plan for the issues that we've faced personally (which I won't go into) to happen, but they did.

For someone who feels such an overwhelming desire to be in control as I do, this is sometimes almost more than I can bear. I get panicky about it sometimes and I can feel myself start to lose it - I get short of breath, I get angry and then I lose my temper and often wind up in one of the world's biggest temper tantrums! I'm not proud of it, but that's where being out of control of my life leads me.

I know it's difficult for The Hubs to deal with and I wish I knew a way not to need so much control. I'm actually pretty sure that, if things would go to plan more often, I wouldn't feel the intense need to be in control of every moment. But, that's really a self-fulfilling prophecy.

So, Control - my biggest need, the worst and best things about me and the one thing I can't seem to get as much of as I need.

What would you say is the thing you need most in your life? Is it, like me, control? Or is it your family, your pet, your car, your job, your home? Or something else entirely?

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Adventures In Savannah

Since today is an off day for the A to Z Blogging Challenge, I thought I would take this quick minute to tell you about our night out in Savannah.

As I posted a couple of days ago, The Hubs, my friend Lady V and her friend E had plans to go to Savannah for a night out this weekend. These were very loose plans, without a lot of preparation going into them, which, for anyone who knows me, is totally and completely unlike me. I'm a planner. I plan EVERYTHING and I usually do it weeks, if not months, in advance. So we decided last night was going to be our night out. We did get a hotel because it would have been a two hour drive home, post partying and we didn't feel it would be very intelligent to do that. Also, it would have meant The Hubs would have had to be the designated driver and that really wouldn't have been a lot of fun for him, so we stayed over.

The original plan was to leave about 4pm on Saturday. This got pushed back until 5:30pm and it was actually 6pm when we left. This kind of last minute change makes me panic, so I was a little on edge when we left out. However, I calmed down quickly enough and we were on our way! E was coming from Jacksonville, Florida, so he was meeting us there.

We got to Savannah around 8pm and got checked in to our hotel, then Lady V and I hurried and got dressed and made up:

NIght Out
Ready for a night out!

When we were ready, The Hubs called a taxi to take us to our restaurant. We were told it would be 20 minutes before the taxi got there. So we waited. And waited. And waited. Finally about 40 minutes after we had originally called, we received a call from our driver stating he would be to us in about 7 to 10 minutes. So we continued waiting. 20 minutes later, he still had not arrived, so Lady V took my phone and called him. He stated he was nearly there and he did finally arrive about 10 minutes later.

We told him where we were going and he didn't know where the restaurant was. So we, the out-of-towners, had to direct him to the restaurant When we got there, the meter that had said $3 suddenly read $10! Not sure how that happened, but not a problem. Lady V paid for the taxi (I had paid for the hotel) and we went in to eat.

We had a fabulous meal at a lovely Greek restaurant (calimari and spanicopita to start, followed by Chicken and Mushroom Penne for me, Vegetarian Canneloni for Lady V, Lamb Shish Kabob for The Hubs and Beef Tenderloin Shish Kabob for E) and were getting ready to pay when Lady V suddenly discovered she was missing a $100 bill! She panicked thinking she had given our cabbie the wrong monetary amount and she grabbed my phone and called him back to ask. The cabbie was very, very rude to her, telling her he didn't have her money and a few other things and Lady V hung up. Within minutes, my phone rang. I answered, thinking perhaps he had realized she had given him the wrong money or that there had been some sort of mix up and, instead, I got a cab driver screaming at me "You want your money?! I'll give you your GD money! Meet me b*tch and I'll beat your f**king a**!" and on and on. I was actually very, very terrified!

I hung up the phone and explained to the others what had happened. About that time, the taxi we had called to pick us up from the restaurant and take us down to River Street called. In a panic, I explained to that driver what had happened and she came to pick us up and gave us the number to the city. In the meantime, she took the number to the other cab driver and called him to see what was going on and also took us back to the hotel to see if Lady V could locate her money there, having perhaps left it behind.

I will pause here to state the Lady V did not accuse the first cab driver of taking the money, but asked him if the mistake had happened. We were actually being very polite, if a little panicked, about the situation.

It turned out that Lady V, had left the money in the hotel and the new cab driver got some information from the previous driver and told us to report him. She thought she might know who he was, she said. Then she carried us on to River Street.

Well, turns out we're pretty sure she did know him since she took us way out of the way to get to River Street and charged us $46 for what should have been a $25 journey. We were pissed! But, we decided to try not to worry about it and to have a good time anyway. So we headed on down to River Street (she actually dropped us at the top of the stairs going down to River Street because it would have been an extra $5 to get down to the street).

Once we got onto River Street it seemed everything would be okay. We were getting ready to go into Wet Willie's when the next bit of bad news hit: I had forgotten my ID! Can you believe it?! I had been looking forward to that night out for at least a week and then forgot my flipping ID! Lady V had a solution though. She and E went in first and got drinks for him and me and returned back outside with those. Then she and The Hubs went in and got their drinks. I had ordered my first drink on the recommendation of the friend who had bailed on us, so I got a Cal-A-Cab. OMG! It tasted AWFUL, but it was effective in the alcohol department!! It was mixed with Golden Grain (almost pure alcohol), so I had a very good buzz going on by the time I had finished it. I went to the more traditional Wistfulgirl drink next and had a pina colada. That was all it took for me to be feeling good!

