Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Negative, Ghost Rider, the Pattern is Full

In other words, I'm not pregnant. I suspected as much but then hope just creeps up when you're not looking. I actually took a home pregnancy test Sunday and it was positive. It was digital and I can read just fine so it must have been the left over pregnancy hormone still in my system. Thankfully I took another test (because there were 2 in the pack and I needed to see it again to believe it) early Monday morning and it was negative as was the doctor's office blood test.

I admit to being upset yesterday and I really just wanted to revel in my pity but TOIAW wouldn't let me. When I got home I did my Bible study and God wouldn't let me wallow in pity either. This week's focus is peace and this particular lesson was about Job. Even on my most dramatic days, my trials pale in comparison to Job's...no matter how much I exaggerate. I refuse to allow circumstances to steal the joy and peace I have as a child of God. I have an amazing life; it truly is what I always wanted!

The current plan is to try another round of injectible fertility medications. These are tricky medications and it can take a bit to get the dosage right. My doctor was able to make some necessary adjustments based on how I responded this cycle so it wasn't a complete loss. I am going to a conference next week and was worried about having to give myself the shots but I've had 2 people say they can help me which is a huge blessing!

I now must go retrieve the tool kit from the basement so that I can take apart my vacuum cleaner and remove the dog hair that is preventing the spinning brush from spinning. How could anyone not think my life is complete?!

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Post Office Mercies

Usually I hope, wish, and pray that assorted packages will greet me when I go to the post office. Today there were packages I wanted and a certain package I didn't want. Hallelujah, I got the one I wanted and not the one I didn't want. This really never happens because a) there is usually never a package I don't want and, b) the packages always take longer than I expect and they're usually not there when I want.

So today I had a fabulous package of fabric and ribbon that I'm going to use to make all kinds of things of which I promise to post pictures. JCaroline is the best crafting website EVER. I also received some other craft (scrapbooking) stuff I had almost forgotten about. What I didn't receive--and this is the best part--is the package of 15 early-detection pregnancy tests.

This means I can have a weekend of peace! I have a slightly obsessive personality and if I had the tests, I would use them. It's how I roll. This could have had potentially catastrophic consequences because there is a high chance of false positives at this point so I would be forced to test multiple times a day comparing the colors of the lines for evidence of darkening or fading lines. It would have been exhausting.

I know what you're thinking: What about tomorrow or Saturday? Well, I have a plan (I always have a plan). I will check the mail tomorrow but since they do not put packages in my box, only notifications, I will just leave any notifications until Monday and deal with it then. I'm pretty sure I have enough will power for that. If I'm feeling weak, I will take TOIAW. He has enough will power for 4 people. Oh, and since we don't have mail deliveries on Saturday, I'm good.

Alright, it's off on a date for me. I vaguely remember a former life where I showered and shaved my legs prior to going on dates. I've done neither today so I hope he still calls tomorrow...

Thanks For Putting Me In An Awkward Position

On Sunday, when TOIAW and I were shopping, our check-out lady (person?) was Nicole who is also the owner of the kennel where we take PP. It's actually closer to where we used to live, but if she's going to be there for any length of time we still take her there because she really loves it. Sometimes I get the feeling she likes it better than our house but that's probably because she has 24 hour playmates there. When she's there she doesn't stay in a kennel, she just stays in the house with their menagerie and what ever other dogs happen to be there also. A friend of mine once described it as a lot of dogs getting together and renting a house and they allow humans to live there also. Sometimes when they are busy it's like "Lord of the Flies" for dogs. I search to see if any are wearing a conch shell. It's an interesting place but, as I said, PP loves it there and everyone we know uses it so who am I to argue?

Nicole was looking kind of rough that day but, who knows, I probably was also. I'm not sure if I've mentioned it before but TOIAW sometimes lacks tact; he's not being rude or purposefully hurtful, he just says the wrong things. I'm working on it, but my sensitivity training is often undermined by his work environment so it's an ongoing process. This is what he said to Nicole, "Wow, you don't look so good. Are you sick or really tired?" [Later I asked him why he said this and he said because she really did look bad. Ummm, yeah, but is it any of your business?] She said she was indeed having a bad day because several of her friends had departed for the desert that morning. That's very sad and we, obviously, understand. The woman ahead of us in line had forgotten her ID so we were just standing there, awkwardly, and then Nicole confessed that one of the "friends" who left was more than a friend and that morning he had asked her to marry him. Awww, congratulations! But, uhhh, what about that guy who lives with you? No, I didn't really ask that and, shockingly, neither did TOIAW.

