Tuesday, October 28, 2008

On watercolor quilting

There's no picture of the Summer Sunrise quilt because I'm ashamed of it. It's mainly the sky. This was supposed to be a watercolor quilt, done in low resolution (six-inch squares), and the green in the hills looks fine because I used different patterns and tones, but for the sky I just used one type of fabric for each color (orange to yellow to tan to blue to dark blue) and it looks awful. It'll do for now because it's under another blanket, but I'm going to have to make us another summer quilt and give this one away.

James's quilt is the same technique, but done better. I used lots of different fabrics, and it looks more natural and graded and interesting. Still very color-saturated--I guess my stash tends toward that--but that's not a bad thing. This one I'm not ashamed of.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Adventures in infertility: Mr. Hyde has left the building

I started taking Clomid yesterday, per my doctor's orders. (Also, the day before that I called both my doctor and the local fertility clinic, to coordinate scheduling for getting a specimen from Eric and getting my ultrasound/Profasi/IUI set up. I much prefer the local fertility clinic's phone manner. The woman I spoke with was helpful, knowledgeable, and happy to explain each step of what I needed. The people at the doctor's office recognize my name--or the one woman does, anyway--but only give me useful information when I pull it out of them.) They're supposed to be taken the same time every day, and I decided noon sounded good.

I eyed the first one nervously before I popped it in my mouth. I'm not liking this part of the IUI prep, especially since I ovulate just fine. It feels too manipulative. Too steak-tastes-better. Also, I looked up the side effects and feared them: mood swings, uncontrollable crying, cramping, hot flashes, nausea, itchiness, headaches, exhaustion. I told Eric this list and apologized in advance. However, I took it. I waited a moment, said to myself, "No noticeable behavioral differences," and went about my day.

After a few hours I noticed that I was more aware of my female inner workings than I usually am at this time of month, but no actual pain, and it went away. Today, a slight headache that might be due to not enough to drink. Nothing else. Eric's moodier than I am. I'm still a bit wary, but feeling decently hopeful that this won't be such a big deal.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Not really a misnomer. Really!

I get defensive about this every fall. I would like to inform Midwesterners and East Coasters: Red Delicious apples really do taste good--in Washington. I've had one fresh from a tree in a local orchard here in Toledo, and it was tasteless. They're widely reviled here as lumps that don't deserve the name of apple, and given the opportunity to taste them here I can't blame these people, but it's not the poor apple's fault. It's evidently a terroir thing, made worse by the globalization of food markets and the marketable name (like 'Beautiful Rushmore Caverns' in South Dakota, I suppose). But in their proper environment the Red Delicious is a good apple. Honestly!

Tuesday, October 21, 2008



I've just left the government center, having been told that their website is totally misleading and what I want is in another castle, and decide to try walking to the Board of Elections building where I can vote early. Four blocks later I realize this isn't going to work, and I start heading back. As I'm walking, a brown car pulls alongside me, then climbs halfway up the sidewalk and paces me.

I think I see a female passenger (Eric asked me later why this was important) and it's plain daylight and there are people around, so I'm not terribly concerned; I just move out of easy reach and keep walking. The brown car gets stuck behind another car, and the light turns red, and I cross and start walking back towards my car.

I stop to read the Constitutional Amendments statue-type thing by the sidewalk. Someone hollers behind me, "I love you!!" I'm not sure whether he's talking to me or not, because I don't look back, but I turn the wrong way up a one-way street and the brown car doesn't follow.


"I want to know if the cystic fibrosis test covers a particular mutation," I tell the woman who answered the hospital's telephone.

"Okay, well, I can see if the system will tell me," she says dubiously. She looks. She finds nothing. "Sorry. But I can give you the number of the lab that does it, MLabs. --Wait. Where are you calling from?"

"My cell phone," I say, cautiously.

"I mean, are you a patient or what?"

I explain my situation. She says, "Okay. Because I'm not supposed to give you medical information if you're not a physician. Like, I can't give you this information because I'm not a physician either. There's a law that says I can't give this to you."

"But I'm not asking for advice," I say. "I just want to know a detail about the procedure."

"I'm sorry, but I can't tell you that. I can't even give you the number. It's my job, I have to obey this law."

