Sunday, December 28, 2008

Material Girl

Though I am living in a material world and I am a material girl... I love home-made gifts. SERIOUSLY - nothing better than a home made gift.

I got this very cute ornament of my little nephew - a photo of him on his molded hand print. Thankfully, my SIL is super creative and knows that I treasure these ornaments.

How cute is Ella? I usually get ornaments each year - these are my absolute faves for this year. Ella also started saying - HO HO HO - Merry Christmas (which comes out like kissmiss)

Another ornament that happens to be a bit older - This guy is my mascot from my Alma mater - University of Redlands - GO BULLDOGS

Another very special ornament.
Duane's parents dog passed away, last year shortly after Thanksgiving. D had the honor of accompanying Button's during her final moments and her passing. I purchased a little ornament last Christmas when her passing was still quite fresh in our minds and hearts.

Cool hand made Christmas, our title for this year. Did you know when you have a clothesline, you are supposed to have something to hold the pins in, so they are handy. Nope, neither did I. I know it looks like a cute little dress but it's really a cute little pin holder for my clothesline that is supposed to go up next Spring.
My MIL has a friend back in Wisconsin who sews these by hand. I love the print of the fabric.
Like my Irish flag in the background?

Best home-made gift of Holiday 2009
A photo collage of my niece and nephew in the shape of a wreath.

There were a few other gifts such as the Wii, the Roomba-iRobot vacuum and the running watch I have been wanting that made there way under our tree this year.

One less thing to do - our robot will now clean our floors. Now if only we could get one to do the dishes and laundry.

We had a few very unwelcome visitors that took residence (HAHAHAHA - not referring to my inlaws) in our kitchen for the past five days. I have killed so many ants that I fear they will come back in the middle of the night in attack my brain via my nostrils and ear canals.

Our new(Wii-friendly) living room configuration

There was one Wii-related injury and of course it happened to my MIL. C'mon, you knew that was coming right? While bowling playoffs she decided to take her shoes off, keeping her socks on and ended up sliding on the carpet doing the splits and resulting in a pulled or torn hamstring. OUCH. It was painful to watch and listen to.

While we were happy to see my in-laws, we had no idea they were going to stay through.THE.ENTIRE.HOLIDAY. Yes, they just left this morning. They stayed with friends of theirs who happen to live across the street from us so while we had limited privacy in the evenings, we were basically together 24/7. Oh, joy. I knew I had a spa appointment scheduled on Friday with a good friend and I nearly wept when she called to cancel early Friday morning. I contemplated on going by myself however that seemed rude. Bye - I'am off to the spa and no one else is invited.

When my in- laws pulled their car out of our driveway this morning I thought there about some award, I am sure there is one out there that I should receive for not going completely bat-shit crazy after spending so much time with two people in a limited space. We did have some great moments and I am trying to really concentrate on those instead of the others (many, others). For instance, it was great to have our tire guy so happy to see her when we stopped in to have him look at what we believe is a very slow leak. He pushed us to the front of the line and we were on our way in 20 minutes (and 15 bucks later).

Well, that is all for now - I am off to go play landscape architect and clip ideas for our outdoor living space that we plan to start working on soon.

Friday, December 26, 2008

Hold me now

YAY - it's over, done, fini.

I am so freaking happy to have this holiday, out of the way. Due to the influx of family and excessive holiday merriment, D and I decided to have a date tonight. We hopped in the car and turned on the radio and you know - I was a little sad to hear something other than a cheery holiday tune. Instead, KOST 103.5 was cranking out the muzak they are known for. Before Chris De Burgh could start to sing about "The Lady in Red" I quickly hit play to start whatever cd had been left. I had forgotten that I had left a best of the 80's cd and so D and I rocked out to Gary Numan singing "Here in my car" - such a great song, ahhhh the synthesizers are just so 80's even though the song came out in 79.


Using a holiday gift card, we decided to travel to a busy shopping center filled with people who were also escaping the wrath of holiday gift-giving, recovering from food induced comas and overdoses of ham and turkey as well, where one of our favorite pizza places is located. Swiftly, we maneuvered through the bar area and scanned the room looking for an empty table, chair or really anything stationary that we could prop our selves up against whist pigging out on pizza washed down with some beer for D and a glass of wine for me.

