Monthly Archives: September 2006

30 now. So far so good.

Thanks to everyone who made my birthday so enjoyable. I couldn’t ask for better friends. I also couldn’t ask for a better partner than Vanessa. Tom and Shirley’s detour through the cemetary aside (My mother and father distracted me long enough for Vanessa, et al to set up the surprise party), I had a great evening Saturday.

After everyone left, Vanessa and I, Katie and Dave, and our new neighbors Matt and Christin walked down to The Garf on Shelby Street and had a few more drinks, a few more laughs, and an entertaining game of darts. Katie has christened it our new hang-out. It’s nice to have a bar close enough to walk to where the restrooms are clean even if the kitchen isn’t. This is exactly the kind of neighborhood and the kind of neighbors we envisioned when we bought our home a little over a year ago, and we feel really lucky.

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Filed under Home Swett Home, Southside Rocks!

Gaia I’m not– apparently

After a last-minute weekend counseling appointment, I’m at least resigned to the fact that we are probably not going to get pregnant sans technology. This makes me really sad. I’ve been trying to limit the amount of medication and medical assistance necessary to achieve pregnancy thinking that we would be able to keep our stress lower and my hormones less wonky. Also, to be honest, stirrups, injections, and medications don’t make me feel very earth-mothery.

Instead, spending all the money on sperm and IUIs without the certainty that an egg will be there to meet the little swimmers when they come along is making both Vanessa and me crazy. My emotions and hormones are all over the place, and I’m now 5 days past the point that I normally ovulate (like clockwork up till now) with Basal Body Temperatures that are actually lower right now than they usually are when I’m on my period– not right at all for this time in my cycle.

It’s time to move to the next level. We’ve grown really attached to the nurse practitioner who has been doing our inseminations and don’t want to do this without her, but we’re considering seeing a fertility specialist– at least for a consultation. I think our nurse can probably do the ultrasound and the ovulation trigger shot if that’s the route we decide to go, but I want to hear what route a specialist would choose, too. At the same time, I’m wary of going to a fertility doc because I’m afraid s/he will, if possible, make this process feel even more medicalized than it already does and that this will cost us even more money than it’s costing right now.

I thought I was over thinking we could do this somehow approximating the “natural” way of things because I had let go of the idea of soft music, candlelight, and doing everything at home, but apparently I still have some learning to do. Each month I feel less fertile, less in touch with my body. I’m coming to the conclusion, however, that I need to just let it go and give it over to the doctors until I’m pregnant.

I feel guilty for posting this because I know that, to a lot of folks, it seems like we’re blazing new territory here. I know that some women are probably lurking who are interested in getting pregnant via artificial insemination, and it’s really discouraging to read this. I wish I could be a better role model. I know it’s all going to be worth it in the end, but I have to admit that getting there is much harder than I thought it was going to be.

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Who knew so many people ate spinach?

CNN reported that producers are voluntarily recalling spinach. The FDA doesn’t have the authority to order a recall. So is there such a thing as an involuntary recall?

The best the FDA can do is seize contaminated spinach, but they must identify the source of the contamination first.

Another fine example of our nation’s food safety laws hard at work to protect industry.

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Filed under The way the world works

Take Another Look at Aldi’s

I’ve complained on this blog about the lack of market choices here on the near southside of Indy. For some reason, all the specialty markets like Trader Joe’s, Whole Foods, and Sunflower Market are located on the north side, about a 15 mile trip one way. We have no shortage of discount markets down here including both Aldi’s and Stop ‘n Save. I decided to check out the Aldi’s again.

Aldi’s owns Trader Joe’s. Aldi’s and Trader Joe’s both sell mostly house brands. It stands to reason that they use a lot of the same suppliers. Each store has its own house brands, but there’s some overlap in the merchandising. For example, both Aldi’s and Trader Joe’s sell chicken sausage, tortilla chips made with organic corn, and olive oil. Aldi’s even sells wine now.

Aldi’s has a new Fit & Active brand which offers lower calorie alternatives to its house brands. They also have several ethnic-flavored brands, including Asian and Mexican, similar to Trader Joe’s (Casa Mamita instead of Trader Juan’s).

On today’s trip I got a 32 oz container of nonfat plain yogurt, tortilla chips made with organic corn, light butter microwave popcorn, a box of cereal that looks very similar to the cereal I buy at Trader Joe’s, and a stalk of celery for $6.75. I saw lots of other good stuff including brown sugar and frozen vegetables.