I realize there's no use arguing, so I get her to repeat the name of the lab and tell me the city they're located in. I say sweetly, "Then I'll call them myself. Thanks for your help." I call the lab and they're perfectly helpful. I hope that the woman worries all night about whether or not she should have given me the lab's name and city.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Suddenly I'm more interested in the details of Obama's healthcare plan.

Now it's even more important that I straighten things out with the insurance company regarding my HSG. To wit: the $535 was just for my doctor to show up. The hospital's bill is $3,087. However I got no notice from Anthem about it, which suggests that the hospital didn't even try sending it to insurance. So I'm talking to them about that first. And if there's nothing I can do on that front, I'm going to talk to them about financing, because we don't have that much money. (Unless we take it out of our stocks, but that's a really bad idea right now. Putting it on a credit card would honestly be better. Yuck.)

I had my first interview today, for a real estate profile I'm doing for a local paper. I'd answered a Craigslist ad looking for local freelance writers, and this is my trial assignment. It went okay, though I did not feel polished or penetrating or anything particularly good, and the interviewee treated me like I knew something, which is the important bit, I think.

Tonight I'm writing up the article because this weekend is to be very busy with other freelance work (for the company that Jade introduced me to). This weekend Eric has no plans, so I'm hiring him to design a business card for me, because I felt foolish when my interviewee handed me his card and I had nothing to give him. I think it's time to go get a DBA. I don't know that it will help me or make me look more professional, but it'll be a nice shiny new toy for fairly cheap, and that would be a nice thing.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Close encounters

Thursday or Friday of last week, I was driving home in crawling traffic, listening to NPR, as has been my wont ever since Eric accused me of knowing too little about current events. (He was not entirely wrong.) Crawl, crawl, crawl, thunk. The car behind me had hit me. We got out; the driver, a woman a little younger than me, apologized profusely. She noticed the dent in my bumper and gasped, "Did I do that?"

"No, that was already there," I said. There was no damage to my car, just a license-plate-shaped smudge in the dirt, so I shrugged, she apologized once more, and we got back in our cars.

Today I was driving home, listening to NPR, thinking about whether we should buy stocks since everyone else was probably going to. I stopped at a light and fished out some trail mix from the Eric Hypoglycemia Emergency Stash. Chew, chew, chew, thunk. This one was a little harder. I got out and the driver, male this time, said, "Are you all right? I'm so sorry! I saw cars moving in the other lane and just started going." He looked at the dent in my bumper and said, "Did I do that?"

"No, that was from before," I said, and we examined the bumper. There were a couple of slight scratches this time, but not enough to be noticeable under the dirt or worry me, so after another apology and another "Are you sure you're all right?" we got back in our cars. It vaguely amuses me that both people thought they could be responsible for a dent in the side of the bumper when they hit me straight on. Could I have said "Yes" and gotten a free bumper repair out of it? Probably their insurance companies would be smarter than that. However, I feel sure that either I will myself get into an accident before long and be forgiven, or have a third person hit me even harder than the second one, and this third person will buy me a new bumper.

Thursday, October 09, 2008

Status check

Current status: Furious at the insurance company. When I called to check whether they would cover the HSG, they said they would. Now they say they don't touch anything with the word 'infertility' on it. Dad suggests filing a complaint with the company and the insurance general (never heard of this, but I'll go find out). It was $535, so I think it's worth it to spend the time--I already submitted an informal complaint through their "Contact Us" page, but I'll check my paperwork and see what I need to do for a formal one.

Also, they don't do CF carrier testing unless a relative actually has CF, not just results indicating he's a carrier. Even though that's effectively the same situation minus the tragedy. Also, we need an official letter from Eric's new insurance company before my company will take him off of mine. $%!@*&$ bureaucracy.

Michelle was over last night while the mothers were at a seminar. She did a little spinning while I worked on my quilt templates; then she said, "I’m bored. I'd rather talk," and proceeded to tell me all about her tumultous relationship with her erstwhile best friend. I don't think she realizes that they're not best friends anymore, even though she sounded like she was describing a failing marriage, but she was doing at least a little metacognition: "I'm sorry to spill all this. But if you don't mind--it's nice to be able to talk about it."

