Archive for May, 2011


Sometimes if I’m not careful, my thoughts get away from me.  Lately, they’ve been getting away from me in the form of our decision to stay in one place.  Would it shock you to know that of all the places I’ve lived, I’ve been in and around Boston the longest?  Growing up, we were constantly moving thanks to the military.  As a really young child it was fine.  Then, as we got older it became tougher.  I started to notice other kids who had known the same groups since kindergarten.  I realized that I would never have the history or the importance of friendships that had lasted since grade school.  It also meant that I avoided problem solving because, after all, why mend a friendship when I would just be moving soon anyway?  I believe this has made it difficult for me as an adult to maintain friendships.  I am bad at the whole longevity thing which makes me sad.  It’s one area of my life where I am really bad at examining my behaviors for weak areas and fixing them.  Normally, one of my strongest abilities is that of analyzing myself for improvement.

But then, there are the incredible benefits of being a military kid.  I got to see the world.  I feel like I got to meet a whole range of people that most kids wouldn’t ever get to.  At the age of 10 I’d been all over Europe and the United States.  That was an incredible feeling.  Our family photo albums were littered with the kinds of backdrops you would normally find in small sections of albums reserved for a summer vacation.  I won’t lie, it’s pretty amazing to be able to say I’ve been to all the places I have.

Still, as I contemplate this enormous purchase we’re about to make, I think more about setting down our roots in this community.  Just around the corner is the Boys and Girls Club where our future kids will likely learn to swim one day.  Just down the street is the church (meeting house?) that Mr. Cookie and I have started attending (It’s a Unitarian Church and we love it for the intellectual stimulation and the sense of community).  Across Mass Ave is a bike path where we will have (and have had) many runs, walks, and bike rides.  Up the hill is the little elementary school where maybe I’ll cry as my children go to their first day of kindergarten and then again when they graduate into middle school.  It’s so exciting to think of settling down in one place for longer than a few years.

I wonder though, will our kids resent staying in one place as teenage me sometimes resented all the moving?  Will they wish we had taken them to see the world?  Will they grow tired of our bustling hamlet?  I hope not, but I feel like they might.  Perhaps that is part of being a teen- hating whatever your parents’ biggest choices were.  For those of you who stayed in one place as a kid, what was it like?


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Sew Happy

In the last few months, I have been turning an eye toward enrichment.  For too long I think I was hyper obsessed with improvement, which is not the same thing.  Improvement is all about getting better.  Enrichment is about being happier.  I don’t really know where I got that improvement kick from, but it was exhausting.  One challenging school year later, and here I am.  A hopefully more mellow, definitely happier person.

One of the things I decided to do was learning to sew.  When we were down in Rhode Island visiting Mr. Cookie’s cousin last summer, I noticed that she and her husband used cloth napkins at every meal.  These were not the fancy schmancy super expensive cloth napkins you register for when you get married, but rather the kind of cloth napkin that is made from simple, durable cloth and can be used every day.  They are smaller than the cover-your-whole-lap type and wash very nicely.  I had to have some.  I looked online and was disgusted by the prices I saw (seriously.  It’s a 10×10 inch square of cotton).  I wanted to make my own, so I posted something to that affect on Facebook.  Well, wouldn’t you know, the same cousin whose house we had visited had an extra sewing machine.  A hobby was born.

I made the napkins and while they have stood up to many many washings, the stitching was less than straight and my technique was sloppy.  Still, they look nice folded and in the napkin holder AND we have completely eradicated paper napkins (score one for the environment):

You might think it is obnoxious to wash them and fold them, but honestly they are so small that they add hardly any bulk to our laundry.  The stripes hide stains, too!  And, all they require is a quick center fold.  They are the easiest part of my laundry.

Then, I decided to take a beginning sewing class.  I wanted to get better acquainted with my machine.  I am in love with Cambridge Center for Adult Education.  I think once we move into our new place I will see if they offer any gardening classes.  Anyway, fast forward to the first day of class.  Turns out, our first project would be aprons.  Great.  Do you guys realize how many aprons I own?  Hang on.  Let me go count.










6.  Not counting the one I have now made for the class.  Anyway, I decided that since I was completely squared away with my own aprons, I would make Mr. Cookie one.  The pattern proved to be so simple that I also made myself a chef’s hat.  Here are both items, being modeled by the unparalleled Mr. Cookie:

Easy on the eyes AND he cooks!  I’m a lucky girl.

Our final project for the class will be a handbag.  I haven’t started mine yet, but I did pick out my fabric and notions (for your non-sewers out there, notions are doodads.  You know, buttons, zippers, bias tape, etc).  I’m excited!  It’s going to be a fun, casual summer bag:

Stay tuned!

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Chair: Interrupted

I am great at procrastination.  My husband (or maybe one of my friends) claims that people who procrastinate do it so that they have an excuse when their last minute attempts fail (I’m paraphrasing).  There may be some truth in that.  Still, I decided to refinish this rocking chair MONTHS before moving because it was April vacation and I had little else to do.  I didn’t finish.  In fact, I gave up after two days of trying.  Paint on curved wood is a BITCH to remove.  Some progress pictures:

Before my meddling

I decided I was going to do it the natural way and just sand the black paint off.  Hilarious!  30 minutes later:

Screw natural!

