Monthly Archives: December 2010

another new year post…

…just what the world needs, right?

I lost 2010.  I lost it to depression and stagnation.  I lost it to anger and hopelessness.  I lost it to the scar on my belly.  I lost it to my inability to find a new job.  I lost it to worry, and anxiety, and inertia.

The last time I felt like I had a new start I totally blew it.  There I was, all hopeful and shit, and then MFI whacked us in the side of the head.  And I went back down the rabbit hole for four more months.

I will not lose 2011.

Presuming that I will not miraculously become pregnant and that I will not miraculously find a fabulous new job, my life is where it is.  It is not going to change radically.  And here’s the kicker:  It is not that bad. I refuse to lose another year of what is actually a pretty good life because I’m focused on what I don’t have.

Here’s what I’m already doing to make sure I don’t lose another year:

1.  I’m going back into therapy.  (Get ready for more whiny posts about it!)  I had another awful intake session at which I bawled uncontrollably and am back on the waiting list.  I will have to start over with a new counselor since my previous therapist has moved on.

2.  I’ve rearranged my schedule so that most of the lessons I teach are on the same evening.  This way instead of feeling like I’m just constantly working, having to switch gears and teach after every day at the office, then always going to rehearsal exhausted from work plus teaching, I can knock out almost all of my lessons at one go and have more free evenings.  It’s a small change but hopefully it will make a big difference.

3.  I’m going to keep taking classes at the Buddhist center.  I took my first class this fall and it was really great.

Here’s what I ASPIRE to be doing to make sure I don’t lose another year:

1.  Practice more. When I don’t find the time to practice I feel terrible about my playing, rehearsals aren’t any fun, and my anxiety is ramped up because I’m terrified that I will be kicked out of the ensemble I founded.

2.  Get back to yoga. I’m ashamed to say that I haven’t really been getting any exercise at all over the past few months.  My job is pretty sedentary, and all I want to do when I get home is go to bed.  But I know that everything feels better when I’m practicing yoga, so I’m going to start again.  It’s going to be awful for a while since I’m so out of shape but it will be a good lesson in acceptance and right effort.

3.  Develop a meditation practice. Currently I have a “hmm, I should start meditating more regularly” guilt practice.

4.  Be present in my home. This fall I stopped cooking.  I nearly stopped cleaning as well and our apartment was absolutely disgusting until a few weeks ago when I broke down and paid to have it cleaned.*  I love my apartment and I love cooking.  I am happier when I take the time to notice my home, which I have created and of which I am proud, and when I take the time to care for my home and my family.

5.  Don’t jump ahead to DOOM.** I have a big problem with spinning things out way beyond where they need to go.  I get from a bad day at work to (in my mind) getting fired and moving in with my mother in no time flat.  Similarly, I get from CD1 to eternal barrenness without passing Go.  Jumping ahead when there is no reason to do so is a huge factor in my anxiety and I need to slow the fuck down and think about what’s happening right now.

So here’s where I need you, my wonderful readers and commenters.  I’m asking.

Help me.

In three months when I’m sobbing because I can’t stop telling myself my whole life is a failure, or when all I’m posting about is the black hole of a future with no children ever, remind me that I WILL NOT lose 2011.

In six months when I’m complaining that I’m so out of shape and my playing is terrible, remind me that these are problems I know how to fix. I am not helpless, my life is not actually a disaster, and I WILL NOT lose 2011.

One lost year is enough.

*Holy crap, that was expensive!

**Totally stole the use of “Doom” from Mara at barfing rainbows.


a man, a plan, a canal (ok, so there’s no canal)

OK, so no matter what we do at this point we have to start with money.  Adoption, IVF, both cost money we don’t have.

So here is a realistic plan:

January-May 2011:  Cheer on Husband as he finishes his degree!  Yay!

June 2011:  Hopefully Husband will have a job.  If not, well, the rest of the plan kind of goes to shit.  Because I’m not interested in becoming a sobbing mess of goo right now, I’ll assume he finds a job.  (If he doesn’t, the rest of the plan becomes:  Stay where we are.  Keep working at the job I hate.  Never have a baby.)

