Thursday, April 30, 2009

Happy Anniversary to me, an unwelcome person

First, a definition. PNG (persona non grata): an unwelcome person. It’s used in the diplomatic sense of you must leave the country within 72 hours and you can never return. For a more complete definition, go here

Last year as my husband left for work, he apologized for not buying me anything for our anniversary. The previous two years we had taken vacations to celebrate, that year it wasn’t possible. He had been working long hours, seven days a week, and when he was home, his mind would race with all of the things he needed to do, making it impossible to sleep. He was exhausted, physically and emotionally exhausted. He apologized again, and my response was “hey, how many people can say they were PNG’d on their third wedding anniversary. That’s a rare gift”. We laughed, and after he left, I closed the door, and the tears started to fall, again. It was almost certain that it would be happening that afternoon. For weeks the government of Belarus had asked the U.S. to provide a list of five Americans to stay in Minsk and unlike the previous time, the U.S. refused to comply. We knew our time was up. April 30, 2008 would be the day. Not only the day of my third wedding anniversary, but the day I would be told that I had to leave the place, and people, I loved so much, I was to become an unwelcome person.

I pulled myself together, got ready, and walked to the embassy. By now I was spending a lot of time there. I was continuing to take Russian several times a week, plus it was nice to meet my husband and various friends for lunch. Being at home was too depressing. Our house was empty and had been for weeks. When I was at home, I often found myself walking from room to room, staring at the emptiness and just crying.

In addition to the big meeting scheduled later in the day, having a Russian lesson, and meeting people for lunch, I also had to go to the infertility clinic for my beta. I already knew that the FET hadn’t worked, but my RE wanted me to have the blood draw anyway. Instead of thinking of it as a waste of time, I decided to use it as an opportunity to say goodbye, He was busier than usual that day and appeared to be rushing off to surgery. He saw me and stopped, I shook his hand, said thank you, and explained that I was probably leaving, but that I very much appreciated everything he had done and for agreeing to work with me. By this time, I knew it was okay to start saying goodbye.

Later that day during my Russian lesson, I told my teacher how much I enjoyed taking his class and that if I were allowed to stay in Belarus I would take Russian five days a week. He had tears in his eyes and told me again what a great student I was and that I had a lot of natural ability. I really did enjoy learning Russian and he was a fabulous teacher.

Finally it was time to go to the meeting. As we had done in the past, all of the locally hired employees, all of the Americans, spouses too, gathered in the cafeteria to hear the news. As I was walking in someone approached me and said “He’s on the phone with Washington, 72 hours, that’s all I heard, 72 hours”. We all stood, forming a big circle, and waited. And then it happened, I heard the words that I had feared for the past several weeks. I don’t remember the speech, though it was remarkably well done, but I remember something about this being the highest honor, to be declared persona non grata for supporting the policies of the U.S. government. I didn’t feel very honored. I felt like I had just been kicked in the stomach. Fortunately I wasn’t the only person crying. It was unbelievable. Even more insulting was that the Belarusians had provided the U.S. a list of five Americans that would be allowed to remain in the country. Not only was I PNGd, but my friends were allowed to stay behind and enjoy the country that I was supposed to have 2 ½ more years in.

So there it was, we had 72 hours to be out of the country. With tears streaming down my face I said goodbye to my Russian teacher, I said goodbye to the admin. assistant in the health unit, and to all of the other local employees I cared for and respected so much. It just seemed so unreal, so unfair. There was so much to do, so many goodbyes to say, and I had just 72 hours to do it all.

U.S. News article

Washington Post article


Wednesday, April 29, 2009

it was over...

So by this time last year it was obvious that the FET hadn’t worked. The two embryos hadn’t even implanted. I told my RE that it was over, but he still wanted me to come in for the beta on the 30th. I thought that was strange considering all of the symptoms I was having, but I agreed to have the test the following day.

