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Category archive for: Social Life

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I’d like to write a story this year. I started one last year, but it was bleak. So I would like to write a more pleasant story.

It will have characters.

And an arch.

And maybe the world will be compelling.

This is a goal I have for this year.

Will it have magic? I don’t know. I like magic, so maybe. But since I am not a conjurer, and I don’t have wizard blood, it might be challenging to write about what I do not know. And what if wizards are like, “Cultural appropriation!” I would wilt under the criticism.

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New Year’s Eve

I’ve been sleeping a lot this past week, because I figured I’d treat myself. I’ve also been reading the physical copies of The New Yorker. This is going to be the new me, I think: someone who reads the physical copies of The New Yorker. I read something about using facial recognition technology on cows to detect pain early. I also read a Washington Post article the other day about how dairy farming in the US is no longer profitable. I’ve always wanted to have a dairy cow, so I don’t know if this is the universe discouraging me from going for that dream: the technology is too expensive and a lack of technology is untenable. Also I learned you can’t raise chickens in my county, so any attempts at farming are out of the question. I guess that settles that.

A lot of 2018 was about trying to conceive. We did our first IUI in February, and we started the IVF process in July. The process has felt all consuming, but I wanted to point out some other things happened in 2018 that I should feel good about, should the transfer not work out:

1) My animated short was accepted into different festivals, including a pretty big one: HBO’s Women in Comedy Festival in Boston. Strangers laughed out loud in a movie theater screening at something I made. Yay! The short won Best Animation for the Broad Humor festival. Yay! Also three people in the media industry listened to a read-through of the _next_ episode and laughed out loud and told me I should “keep going.”

2) We took some very cool trips this year: Indian Wells Tennis Tournament, Mexico, Greece, Canada, London and Las Vegas: all were AMAZING. We watched some great tennis, ate some delicious food, and enjoyed the time together. Traveling with David, whether it’s a walk to the supermarket, a car road trip, or a long flight, is always the best.

3) The tennis team I captain made it to the playoffs in the Fall! I don’t think I won any matches personally, but I did set lineups, enter in scores, and write inspiring emails, so that’s nice. And to do this, I had to learn about the rules I had been ignoring previous seasons, because we didn’t have a real chance before.

4) My D&D character died and came back to life. This had nothing to do with me, really. The death was accidental, even though I had been trying to kill off my character intentionally for months. The resuscitation was entirely thanks to David who wrote a scathing email about the circumstances of my character’s demise. I was touched by this, and I’d like to think that if I were to die in real life, David would also have some thoughtful, stern words for the people in charge. I think I might make a bullet journal in 2019, primarily to do a better job of tracking my D&D progress. I have a terrible habit of falling asleep at D&D sessions (on account of them running late and my not sleeping a lot), so maybe a bullet journal coupled with a new commitment to sleep will help in some way.

5) I rode 150 miles on the bike in December, which was a big Peloton win for me. And I did this via 30 and 45 minute rides, which I typically avoided. And I recognized I was not as fast as other riders, but I could make up the miles by riding more. This was a valuable lesson I hope to take into 2019: persistence can get you pretty far.

6) I directed a holiday comedy show. This entailed reviewing and editing scripts, setting the order, casting, selecting the music, making sure the tech script was ready-to-go. I also wrote a sketch and performed in the show. And I was really proud of how it came out. The crowd laughed. We tried new things: it was great. I was super proud to invite my friends and family to the show, and it was fun to do.

7) I wrote a tight 5 (4.5 technically) and performed it at an Open Mic. I only did one Open Mic this year, but at least I did it! My friends who came laughed and laughed, and strangers were confused that I was doing a Mrs. Claus bit, which is weird because it was the day before Christmas Eve… so there really should have been more holiday jokes. The only holiday jokes people had were about loneliness and suicide, and they didn’t feel like jokes as much as suggestions. Anyway, my friends who had come from out of town almost felt out of their chairs laughing, because they are good friends.

