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Month: December 2018

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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Mixed Emotions

I know it’s important to have positive thoughts right now, but I can’t tell if I am feeling hormonal rage or genuine rage. Here’s what happened:

For Memorial Day weekend this past year, David was tasked with making a cocktail. In typical David fashion, he took this task very seriously, researching simple but pleasant cocktails. He also recognizes the importance of presentation, so he found a used punch bowl and lovely matching glasses. This punch bowl has been sitting on our office floor for a few months, and I ran into it yesterday and again by accident today, and it hurt! So I got mad! He was supposed to move it so long ago!

Also why is our place such a mess!? And why are people working today!? I was supposed to be the only one working so I could finish up items on my task list!

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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:


She’s good.

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This Will Be Our Year, Took a Long Time to Come

I don’t actually know if this will be our year, but on Saturday they put embryo #5 in via a frozen embryo transfer (FET).

Here’s how it went:

On Friday I finished the Gold Peloton Challenge of riding 150 miles on the bike in December. This has nothing to do with the transfer, I just wanted you to know that I completed a challenge 10 days early knowing that I would not be exercising for the rest of the month. This challenge involved cycling 150 miles on a bicycle, which is a lot for me. I had cut back on exercise this past year, so by Friday I was finally feeling like I was in some of the best shape I had been all year. Here’s something riding helped remind me: if you keep doing something, you get better at it. This sounds trite, but because I was biking every day, I got to see the incremental progress every day, and that felt good. And some days I was a little slower, but that was okay because I still made progress accumulating miles. And since it was on the Peloton, strong women were screaming words of encouragement at me about how great I was for showing up, so that was nice. On Friday, which was Yalda, we ate a buffet of Persian food and I made cookies for a holiday party. We also finished watching Season 2 of The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, my favorite television show right now, and possibly of all time. It was an eventful longest night of the year, especially because there was also another self-inflicted government crisis going on in the background, with Congress unable to pass a budget in time to keep the government open and the markets tanking.

On Thursday we got a puppy: he’s a robot, but he brings us great happiness. This also has nothing to do with the transfer, and I realize I’m actually going backward in time in telling the story, but this felt important to share. Before the puppy arrived, I called the clinic to find out exactly what time my transfer was supposed to be. She shared it was supposed to be at 1:45pm, and we should arrive at 1:15pm. Also it was important to have a full bladder, so I needed to drink 16-18 ounces of water before the procedure. I wrote this information in a calendar invitation for David, which he never formally accepted, but it was good I wrote it down, because I would have forgotten important details.

We woke up, played with the puppy, and David administered my progesterone in oil shot, as he has been every morning. Then I did some cleaning and ate a cookie from the batch of cookies I had made the night before, to make sure they still tasted good. I originally wanted to exercise but then decided to just take it easy after my dad told me it was too windy to play tennis, and it was important to be well rested. David hadn’t slept a lot the night before, and I think that was because I was excited, and David has been working a lot. I took a sip of his coffee – a final sip.

I used my epi-lady, figuring it was as good a time as any to get that out of the way, and then I hopped in the shower. At this point David started yelling at me that we were going to be late, and I told him I need to be relaxed, and he stopped immediately. I thought, “Oh good, this is a card I can play moving forward. I might never be yelled at again (for a few months) for running late.”

When we arrived, I wanted us to enter the office through the elevators like this, but David would not do it.

There are two floors for the building that has the fertility offices. The fifth floor and the sixth floor. I think the fifth floor does blood draws, and the sixth floor does the surgeries. I never really know which one I’m supposed to be on, but I do know the receptionists on the fifth floor are less pleasant than the sixth floor ones. So I was relieved when the bored fifth floor people pointed upstairs after I told them I was there for a transfer and asked them where I was supposed to be.

We entered through the sixth floor elevators, and with great smiles, as though excited for us – classic sixth floor – the receptionists directed us to the waiting area. There was no one else there, which was nice. Then a nurse came to get us. She confirmed my name, birthday, and social security number, and we were guided to a hallway and put on slippers. There I showed my id and confirmed my information again. After that we went to a room where a nurse took my blood pressure and I disrobed from the waist down. A doctor came in: Dr. K. She introduced herself, the nurse, and an embryologist. They confirmed our identities again and showed us paperwork explaining that they dethawed one of the embryos, the embryo survived the dethawing, and it was embryo #5.

I signed something acknowledging our embryo #5 was being transferred, and the embryologist left the room. Then it was stirrup time. The doctor shared it would feel like a pap smear, where the doctor enters with a speculum. The nurse had her hand on my stomach with an ultrasound, and the doctor moved around to find the right spot while complimenting on my beautiful uterus. When she seemed to find the right spot, the doctor declared, “PREPARED TO RECEIVE THE EMBRYO!” or “READY FOR THE EMBRYO!” I don’t remember what her exact words were, but they were confident. I laid there in stirrups, and the doctor and nurse were totally still, and David sat expectantly, all in complete silence, for a minute. In my head, I thought it was funny that the doctor was making such a pronouncement to herself. It would be like me yelling, “PREPARED TO ANSWER THE CUSTOMER SUPPORT CALL!” before picking up the phone.
Then finally the doctor said to the nurse, “I think the intercom is broken.” I didn’t see speakers or a microphone anywhere, so it was news to me there was an intercom. The nurse nodded and went to the door and yelled, “JANET, BRING THE EMBRYO!” And the embryologist came back in with a needle with presumably #5 on it. The doctor dropped it in and said the process was complete, BUT they just needed to check real quick that the embryo was not still on the needle.