Nicole goes on to tell us that she and Toby (the guy who lives with her) had separated and agreed not to see other people but, ooops, she kind of broke that deal. We kind of suspected that things weren't going so well and there was the time this summer when we picked-up PP and the windows were open and it took a long time for anyone to come to the door and then a guy other than Toby came to the door so, you know, we kind of put it all together. But the thing is, we like Toby better; we interact with him more, he seems to love our dog (what's not to love other than her predisposition to aggression?), and he's a really nice guy. I just can't believe she felt the need to tell us all of this. Now I wonder what really goes on in that house. Also, I want to call Toby--poor guy! For reasons that were not clear, Nicole is not going to tell him about any of this for a few months and then he will move out. I'm really sad for him because I know he really loves her.

We're asking around to find a new kennel. Our dog is so social, that she just can't be in a cage or room all day and, fortunately, boarding dogs in your house is a common thing here.

We can't help but think this has something to do with PP's extreme fear of pillows (she runs out of the room if I'm arranging the throw pillows on the sofa). Clearly there's something going on there with affairs, break-ups, and pillows...you just never really know someone, huh?

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

I Heart My Crockpot

I was finished making dinner this morning by 8. That rocks.

My menu planning of late consists of presenting TOIAW with a list of meals and then he chooses 4 or 5 or, you know, however many meals I tell him I'm willing to cook that week. That way he has at least had a say and I get a better feel for what he really likes. We've only been married for a year and a half and finding meals he likes has been a little tough for me. He was raised my first-generation Russian immigrants and I was raised in the South. Obviously my family ate different foods than his did. Fortunately, he is used to eating other kinds of food but he really doesn't like anything with ground beef (except tacos, occasionally). I could eat chicken most nights, but he prefers beef. I just don't have that many beef recipes if I have to eliminate ground beef. Thanks to allrecipes.com we manage. When we lived in Washington (state), I prepared a lot of fish but it's not as available here. Oh how I would love to have a gourmet grocery store here!

Since I'm still in "waiting" mode, I'm going to busy myself with some projects today. I am making a quilt for our nephew. Actually I'm expecting a new nephew right after Christmas so I'll be making two quilts but I now only have fabric for one. I should point out that I do not make heirloom quilts with beautiful stitching. No, I make easy quilts with cute fabric which better fits my skill level and that makes me more likely to complete the project. I would get frustrated working on the same quilt for a year or more (the thought makes me laugh because it would never happen). Also, I'm going to organize my craft room and work on some scrapbooking pages. It's going to be a crafting extravaganza!

I really wish I had some indication as to whether or not I am pregnant (see, now the pregnancy thing is creeping into every post). With my last pregnancy I knew right away and I had an early pregnancy test that confirmed it for me. When we have tried in the last few months, I've pretty much known I wasn't pregnant. This month I have no idea; it really could go either way and I'm trying not to obsess one way or the other. Ugh!

Well, the dog is staring at me and giving me serious puppy eyes in order to entice me to walk her. I better be careful because she is a German Shepherd and we all know they are predisposed to aggressive behavior. I don't want to take any chances, so I'm going to walk her straight away before the pouting escalates to something more serious like full-on whining.

Monday, October 22, 2007

16%

I have mentioned infertility here and there on this blog, but I have never devoted an entire post to it. There are many infertility blogs devoted to nothing but injections, appointments, ultrasounds, charts, procedures, and the emotions that go along with all of those things. I read plenty of those blogs but I just haven't wanted to go there, yet. The reason this post is titled "16%" is because I saw Oprah a few weeks ago when the topic was infertility; according to her 16% of couples experience fertility problems.

I should make it clear that my issue really isn't infertility because I have been pregnant three times. Two early (like before 6 weeks) miscarriages and an ectopic pregnancy. I am happy with the way TOIAW and I have dealt with our fertility problems. It has not come between us and has actually made us closer. That does not mean, however, that it hasn't been painful. I hurt the most when I see how much he really wants to have children. Believe me, I want it for me...it's something I have always wanted, but I really want it for him also. I want it for us. I rarely allow myself to "go there" and think about how very much I want a baby. I actually didn't realize this until just a few weeks ago but it makes sense. I mean it's a natural coping technique.