8) From a work perspective: I personally contributed to at least a 44% increase in sales, with considerably less resources than we had before. And I think it might have actually been more, because I did not count the contracts yet.

9) I think I wrote more blog entries this year, and that’s always a good thing.

10) OH! Here’s a thing I was SUPER proud of: I made mashed potatoes. My family agreed to let David and me host for Thanksgiving, so we were in charge of the menu. David cooked pretty much everything, because he is a better cook. But I used the internet to learn how to make mashed potatoes, and I peeled them, boiled them, and put them in the mixer and added butter, milk and a pinch of salt. They tasted amazing. I also baked cookies this year, and they were well-received.

11) I produced another animated short. I was worried it was not good enough, so I did not show it to anyone. I’m planning to share it tonight.

All in all, this list was helpful. 2018 was a year of some progress!

Wishing you and yours a wonderful 2019.

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The 2 Week Wait

Someone warned me this wait would be difficult, and it is. We have had a busy couple of days: a holiday party, I did some stand-up at an open mic, Christmas Eve with the family, and I watched THREE movies yesterday and spent time with my parents, in continued efforts to relax and enjoy things. But I’m constantly worried that I’m moving incorrectly or should not be bending over or sitting in the wrong position. I felt a sharp pain I had not felt before that immediately subsided yesterday at 9:30am, so I took to the internet boards and learned nothing.

Here are the three movies I watched:

The Princess Bride – This is David’s favorite movie of all time. I had fallen asleep on all previous attempts to watch it when we first started dating. This had nothing to do with the movie and rather was just a product of me balancing exercise, work, and a beau. The movie was GREAT. David resembles Inigo Montoya a little as well, so that was an added plus.
And I also present you with this: Mandy Patinkin’s favorite line from the movie:

On the Basis of Sex – We saw this movie in the theater with my mom. It was about Ruth Bader Ginsburg, and it was lovely. I had already seen the RBG Documentary, which was really well done. The biopic was also really well done. I only cried at the end, when something happens that I will not tell you. I was also emotional in the beginning when her husband gets his initial diagnosis.

The Incredibles 2 – We watched this movie at night. It was so lovely. It had all sorts of things I love: superheroes, an adorable baby, and a couple that works together professionally and of course to keep the family together. Also Bob Odenkirk and this character:

Edna

She’s good.

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Reading, Riding and Magic

I’ve been reading Michelle Obama’s book Becoming, and it’s wonderful. I am having trouble putting it down and find myself weeping through parts of it. I’ve also read the part about the IVF treatment, and I loved her for sharing that she went through it. I also read that she had a heartbeat eight weeks after the injections, and I wanted to call my doctor and say something to the effect of “Doc, you got some ‘splainin to do!*” Eight weeks is only 56 days, and I am well past that!

In other news, we were in Las Vegas this past weekend. When we were in the elevator at the hotel, a couple asked us: “Are you in town for the rodeo?” And I thought, “Do David and I ….look like we would be in town for a rodeo?” We were the only people not wearing boots and a cowboy hat. David was wearing a Mickey Mouse sweater, and I was in all black and heels. When we shared that we were not in town for the rodeo, they told us about it! We ended up seeing some of the World Series of Team Roping, which is where cowboys rope a steer in less than five seconds. It was impressive. I found myself cheering for the steers, but I was sincerely impressed by all the people on horseback swinging ropes around. As someone who’s not always secure on a stationary bike, watching roping blew my mind.

We also saw a magic show in Las Vegas: Piff the Magic Dragon. It was very entertaining and I especially appreciated the comedy portion. Now, I don’t know how good the magic was. Not because I wasn’t impressed by it, but because I am just now learning about how there are different types of magicians. I learned a little about it through this incredible profile on Ricky Jay:
Secrets of the Magus
Ricky Jay does closeup magic that flouts reality. But, rather than headline in Las Vegas, Jay prefers to live in the mysterious world of ancient mountebanks, eccentric entertainers, and sleight-of-hand artists, whose secrets he preserves with a scholarly passion, and who are his true peers in the realm of illusion.

