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Category archive for: Thoughtful Reflection

It’s February

It’s February! I was slow in January. Very slow. I slept more than usual and did not exercise much at all. I plan to exercise more in February. But boy oh boy am I tired. For example, I had to take a break between writing the first sentence of this post and the second one.

Deep breath.

I’ve learned that adding cheese to vegetables is one way to make vegetables delicious.

And I suspect lentil soup – covered in cheese, of course – is correlated with devastating bowel movements.

Also multi-vitamins aren’t really regulated, so you might not be getting the dosage you think you are, POTENTIALLY JEOPARDIZING YOUR HEALTH AND THE HEALTH OF ANYTHING GROWING INSIDE YOU. IS THERE NO END TO THE HELL THAT IS PARANOIA ABOUT EVERYTHING GOING AWRY AT ANY MINUTE?!

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Writer’s Block

Hello. A quarter of the government has been shut down for 32 days, I’ve recently returned from a performance in Chicago, and I’m stuck. I can’t think of any new jokes or concepts! Desperate for laughs, I’ve turned to Twitter. On Twitter, John Mulaney posted a link to a Buzzfeed piece about how Hollywood failed Brad Renfro, a child actor. Perhaps it will be hilarious. I bookmarked it.

I think I can write a stand up bit about the whole IVF process, but I don’t know if people will laugh or feel bad for us. We saw a movie on Netflix about the, let’s use the word “journey,” and it was not a comedy. It was rather dark. I should have known it would be. The same director was responsible for The Savages, a truly miserable movie mislabeled as a dark comedy.

I read two books this month: The Forever War, by Joe Haldeman and Small Fry, by Lisa Brennan-Jobs. These books better not foreshadow the reading I’ll be doing this year. I struggled with both for different reasons. The Forever War is Hugo and Nebula award winner. I should find it inspiring because if he can win an award for that, then maybe I too can win an award for something I write. This is not meant to be a compliment to Mr. Haldeman. It is meant to be a scathing criticism of a novel that lacks purpose, makes lazy predictions about the future, and does not address time travel math. Small Fry was a beautifully written memoir that shed light on the romanticized notion of single motherhood you see in movies. I did not envy her upbringing. And maybe I’m not a real writer, because I could never share the inimate details she shared about her family.

Okay. Let’s hope I come up with something funny soon. Or read or see something funny soon.

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It’s all chaos.

We had a snow storm here over the weekend, and I spent it doing something I should probably not do. I spent it reading EVERY ARTICLE IN THE NEW YORK TIMES, WASHINGTON POST, REUTERS and then starting to read the New Yorker, but stopped on page 18 on a personal story by David Sedaris, because I didn’t know people living lives of comfort were still writing personal stories.

I should read it.

Admittedly, I did scour the contents of the issue for reporting on Russia, immigration, international gaffes, the shutdown or general bureaucratic negligence and found the headlines wanting. So the odds I pick up that issue again are 50/50.

Anyway, chaos ensues.

On a lighter note:

We saw Aquaman on Friday night, and I just love superhero movies so much. I love them so much. One conflict in the movie is that the people who live underwater think they are under attack from humans, because the humans keep dumping their garbage in the sea. I thought, “You know…that perception of attack is valid. Their feelings are valid.” And in the movie there is one scene where the ocean dwellers/Atlantis people spit back all the garbage onto land! I wish the sea really did that.

We also saw the Little Mermaid, and I have something very important to say about it. So thank goodness I have a platform to share this important thing I have to say:

A couple months ago I read that Keira Knightly said that she would not let her daughter watch certain Disney movies, because they sent the wrong message. Among the list, she thought the Little Mermaid was not appropriate for her daughter to see. Here is the quote from this piece.

Still, when it comes to The Little Mermaid, Knightley is a bit more conflicted but says she’s “keeping to it [the ban]”

“This is the one that I’m quite annoyed about because I really like the film, but The Little Mermaid. I mean, the songs are great but do not give your voice up for a man. Hello?!”

