Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Good bye and good riddance

I didn't much like 2008. I was unemployed, I had a miscarriage with donor sperm, my insurance company stopped covering my infertility treatment, I came to the full realization that my husband and I will never create a child together, and I truly began to believe that I will never be pregnant long enough to bear a live child.

I am glad to see 2008 go.

But I do hold out a little hope that 2009 might be better. We have a new administration coming in, and I hope to be able to be proud of my country again. And there is a very small possibility that there might be a chance that the opportunity to become parents could present itself to us at some point in the coming year.

But we all know that hope is a bitch.

All that being said, I'm sure I'll be asleep at midnight.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Swirling thoughts

My thoughts have been all over the place lately. The holidays always make me feel weird. I'm Jewish, and I have a strong ethnic identity with being an Ashkenazi Jew. I'm not very observant (or observant at all, really), but there was a time in college that I actually thought about going to rabbinical school. I really enjoy the study of religion and comparative religion. In the end, I couldn't picture myself actually being a rabbi, even if I would enjoy rabbinical school, so I decided it wasn't the correct educational path for me.

T is not Jewish. He went to church a little bit when he was younger, but he is very disillusioned with organized religion and he vehemently does not believe in god. I sort of believe in god, but not really in the traditional Judeo-Christian way of believing in god. When T and I talk about these types of things, even though we put different words to the way we believe the world works, our differences are essentially semantic. It's pretty striking, however, how important semantics is under these circumstances.

Before we got married, I told T that I wanted to raise our children Jewish. Because I have such a strong cultural identification with Judaism, it has always been important to me to have children that identify as Jewish. I also sort of feel like the world has tried to eliminate the Jewish people so many times, and by abandoning the Jewish tradition, I'd be abandoning the strong history of the Jewish people. I don't know, it was kind of like if I didn't raise my children as Jews that Hitler would win somehow. I know that sounds crazy, and I didn't even have any immediate family still in Europe during WWII -- 3 out of 4 grandparents were born in this country. But I still believe that I owe it to my 'people' to continue at least some of my traditions, even if they are Americanized and not followed particularly strongly.

Unlike most western religions or ethnicities, Judiasm passes from mother to child. A child born of a Jewish mother is Jewish. It doesn't matter if the father is not -- Judaism is matralinial. When we were trying to have a child, I felt like my child would be Jewish because genetically he or she would come from me.

Now that we are adopting, I feel really differently about all of this. When you educate yourself about adoption, you learn that it is really important to acknowledge the genetic history of your child. People who adopt from other countries often try to learn as much as possible about the child's home country and often try to education them about what life is like back there so that they can have some connection to their roots.

As I heard a conversation about klezmer and other Jewish music on the radio yesterday, it really got me to thinking about all of this stuff. I guess I'm not sure how to reconcile all of this mixed culture stuff. I'm not sure how to handle it. Sometimes I feel like abandoning my attempts at trying to stay a little Jewish. I mean, I know I'll always be a little Jewish, but at some point it seems like trying to pass that on it's no longer worth it. But then I think I'm being defeatist. My brothers' families are mixed marriages and the children, to varying extents, are Jewish. One of my SILs is about to convert after being married to my brother for 15 years. One of their kids was adopted, and she is 'vehemently' Jewish -- meaning she notices how Christian-centric everything in the US is. So even though all of my nieces and nephews are technically not Jewish (none of their birth mothers were Jewish at the time of their birth) they all still identify at least somewhat as Jewish.

I'm just not sure how to reconcile all of these things. Being Jewish is a kind of unique thing -- there are certain experiences that come from being brought up Jewish in the US and dealing with Christmas that somehow makes you different. Being out of school for the high holidays and teaching people about matzoh when you bring it to school for lunch adds to this experience. And even after my SIL converts, she doesn't quite understand that part. And that's the ethnic, cultural part of being and American Ashkenazi Jew that I'm talking about. Even after she converts, she'll still 'miss' Christmas -- which I know she does. (Understandibly -- Christmas can be such a lovely thing for some families. And then there's the smell of pine and the decorations and the significance of ornaments, etc. Though it hasn't been my experience, I listen when people talk about such things and have been at friends' houses while they decorated the tree.)

I guess what I'm saying is that I just don't know what our family traditions are going to become as we form our family, and I know it's going to be a bunch of traditions mixed together. And I guess my real question is that how much watering down turns a tradition into nothing?

This time of year often brings these questions up for me. And it's always weird to think about because I know my behavior would change if I was with someone who was Jewish. The questions I would be posing would be different ones.

I suppose I should find someone to talk to about all of these issues. I think I'd like to, but my work situation makes it not so easy. Maybe I can in a couple of months after things have settled down.

Thursday, December 25, 2008


I made marshmallows.

Then I dipped them in dark chocolate.

This is what I made for dessert today.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Snowy Morning

It's a snowy morning in New England. We've cleaned it up, but there is more coming tomorrow. Our family Chanukah party that was planned for tomorrow may be postponed. I blew off my plans from last night because I didn't want to trek through the snowstorm.

The coffee is good this morning. I find sitting at home with the snow outside to be relaxing.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Rainy days and Mondays

Today was better than last week. Nobody really yelled at me on the phone.

This weekend was pretty good in terms of the things we did. We went out for some nice Ethiopian food and had a cupcake from one of those trendy cupcake places that keep cropping up. We also went to one of our niece's 11th birthday party. I made a hat and mittens for her, and she was pleased with them.