I finished one sock of the pair intended for Mom yesterday. It's going in the wash this weekend to see if it shrinks--if not, I may have to redo it. I also need some good instructions for left-handed Kitchener stitch. Maybe I'll sit down with some easier-to-use yarn and figure it out myself.

We looked at our Ameritrade account yesterday. We really shouldn't have. We've lost almost six thousand dollars. Luckily we don't need the money; but we're definitely going to build up some savings in the bank before we do any serious investing. Though I do keep talking about upping our 401k contributions and buying some stock, since it's nice and cheap now. Eric wonders how much cheaper it will get. When the stock market starts going back up will there be a sudden upswing as everyone realizes now is the time to buy, or will most people be skittish and wary?

Slightly relatedly, I'm waiting on a small freelancing check from the company I'm scheduled to do a crazy amount of work with in two weekends. No check, no work. I'm sure my contact knows this; she's talking to the accounting person herself to make sure it gets to me. I'm also waiting on three potential nibbles on other gigs, but not very hopeful about any of them.

Status: life as usual. I want a vacation.

Monday, October 06, 2008

Turnover rate

I made apple butter and apple turnovers yesterday. The turnovers were something I'd never tried before, but I've been looking for something to replace the Fudgy Rounds Eric loves to take to work with him and I had lots of apples, so I gave them a shot. They're good. Eric loved them. "We should take some to the mothers," I said. "We could take them the recipe," he said.

Today, I made more. The original recipe only made eight, and we gave three to the mothers and sampled three more throughout the day. Eric brought one to work for after his faculty meeting and told me he was daydreaming about it halfway through the meeting. Who knew that handheld apple pies would be such a hit?

I tried out a cooked filling this time, because if it works well we're going to can a bunch of filling for later use. The first batch also had quite a few split seams and runny spots, so I took more care shaping the turnovers this time, pressing the crust together and crimping it carefully with a fork, then carefully trimming the edges away. I couldn't shake the feeling that I get once in a while since I got married, that this is something I'm going to be doing a lot in the coming years, that what I'm doing now is the foundation of a family tradition in the future. It's a strange feeling. But I like it.

Saturday, October 04, 2008

Saturday, Saturday

Maybe I don't have a quilt design for James's quilt. I mean, I do, but the dragon-woven-into-the-design thing didn't work out the way I thought it would. I thought to do a test patch, for once, to test this out, and I'm glad I did. But it still means I'm not sure what I want to do. Switch entirely? Remove the dragon and keep the quilt simple? Find another way to weave the dragon in?

In other news, I met with an editor of a local business paper today to discuss doing freelance assignments. I think it mostly went well; he gave me some sample papers to read and asked me to send an e-mail with my interest in doing a trial assignment. I've got my fingers crossed.

I bought a half-bushel of apples at the farmer's market today ($10; at Andersons there were pecks for sale for $6) that I'm going to use tomorrow for apple butter, apple turnovers, and possibly apple cake. We also bought about three hundred dollars' worth of clothes for the two of us. Yikes. But we needed it (Eric especially), and we can afford it now, which I think actually makes me happier than the actual buying of things does.

Friday, October 03, 2008


"I'm not sure what I'm planting in the garden next year," I said last night. "But I should probably act like we're going to be here an extra year."


"Well, maybe it would be a selling point--but then, if things are bad enough that a vegetable garden is a big selling point, we're probably not going to be able to sell the house."

"My mom asked me about that earlier," Eric said. "She wanted to know if we'd considered the economy regarding our plans to move. I said of course we had, we're not idiots. Only not in those words. I said yes, we've discussed it. That we've been discussing it off and on for months."

"Did she bring up her contention that we'll never move? Or that we won't come back?"

"That was the other mother," he said. "But no, she didn't mention that. She was just asking if we'd thought about it. Especially if we're going to be spending all this money to try to make sure we have a kid soon."

"Moving with a newborn would not be fun," I said. "Neither would moving while eight months pregnant."

"Right. So next year is going to be complicated."

"I think..." I said. "I think we're probably going to end up staying an extra year. But I'm not willing to give up yet."

"That's fine," Eric said. "We'll wait and see. We could always put the house on the market and see what happens. And maybe things will get better after the election."