Since we were drinking outside, the air was helping to intoxicate me a little, I think. Whatever the case, I had only 2 drinks but I managed to be drunk. Probably a first for me (I'm not usually that much of a lightweight, even though I'm not usually much of a drinker either, lol). The fun thing was needing to use the restroom and having to have ID to get in anywhere. Fortunately, Lady V and I apparently look enough alike that her ID sufficed to get me in to use the restroom.

When we were on our second drinks, we decided to move from River Street to City Market, so we headed back up the stairs and over towards City Market. It had been very funny watching Lady V - who insisted on wearing stilettos - walk on the cobblestones on River Street. Halfway across to City Market, we had to stop (in Ellis Square) so that Lady V could rest her legs. We sat there, just drinking and laughing - generally having a good time, just the four of us - for about half an hour. Once we got to City Market, we decided we actually just wanted to head back to the hotel. It was about 2am at this point in time. So, we found another taxi.

This one was with a different company and we explained what had happened to us previously. This driver gave us the number to the City and the name of whom we would need to speak to and also lamented the trouble we'd had with us and apologized, despite the previous drivers not even being with the same company! When we got back to the hotel, the total for the ride was $24. Now that was a much better cab driver and who we'll use in the future!

We got into bed around 3am and were up and on the way home at 8am. We were some very tired folks, lol!

All in all, though, despite the problems we ran into, we had a good night out. Next time, we will either get a hotel near River Street/City Market or we will know the correct cab company to use! Oh, and I will not forget my ID again - because I still haven't gotten to go dancing!!

All good fun the life of a Wistfulgirl!

Saturday, April 2, 2011

B is for Belief

One of the most important and most basic things we can experience as human beings is belief. Belief exists in so many different forms. What for one person may be the epitome of ignorance or stupidity - a belief in astrology, God, feng shui, magic - for another person may be the single thing keeping them grounded and sane in this world.

I think it is so important that we have belief. What are we that we don't have something to look to for guidance and inspiration, whatever that may be. Belief certainly plays an enormous part in my life. If I had no belief in the hope that one day I'll be a mother, this whole journey would be irrelevant. In the estimation of some people my journey may be irrelevant anyway, but that in and of itself is, to me, irrelevant.

So, what is your belief? What do you put your hopes in? What thing keeps you from just throwing your hands up and saying "I give up"?

I know what my beliefs are and I'll be sharing more of those on these pages in future posts, but I'm very interested to know some of your beliefs.

Friday, April 1, 2011

Ageing - Blogging A to Z Challenge

Today starts Blogging A to Z April Challenge. I'll pause briefly in my post to invite you all to visit The Hubs new blog, What's The Matter? With Mojo. This is his first blog, so head over and welcome him to blogging, please! He will not be blogging about IF, but he has a very interesting mind, so you may find his stuff interesting.

I thought I'd use this time to partially work out some of the squirminess of my brain lately, if you don't mind, so some of these posts may be very reflective and, even a bit vague or opaque due to the nature of what I'm talking about.

In that vein, I'd like to use this post to discuss ageing and why I hate it so much. I have a very love/hate relationship with my birthday, as I'm sure others of you do. I do love the attention I get on my birthday (I'm not too proud to admit I like attention!), but turning older - ageing - scares me.

It hasn't always been this way. Right up until the day I turned 26, I always thought I'd be one of those women who wouldn't worry about getting older. I mean, that's what we're supposed to do, right? We get older, we have families, we grow mature, we have homes and we move gracefully into octogenarianism.

Only, on my 26th birthday when my co-worker David said "Awesome! You're now more than a quarter of a century old!", I felt like I had been slammed in the chest with a concrete block. That phrase had had the power to shift my whole world view. I was no longer young - I had moved into a space where I would never again be accurately described as a young adult. And, in the place where I was life-wise at the time - in a different country, desperately missing home, in an environment where half the people thought I was an exotic creature because I was from another country and the other half thought I was a despicable creature worthy of nothing more than their utter contempt - this was more than my adled mind could take.

We're now seven years on from that time and I have come to something akin to terms with my inevitable ageing. However, when you add in my battle with infertility, the ageing process takes on a whole new sinister meaning. With every day that passes with nothing happening in our fight to become a family, I am that much more aware of getting older. And I'm aware that I feel much older than I actually am.

Recently, this feeling has started getting to me. The Hubs and I go out most weekends, but we've become very predictable. Our usual night out consists of dinner out and a movie. Now, I know there are those of you who are saying to yourselves "Oh, poor Lynn. She thinks she has it so bad, but I'd kill to get a night out with my hubby every week! If we had that luxury, I'd think we'd won the life lottery!". I understand how good I have it, believe me, but this is not who I was. In my late teens and early 20's, I was the wild child! I was the girl who was out at a bar every night! I had friends! I loved to dance and sing and just be silly! I was a social butterfly!

That's something I haven't done in years and, honestly, I miss it. In the last couple of weeks, The Hubs and I have started to hang out a bit with a friend of mine from work - possibly my first "outside of work" friend I see regularly in years. While so far our hang-outs have been at her house playing cards, we are planning to go out tomorrow night for a night on River Street in Savannah. I have to say I'm looking very forward to it! We were supposed to be joined by another friend, but he backed out. I was inexplicably upset by this because it felt like rejection. I hate rejection.

Times were so much less complicated when I was younger, even though I didn't see it that way then and, years from now, I'll probably see this as an uncomplicated time as well.

So there you go. My first post for the A to Z Blogging Challenge. In all my usual whiny, feeling-sorry-for-myself glory! I will have to try to post more positively soon, but thanks for sticking with me through this.