Tuesday, September 30, 2008

James's Christmas quilt, launched.

James's Christmas quilt is designed. (I also have another design on tap now--I drew it first and I like it so much I think it's too nice to waste on James. Is that terrible?) It's going to be a sort of a graduated plaid design in his chosen colors, brown and purple and gold, with one-fourth of the plaid being not a color but an appliqued dragon. Did that make sense? Probably not. I'll put up pictures. First I've got to buy fabric, and draw a full-sized template for this dragon (and maybe learn how to draw), and decide whether I can cut out single patches for the applique or if I'll have to piece it and how to do the applique since it's just going to be cut up anyway.

I think it's interesting that my response to any quilting challenge is "I can do that; I just have to figure out how." I don't have that with my other skills. In knitting and cooking/baking I have faith in my ability to follow directions and perform a certain amount of improvisation, but I wouldn't try to figure out something truly unusual on my own. In writing I have faith I could do it eventually, but not necessarily now. In quilting, I have faith I can do it now, even if I don't immediately know how. I think I can call that master-level skill, even if my seams and color theory need a little work. Strange that it's this one that's come the farthest.

Now that I have a design, I need a name. I do not have master-level skill in naming things.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Muses and musings

I have finally finished that scene in Shoelace that has been blocking me for (ugh) two months now. The solution lay in doing other things to give the protagonist the motivation she needed to make an effort that would have otherwise made no sense. Temporary victory is mine!

I am eagerly looking forward to tonight's presidential debate, mainly to see whether McCain shows up. We don't even need to vote in the circuses, they come to us.

I had a fit of economy-induced anxiety last night. It's not looking good for our plan to move next summer, though I suppose you never know. But if credit gets that bad, we may not be able to buy a house out there even if we sell ours here. (We could always rent my parents' old house. James is living in it now but I've got a better history of on-time payments, so they say they'd be happy to kick him out and rent to us instead. We wouldn't really kick him out...I think...but we might sublet it to him.) And leaving a perfectly good job might be a really bad idea, unless I've got the freelance/telecommute plan going by then. (Luckily, teachers will probably always be in demand in some form or another.)

But we'll see. Chances are that the worst that will happen is we'll have to stay here an extra year...or two. I don't want to end my twenties in Ohio, but that's the way it goes sometimes.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Next you'll tell me books don't have search functions.

I never watched West Wing but I still thought this was totally awesome. I was disconcerted, though, when I wanted to post a comment or e-mail the author and couldn't. Isn't this the Internet?

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Adventures in infertility: passing the buck

I was told to call the doctor's office when I started my period to get a scrip for Clomid. So yesterday I called and explained my request to the woman I spoke with--Ann--and added that I had questions about whether I was supposed to do an IUI as well and how that would work. She paused, said, "Hold on," and connected me to someone else, unnamed. The unnamed person heard my story, said, "Hold on," and connected me with Elaine. Elaine heard my story and said, "The only one who can answer your question is really the doctor. Let me have her call you back."

So I left my number and went off to phone training (not entirely useless because the icons on our new phones are not intuitive and they only have the icons on them, not, you know, labels) and of course got the call in the middle. After the session I found that the call had been from a Terry, not the doctor. Terry said to call her back, so I did. "You need to make an appointment with the doctor to discuss this," Terry said.

So I did, for Monday, which is too late for Clomid to work this month. Today I'm wondering if I should have insisted on the scrip anyway, and if I should call again today. Yesterday, since I was in the last throes of PMS, I quietly made the appointment and got off the phone quickly so that I wouldn't sound upset. But I was; I was disappointed, and they've switched stories on me without provocation. And this is not the best thing to do to a patient when you know perfectly well she has PMS because that's when you asked her to call.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Family concerns

I'm currently reading Anne Lamott's Blue Shoe. I picked this up at a thrift store in Ann Arbor while shopping for dyeing equipment. I've been meaning to read Anne Lamott's fiction since I read Bird by Bird, but hadn't until now. I'm not normally much of a mainstream fiction reader...or at least that's not what I gravitate towards, though I do have a few mainstream novels that are some of my favorites to reread. I realized this evening that I rarely read new stuff anymore. Generally I just reread what I have. I wonder if this is why when I do read something new, I tend to gulp it down.

At any rate, this kind of mainstream fiction is definitely not what I would think of as my sort of thing. It's very senses-oriented, descriptive, symbolic, where the events don't matter in and of themselves so much as in their effects on the main character. I have to slow down to read this properly. I remember doing that with the one Charles de Lint book I read, too. Unlike that book, this one is more direct in its message: acceptance, family, duty, love, that flaws are okay and the point is to be a good person, not a perfect one. I feel like I've been very close in my own mind lately, that I need to expand and breathe and relax into my own life a bit. It's an interesting phenomenon. I'm glad I'm reading this book right now.