Later that afternoon I went to the embassy for a bbq. We all basically knew our time in Belarus was coming to an end, so it was as much of a going away party as it was an embassy bbq. Despite the anger, confusion, and frustration we were feeling, everyone had a great time. The food was amazing, so many fun people to visit with, both local and American. It was extremely well organized and I think everyone had a wonderful time. Thanks again “J” for all of your hard work and putting together such a fabulous event!

And now I’m craving shashlik….

two thumbs up!

My mom has always purchased books for me that she thinks I might find interesting. When I was in high school, she bought me a copy of Gifted Hands by Dr. Ben Carson. The book is the true story of an inspirational man who is now regarded as the top neurosurgeon in the world. I won’t share any more details, but it’s definitely worth your time to pick up any one of his books.

A few months ago, my mom mentioned that a movie was going to be released based on the book, Gifted Hands. I was thrilled when she offered to tape it for me. I finally had time to sit down and watch it today. TWO THUMBS UP!! If you haven’t seen it, you need to. It’s one of the best, most inspirational movies I’ve seen in a long time. If you aren’t familiar with the story, I recommend that you read the book first. While the movie does a great job of portraying his life, there is a lot of history to cover in just two hours, so I think having some knowledge of the story would be helpful. I will also say that of all the tv shows and movies I’ve seen, this movie is probably the most realistic as far as what happens in the OR, what it looks like, medical terms used, and that kind of thing.

Definitely worth your time to read any of Ben Carson’s books, and if you have the opportunity, watch the movie!

Word of caution: I know that several of you are dealing with infertility. Just a warning that during the movie, there is a pregnancy loss. In addition, there are several scenes in which infants are shown, and quite a long scene of pediatric surgery.

Monday, April 27, 2009


I had to go to City Centre a few weeks ago and happened to have the camera with me. Enjoy…

the walking gate to leave our community (somebody stole one of the statues)

walking to the DART station closest to my house

Lansdowne Stadium from the DART station (for you rugby fans)

River Liffey

O'Connell Street

Temple Bar

River Liffey

walking home on the path near our house (River Dodder)

electronics (camera and printer needed)

This weekend it became painfully clear that I need to update some of my electronics. After months of urging by my husband, I finally ordered an external hard drive for my laptop. I’m embarrassed to admit how long it’s been since I backed it up :( Let’s just say the last time I messed with it, I was still speaking German on a daily basis.

I still need a new camera and a new printer.

currently have- a Canon PowerShot S45 and an Olympus C8080
want- camera that takes good pictures, is small enough to throw in a purse, and simple to use

currently have- HP 2110 “all in one”
want- printer that prints pictures. Copy and scan functions would be nice too, though I’ve been told that “all in one” printers usually don’t do a good job of printing pictures.

What do you have, what do you recommend? I’m not particularly brand loyal with electronics though whatever it is has to be Mac compatible. Also, this is only for me, so it's fine if it's pink :)

Thank you!

Saturday, April 25, 2009


Last December, Eddie Bauer introduced a Steiff bear made to commemorate the 88th anniversary of Steiff’s first black bear and the opening of Eddie Bauer. The bear is adorable and sports a classic, brick red vest. I just had to have it for my Steiff collection.

Earlier this month I was pleasantly surprised to find that Nordstrom is also selling a teddy bear. It’s not Steiff, but everyone who knows me knows that prior to moving overseas Nordstrom was like my second home, so I had to have that bear. It arrived yesterday!

I’m looking forward to having a little person around to play with all of the fun stuff I’ve purchased, and so I don't have to explain to my husband why I'm buying teddy bears ;)

two naughty cats

Guinness and Bella love to be in the sun. They are not allowed on the kitchen counter or ledge behind the sink, but if the sun is out, I can usually find them there. I just walked in to find this…

Thursday, April 23, 2009

pretending everything is okay

A year ago I was finally told how bad the situation was. Belarus had told the U.S. to reduce staff again, this time down to five. Washington was refusing to provide a list, as they had done in the past. It was certain that we would be leaving, we just didn’t know when. I had basically figured that out weeks ago, but it was nice to have finally been 'officially' told. There would be a meeting later in the day, and it was quite possible that the news would come at that time. I had so many mixed emotions, so many things I wanted to do, so many people I wanted to see, at least wanted the opportunity to say goodbye to.