So, down to the paint store to buy some stripper.  Except I buy the natural stripper.  The stuff you leave on for four hours, mist with water in case it has completely dried, and then scrape off.  Oh, hell no.  Well, oh hell yes.  I did that.  Twice.  Suffice it to say, this chair is now back in the corner, pads back on, waiting for me to get up the motivation to finish the job.  Ugg.  How many months until we move?

It is taunting me.

Neener neener!

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I wasn’t going to say anything.  I was just going to keep my mouth shut, head down, and keep moving forward.  Then I read Girl’s Gone Child‘s post on it and realized I just couldn’t.

When I woke up this morning, Mr. Cookie asked me if I was ready for a day’s worth of terrorist coverage.  I had no idea what he was talking about, but my immediate fear was that something terrible had happened.  Bin Laden.  Dead.  I haven’t turned on the tv because I don’t want to see.  I can’t bear to see people rejoicing at the death of another.  Don’t get me wrong.  I realize that this one death could prevent thousands more.  I know, deep in my heart, that this will bring healing for a lot of people.  But I also believe in symmetry.  For every person who rejoices in his death, there is someone else who mourns it.  For every person who sees it as an end, there is someone who sees it as a beginning.  Someone who before wanted to mind their own business when it came to international relations may see this as the final insult from those Americans and join forces.

An eye for an eye.

What happens when the whole world is blind?

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Reproductive History

If you are stumbling across this post and wondering what it’s doing here, let me explain.  I wrote this post at the end of my pregnancy with Stowaway.  But, because I didn’t feel it was something my regular readers would be interested in reading about, I buried it back in the archives and didn’t tag it.  Still, the need to write it was urgent and to me, very necessary.  This post is for all of you who struggle with the stress or uncertainty that comes with losing an ovary before you have reproduced.  I hope that googling “getting pregnant after losing an ovary” will bring you right here, because when it happened to me, finding personal experiences was next to impossible (unless poorly spelled comments on health websites where the commenter referred to some “friend of a friend” count).

When I was in college (now just over 10 years ago), I had several weeks of intense, painful shooting pains in my abdomen.  I was poor and had really bad health insurance, so I kept ignoring the pains.  Off to the ER I went one night when the pain was nearly unbearable (don’t do that guys.  ER bills are always going to be TEN TIMES WORSE than going to a clinic before things get really bad).  13 hours later, I had my diagnosis:  an ovarian cyst.  It was so huge that the doctor wanted me to get it removed, like, yesterday.

It all happened really quickly.  I went back home to meet up with a doctor there (who my mom found for me) and he decided to schedule the surgery for shortly thereafter.  His goal was to just remove the cyst, but he warned me ahead of time that if the cyst was too ingrown then he would have to remove the whole ovary and tube.  I woke up from that surgery with one ovary.

From that moment until just about a year and a half ago, I also used hormonal contraceptives to prevent further cysts.  He assured me that when I did decide to start having kids, my left ovary would just start ovulating every month.  He also promised that being on hormonal contraceptives would not affect my ability to reproduce over the long term.  Plenty of family members had anecdotal stories about “someone they knew” who had been on birth control for year and had a really hard time conceiving.

That is why, for years, I was convinced that it was going to be next to impossible to get pregnant.  And, listen, if you have other factors that affect your fertility, then it might be more difficult.  I don’t want to claim that it will be a piece of cake for everyone.  I just want to reassure you that having one ovary in and of itself should not create a problem, any more than taking hormonal birth control for long periods of time will.

In the summer of ’11, Mr. Cookie (who, coincidentally, I started dating just before my surgery) and I decided we were finally ready to start trying to conceive.  I went off of birth control the previous winter, because I was so convinced that it would take months and months to get it out of my system.  For inquiring minds, when I was first on birth control, it was Ortho Tri-Cyclen, which later changed to the Nuva Ring.  Out of curiosity, I used OPKs (ovulation predictor kits) the first two months to see if my body was ovulating, and it was.  Apparently I didn’t need to go off the birth control quite so soon. 

6 months after going off birth control, we were poised to start trying.  The month before we were planning to start officially trying, we got lazy twice and didn’t use a condom.  I think we both figured “well, there’s no way it’ll happen the first time.”  In my estimation, this was the first time in my life I’d had sex without any protection.  And, surprise surprise, two weeks later we got our positive pregnancy test.

Now, I want to say one thing.  Does this mean that it will be as easy for you?  Not necessarily.  Your underlying fertility will have a lot to do with it.  How regular your periods are (since going off birth control, mine were always between 25 and 27 days apart), how predictable your discharge is (it should get thicker, more clear, and stickier somewhere in the middle of your cycle), your sex drive, and many other things can indicate how fertile you are.  If something seems off, get it checked out.  Always trust your body.  And, best wishes to you!!

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