Dad called me today to discuss James's genetic testing results. James called Monday to tell me about it, disrupting the night's plan of work. I've just now caught up to what I was planning to do then. If I understand him correctly (and he understood the doctor correctly), he's a cystic fibrosis carrier. The doctor says this may or may not be the cause of his pancreatitis; some mutations in the CF gene are codominant (most are recessive, meaning that one mutated gene is okay, but codominant means that one mutated gene will produce some effects, though not as many as having two mutated genes) and CF does involve the pancreas but he almost certainly got the gene from Dad, and Dad's family, and nobody has had James's sort of internal troubles that we know of.

"I don't really know what CF is," he said, so I told him a little about it--bodily defects, lung problems, diabetes, malnutrition, sterility, and constant pneumonia and bronchitis symptoms are what it amounts to, though I didn't go into all that--and that I planned to get myself tested. "James said his doctor said it was mostly passed down on the male side," he said, which is contrary to what I know--cystic fibrosis is an autosomal disease--so I said either he was mistaken or I had misunderstood what the results actually were.

"When is CF diagnosed?" he said, and I said usually at infancy. "Then Abby (James's daughter) probably doesn't have it," he said, in relief. Two of my cousins were already tested when a cousin on their dad's side died of CF, so it's just the last two cousins who need to know--based on current information they have a 25% chance of being carriers. James didn't specifically say to disseminate the information, but he didn't say not to, and it's a family concern.

He's going to tell Mom about it when he's there to explain it--he's on a business trip currently--and I'm going to call when he's home to tell Mom about my test results, that I have a blocked oviduct and I'll be taking medication, so that he can help explain that. I'm not that bad at explaining things but she does seem to understand quickest when Dad tells her things; the habit of thirty years of listening to him, I expect.

I was feeling very anxious and cranky about all this yesterday, which is why I didn't catch up on any work. I'm still out of sorts today, in an odd way I haven't experienced before. It's not quite like PMS (though I'm due for it), and it's not quite like the depression I had in 2004. It's more ephemeral, more trivial, more flat-affect than bad-affect, but it's still been preventing me from doing things. However, I'm hoping that's at an end starting tomorrow.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Adult 2.0

We talked this past weekend, Eric and I, about Adult 2.0. It started out talking about money: now that he's got a paycheck again (yay!) we're figuring out what to do with money. Our plan is to pay off his student loans over the next year, which leaves us approximately $400 a month for savings and $400 a month for fun, based on the premise that my salary will continue to pay all our regular bills and his is therefore available for semidisposable items. "Fun" includes travel, gifts, and clothing, so it's not the riches we first felt it was, but it's much better than our budget over the past eight months of $0. (Not that we didn’t exceed that.)

We're also discussing what to do with the savings, and whether we should buy stock since it's low right now. And then there's the planned move: where are we going? When do we start job-hunting? When do we put the house up for sale? And then there's the hope of kids: what if I get pregnant such that we move halfway through? What about medical insurance? What kind of life insurance can Eric get? When do we need wills drawn? What about household management and the chores we neglect as it is?

Adult 1.0 was when I was in grad school and (more) when I was living in Dayton: I was an adult, I had an income and monthly bills, and I managed my own household. But it was a household of one, and decisions I made affected me and only me. Money was easy: when I spent less than I made, the extra went into a savings account. A growing savings account meant I was doing well.

I'm not sure when Eric moved from 1.0 to 2.0, since he was married before but it sounds like their household wasn't very well organized, but it happened for me when (a) I got engaged to Eric and (b) I put my savings into a CD. Two simple things, but they meant that (a) my responsibilities were to someone else and therefore more complex and (b) I realized that money is more complicated than addition and subtraction. Then came household management, and dealing with emergencies, and all those other things; and I feel fully entrenched in 2.0 now. It's complicated, but I know enough now to handle it, plus all the other things that make up my life--hobbies and family and such.

I wonder if other people feel this way, even if they don't put it in software terms.I assume 3.0 comes with kids, but I won't know until we get there. Maybe it's a 2.3 patch.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Sweet tooth

My tooth is fixed, and my sense of drama happily failed me; the dentist concluded I had "plenty of tooth left" and just smoothed and filled it. It meant I was numb for our first dinner out in several months, at a local Chinese-American restaurant , but that was okay. The numbness wore off before the food actually got to the table, anyway. I don't know if my metabolism is picking up or they used the cheap stuff; normally it takes more than three hours to completely go away.