On top of worrying about how many days/ weeks I had left, I also had the concern of making sure I had enough medication. If the FET worked, I would need to be on some of the meds until 16 weeks. I had been told that there were hotel reservations for us in Lithuania, and I had done enough research to know that there is an infertility clinic there, but it’s not as though I could just show up on their doorstep. I had to tell my RE that I needed more medication, without telling him too much information about the political climate. I made the phone call and was thankful that he didn't ask any questions. We would occasionally joke about things, the situation between our countries, but when things were serious, he knew not to ask.

I was still going to my Russian lesson several times a week and still being assigned homework. Everyone who worked at the embassy knew things were bad, but I couldn’t talk about how very bad they were. My Russian instructor was fantastic. He was an incredibly kind man and a very gifted teacher. I wanted so much to tell him why I was distracted, why I was so sad, but I couldn’t. I had to pretend that everything was okay, even though we both knew things were far from okay.

Later that afternoon I got the call. We had been granted one more week. Belarus had given the U.S. seven more days to hand over the list. For a moment I was ecstatic, one more week. Maybe it wouldn’t be so bad, maybe they would continue to grant us more time. No, it wouldn’t happen that way, I knew that. The entire previous ten weeks had been such a roller coaster. Every time I thought the situation was hopeless, I would run into someone who gave me some hope. Every time I was optimistic, someone would say something that would shatter my optimism. It finally seemed that our time was coming to an end. At least I had seven more days.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

change in plans

My husband and I had a big talk last weekend and decided to change our plans. We were originally going to start another IVF with our clinic in Dublin soon. However, I’m just not ready yet; and yes, I realize how absolutely absurd that sounds. Considering that we have been on a forced break for the past year due to everything that happened (more on that in the coming weeks) and considering my age, it’s probably not the best decision to put it off, but I need to.

Infertility patients are already a very stressed out bunch, and in the past year I’ve had the additional stress of multiple moves, and that other thing we won’t mention until next week. IVF success rates are considerably lower in patients who have high amounts of stress. I just don’t see the point of spending that much money and putting my body through IVF again when I’m as stressed out as I am. I need to be in a better place, emotionally and physically.

The next month or two is going to be crazy around here. There are still a few house issues we are dealing with, my husband is going to have a lot going on at work, and we have guests coming. Fortunately we agreed that they need to stay at a hotel, but it’s still a bit stressful, particularly since there aren’t any firm plans yet. I know which days they are arriving and leaving, but that’s it. I don’t know how much time they are spending at our house, how much time they expect/ want to spend with us, if they expect us to show them around, nothing. Honestly, the timing of the trip is really awful too. My husband can’t take time off of work (these are relatives on his side), plus they will be here for two very painful days (anniversary of what I’ll talk about next week and Mother’s Day). I'm covered in hives just thinking about it.

After discussing schedules and all of the things we have going on in the next month or two, we decided it would be best to hold off on our next IVF. I just can’t have additional stress or visitors during that process. My husband, wonderful as always, said he completely understands and to just let him know when I’m ready.

If you are only reading my blog for the infertility aspect, please come back in July. If you are planning a trip to Dublin and would like to see us, we would love to meet you for lunch or dinner, but we just can’t do anything more than that right now. We sincerely hope that our situation will change later this year. Thank you for understanding.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

naughty kitty

We have four tall bookshelves in our living room. Occasionally Bella jumps onto one of the lower shelves just to have a look around. Last weekend she made it to the top, eight feet up. She was quite proud of herself, until she realized how hard it would be to climb down. I took Guinness into the kitchen and offered him a treat. Suddenly I heard a loud thud and looked over to see Bellla running down the hall toward the kitchen. Hopefully she learned a lesson.