For Piff the Magic Dragon I was seated next to someone who was somehow affiliated with the show. She was on her mobile phone the whole time, texting with her friend, presumably because she had seen the show several times before or because she did not care for magic. I wanted to tell her she was ruining EVERYTHING for me with her bright screen, but I felt like that was dramatic, and I had to sit next to her, and she was bigger than me. I don’t think she had more muscle than me, but she seemed like she had seen more things than I had and would be willing to use unconventional means to fight, for example pulling out my hair or commenting on my small chest and suggesting I had not hit puberty yet – both hurtful actions in their own way. So I just sat there and enjoyed the show and wondered whether she was part of the show and the art of misdirection, convincing myself not to let her mobile phone distract me, but to also to keep an eye on it at all times as well, in case it was part of the show.
However at the end I saw her boyfriend/friend/whatever-I-do-not-care-he-is-garbage-because-he-didn’t-tell-her-to-put-away-her-phone get up and go backstage, so clearly he was some kind of assistant.

I also gambled. Specifically, I played Blackjack. And by “I played Blackjack,” I mean I used an app to memorize the highest-odd plays, practiced, and when I finally got to a live table, I was so nervous about losing money that I could not add, so David told me what to do. It was exhilarating and disappointing. So many emotions! So much sweat! I also felt bad for other people at the table for losing! Gambling (via cards) is not for me.

*On an unrelated but also very related note: apparently Ricky never says “Lucy, you got some ‘splainin to do!” in the show. This person has gone to great lengths to explain this on reddit and on youtube. That is the extent of the research I’m willing to do on whether or not this is true. But if it is, that is amazing, because I used to watch I Love Lucy, and in my head I can hear him saying this phrase!

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Day 1 – Let’s start fresh!

My period began its tour de force* on Sunday, and so today I had the bloodwork and ultrasound to provide a baseline for the uterine lining and make sure I was not actually pregnant. I just got the call to begin the estrace medication again after a glorious drug and needle free month.

As you might have picked up, I was a bit nervous about the Saturday performance. On Saturday (during the day) I rode a “pick-me-up” ride on the Peloton where the instructor said you should use how much fun you are having as a gauge for success. As a performer and writer, I don’t love this advice because it has to be about the audience. But I believe it is very important as a performer and writer to have fun. Well, the show on Saturday night went quite well by all those standards! We made some improvements to the Friday show, so the transitions went more smoothly and the edits helped tighten the performance. There were less people in the audience, and the audience laughed less, but they seemed to enjoy the show, and my friends shared that they genuinely liked all the sketches. Most importantly, the performers had a great time. They were laughing all night and seemed elated after the show!

I messed up one transition: I forgot I was in the next sketch and was taking my time just drinking water and chilling backstage, wondering why we hadn’t started the next sketch. Luckily Jess came and grabbed me. Ooops! The audience didn’t seem to mind because Mariah Carey’s “All I Want For Christmas” was playing while they waited for me. That song is magic.

Sunday was the first night of Hanukkah, so after a holiday party we had some Peruvian chicken and watched Sabrina the Teenage Witch on Netflix, which is just exhilarating. One of my friends summoned the strength to leave a job which made her deeply unhappy. I was really happy for her.

Well that’s all for now! I have a goal to write more in December, so talk to you soon!

*Actually it feels like less blood than usual.

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Happy Thanksgiving!

Happy Thanksgiving! We just got back from a trip to London, England! Well we got back on Tuesday. The trip was great because I was not on any medication and had no dietary restrictions, and the food and drink in London is top notch. But we did hit a snag at the beginning of the trip.