Well upon re-watching the movie, I think the message is actually:
Anyone that makes you give up your voice is a demon.

Ariel shouldn’t have given up her voice – EVERYONE KNOWS THAT. As a kid you know it, Flounder knows it, Ariel knows it. Eric doesn’t want to marry her because she does not have a voice. Disney does a good job of driving that point home: giving up your voice, especially if you can sing like an angel, is a mistake. And really, the talking point to explore with your children is constructs that would compel you to give up your voice, whether it’s a witch or societal norms that should change.

And of course, not signing a contract you have not read through in detail. That is bad. Kids, who probably can’t be contractually bound to most contracts, should learn that lesson at a young age too, just in case.

Anyway Keira Knightley, I’m a big fan of your work and hope you’ll reconsider…

Well. Now I feel silly for throwing shade at David Sedaris earlier in this post.

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What if it’s bad news?

I haven’t gotten a call yet, and I was expecting one 24 minutes ago. WHAT IF IT’S BAD NEWS?!

No. I need to stay positive.

BUT WHAT IF IT’S BAD NEWS?

No, no, there are laboratories, and people, and phone calls before mine that could take longer.

BUT WHAT IF THEY ARE DELAYING THE INEVITABLE?!

They call in order that the results come in, and they are busy. That room was full of other people, and that’s just one of many offices in the area that needs to process information. So multiply the number of people you saw by 10.

BUT WHAT IF THE SAMPLE WAS LOST?

They don’t lose samples, do they? Wait, is that a thing that happens?

SURE, HUMANS ARE FALLIBLE. MACHINES ARE FALLIBLE, BECAUSE THEY ARE MADE BY HUMANS.

I could just call if I don’t hear back eventually.

YES DO THAT.

And eat a small chocolate while I wait. And have some warm water. With a lemon.

OKAY.

And lentil soup. Lentil soup is good for you.

FINE. WHATEVER.

I love lentil soup.

TAKE THE PHONE WITH YOU.

I’m just going over here.

WHAT IF YOU DON’T HEAR THE PHONE RING?!

I’ll take the phone.

GOOD.

I finished the lentil soup. It was delicious. I squeezed some of that lemon I cut for the warm water into the soup.

OKAY.

It made the lentil soup even tastier, if you can believe it.

OF COURSE I CAN BELIEVE IT. IT’S NOT THE FIRST TIME YOU HAVE DONE THIS.

Yeah but it just delights me every time.

WHERE DID YOU PUT THE PHONE?

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539

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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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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Day 50, Also considered day 15 maybe?

The remaining embryos are frozen, so I don’t know if they really count as day 15. We are waiting for PGS testing to find out the next steps. In the mean time, I’m participating in a clinical trial that currently requires that I take a pill three times a day, starting Wednesday, 10/10. I originally thought I would take one at 7am, another at 3pm, and then one at 11pm. This has proved challenging thus far because I’m out and about more sporadically than I realized. And last week was a busy work week, so a few days blended together.

We have had some friends ask us for status updates, and we don’t want to provide them. We lost more embryos than expected, and we both typically like to keep being upset to ourselves, so we’re being evasive.

In other news, this past Saturday did not go as planned. It rained in the morning, so the courts looked like this at 9am.

Rainy Day

Deciding that it was time I stopped mooching off of other people for their brooms and blower, I went over to Costco, which was right around the corner, to buy a broom. I wandered around for a while looking for some brooms until a gentleman in jeans and a sweatshirt asked me if I needed help. I asked about brooms, and he authoritatively said they had not carried brooms for two months. “Thanks, do you work here?” I wanted to reply, because he wasn’t wearing a badge or a walkie-talkie. Instead I just thanked him for his help. Then I bought a giant box of Ferrero Rocher chocolates, returned to my car, and ate my sadness.

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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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