I got some bad news from some friends, too. I found out one friend has separated from her husband, and another got some bad infertility news. The one who is separated is sad, but seems to be doing okay. The fellow infertile isn't doing so well as she got the diagnosis that the chance of spontaneous conception was very, very low. Because it is secondary infertility, I think she feels like her sadness doesn't appreciate her kid enough or something. I don't know much about secondary infertility, but I do know it sucks. All infertility sucks.

It's so weird when these types of issues come into real life. I feel like I don't know how to comfort my friends. I send them emails or call them on the phone, but there is really nothing to do or say. It's all about listening and agreeing that it all sucks. But somehow that doesn't make anybody feel any better.

I don't know if I liked people talking to me when I got bad news or if I preferred to be left alone. I think I generally liked to be left alone, but I'm not really sure.

I just wish I could do more for them.

Friday, December 12, 2008

End of a bad week

This week sucked. I am so glad it is over. Work was bad, life was bad, but mostly work was bad. These are two of the busiest weeks of the year, and I have been yelled at more than I can remember ever being yelled at -- and definitely the worst at this job. People are just very, very unhappy.

Today was slightly better, but it was just a crapfest of a week.

And now I'm really, really busy for the next week. We have something to do throughout this weekend through next weekend. I think our only empty days after today are Monday and Tuesday until next Monday the 22nd. And the 23rd is T's birthday, and he is not happy about it. Milestones suck.

The one good thing was today was slightly better, and I went to a meeting with my new department and got some assignments! So, I get to take some time to do some non-phone work in the upcoming weeks, which I'm really excited about. That and my taxi service ends in a few weeks.

The future is very, very slowly becoming the present. S l o w l y.


Just got the mail and we got the letter.

We are officially a waiting family with our adoption agency.

Monday, December 08, 2008

Bye bye vials

I just filled out the form to sell back our two remaining vials of donor sperm. I'm not sure I mentioned this, but we got a call from the cryobank saying that at new genetic test had become reliable and they've started testing all the vials. Of course, our donor was one of the few that tested positive. I'm not exactly sure what the test is for, but it's a recessive gene that, if both biological parents carry it (like Cystic Fibrosis) and the kid gets it, it's a horrible muscle wasting disease like Muscular Dystrophy and it can lead to death in children at around 2 years of age.

Why do I feel like it figures that the donor we chose would have this? This is the donor I had the miscarriage with. I don't know if I carry that gene -- most likely I don't -- but still. Weird.

Anyway, the cryobank offered to exchange the vials for a new donor, but we really are never doing to do more inseminations, so we're hoping to just sell it back. At a loss. A 50% loss. They only pay you 50% of what you paid for it. Of course. It's a freaking racket. But any way.

Bye bye vials.

Saturday, December 06, 2008


I need some food and we're not doing anything tonight, so I'm feeling particularly cranky right now. T ordered a pizza, so I will be getting some food soon. Hopefully that will help.

I also have to work on my niece's birthday present, but I'm too cranky to knit. I've been too cranky to knit quite often lately. But her party is in a week and I have to get it done.

Tomorrow E and little S are stopping over for a visit. He's 2 1/2 now. It's amazing how much time has passed. All of the pregnancies that happened while we were having our miscarriages are now toddlers turning 2. I think about how they'll probably be nearly 4 when we finally become parents.

I'm not sure what's going on with me right now. I'm not in a sane place. I don't really feel like myself. We spent hours waiting for a new tire today. We went shopping and we each bought a new pair of shoes. T also got a new travel mug which he is very excited about. I tried to take the mildew stains out of our canvas shower curtain by soaking in in Oxy*Cle@n for several hours, but the mildew stains are still there.

We need to do some cleaning, but I'm just in no state of mind to do that. I get frustrated with my job, but I definitely like being busy. I look forward to the weekend so much, and then I tend to get cranky when the weekend comes if we don't have enough things to do. I just feel so unsatisfied by everything all of the time. I think we're pretty busy for the next two weekends, so that is a good thing. Then it's Xmas with my parents and my brother, but I'm not sure we have plans for that weekend.

Pizza has arrived.

Monday, December 01, 2008

One holiday down...

Got through the holiday okay. Nothing too bad. My extended family has become slightly difficult to deal with, but in general it was fine. I did get to do that paint your own clay thing with my nieces. One of them, H (age 9), saw how excited I was to be there and do the painting and she said to me, "If you adopt a girl you'll take her to places like this all the time." I thought that was cute and very interesting -- the kids definitely think about us and kids and the adoption. I was a little surprised, but it was a nice thing to hear.

T and I also drove up to Portland, ME to see a college friend of mine. The weather was nice and it was great to see her and she and T get along really well as they are both political junkies. We got to walk around and have some great beer and coffee. It was nice.

Now it's back to work and it should be a pretty busy month for me. Tonight we are meeting someone who is also a waiting parent -- she is doing international adoption as a SMC and is just looking for some compatriots. We'll have a meal and share angst.

Got a hard copy of our home study today. There were some tiny changes to make, but overall it was a really nice document. It made us sound like a good couple and good potential parents. It also made me feel like we are the way we think we are. I guess that's good, right?

So, we have a few more weeks of Xmas crap. (Sorry to those of you who love the holiday season. I've never been much for the whole Xmas/Holiday thing.) Then it will be a new year and we'll have a new president and I won't be a taxi driver any more and I will start a new position in my company.

I am looking forward to the change toward the new year.