D heard his name called and we turned our heads to see who it was. We headed in the direction of an acquaintance and his lady friend who subsequently offered us to sit with them at their table. We barely know these people, however, we were starving and knew there was a 35 minute wait for a regular table and the bar area was jam packed, we cautiously accepted thinking - how bad could this be? HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA
Bizarre, no that's not the word. Awkward, no that's not the word. For the first five minutes, the conversation ebbed and flowed, politely. Then, something happened and I can quite tell you what was said or when it all went south but somewhere between ordering our food and receiving it, D and I were wondering how fast we could escape this *ordeal*. The couple was really nice to let us sit with them and honestly - I feel horrible about ragging on them but as Jules likes to say Something was really screwy in St. Louis. Lady friend of acquaintance had the most obnoxiously loud laugh that could be heard throughout the bar and mentioned several times that she knew it annoyed people. Um, ok??? She went on to tell me that she had been let go from her job as a branch manager of check cashing store for showing co-workers her tattoo - ON HER ASS. Wait- it gets better or worse- however you want to look at it. Throughout the conversation I heard how she wanted to focus on her art now ( I could not bare to know what medium she worked with) , visit her daughter in Alaska and got a heavy dose of some personal detail of her life. As much of a total nut job that this lady was - I have to tell you. Like moss on a damp rock, she kind of grew on me, at the end of the conversation she mentioned how she was in this horrific car accident that left her in a coma for 2 weeks ( at this point, I am thinking to myself - fact, fiction - who knows? Even if she is making this up- wow, she's very creative) and it took her a year to learn how to do the most basic of tasks - such as walking. She was incredibly open about her process and in the end she mentioned that it put everything and continues to put everything into perspective.
Somehow, we got back to the subject of her children and she mentioned she her first child had been given up for adoption to an amazing couple in Los Angeles during the early 80's. She recounted very personal details and I thanked her for sharing her story with me. I told her that giving up a child to a couple who could not have one of their own is to give the most amazing gift of love and sacrifice ever.
She did that laugh, I felt uncomfortable. Was she just messing with my head? They didn't know about our struggles with IF
D, quickly, paid our bill and went to help me with my coat when she pulled me back to her and kissed my hand. We thanked them for inviting us to sit with them and wished them a Happy New Year. D opened the door for me and as we excited we looked at each other wondering what the hell just happened.
People come into our lives for many reasons, this I know for sure. Lady friend came into my life to remind me that a child is a gift and instead of focusing on becoming a parent, I think I need to redirect my focus on making a difference in the life of a child. I have been so wrapped up in our feelings about infertility, our feelings about not being a priority to family members because we don't have children that I fear I lost some focus.
While nature reminds me each month that I am supposed to give birth and my body was designed to carry a baby, my heart and mind know the truth. Our quest to become parents was not just a goal to accomplish, a task to check off some life - to do list it. Our goal has been simple - a child to love and share our lives with.
As we climbed back into the car, my favorite song from the Thompson Twins came on and D squeezed my hand. Not missing a word we sang each word loudly to "Hold me Now".

Monday, December 22, 2008


I don't really keep track of many milestones regarding our little angel aka Baby Brickel. I was reminded *accidentally* by an office co-worker (who got pregnant the same week I did ) that it was her baby's first Christmas.

Yeah - it was like pulling a knife out of my heart.

Coincidentally, two office staff - who happen to be pregnant were in earshot as I mumbled something to a different co-worker about the significance and suddenly they vanished into thin air. They were talking about comparing cribs, bedding and new furniture they were looking at as well as the new cars they would be buying. I can totally appreciate their excitement however after that reminder of *baby's first Christmas* I was done.

This happened Friday afternoon with about 20 minutes left of work and honestly I was so drained, it didn't hit me until I got in the car and seconds later, my cell rang and it was my mom. My mom barely got 2 words in before I spewed the flood of emotions while crying. What I was saying was anyone's guess - I can't even recall now as I type this. My mom, who is pretty amazing by the way, reminded me that while she doesn't bring our loss up - EVER she does think about the baby every.

I was happy to arrive home, into the arms of D who held me so tight while giving me the 95 gazallionith pep talk about us one day becoming parents.

It's moments like these that I remember to be grateful for the gift of having the world's best mom and a husband who deserves some kind of medal for putting up with my emotional wackiness. I always try to find something positive about an experience that is completely miserable. I am not completely Pollyanna , I can be sullen, moody and quite negative at times however, with this recent event I can appreciate how holidays are not always the most joyous and celebratory occasions for a lot of people.

It is a painful lesson of both tolerance and acceptance.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Foundation for a better life

There is so much junk on TV and then there is this...

watch it

Tuesday, December 16, 2008


So... we are going to formally tell the agency tomorrow that we are going to pass on "M". Yes, I am guilt ridden however our gut feeling is to decline. There are a number of reasons - let me share.

I have a big plan. Ok, it's not a BIG plan but it is my plan and I plan to make things happen. Yes, I am throwing it out there to the big wide world universe that 2009 is going to be my (and all of my sweet blog friends, IRL friends and family) year. Nothing but conquering personal goals and waves of non-medicated happiness floating endlessly through each day.

My plan is continue working at my job ( however long they will keep me, which is a complete blessing in this economy) until I pass the CSET. Once I pass the CSET, I plan to infiltrate the local school districts with my resume and hopefully sign a contract for the 2009-2010 school year. In a perfect world or my dream world, I would pass the CSET, sign a contract and receive a child to adopt somewhere around April/May so I could quit my job to allow time off to bond with new child and prepare to start my new career.

So - there it is. My big plan, well one of them anyway - I have many. You should hear them. Stick around and read my blog a little while longer and I promise to share them.