A for effort and A for food

After purchasing the spargel, I suggested that we have it as a side dish with steaks. My husband grilled the steaks and I made all of the side dishes. The food was absolutely perfect and we had a wonderful evening. He received many compliments throughout the evening. He definitely redeemed himself after the seafood incident. I might try to convince him to grill a few times a week during the summer. YUM!

Monday, April 20, 2009

Leopardstown farmer’s market

On Friday a friend invited me to go to a farmer’s market I hadn’t been to before. It’s located at the Leopardstown horse track. There were several booths there that I haven’t seen at the other farmers’ markets around Dublin.

The vendors were all very pleasant and several had samples available. The market had a nice variety of produce, meat products, breads, desserts, even sushi. There was also an espresso bar and eating area. The majority of the booths are located indoors, with just a handful outside. I’m wondering if that will change as the weather improves.

I had a nice conversation with a man from Mexico who offers cooking classes. He also makes his own salsa so I bought a jar of that. We chatted for quite sometime and he seemed impressed with my knowledge of Mexican geography and culture. I wish my husband could have been there. His language skills are amazing and I’m sure he would have enjoyed using his Spanish and talking to the man about the time he's spent in Mexico.

There was a nice selection of fruits and vegetables, much more flavorful than anything available at the grocery store. While picking up a few things I noticed a small box of spargel (white asparagus). I haven’t seen spargel since we lived in Berlin. Spargel season is HUGE in Germany. Every May this delicious vegetable begins to show up in grocery stores, sidewalk stands, and on menus all over the country. It’s absolutely delightful. Of course I just had to buy some. When I went to pay for everything the cashier commented on the spargel. He said that the Irish very rarely buy it, I didn’t ask him why, though probably should have.

I purchased quite a bit more, but here is a picture of the three items that made the day an overall success…
sushi menu

I doubt I’ll be going to Leopardstown every Friday, but it’s definitely worth a trip once in a while.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

EEK! I need to buy spider spray

This morning I stepped into the shower, all was well until mid shampoo when I noticed a spider. Not any old spider, a HUGE, fast moving spider on the ceiling.

I am fine, actually happy, in the operating room. Put me in a neurology case (looking into a patient’s skull), fine. Put me in a cardiothoracic case (looking into a patient’s cracked chest), fine. No, scratch fine. GREAT! Cause let’s be honest, there’s nothing as cool as anesthesia for cardiothoracic surgery. However, if you put me anywhere near a snake, spider, or anything else creepy and crawly I’m going to be petrified.

Under normal circumstances my husband would have been home and come running if I had screamed out. Unfortunately this morning he had to work for a few hours. I was alone, alone with a HUGE spider. I looked around the bathroom, wondering what I should do. There were no shoes, or better yet, spider spray. I looked out into the bedroom, nothing to use to protect myself, oh wait, the panic button. Fortunately good sense kicked in and I realized that hitting that button thus bringing the Garda (Irish police) to my house to kill a spider was probably not a good use of the system. I momentarily thought about running downstairs to grab the cats, but I was not about to take my eyes off of the HUGE spider, thus risking it would disappear, only to materialize later in my bed. Yikes, it had crawled down and was behind the toilet. I had to take care of this alone. A-ha, hairspray.

I sprayed and sprayed, then sprayed some more. I felt really bad as it curled up and began to die. I know spiders eat bugs and I know we are supposed to think of them as friendly, the good guys in the animal world, but I can’t. To me they are big, scary pests who are out to get me. The spider began to slow down. I felt terrible. Even though it was “just” a spider, it was God’s creature too. Then I thought back to how terrified I was, and the fact that the only critters who had been formally invited into our home were both four-legged, furry, and currently downstairs blissfully unaware of the horrific scene taking place in the bathroom.

Guinness and Bella, please attempt to be more cognizant of unwelcome pests in the house and take care of them before I happen to see them. To all spiders, please stay outside; your well-being, and mine, depend on it.

Friday, April 17, 2009

would it be good news or bad news?