Here’s what happened: there’s a train called the Heathrow Express that takes you from the airport to London. You have to buy tickets for the Heathrow Express. When we were in the tunnel walking toward the Heathrow Express, we bought round trip tickets for a discount price.

We arrived at the entrance to the Heathrow Express, and next to the entrance there is a station to buy Oyster cards. Oyster cards allow you to ride the Tube (London’s subway) and use the bus transportation system. We bought two Oyster cards and put 20 pounds on them, thinking that would get us through the week.

Then we exited to get to the Heathrow Express, but instead of using my Express voucher, I used my Oyster card! Since there were Oyster signs all over the machine, I thought it was an Oyster machine! It deducted 9 pounds and let me through. David said, “No! You were supposed to use the Express ticket!” I was beside myself, because I had just wasted 9 pounds. We found a station attendant who told us this amount would not really be deducted. (He was incorrect.) I felt like I had wasted money the entire ride from the Express to Paddington Station.

At Paddington Station we carted our luggage down to a transfer line on the Tube. Mobile phones don’t work in the tunnel, so I pulled out a Tube map. “Put away that map please,” David said, because he was worried it made us look like tourists. We had luggage with us and David was wearing sweatpants, so I thought we looked like tourists anyway, and we were tourists, so I thought playing the part would be fine. One of the people in the rush hour commute asked where we were looking for, and he told us, so we thanked him and headed in that direction. We boarded our train which was packed to the brim. I had to climb up on a ledge at one point to make space. I couldn’t believe how packed every train car was.

When we exited our Tube train car, David patted his pockets and said, “I don’t have my wallet.” We had been pick-pocketed! The thief made off with 180 pounds, a 20 pound Oyster card, and a lot of credit cards and license information. Unbelievable! We found a station attendant and shared we had been pick pocketed. “Well you’re in a big city, this happens, they work in teams,” he said.
“We’ve never been pick-pocketed in New York,” I replied, to signal we’re not country bumpkins.
“Well you’re not tourists in New York, are you? I bet your tourists get pick-pocketed.”
He had a point I couldn’t refute on the spot. And I couldn’t very well tell him we are tourists in New York too, lest I lose the city credentials I had just established.

Then he told us, “Okay, here is the number for the police department. The chances you get your wallet back are 0.” He made an “O” shape with his fingers for emphasis. “But you can report it for statistics.” We said thank you, and we asked how to exit the station without an Oyster card, and he said to just tell them what happened, and they would let us exit. He was right; people were sympathetic and quick to open the gate.

When we got to the hotel, David cancelled all his cards and got a new license. I learned a valuable lesson about not fretting about small mistakes (the Express/Oyster mishap) because it can decrease your mental acuity and open you up to bigger mistakes! David learned a valuable lesson about not storing his wallet in his sweatpants pocket, which we realized is rife for pick-pocketing.

David was annoyed and very thoughtful about the whole thing. Later in the day he said, “Better us than some kid where 180 pounds would have been their hostel fee or destroyed their month.”

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I don’t know what day it is

I know what day today is, it’s October 30, 2018, and it was the day to go in for the biopsy, or as we like to refer to it, the bibiop-sy.

But I didn’t look at the calendar to do an official day count. It has been a while!

When last we left, we waited to hear back on whether we have any viable embryos. We do! So that’s good! This month we did a “practice” cycle, also known as an ERA Biopsy Cycle in our case. I was taking estrace after my period, and then on 10/24 had a bloodwork and ultrasound appointment to make sure my uterine lining was more than 8mm. It was 12 or so mm, and I was cleared to start taking Progesterone in Oil every morning. The progesterone shot is the one that is inserted on your bum. David got up at 6:45am every morning to give me the shot. Then today was the bibiopsy, which was more painful than I thought it would be. They prep you for it and share that it’s as bad as a very strong period cramp. Since I’m lucky enough to not have period cramps, I found the one minute the doctor was in there quite painful. “I tried to warn you!” she said. Then she reassured me that was the most painful thing they would have to do moving forward. Relief!