I made this pumpernickel bread over the weekend. Except for being way too salty, it was pretty good, but not better the rye recipe I tried out of Local Breads that contains no cocoa or molasses. I'll try one of those this week. Plus focaccia: semolina focaccia with tomatoes and basil. It looks like summer's drawing to a close, so I'd better enjoy it while I can.

We're stocked up on sandwich bread; I'm one or two iterations away from Eric's ideal rye sandwich loaf if he stops moving the goalposts, and I've got Harvest Wheat and Honey Wheat recipes (it was Honey Wheat Berry, but the berries are too big for my liking; cracked wheat works better) that we're happy with, so we are pretty much a bakery-independent household. I haven't made hamburger buns yet--that's one of the few holdouts--but I found some recipes and I don't see why it would be hard, not when I made some ciabatta rolls not long ago that turned out to be excellent with burgers (veggie burgers, anyway) and were pretty easy to make. Eric wants me to try making pasties, and I want to try making Pizza Bites, and if we're staying here for Thanksgiving I'm totally making this. Maybe even if we're not, if Thanksgiving isn't actually at Mom and Dad's--I could do this if we were going elsewhere, but probably not if the kitchen were full of other Thanksgiving trappings.

I've been doing a lot of crafting lately (still haven't finished the damned summer quilt, but I will, very soon, honestly) and not a lot of writing. I’m envisioning my life as a vase that I filled with pretty little bits and bobs, and now that I have something big I want to put in it, it won't fit because all the pretty knickknacks are in the way. Unfortunately I've promised to finish a few things (including a quilt for my brother for Christmas) so I can't quit entirely, but this needs fixing. I felt this way last year, as I recall. That's not good. I suggested I could publish a book of quilting patterns and Eric said it would never work because the patterns would be too intimidating, which is at least flattering.

Friday, September 12, 2008

The evil of all roots.

"Part of my tooth just fell out," I told my boss. He cringed; I went on, "I'm going to the dentist at three-thirty to get it checked out." He did not object. I would say "Woo, leaving early on Friday!" only my keen sense of drama tells me that I will shortly be told I need a root canal, principally because this exact thing--except for the boss-horrifying--happened to Eric about two months ago. Happily, we can afford it now (woohoo for a DINK household!) so aside from the hassle it's not a huge deal. I was rather hoping to spend Eric's first paycheck on something more fun, though.

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Adventures in infertility: HSG

(Note: TMI.)

I had my HSG this morning. Once I found the right department (radiology) and was routed to an entirely different department (cardiology) to register--hospitals don't seem to believe that they have patients who have never been there before and don't know the procedures--it went smoothly. I was double-bagged in two hospital gowns, one opening in front, the other in back. I sat in the little radiology room while we waited for my gynecologist, and then when everything was set up, me on the table with my knees apart and a tenaculum clinging to my cervix, we waited for the radiologist. "He'll be right there," reported the nurse/technician/my best friend throughout the process.

"They always say that," said the gynecologist. "I always want to go attach a tenaculum to their scrotum. Then we'll wait as long as you like!"

At length the radiologist came and the procedure--consisting entirely of depressing the plunger, adding more dye, and depressing the plunger again--began. The radiologist completely blocked my view while it was ongoing, but once the assembly had been pulled out of me and the camera was put away, they showed me my innards as seen by X-ray. The uterus is fine, the left tube is fine, the right tube is blocked. That seems about right to me; I generally feel more activity on the left down there. "So we know we've got one to work with," the gynecologist concluded. "Next cycle we'll get you on some Clomid and go from there. Your husband had an SA, right?"

"Yes. Everything normal except a slightly low count."

"Then all the more reason to go on the Clomid. We've got to give him more to bat at."

The gynecologist left; my best friend cleaned up and told me she was on Clomid, too, and waited for me to get up. Which I did, four times; the first three I got dizzy and my ears closed, and I laid right back down. Eventually she gave me some juice and a cold compress and the fourth try took.

I was told to take the day off to rest; from what I'd read I figured that was unnecessary but wasn't going to argue. I feel both ways about it now. I'm okay, and I could certainly be sitting at my desk at work, but there's some residual weirdness and weakness (solely from my complete wussiness when it comes to medical procedures--I do the same thing when I give blood and I despise my weakness, but I don't seem to be able to do anything about it) and I'm glad to be able to stay home the rest of the day. So, I shall go bake bread and read and enjoy my sick day.