So, two weeks ago, after my cyst-removal surgery, I began taking injectible fertility medications. [I might have mentioned this before so sorry in advance if I'm repeating myself.] Everything went well and I had two nice follicles but only one in my right ovary (or, as we call it, the "good ovary" because the left one is not connected to the fallopian tube as a result of the ectopic pregnancy). I took a "trigger" shot last week and we did our thing before TOIAW went on his business trip and now it's just a waiting game. Actually, tonight I'm getting one more shot to help with implantation if the egg was fertilized as it is suspected that the implantation process is where things went wrong with the miscarriage pregnancies, but there is no way of knowing. Okay, so after tonight it's officially just a waiting game until Monday when I will have a blood test...unless my period arrives before then. I'm not a patient person so this is killing me!

Honestly, the timing this month was off due to the surgery and the main reason we decided to try the medication was to see how I reacted to it so we know what works or doesn't for next month. I knew this and I tried not to get my hopes up but it's easier said than done! Our plan is to try this month (done) and next month and, if that doesn't work, move on to IVF after the first of the year. Of course any cysts would prevent us from trying next month and that's a huge fear of mine. I've had a little pain similar to what I had with the cyst which is disconcerting but it could just be the regular progesterone-producing cyst that forms every month in order to support a possible pregnancy. If this is the case, it will go away on it's own and it's of no consequence. The fact that I'm analyzing every detail of this tells you I'm a bit obsessed if you didn't know that already...

Now onto the truly ironic part of this: I am terrified of finding out I'm pregnant. Completely TERRIFIED. It's like pregnancy post traumatic stress disorder. I will never be that person who gets super excited when they pee on a stick and see the two lines and then immediately devises a cutesy way to tell their husband and buys 17 onesies the first month. I have pretty much accepted that and I know that once I know things are going well, I will relax (at least I hope I do!), get excited, and enjoy the pregnancy.

So many of our plans in the past year have been centered around a pregnancy that hasn't happened. It's not like we have or haven't done something because we thought I might be pregnant but we've certainly discussed it when discussing major plans. I remember last year during the holidays when TOIAW's family was discussing summer plans, I didn't want to commit because I thought I would be pregnant. This summer when we discussed our holiday plans, I--again--didn't want to commit to anything. Even as we were having our marathon trying to find tickets session, I wondered what adjustments might have to be made if I find out I'm pregnant. I try to deny it, but getting pregnant occupies a huge part of my thoughts. I don't like it but I think the reason I don't like it is I perceive it as weakness and I should be able to just overcome this but that is not how it works.

One more shot in the stomach tonight (I don't even think twice about it anymore...can you imagine? If you had told me, say two years ago, that I would require daily shots in the stomach in order to have a baby I might have balked but now I have to remind myself that not everyone has to do this!). After that, more waiting. Oh, and the earliest I can pee on a stick is this weekend because the shot is actually an injection of the pregnancy hormone and testing too soon could give me a false positive and that is the last thing I need!

Okay, I'm going to distract myself by cleaning :)

Weekend & Stuff

We didn't do much this weekend but since this blog is my diary, I figured I would chronicle it anyway.

Friday night we went to a Hail & Farewell. For those of you unfamiliar with this term, get on your knees and thank the Lord for you are truly blessed. It's a casual event for a military unit in which they formally welcome new members and spouses and say farewell to those who are leaving. This one wasn't so bad, I must say; the food was great, we had adequate space for our group, the formal portion of the evening was mercifully brief, and our table mates were an open-minded civilian contractor, his lovely foreign-born wife, and--the piece de resistance--their well-behaved 3 year-old. Not all H&F's go so well. I have been to a few that, were they used in place of water-boarding or various other torture techniques, would have resulted in far more surrendered secrets.

Saturday was spent searching for and purchasing airline tickets for the holidays. Sounds easy, enough? What if I said we spent about 6 hours on this task? We did walk the dog and would periodically take breaks but I was determined to book them before they got even more expensive...I was a woman with a mission! I was getting very frustrated with sites such as Orbitz, Travelocity, and the like because they would find flights but when I went to actually book the prices had gone up $400. Ugh! This went on and on and on with TOIAW and I passing the computer back and forth until finally I called United and spoke to a very nice woman who helped us. Although TOIAW and I are leaving on different days, we wanted to travel the remainder of our itinerary together. This is not as easy as I thought it would be. In the end, we're paying more than we would have several weeks ago when we were ready to book and TOIAW's family hadn't yet made up their minds about their plans BUT who cares because I'm going to be home with my family for nearly an entire month and I am beyond excited! I will not let a little money and/or his family ruin unfettered access to Target for me.