I had my FET (frozen embryo transfer) a year ago today. I remember it so clearly. My RE had called and with much excitement in his voice, said that both babies survived the thaw. HOORAY! I went to the embassy for my Russian lesson, had a light lunch, took Valium (hey, I was supposed to), and went to the clinic. Unfortunately my RE was in emergency surgery, so my FET was pushed back a few hours. The driver took me back to the embassy and I waited, and waited, and waited.

Finally it was time to go. This time someone had arranged to be with me at the clinic. Since I was the last case of the day, my RE said that after the transfer I should just stay lying down in the OR for two hours, instead of moving to the recovery room. He did the transfer, walked over, touched my forehead, said some kind words, and that’s when the tears started. I asked if my “person” could come in and wait with me. “Person” came in wearing scrubs, surgical hat, and mask, and pulled over a chair. I remember looking out the window, looking out on Minsk, and just crying. For two hours I cried. I knew I was supposed to relax. I knew I was supposed to reduce stress. I couldn’t. I knew in my heart that the people and the city I loved so much were about to be taken away.

While nobody had actually said it, yet, I knew things were bad. Very, very bad. There were burn barrels on the embassy compound. I’d heard people whispering about the disintegraters breaking down from overuse, shredders were wearing out, pouches were being flown out multiple times a week. Nobody had to tell me how very bad the situation was; they couldn’t tell me because I didn’t have the proper clearance, but in my heart, I knew.

Two hours went by, the nurse helped me dress, and my “person” and I went into the RE’s office for my instructions. While the RE listed off what I was supposed to do, length of bed rest, and the meds I was to take, I just sat there and cried. I was so incredibly sad. I really liked my RE and I didn’t know if I would ever see him again. He handed me the paper work and that’s when I saw it. Down in the lower right corner 30.04.2008

April 30, 2008. That is the day of my wedding anniversary, it would also be the day of my first beta (blood test for pregnancy) for the FET. There it was on paper, the fact that on that day I would either get good news or bad news. I just didn’t know how very bad the news would be.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Easter cats

For Easter I had planned to put a pastel ribbon on each cat and take their picture. After mentioning this brilliant idea to my husband, I decided against it. He reminded me that the cats would hate it and it's not like they are going to sit still and pose if there's something fun to play with sitting on their heads. Fine. Brilliant, Easter idea scratched.

Little did I know, he already had an Easter surprise for them. He had purchased two cans of fancy, gourmet cat food as their Easter treat. Bella devoured hers, then moved on to her brother's dish. Apparently Guinness is more of an Iams cat, and whatever brand my husband bought was a little too upscale for the boy. He did enjoy the second can though, likely because I sprinkled some bacon bits on top. Hey, it was Easter.

With full tummies they moved to their favorite spot, lying on the cat scratcher in front of the fire.

first Bella

then Guinness had a turn


I think they enjoyed their Easter treat!


I really, really dislike chopping onions. Even though I have "good" knives and know how to properly cut an onion, I still find the process tedious. In addition, the enzymes that are released from the onion irritate my eyes. I always wear an old pair of lab goggles when I cut them, but it doesn't help very much, my eyes still water, turn red, and sting.

I've finally had it and I'm going to buy an onion chopper. Below are the three styles I've been researching. If you have any experience, good or bad, would you please comment or email me? Thanks!

Tuesday, April 14, 2009


I decided to delete this post. I am angry and hurt over stupid comments people have made to me in the past two years, some particularly in the past week. I don't *think* these people read my blog, but I don't know that for sure, nor can I prevent them from finding it in the future. I do not want to hurt anyone, just as I'm sure their intention was not to hurt me.

So there, deleted.

Later today I'll be uploading new cat pictures, so check back :)

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Happy Easter!

And now, the guilt.

I didn’t go to church today. For weeks I have struggled with this decision and after much prayer and advice from an expert, decided not to go. Last year we were still in Minsk for Easter. I had already had the embryo transfer and I remember sitting in that beautiful, Belarusian church, praying that my babies were implanting. My mind kept wandering to what it was going to be like the following Easter. My husband and I would be at church with our precious children, they would be wearing beautiful, smocked, Easter outfits, our biggest concern would be keeping our infants quiet throughout the service. Last year I had so much hope.