I was also surprised to see lots of shoppers who look like me. There were two gay couples shopping. Of course, there were a few people who look like I would look if I didn’t have health and dental insurance.

I’m OK if Aldi’s decides to turn itself into a discount Trader Joe’s.

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If I could have a super power…

… it would be the ability to ovulate on demand. Based on my fertility cycle for the past 10 months, I typically ovulate on the 13th day of my cycle– that’s tomorrow. Last month I ovulated one day early and so we were only able to do one insemination. It just wouldn’t have made sense to waste the money on another one, since the egg only lasts about 12 hours after ovulation occurs, and the frozen and thawed sperm is only expected to last 24.

We inseminated this morning. My cervix was still mostly closed (it starts to open up as you get close to ovulation), and that made things a little painful. We had a fantastic sample– greater volume than usual (made things extra painful. I admit it. I cried. Then Vanessa cried.) and 50% motility– 20% better than the best sample we ever got from the cryobank we were using previously.

Now that it’s done, I can’t stand the thought of wasting such good swimmers and having the pain be for nought if I fail to ovulate on schedule. We’ll do this again on Wednesday, but who knows if we’ll get this quality of sample again. Also, to be honest, I’m a little gun-shy after what I went through this morning.

I’m just getting tired of the stress of trying to time everything right and fed up with depending on medical professionals and their work schedules. I’m looking forward to the time when my body can just take over and do what it’s designed to do.

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Diploma = Success

While Hoosiers are arguing over how to count high school dropouts, the New York Times reported last week that an increasing number of students are showing up at two year colleges unprepared. Roughly 20% of high school graduates are capable of doing college-level work. Everyone else ends up in remedial classes.

I have a cousin who’s in this boat. The family had a fit for her to graduate from high school, but nobody bothered to check her basic literacy skills. She’s working on her second semester at Ivy Tech where she mostly takes remedial English and Math courses. The sad thing is that I don’t think that she or the family even realizes that she’s not taking college level courses. She just shows up and takes whatever classes they tell her to take.

Graduating from high school isn’t enough. I don’t pretend to have a solution, but I know that arguing over how to count dropouts is a very small piece of this puzzle. We need to take a bigger picture perspective and figure out ways to engage students. For starters, we need to put books in students’ hands and expect them to read. We need to teach grammar every year. We need to stop pretending that walking across the gymnasium floor and picking up a diploma is akin to learning.

I don’t want to encourage people to drop out, because I don’t think that’s the solution either. But lowering the standards so everybody graduates doesn’t work either. I know that part of the problem in my family, which is blue collar and working poor, is an assumption that diploma = success. It doesn’t work that way. Sure, having a diploma or a college degree opens doors, but you have to know how to walk through those doors. Too many people are totally unprepared.

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Filed under The way the world works

Plaster hard. Insulation dusty.

Vanessa and I, Amazons that we are, ripped out a plaster ceiling this weekend. Actually, it’s more accurate to say that we sawed out a plaster ceiling this weekend. We’re renovating the middle bedroom. As soon as my body decides to cooperate, it’s going to be the baby’s room, and I just couldn’t stomach the idea of our child waking up every morning to an ugly dropped ceiling and sponge-painted paneled walls. I used to get depressed every time I walked into the room. Apparently the previous owners had a roof leak over that part of the house at some point and decided to drop the ceiling rather than repair the damage to the plaster after they got the roof replaced. Then someone had the brilliant idea of paneling over perfectly good plaster walls. As if that wasn’t enough, they painted the paneling two revolting shades of Royal and Robin’s Egg Blue.

About a month ago, I decided I couldn’t take it any longer, and I busted out the ceiling grid, dragged the ceiling tiles out to the garage, and started ripping out paneling. The paneling was both nailed and glued, so I then began the pain-staking process of scraping (sometimes gouging) the glue off the plaster below. When I couldn’t take it any longer, I resorted to an evil-smelling adhesive solvent. This weekend Vanessa got up in the attic and started pitching two layers of insulation (one cellulose and one fiberglass) while I hacked away at the plaster ceiling from below with two different saws. It took us the better part of two days, but the ceiling is gone.

Next, we’re having a handyman put in a beadboard ceiling and ceiling fan. Then we’re getting a professional plasterer to come in and repair and reflow the walls. We’ll put the finishing details on the room ourselves with crown molding, paint, and a nice area rug. I hope this little urchin who refuses to get in my belly is grateful. Maybe s/he’s just waiting for the room to be finished. 

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