Sunday began with snow, Snow, SNOW! Okay, just a little bit and it was mixed with rain and it's only October so this could make for a l-o-n-g winter, but who cares? It was snow! It's also been pretty cold with a heavy frost this morning. I'm completely in the holiday spirit :) Anyhoo, we went shopping yesterday and I bought groceries and laundry detergent which pretty much nullifies all my excuses of late. I got beat at Yahtzee! and then we went to bed early. It's not the most exciting life, but it is MY life and I love it...it's JUST what I always wanted!!!

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Play Date

Today was a positively lovely day! I went to visit friends in my former 'hood. We did a little scrapbooking and a lot of talking and it was brilliant (a friend of my friend was there also and she is British so the "brilliant" comment is a shout out to Fiona).

I've kind of been feeling sorry for myself lately (as in the last 6 weeks) because I haven't really made any friends since we moved. I haven't given it that much effort, but there just doesn't seem to be anyone with whom I really click. In addition, we are moving from here in less than a year and, if I were being completely honest with myself, I would have to say I have a rather cavalier attitude about making friends here. That being said, I was invited to my neighbor's Saturday for a fondue night and I had a good time; there are a couple of ladies with whom I seem to have a lot in common and I can see myself spending more time with them.

The friends I was visiting all have husbands who are on extended business trips in the Middle East. The ladies are my heroes. They are simply AMAZING. They are both mom and dad and, though they may not admit it, they manage to do this fabulously. I love these ladies with all my heart. I wish they didn't have to go through this, but they do it with such grace it hardly looks difficult (oh, but it is!). There are many ways to serve your country and these ladies are certainly doing just that. They are the ones who keep it all together so their husbands can leave and do what they do. Please remember them in your prayers!

Okay, now I have some housekeeping chores calling my name. When TOIAW gets home, I like him to think all I did was clean and do chores while he was gone.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

On the Mend

No more hives, woo-hoo! It's strange that they disappeared as mysteriously as they appeared. Well, the fact that I took Benadryl every 4 hours might have had something to do with it, but after my last dose, they just went away.

I took care of some errands today and then came home and played with my new scrapbooking supplies. Good times, good times. TOIAW had to go to a former Eastern-block country of some sort so I'm home alone.

I never gave an update about LBHN and her SAT word-spouting husband. TOIAW went over to speak to him, as directed. He seemed to think it went well. The bottom line is our dog will not go near any member of their family and nothing beyond that is any of his business. TOIAW can be rather direct, in case you didn't catch on to that. The neighbor mentioned something about it being commonly known that German Shepherds are predisposed to aggressive behavior. TOIAW found it quite ironic that their dog jumped on him while they were talking and it should be noted that their Lab is much larger than PP.

Also, I never did go to Munich to see TOIAW's brother and sister-in-law. They seemed to have a good time though and so did I so it was a win-win situation.

Okay, it's back to crafting for me!

Super Bug

As if I needed another reason to fuel my germaphobic tendencies. If you're a hypochondriac, you might want to skip reading this.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Holy Hives, Batman!

Last night TOIAW and I were watching a movie and I kept scratching my legs. I could feel a few bumps on them and thought they were just bug bites or something. I'm not sure when or how I could have gotten bug bites on my upper thighs, but what else could it be? When I went to bed I slathered up with cortisone cream. I had to reapply about 2:30am and I vaguely recall thinking my eye felt strange but I don't remember looking at it. So, when I woke-up at 7:00 to hop in the shower, I was a bit shocked at the face in the mirror! My right eye was almost completely shut and my left eye was only half-open. I had the mysterious bumps all over my body. I asked TOIAW to look and all he could do was remind me that he will get no sleep tonight due to a flight he is taking and he has to work a full day tomorrow. Yes, BUT MY EYES ARE ALMOST COMPLETELY SWOLLEN SHUT! This got his attention. He asked if I had any trouble breathing (I didn't), and then he just laughed and pointed out how I looked like Will Smith in "Hitch" when he had an allergic reaction to shellfish. Thanks, Honey.


We called my doctor who doesn't think it was a reaction to any of the medications I am taking. I did have a shot yesterday but it was a shot of the pregnancy hormone in order to induce ovulation and I have had it several times before. Also, the reaction didn't begin until more than 12 hours after the shot. I've been wracking my brain trying to figure out what could have caused this. Everything I did yesterday was normal. Normal foods, normal routines, no exposure to cleaning products which is very normal...I just don't know what caused this. According to Dr. Google though, it's not uncommon to not find out the cause. Great. That's what we were told about the miscarriages. I'm not completely convinced, however; I do think it is a possible reaction to the fertility meds.