This year I just couldn’t bear the thought of being in church, listening to the glorious music, and seeing the adorable children, all dressed up in their new attire. It wouldn’t have been fair for me to be there. I know I would have cried and it would have been uncomfortable for them, for my husband, and for me.

Before you pass judgment or ask yourself how I could have known that for sure I would cry, I’ll share an experience I had in December of 2007. We’d been invited to a Christmas party at the ambassador’s residence and I was really looking forward to it. I had many friends who were also attending, and I was looking forward to watching my friend “C” sing Christmas carols with a group from the embassy. I’ve always liked Christmas, Christmas music, and I was thrilled that I would be spending Christmas with “C” in Belarus that year.

We arrived at the party, said hello to friends, and found a place to stand toward the back of the room. There were many families with children in attendance and it seemed only fair that the children should be close to the front so that they could see. Looking back I’m so glad that we chose to stand where we did. The group began to sing and it was just lovely. All was well until they started into Silver Bells and hit the line about “children laughing”. There I was, looking over the many, beautiful children, so festively dressed for the party, I heard those two simple words, “children laughing”, and I lost it. I remember turning to look at my husband, tears streaming down my face, and frantically digging through my purse to find a tissue. I’m sitting here crying just remembering that day.

Fortunately I was able to pull myself together reasonably well and enjoy the rest of the party. My friend “C” was very kind and throughout the remainder of party would announce (just loudly enough for other people to hear) that everyone was having such a tough time with allergies.

Please keep in mind that my meltdown at the Christmas party happened before we knew that we had to do IVF and before we had lost babies. I just know in my heart that church is not where I’m supposed to be today. This morning we enjoyed a nice breakfast, then watched the live coverage of the Easter service at the Vatican. I desperately hope that next year our situation will be very different, but for today, we are home.

And with that I need to get into the kitchen. I decided to serve deviled eggs as one of the appetizers for our Easter dinner. I’ve never made them before so wish me luck!

Happy Easter!

Thursday, April 9, 2009

medication and money

I finally started unpacking the boxes in my office and came across some old medication. It's the leftovers from last year. A year ago I was already on meds for the FET (frozen embryo transfer). My RE said that he didn't like to do back to back cycles, particularly when there had been a pregnancy, but he understood that time was of the essence. Our lives were still on hold, our stuff had been packed out, it appeared that everyone would be leaving, but nothing was definite. My RE recommended that I order extra medication because I didn't know where I was going or when I was going. If the procedure worked, I would need to be on some of the meds for several months, and I didn't know if/when I would have access to another fertility clinic.


3 boxes of Crinone
2 boxes of Duphaston

I'm really quite angry about having leftovers. It means that the FET didn't work. It also means that we have wasted hundreds and hundreds of dollars on medication that I probably can't use. Our rather worthless BC/BS health insurance doesn't cover any fertility treatment, so everything is out of pocket. I assume that my RE in Dublin won't allow me to use the leftover meds or that they will have expired by the time I need them again. If I would have been allowed to stay in Minsk, I could have possibly used them for another cycle, or at least donated them to another patient. I'm not going to throw them out yet, just in case my Irish RE uses the same brands. However, I have a feeling that in the end, the meds are going to end up being a big, expensive waste. Hmm, maybe I should send Lukashenko the bill ;)

fish tacos

I generally make 2-3 vegetarian meals a week. During Lent, we always have vegetarian or fish on Fridays. A few months ago, I was searching for more ideas and came across a really easy recipe for fish tacos. My husband was a little skeptical, but after taking the first bite, he said that he really liked them. I plan on serving them tomorrow night, so I thought I'd share the recipe.