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Day 42, Also considered day 7 – Some thoughts

Before the egg retrieval, the anesthesiologist needed to hook me up to an IV. They started with my left hand, my skin swelled, blood came out, and she said, “Oops.” Then she used my right hand, my skin swelled, blood came out, and she asked me if I bruise easily. Based on the way she asked it, I could tell she thought the answer was going to be yes. I told her I did not bruise easily. She put a gauze on my swollen right hand to stop the bleeding, told me the swelling would go down, and quickly left the room.

The pain from the retrieval subsided this week, and I was able to do some light exercise Thursday, and today I feel back to 100%. I also got my period today. But the bruises on my hands stuck around. So, when I lie down and prop my head on the back of one of my hands, I feel a sharp pain that serves as a reminder of the process so far.

We have also been watching the Kavanaugh confirmation process, and in the midst of the allegations, women have come forward and shared their personal stories online. These women undoubtedly have suffered sleepless nights trying to forget their pain, and then probably recently endured more sleepless nights wrestling with the decision to share something they have been trying to forget. My heart goes out to each one. I feel fortunate that my bruises are temporary, because you can’t sleep on bruises.

In other news, we lost 11 embryos. This is common, but it was still disappointing. The doctor said the 11 embryos have between 4-7 cells and they would monitor them for change or growth, but either was unlikely. The other cells have between 100 and 200 cells. When the embryos make it to the blastocyst phase, they biopsy them.

So now we just wait.

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Day 35, Sort of, also considered Day 0

This morning we had the retrieval. Here’s how it went:

6:30am – Woke up, stomach hurt, went to the bathroom.
7:00am – David work up, worked his magic
7:30am – We left late! We were supposed to leave at 7:15am.
7:55am – David made it there 10 minutes faster than it takes me.
8:15am – Or thereabouts, we are taken back, I put on the gown and we sign some forms.
8:30am – Someone comes by and reviews our IDs to confirm the sample is ours and we are who we say we are. He is the person who will review the sperm and do the ICSI!
8:35am – Someone from anesthesia comes by and tries to put stuff into veins in my left hand, that doesn’t work, then my right hand, that doesn’t work, so she bandages me up and leaves the room.
8:40am – Someone else comes by and says, “They missed twice,” inspiring great confidence in me, but we laugh it off.
8:45am – Someone else comes by and puts the IV drip in my left arm, in a spot close to where they’ve been pulling blood. Blood did not squirt everywhere, so that went smoothly.
9:00am – The person in charge of explaining the clinical trial we are doing comes by. The trial requires an extra month of drugs that we did not realize. David asks when we can declare we don’t want to do the trial anymore, because we are thinking the same thing.
9:20am – I’m in the operating room! They declare it is 9:20am, I don’t remember anything here.
9:47am – They ask David back to the room I’m in. And I am there. I asked David what I said to him. He says I said, “David, it hurts.”
9:48am – I tell David I am thirsty and he holds up water for me. There are also saltines, and he asks if I want one. I say a small piece. In my head I want him to eat the other half, because I don’t want it. He asks me if he can have the other half. I love him for this – his love of saltines. The Doctor tells us they retrieved 20 eggs, and I will likely feel some pain these next few days. I was planning to play tennis on Tuesday, but this is not happening.
11:35 – We are home. We fall asleep immediately.
12:55 – I am awake and working on a project for a client who called us Friday. He was crying because instead of three weeks from now, his client is going live Monday and wants to know what we can do. I have been working on this all weekend, and I deeply resent my inability to say “No,” to people.

I ate a banana, and in the afternoon David picked up a salad for us to eat this afternoon, and we ate it. My ovaries/stomach still hurt, a lot. They gave us pain killers, but it’s just Tylenol. So I haven’t taken any. I’m going to go lie down now.

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