Because I didn't want to go to the clinic and sit for who knows how many hours before I saw a doctor, I went next door to beg for some Benadryl. It helped a lot and now I'm waiting for TOIAW to come home so I can get my next fix. The problem spots seem to be my head (weird) and upper thighs. I'm trying really hard not to scratch.


**UPDATE**Well, it looks like I will be going to the clinic in the morning. The hives have spread to my feet and it is very painful to walk. I mean, seriously, does this really happen to people? I'm even missing neighborhood Bunco tonight because close fitting clothing is not good and I can't walk...I don't think they want to see my bra-less, puffy-eyed, limping self. We haven't lived here long and I don't want people to get scared.

This all reminds me of a funny story...about 2.5 years ago TOIAW was on an extended business trip in the desert and I was living in Louisville, KY for my job as a flight attendant. I lived with two other flight attendants one of which was also a Hooters' girl who, not surprisingly, was in amazing shape. She recommended some kind of supplement for me to take before my workouts promising who knows what, but one day I decided to give it a go. So there I am working out in this amazing place (I only include that link because if you ever live there, you MUST join their gym) with the after-work crowd. It was busy but I was be bopping to my iPod doing my weights program. I noticed this woman staring at me with a puzzled look on her face. I thought she was just in awe of my program and how I rocked it. Not so much. Finally she approached me and said that my face looked really red and she was concerned. I remember my exact reply to her: "Oh, it's okay, I always look like this when I workout."

I then went over to do hand weights and, for the first time since ingesting the "awesome Hooter's girl supplement," I looked in the mirror. My eyes were both very swollen which was probably good because it prevented me from noticing the HUGE welts on my face and neck in their totality. Needless to say, I ran to the locker room and rushed home to ingestconsume massive quantities of Benadryl. I never used the aforementioned supplement again. Also, Hooters never called.

Oh, it's okay, I always look like this when I workout. From them on, I always went to the gym during the day.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

He's Still Working On Me

Did you ever sing that song when you were little? "He's still working on me, to make be what I ought to be. It took him just a week to make the moon and the stars, the sun and the Earth, and Jupiter and Mars. How loving and patient He must be...He's still working on me." Praise God!!!

I have no doubt it was easier for God to make the entire known (and unknown) universe than it was for Him to make me. Maybe not so much the making me part, more the working on me part. I can just see Him, "Yeah, that Jupiter was a snap compared to Rachel..."

I woke-up this morning feeling refreshed. I just knew God had something He wanted to say to me. I'm currently doing Beth Moore's study Living Beyond Yourself but before I reached for that, I turned on the computer. In true procrastinator's fashion, I thought I would surf the web a bit. I somehow stumbled on this little gem. WOW! I have only listened to these short spots one other time. It was in May and I was going through what I thought was my third miscarriage although it turned out to be an ectopic pregnancy. The website doesn't seem to have archives beyond September, but let me just tell you I feel to my knees weeping when I listened to that short segment. It was about trusting God. ALL. THE. TIME. Like what I heard today, it wasn't even the first clip on the chronological list, just one I randomly clicked.

So let's just say I won't be talking to LBHN unless my heart is in the right place. It also occurred to me that this is just a misunderstanding. It's very possible they have had a bad experience with a German Shepherd in the past or are just afraid of them on general principle. I fancy myself a responsible pet owner and I deeply regret any angst my dog might have caused them. I believe there are no bad pets, just bad pet owners.

I know that God's judgement is based on TRUTH (Romans 2:2) and, like everything else, His way is infinitely better than Rachel's way. This is amazingly liberating!

Friday, October 12, 2007

Don't Go Messin' With My Dawg

My evening was going really well; TOIAW's brother couldn't make it to our house due to a train strike (I swear I had nothing to do with it but, nevertheless, Power to the People) so TOIAW drove to Munich and I don't have to participate until tomorrow, Survivor is on tonight, and I'm alone so I have unfettered Internet access...sounds good, huh?