Fish Tacos
2 tablespoons lime juice
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, plus 1 tablespoon for oiling pan
1/4 cup minced cilantro
1/4 teaspoon cumin

2 garlic cloves, minced
1/2- 3/4 pound tilapia, halibut, or cod
1/4 - 1/2 head cabbage, finely shredded
1/2 small red onion or green onions, thinly sliced
6-8 small or 4 large flour tortillas
White sauce (recipe follows)

White sauce:
1 1/2 tablespoon minced cilantro
3 tablespoons mayonnaise
1 tablespoon nonfat yogurt

1 tablespoon lime juice

1. Mix lime juice, 2 tablespoons olive oil, cilantro, and cumin in large, flat bowl or pie plate. Add fish and turn to coat. Let marinate 15-30 minutes.

2. Heat remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil in nonstick skillet over medium-high heat until shimmering. Add marinated fish and cook, without moving, for 3 minutes. Using 2 spatulas, flip fish and cook on second side for 2 minutes, or until fish flakes with a fork. Remove fish from pan to plate, season with salt, and let set for 2-3 minutes. Cut into approximately bite-size pieces.

3. To build each taco, spread liberal amount of white sauce on tortilla, then add fish, cabbage, red onion, and whatever garnishes you desire. Serve.

PS- I found this on a recipe blog and didn't save the link. If you are the author of the blog, contact me and I'll make sure you get credit for the recipe. Thanks!

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

A for Effort, F for Food

Last week my husband announced that he would be cooking dinner on Sunday. What a nice surprise! Part of dinner included steaming some seafood. When asked what he planned to steam the seafood in, the response was not what I had hoped to hear, "my bamboo steamer of course", he beamed. I have asked him to get rid of the bamboo steamer for four years. He's had the steamer for over a decade and as of Sunday, has used it twice. Maybe he thought I was gearing up for the "it's time to get rid of stuff, what about your steamer" discussion and decided he needed to prove the worthiness of his prized kitchen possession, who knows.

On Sunday, I was banished from the kitchen with a glass of wine. Approximately an hour later he called out that dinner was ready. He told me to enjoy, but he wasn't sure about the seafood because he couldn't find the recipe that he 'usually' uses. We both took a bite and decided it was awful, just awful. It was so bad that when given a piece to try, the cats looked at the calamari, looked up at us, looked at each other, and walked off. Yeah, you know it's bad when even cats turn their noses up at it.

We laughed, and laughed, and laughed. Before you start thinking, oh her poor husband, he'd be so embarrassed if he knew that she had told anyone this story, between fits of laughter I asked if he would mind if I shared, permission granted.

THIS is still living at my house because as I was told Sunday, "it's the quality of the seafood and lack of having the recipe, not the steamer".

I really do appreciate the effort, though I wish he would just stick to his specialty, grilling. Maybe next time....

Sunday, April 5, 2009


That is the first word that comes to mind when I think back to last night. I had decided that of all events, infertility was NOT going to steal this one. I had really been looking forward to it, plus several of our friends know about our situation and have been amazingly supportive.

Yesterday it was absolutely gorgeous out so my husband and I decided to walk to the party. We arrived and had such a wonderful time. Everything about the party was fun, a lot of fun! I visited with friends I hadn't seen for a while, some I see all the time, and even managed to make new friends. Everything about this party was outstanding, the hosts, the other guests, the food, the drinks, the conversations. So much fun!

We left the party at the same time as another couple and they invited us over for tea. We really enjoy their company, so even though it was getting late, we happily accepted their offer. I'm so glad we did. We were able to enjoy even more time visiting and after a long night, a hot cup of tea is the perfect way to wind down.

Thank you so much to our party hosts, our tea hosts, and all of the friends, new and old, that I had the opportunity to see last night.

Upon arriving home, we found two kitties waiting for us in the foyer. Guinness was actually sleeping right in front of the door and the poor guy went flying when it was opened. Oops. After a few cats treats and a scratch behind the ears, all was forgiven.

As I looked over at the clock I thought for sure the time was wrong. How was it possible that we had been gone for almost eight hours? I guess the old saying is true, time really does fly when you are having fun!