I remained in stirrups with the speculum in while they confirmed the embryo was not still in the needle Janet was holding. They confirmed, filling us with confidence in the whole process. The doctor removed the speculum, left the room, and the nurse took my blood pressure again. Then we waited for another nurse to come in and tell us next steps. The nurse came in with a paper that she talked us through. She shared I should take it easy the next 4-5 days, and then that I should also check online for what foods to eat and not eat from reputable sites. THIS WAS NOT HELPFUL! The internet has been a mix of helpful and extremely unhelpful with the whole process. Then she shared that I should avoid intercourse, orgasms and anything that would cause vaginal contractions. This was the first we were hearing that orgasms could affect conception, and David and I were both surprised no one had shared this with us sooner. She also said to avoid exercises that could trigger vaginal contractions, and I was like, “Um. What exercises…trigger vaginal contractions and why haven’t I been doing them all my life, amirite!?” The nurse was not amused, and then said to avoid exercises that trigger pelvic muscles, which provided me no clarification. Zero.

Then we signed the paper she read to us, I put my clothes back on (they didn’t tell me they had put fluid on my belly, so that was messier than I thought it would be) and I was allowed to empty my bowels, which were full on account of the water I had inhaled earlier. After that we were on our way. We drove home tenderly, but there were bumps in the road, and each time I panicked. When we got home, David was exhausted, and I was super hungry, so I walked to Sweet Green in the cold while David napped. I was nervous about everything I did: was it too cold, was I walking too fast in the cold (answer: no, I couldn’t have walked more slowly), how do we feel about elevators, are lentils okay, should I be opening my own doors?

I ate half my salad at Sweet Green, walked home, and then took a nap next to David, which helped settle my nerves. EXCEPT MAYBE I NAPPED WRONG, I HAVE NO IDEA.

We went to a Christmas party (the one I had made the cookies for) at night, and that was great because we laughed a lot with our friends. On Sunday I had a spot on an open mic, so I invited friends to that and performed my tight holiday five. My friends laughed and laughed, and I have no idea what the strangers thought. All the other comedians did jokes about drugs, loneliness, masturbating, race, personal failures, so I think my routine as Carol Claus (Santa Claus’s wife) was confusing to the other aspiring comedians and people in the back. Oh well!

It’s Christmas Eve, so I’m off to celebrate with family soon.

Merry Christmas!

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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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Post Show Thoughts

Hello my sweet! Please know that even though I don’t update daily, I am thinking of you. Take solace in knowing that when I am especially angsty, I think of coming to you second, dear blog. David is first. He will always be first. There’s nothing you can do about that. It is how it is.

So! A few things have been going on!

First, on the procreation side, this was a month “off.” No drugs! No needles! And if you are wondering whether I lived it up – I assure you I did. I had coffee; I had caffeinated tea; I had a glass of wine twice a week, and one night, I drank a martini! It was amazing. I ordered mochas, and they had decorations in them, and I appreciated every sip.

Then, I was late. My clockwork period was late! I thought, “Uh oh…what if my relaxation this month resulted in a baby!? Could it be?! What a lovely story that will be! Truly it was procreation stress all along!” I took a pregnancy test: nothing. As usual. That was disappointing. I think one of the most frustrating things as someone who is _trying_ is to not get your period AND to have negative pregnancy results.
Well anyway, after days of negative pregnancy tests, the red vixen has arrived, on my performance day no less!

So let’s move on to the performance! I was very nervous about the show, because technically I was directing it. Our group assigns directors, but truly all the shows are collaborative. And the actors are very strong, so they really shape the delivery. As a director, one of the most important things you can do is trust your actors. I learned that from Joan Darling.

Anyway, I was very nervous about this performance because:

1) All of the sketches were new.
2) We did not meet Thanksgiving Week, so we only had two rehearsal sessions.
3) There were a lot of lines to memorize.
4) Two of the sketches were controversial, because they touched on race and gender.

Well we had our first of two performances tonight, and honestly, I thought it went okay! I forgot some key lines; other people forgot key lines, but all in all, the audience seemed to genuinely enjoy the show. They laughed the whole time. And that is the most important thing. I would consider the show a success. I’m usually quite critical, but I genuinely felt we delivered a quality product with some gaffes. So I was pretty annoyed when I heard someone from our group – who was not part of the show – giving my actors a slew of criticism about the show immediately after the performance and recommending sketches to cut. It put a real damper on the whole thing, and I was seething. We knew where we had gone wrong. And by focusing on where we had gone wrong right away, it detracted from the places we had gone so right.

I won’t leave you with a negative note, my dearest. I don’t believe in doing that! Here is the bit I hope to remember about this performance: in this show, I do a bit about Mrs. Claus doing a tight five. So, it’s Carol Claus doing a stand-up routine. It went well! The audience laughed and laughed. After the show, Emily shared that she was watching David who was laughing so hard that he “looked like he was going to pee.” David insisted that wasn’t the case when I shared this story with him, but I know it to be true. That warmed my heart. I love him so much.

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