Not too long after TOIAW left, the doorbell rang. I answered it to see this huge African-American man standing there. He asked if my husband was home and I said no. He asked where he was and when he would be home. Because of what the man was wearing, I could tell who he was and where he falls in the pecking order around here (I'm sure you can figure out why we live here but I don't want to actually say it) and let's just say he falls a smidgen higher than TOIAW so I tell him everything he wants to know and ask if I can help him. He said he needed to talk to my husband "neighbor to neighbor" before he has to escalate things to a bunch of people whose names I don't recognize but who I assume are also above both of them in the pecking order.

Okay, would you please mind telling me WHAT YOU ARE TALKING ABOUT? He says my dog, Princess Poopsalot, jumped on his wife today. Yeah, she did, I saw her and I agree that it was totally inappropriate. This is how it went down: TOIAW was obsessively cleaning the car (as per standard operating procedure) which was in it's parking spot about three steps from out front door. I opened the door to ask him a question and while we were talking someone walked out of the neighbor's house (we'll call this neighbor Nice Neighbor, NN). I heard the NN's voice and assumed she was outside so I didn't think much when PP went over there because NN always wants to pet and talk to PP. Only NN didn't walk out but Long Blonde Hair Neighbor (LBHN) did. PP did jumped on LBHN the way dogs jump on people to play. While it was not malicious, it was by no means right and it really bothered me because I thought we had conquered that particular bad-behavior issue. I immediately told PP NO and called her into the house. She immediately came in with her ears down knowing what she had done wrong. LBHN had said to her, very sweetly, "no, don't jump on me" and then went on to exchange a few how-are-you words with TOIAW but I didn't participate in that because I was disciplining PP. Obviously I was mortified that the incident upset her so much and I apologized to her husband, asked if she was okay, and then apologized again for the fact that I didn't apologize to her at the time. He kind of stopped and said, "So you saw it happen?" I said yes and I understand why he wants to speak with TOIAW and I would have him go over as soon as he gets home, I thanked him for speaking to us first before escalating the issue, blah, blah, blah. I really thought we were on the same page and I was genuinely upset that PP had frightened LBHN.

He just kept going on and on and on and I kept apologizing. He then said that this was clearly part of a pattern because his wife told him PP had recently knocked over a 3-year-old neighborhood child and was frequently ran around off a leash. I told him I was unaware of these incidents and asked who the child was and where PP was seen running wild. He had no details. By this point, I really just wanted him to leave. I must admit I was secretly cursing TIOAW wondering why he was so lax with PP when I was not around. Then he said this, "A German Shepherd who pins a grown woman to the ground and gets in her face is a serious threat." Ummmm, duh...oh, wait, are you talking about MY dog? He was...

I had to force myself to close my mouth. I told him that was NOT the incident I witnessed. I was horrified. Beyond horrified. I told him that was COMPLETELY unacceptable behavior and I started to get a little emotional. He only lectured me for a little longer before taking his leave.

What was TOIAW thinking when he failed to mention that this happened? How could he let PP jump on this already traumatized woman a second time in one day? When he answered his phone I could hardly speak!!! I finally asked him what happened and his response? What are you talking about?

It's too late to make this long story short, but let me just say LBHN is a Liar, Liar All Your Bad Bleach Job Hair Is On Fire! I immediately lost it (I'm going to blame the latest round of fertility meds for that) and couldn't talk for several minutes. How dare she! I am so upset...I'm better than I was but I'm just completely flabbergasted. I have been around this organization long enough that nothing really surprises me anymore but occasionally I can still be shocked and, believe me, I was shocked! And then hurt because who makes up lies and then sends their husband dressed in full battle rattle to fight for your honor? Does he not pay attention to you otherwise? You know, that's your shtick, but must you involve me...and my dog?!

My plan: I'm going to go over to her house tomorrow and make sure she is okay. The Southern accent will probably come along and I might even bring some baked goods. I'm going to tell her I am oh so sorry for not having noticed that my dog had her pinned to the ground even though I was standing no more than eight feet from her. I will assure her that nothing like this will never EVER happen again. I would have gone tonight but since I think it was completely inappropriate for her husband to come to my door at 7:45 and talk to me for more than 15 minutes, I'm not going to do that to her. In any event, I'm sure she was taking a hot bath or something to help get over her traumatic day.

Meanwhile, my vicious German Shepherd is laying perfectly calm next to me. At some point--and this was while he was talking (which was most of the time)--she let out a loud sigh and put her head on the floor. Is it bad that wish she would have jumped on him?

Thursday, October 11, 2007

French Toast Souffle

Tracey asked for this recipe. You should check out her blog. It's real, it's funny, it's a bit sad at times and it's hopeful. I have no doubt it she and her husband will bring home their baby soon.