Saturday, April 4, 2009

I need an attitude adjustment STAT!

I’ll blog about what caused this later, but for now let’s just say I’m really, really sad. If I stop long enough to think, I cry. My eyes are swollen and my heart physically hurts. Usually this wouldn’t be a problem, but today it is a HUGE problem.

Later today there is something happening that I’ve looked forward to for a few weeks. Friends are having a party and I’ve been waiting with happy anticipation for today to arrive. This party is going to be great for a number of reasons, the guests that I already know and the hosts are people I really enjoying being around, an opportunity to make new friends, good wine, and no children. I was looking forward to this event because it would be a happy time, a time to laugh, a time to visit, with no worries of seeing cute infants or two year olds running around.

Today was supposed to be full of happiness and fun. I feel like once again infertility has stolen part of my life. I want to be happy, I want to be joyful, I want to enjoy today, and that is why I need an attitude adjustment STAT!

I’m going to head to Starbucks and hope the magic potion (latte) takes the pain away, at least until tomorrow.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Again? Yes, again.

April 2, 2008

For the second time in less than a month, the U.S. was told to reduce the staff at the embassy in Belarus. We had made the first cut, but it was beginning to look like nobody would make the second. Everyone remaining in Minsk was in the process of being packed out "just in case".

Under normal circumstances, when you are packed out, you know where you are going next, you know when you are going, and you know for sure that you are going. When we left Germany, I'd had months to pack things I wanted to do myself, make lists, take pictures of valuable items, to research our new city so I could pack appropriate clothing for the weather. For this pack out, I didn't have time, nor was I in the correct state of mind to organize the way I usually do.

I had just lost triplets and had two additional embryos on ice. Somehow I had to get my body ready for a FET (frozen embryo transfer) while still miscarrying the other three. It was a nightmare, an experience I got to have while moving, er, not moving, being packed out, "just in case".

That morning the team of Belarusian movers arrived, and I cried. Then our housekeeper arrived, and I cried. Then someone from the embassy came over, and I cried. Sense the theme here? I cried ALL DAY LONG. I cried in front of 8 Belarusian men and I didn't care. Our housekeeper, angel that she is, sat on the couch with me all day and just tried to keep me distracted, and bless her heart, even got me to laugh a time or two.

Whenever moving into or out of a country, the embassy provides a temporary "welcome kit". It's usually a large box or trunk filled with basics for you to live on since you don't have your own stuff. Typically it consists of silverware, plates, a knife, toaster, coffeemaker, sheets, towels, the basics. At some point during the pack out, a few guys from the embassy brought over our welcome kit in a trunk and a bag of linens. Later in the day our housekeeper noticed the that the trunk had disappeared. Sure enough, the movers had packed it. We located the huge cardboard box and they rescued the trunk so at least we had part of a welcome kit. The bag of linens wasn't so lucky. We didn't find those until we unpacked in Ireland. Another thing I didn't know about until we unpacked here, the movers had used my tissue paper to wrap our stuff. Not moving paper, tissue paper. The tissue paper I had planned to use for wrapping gifts. Oh well, at least nothing was broken.

And last but not least, unlike a typical pack out in which the movers take the boxes with them at the end of the day, our boxes were left behind. I was left standing in a house, surrounded by boxes, wondering how much time I had left there.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

April Fool's Day

I've never liked April Fool's Day. In fact, I think it's obtuse. Blame it on me being sensitive, blame it on only child syndrome, but I detest teasing, tricking, and particularly lying, even if it's all under the guise of a snicker. Imagine my shock today when someone who knows about my infertility and losses posted a positive pregnancy test as a joke. I really like this person and in general, respect her point of view, I would go as far as saying I agree with 90%+ of everything she says. Anyway, joking about being pregnant and posting a positive pregnancy test, particularly so close to the anniversary of my loss, really, really hurt.

too sensitive- probably
already despise April Food's Day- definitely
spent the past few hours crying- yep