June-August 2011:  Possibly move, depending on the location of Husband’s magical job that he will totally get.  Preferably to a state with mandated insurance coverage for IVF.  Or New Zealand.  Hope that my mad skillz as a nonprofit administrator will land me a job as well.

September 2011:  Earliest possible time to start preparing for IVF or adoption.  Likely means finding a new clinic, having tests repeated, and/or starting the home study process.

September 2012:  Earliest realistic chance of parenthood.

OK.  I can live with that.  I’ll be 34 in 2012–that’s still reasonably young, right?  (Please tell me that’s still reasonably young.  Please don’t tell me if I want IVF to work I have to do it right fucking now.)

It’s a plan.  A lot still has to happen, mostly depending on my husband and his job search (since I’ve already torpedoed my own academic career with four years in administration while he’s in school), but at least it’s a plan.  With a timeline.  And even though the whole thing could go to hell in a heartbeat, seeing it laid out like that makes me feel better.




So as you may have gathered from my last post, the verdict is in from the urologist.  My husband is very upset about it; as I think I’ve mentioned before, this whole mess hits him a lot closer now than it did when I was the one with the problem.

That phenomenon doesn’t work in reverse, though:  I certainly don’t feel any better now.

For the first time I’m staring into the yawning gap of never.

Even if we manage to scrape together the money for IVF (from my piggy bank, of course), we’ll have one shot and one shot only, barring some huge change in our circumstances like moving to a state with mandated insurance coverage.  Will I be able to live with myself if I fail?

I don’t want to do it.  My instincts are still screaming no, but for the first time there is another voice.  One that says never.

Never pregnant.  Never giving birth.

And that’s the voice that will win the day if I don’t try IVF.

Can I live with never, and can I live with taking away my husband’s only chance too?  Because the thing about IVF/ICSI is that it’s made for people like us:  he has some sperm, and all the RE would need to do is pick the very best ones.  I don’t have an ovulation problem, so I would be a good candidate to get to retrieval at least.  My husband wants this.  He wants to be a father.

But if we try it, and I fail?  I will have literally mortgaged our future and we will still be looking at never.

I am not cut out for this shit.

friendship, a one-act play

This conversation is presented in its entirety.  I don’t come off very well but it’s as close as I will ever get to come to saying some of these things out loud.  I honestly do strive to approach every conversation and every interaction from a perspective of compassion and empathy, but sometimes the snark will out.  Even though I know she was only trying to help.  I am a terrible person.

Friend:  Hey, what’s going on with you with the whole fertility thing?  It’s been a few months since that surgery!

Ginger*:  Well, actually it looks like there is another problem.  It’s very unlikely we will be able to conceive naturally.

Lime**:  Are you fucking kidding me? Am I having this conversation?

Friend:  Oh, that’s too bad.  So what are you going to do?

Ginger:  IVF would be an option, but it’s not covered by insurance so I don’t know if we’ll be able to do it.

Lime:  No, seriously, at what point will it be socially acceptable for me to crawl under the coffee table and get into the fetal position?

Friend:  Wow, how much does it cost?  Can’t you just start saving up?  I mean, you’ve got time, right?

Ginger:  Yeah, it costs about $14,000 for one cycle. Also it’s a really involved thing to do, and it can be emotionally exhausting so what I really have to work through is whether I really want to do this, knowing that I will have one chance and one chance only.

Lime:  Yeah, I’ll start saving up.  I’ll just drop my spare change in a piggy bank at the end of each day.  Surely I’ll hit 14 grand in no time!  Even faster if I cut back on luxuries like rent and electricity.

Friend:  Oh, well, you can always adopt, right?  Wouldn’t that be cheaper?

Ginger:  Actually adopting from foster care may be the best option for us.  It’s something we’re looking into.

Lime:  Wow, why didn’t I ever think of that?  I’m so glad we’re having this conversation, because between this and the great suggestion to save up for IVF, I just don’t know what I would do without you!

Friend:  And if that doesn’t work out, you could always mentor someone, or be a Big Sister!  Have you ever thought of that?

Ginger:  Yeah, thanks for the suggestion!

Lime:  Yeah, because mentoring is exactly the same as having my own child.  Because what I’m looking for is Plans A, B, C, and D.  Seriously, can I just crawl under the fucking coffee table now?