I have a rather large collection of cook books, but I often find myself logging onto allrecipes.com as well. I like to read what other people thought of the recipe and what, if any, changes they made. [In general, I'm pretty obsessed with product reviews.] Every time I make it, it's probably a bit different in terms of size and amounts of ingredients because I'm always reading the reviews and adjusting according to others' suggestions. My best advice is to make it in a 9"x13" or similarly shallow dish rather than a deeper casserole dish. Also, all bread types work so just go with what you have. The best part is it's assembled the night before!

The Ties That Bind...and Strangle

Last night TOIAW's older brother called to tell us he would be visiting this weekend. Super. I didn't think I would have a lot of drop-in guests when I moved to Themiddleofnowhere, Germany, but that's what I get for thinking. I suppose I should be thankful that he hasn't visited more often because he and his wife live in London (we did go see them once last year but going to London is hardly a hardship). This week he is in Munich which is about an hour and a half away. The plan was to meet him and his wife there on Friday but now she isn't coming in until Saturday morning so BIL called yesterday and said he would just stay with us Friday night. Great.

Let me just tell you what happened when he came a few weeks ago. He came in on Friday and immediately wanted to go to the American-style grocery store so TOIAW took him. They came home with many bags of JUNK that cost us more than what I usually spend on groceries for a week (and I had just been shopping the day before). We then took him out to dinner. I made my famous French Toast Souffle for breakfast on Saturday. I am NOT exaggerating one bit when I tell you that BIL sat down, looked at the spread (I also prepared fruit salad and a meat and cheese plate), turned toward TOIAW and said, "Do you have anything else?" I was completely dumbfounded and silent which is probably a good thing. BIL decided he would like to have a HOT DOG. I got him a pan for that and then he decided that he wanted to make corn for lunch and he needed to start it right then because it would take 2-3 hours to cook. Okay, I might have said something about this but of course he argued back so I just got him a big stock pot but he thought he needed to use my Dutch oven. At that point, I walked out of the kitchen and went upstairs. I didn't go back downstairs until after they left the house. When I did I found the kitchen a mess with a distinct eau de hot dog. So. Gross.

Before leaving he left me a detailed list of what I need to do in order to get his wife a visa to come to Germany. She is a Russian citizen who refuses to apply for US citizenship. I think this is silly but I really don't care much. Well, I didn't care until I spent 8+ hours of my life getting an official invitation letter for her to take to the consulate in London so she could get a visa. I like her, I really do and even though this was a huge imposition, I'm pretty much over it. The thing that bothers me is when she catalogs the list of why she does not want US citizenship. Hello? I am a US citizen as is your husband who, along with his family, was taken in from the former Soviet Union, given religious asylum, and educated in elite institutions which allowed him to get a job that finances your haute couture shopping sprees (her wedding dress cost more than my entire wardrobe and all she could talk about was how she got a great "deal"). So don't disrespect my country, Commie! But, as I said, I really do like her.

I'm not sure what our Saturday plan is because I vetoed the plan to stay in a $300 a night hotel in Munich. I'm not opposed to spending money on a nice hotel room but this is not a special occasion and it's only an hour and a half from our house. Of course BIL offered to pay for it. That's his modus operandi anytime we bow out of something for financial reasons. I need to come up with something better because what we are really saying, and he knows it, is, "We have the money but we don't want to spend it on X." What I think he thinks we're saying is, "We won't do it unless you pay for it."

Undoubtedly this weekend will include a discussion about our annual family New Year's vacation which is not to be confused with the annual family summer vacation. That, however, is an entirely different post and I need to clean because I'm expecting guests this weekend :)

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Differing Styles and Alternative Lifestyles

On Monday we decided to trek to our neighborhood IKEA. It's not really in our neighborhood or even in our town but, thanks to the Autobahn, it's not a long drive. IKEA really magnifies the vast expanse that exists between my style and TOIAW's style. He's more of a Frank Lloyd Wright's Fallingwater to my Pottery Barn/Southern Living meets French Country. Not that my house looks anything like that, but I'm working on it. I like to think it would help if I actually had my own house.

While at IKEA we ran into someone whose husband worked with TOIAW for a few years. I knew them for quite awhile before learning they are Wiccan. Now, for a New York Jew and a Southern girl, that is an alternative lifestyle! I'm not sure exactly how I envision Wiccans but these people don't really fit the mold. I can't quite get it out of my mind when I am speaking with her and it doesn't help that she wears a very large pendant with a pagan symbol on it. Somehow we began discussing her oldest daughter's boyfriend and how freaked out he was when they told him it was fine with them if he spent the night whenever he wanted. TOIAW never quite digested that tidbit of information and I had to say our goodbyes before he said to her what he said to me when we got outside.

Suffice it to say we might no agree on decor, but neither our daughter(s) nor our son(s) will have opposite sex sleepovers.

Monday, October 8, 2007

Back In the Saddle Again

Outpatient surgery? HA! THREE days later we made it home. Apparently, some scar tissue from a surgery in May (to remove an ectopic pregnancy) caused some problems which is why I had to stay a few extra days. The good news is, all is good and the surgery went well; the cyst is gone and tests showed that my right fallopian tube is open and everything else looks to be in order as well. I'm feeling very well with minimal soreness.

I have an appointment with the fertility specialist tomorrow and from there we will determine what the next step is. I think it's too late in my cycle to begin any kind of stimulation so I expect that we will try things the natural way this month and then use drugs next month, if necessary. Of course, when I think about that my mind goes into overdrive and I start considering the second- and third-order effects of a pregnancy this month or next. I will be traveling home for the holidays and will most likely leave in early December since TOIAW will not be home then anyway. I just think and think and think about what ifs and drive myself whacky. This is where I need to focus on my priorities and my number one priority is getting pregnant and having a healthy pregnancy. Travel plans can be changed and, as I told TOIAW last night, having to make adjustments due to pregnancy concerns would be a GOOD problem to have!

In any event, I need to remember a quote I read a week or so ago: "Inch by inch life's a cinch. Yard by yard life is hard." I don't know who said it. A friend of mine said she sang it in a song when she was a little girl. I do, however, know that it is an excellent mantra and I shall try to recall it when my mind starts doing it's thing.

TOIAW is off today so I think we're going to go exploring. I might even wear make-up!

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Grandma Update

My grandmother's surgery went very well. The tumor was contained and not attached to the lung wall (whatever that means). Additionally, the second biopsy showed the cancer to be the kind that probably would not require further treatment meaning no chemo or radiation therapy. This is, of course, VERY good news!

She is currently in ICU and will be there for 3-4 days. This was a major surgery and the recovery will be painful, I'm afraid. It is my prayer that this is a wake-up call for her. I hope that she takes better care of herself in her remaining years so that she can get the most out of life! She has been very sad since my grandfather died and I think this has been a very good wake-up call for her. Many people are alive but it is an individual choice as to whether or not you are going to LIVE your life.

This has also been a huge wake-up call for me. I need to find ways to engage my grandparents and spend time with them even though I'm so far away. They are not going to be here forever so I need to get all the recipes, stories, and memories of them now so that I don't have any regrets. It won't make it any easier for me when they do go, but that way I'll still have pieces of them here with me.

Thank you again for all your prayers and words of encouragement. I know I've said that a million times already but I just want you to know how very much I appreciate it!

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Dr. Funk

Dr. Wolfgang Funk to be more precise. Yes, he is a real person. He's my anesthesiologist. Yes, I have an anesthesiologist because, that's right kids, the hits just keep on coming this week!

Well it's not really that bad. I had a fertility doctor appointment today only to discover that one of the cysts is still sticking around. Auf wiedersehen, cyst, it's time for you to go. The eviction will take place Friday morning. We were having a tough time trying to decide what to do this weekend, so there you go!

While waiting to see the doctor I read this quote by Eleanor Roosevelt, "A woman is like a tea bag - you never know how strong she is until she gets in hot water." This is SO true (well, except for Britney Spears). I cannot tell you how much I appreciated the sweet comments on my last post. My grandmother's surgery is today at 1:30pm CST. It is expected to last 3-4 hours and I will post an update once I know something. But as I was saying, your comments were very kind. Sometimes it's just good to know that you're understood. Not everything in life can be "fixed" but when we know that someone else has felt or does feel the way we do, it is a tremendous comfort. This is why, according to one of my dearest friends and maid of honor, support groups are so helpful and therapeutic (she's a therapist so she know what she's talking about). Thank you again for your kind words and prayers!

By the way, I did meet Dr. Funk and I was really impressed. He was very thorough and kind. I had to make up some questions because I got the impression he really wanted me to ask him something. I feel very confident in his anesthesiological acumen. Also, I figure if your name is Wolfgang Funk, God is going to give you some natural abilities to compensate for that.