*What I said out loud

**What I was thinking on the inside

there’s a tree in my living room

I wasn’t going to put it up this year.  I have always suspected that my husband was gritting his teeth as he looked at it with its tacky lights and its not-found-in-nature fake needles.  I did make an effort–I cross-stitched some menorah ornaments and bought some star-of-David garland to hang on it, but when you get down to brass tacks it’s still a Christmas tree.

It has always meant family to me.  Every ornament is a memory.  I have a few pieces from every part of my life, and every year I try to buy or make something meaningful to add to it.

Except, like I said, I wasn’t going to put it up this year.

It seemed like too much effort.  It certainly doesn’t have any religious meaning for me, and the whole idea of putting it up seemed like a big fat reminder of 2010, my Year of Failure.

But then this weekend my husband actually suggested we put it up.  He said he would help me, which he’s never done before.  He told me he thinks of it as a memory tree–it holds our last 11 years together, not to mention my childhood.

So we dug it out of the closet, put it together, strung the lights, draped the beads over it, and picked through the ornaments.  We did it together.

We’ve never done that before.  And I’m surprised at how much it means to me.

The skull and crossbones ornament is my current favorite.

let them eat medicaid, update

Just an update on the situation at work with the uninsured kids:

As I suspected, we’ve had several kids accepted to the program who are uninsured.  The first two who called were told the official line, which was that they had to be insured or they would be unable to attend.  It broke our hearts (me and my colleague) to tell them, but in both cases the kids’ schools stepped up to help them get temporary insurance so they could attend.  I’m amazed by the generosity of spirit that these kids’ school music teachers are showing by helping them do this–not to mention it’s good for the kids to have health insurance, even if it’s temporary, even if it has nothing to do with coming to the music festival.

The next two uninsured kids presented a new situation.  They are both participants in a university-sponsored outreach program that is very, very hard to get into and that aims to give urban kids from underrepresented groups the musical and academic opportunities that wealthy kids from the suburbs take for granted.  It’s a program that works (100% college placement rate so far, with several significant music scholarships) and a program that everyone in my department is passionate about.

Well, there was no way that we were going to tell these particular kids that they couldn’t come to the festival.

So I’ve now got the green light to do what I wanted to do in the first place–work with the university’s risk management office to find a way to CYA for the university in terms of liability, while not excluding these kids.

All in all this is a better outcome than I had feared.


The brahma-viharas, also called the Four Immeasurables, are part of Buddhist spiritual practice.  Meditation practice on the brahma-viharas is intended to inform one’s outlook and in fact one’s actions in the world.

The brahma-viharas are metta, karuna, mudita, and upekkha.

I’ve written about metta (lovingkindness) before.  It is a conscious recognition of everyone’s desire to be happy, and a conscious sending out of lovingkindness and goodwill to oneself, to one’s friends, to one’s benefactors, to one’s enemies, and to everyone.  Everyone.

Karuna is compassion.  Meditating and acting to end others’ suffering.  It follows from metta.  This is an easy practice for bleeding-heart me, and I try to approach every aspect of my life from a perspective of compassion.

Mudita means “sympathetic joy.”  Taking genuine joy in the happiness of others, with no envy, no bitterness, no thoughts of deserving or not deserving, no comparing of the measure of someone’s joy to what may be lacking in our own lives.  This one is not so easy.  It’s a deep acceptance that life is not a zero-sum game, that someone else’s happiness doesn’t actually tip some cosmic scale into unhappiness for me, that happiness can beget happiness.

Upekkha is equanimity.  Meeting one’s whole life with acceptance.  Feeling pleasure and joy without trying to hold on to them; feeling sorrow and anger without trying to push them away.  Accepting that nothing is permanent and welcoming everything life brings.  Everything.

Metta, karuna, mudita, upekkha….this seems to me like the right way to live.  It’s a beautiful practice, and in fact the brahma-viharas are one of the aspects of Buddhism I admire the most.  I am working on living the brahma-viharas in every aspect of my life.

My sister-in-law is pregnant again.  My brother did not want another baby, but one is coming.

Metta, karuna, mudita, upekkha….I need them all.