Back to M- it's just not good timing on our end and of course I don't want to share my big plan with the agency for fear they will push us so far off the back burner we might just fall off the stove top. Bottom line - I create my own chaos and right now I am in a controlled chaotic state and it's a struggle.

Additionally, we have received alot of information about M and while we would be a great match - he is going to need a lot of attention and I fear that we cannot do that between my job, school and D who happens to be working out of town on a long term job, projected to last another 2 possibly 3 months.

Yes, my heart is a little broken over this right now. D is sad also.

Ok so let me end on a slightly upbeat note and share a sweet gesture of kindness from our agency. They sent us a holiday greeting card. It had an ornament that was shaped like their logo which happened to be broken and as I opened the card thoughts of the girls came back quick and fierce. A target gift card jumped out of the envelope as I was struggling to get the pieces of the ornament out of the envelope and I was overwhelmed with appreciation and thoughtfulness.

It really is the thought that counts.

Thursday, December 11, 2008


I love this card....

#1 My Grandma is doing really well and has been moved to the rehab section of the hospital. The staff on her floor gave her a little card and presented it to her yesterday. How sweet? I discovered a neat little service where you can send email messages to patients. I alerted my Grandma who is NOT wired or internet savvy to be on the look out for a surprise I sent her from my computer. She giggled.

There are still many other layers and she has such a long journey, I am filled with alot of emotion just writing about it.

Ok - onto item #2 - I find out next Thursday when I will graduate. God, please let it be next June. I am approaching burn out and will feel much better once I can see the light at the end of the tunnel.

#3 - We got a call from the agency,honestly - I was beginning to get a little perturbed. It is still really early and there is not much I can disclose. It's a boy and he is 6 years old, we'll call him "M". We will probably fly up to Northern CA in January to meet him. The good news is that his.26 hearing is very close. Cautiously optimistic.

#4 - My power adaptor finally came in and I am back on my laptop. YAHOOOOOO.

#5 - Merry Christmas to me - My in laws are staying with us for two nights (Christmas Eve and Christmas Day). BREATHE.BREATHE.BREATHE.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008


How cute are the holiday commercials for Target? I want all the kiddos in each commercial.
OK, back to homework. Hope all is well with you.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Heroes of green

Though it's from 2007, I think this piece is still poignant. I've always loved Barneys, New York, if I had a huge money tree in my backyard I would spend most of it there. The above picture is one of their cool holiday windows in NYC.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Weekend update

First, thank you everyone for the really nice comments about the last post, your support was paramount to maintaining my sanity in the last week.

Second, Grandma made it through the amputation.
I left the house Friday morning at 4:52 AM, it was like, scary dark outside and cold. I cranked up the seat warmers that I get to use about 5 times a year and scanned the radio for something good to listen to. I needed to hear voices, preferably something funny to get my mind off of things. An LA radio station that D listens to alot (I stick to NPR or CD's) plays "past moments" before they are live at 6:00 AM and I got to hear about an hour of an interview with Cheech and Chong.

I grew up listening to many *questionable*, possibly inappropriate things - one of the coolest aspect of having two hippies for parents. Cheech and Chong were part of the scene in our house, my parents spoke about them like they knew them and were just two crazy uncles that we had never met. Hearing their voices brought back some really cool moments I had spent with my mom and dad. There were nights we would sit around the living room and listen to Dr. Demento, Frank Zappa and Cheech & Chong, on the stereo.

After an hour into the ride, I had lost the signal to the radio station in LA - I was totally bummed. I hit traffic, fog and encountered several nut job drivers that were in touch with their inner evil Knievel. I arrived at the hospital an hour before Grandma was to be scheduled for surgery thinking that even if they took her a 1/2 hour early I would still get to at least *see* her.

I had just parked my car in the garage and was running into the lobby when my cell rang. It was my Uncle Larry who said "They just took her in". CRAP.... I literally missed seeing her by about 2 minutes. She was in an incredible amount of pain so they took her an hour early.

This hospital has a group of really nice volunteers who realize that the lobby is filled with people waiting on pins and needles for - ANY NEWS RELATING TO THEIR LOVED ONE. Two nice ladies came up and informed us of the drill, basically stating that they would let us know when Grandma was out of surgery. There was a piano player cranking out holiday tunes to try to mask the tension filled room. In an effort to calm people's nerves they had a therapy dog roaming around for people to pet. The odd fellow, accompanying the pooch, wore the largest shark or whale tooth around his neck, along with a fake beard, Santa hat and shorts that were about 2 sizes too small. I couldn't get into the whole - let's try to lift everyone's spirits. Maybe it's the Catholic in me. I went through this discussion with Jules the other day - there are places where you just need to be meditative and contemplative, Church, yoga and I am afraid the hospital lobby is one of them. Surgeons would pop in and out to update family members and it really reminded me of the last time I was at the VW dealership. Same premise, this is what was wrong, this is what we fixed - don't forget to grab a latte. It was odd.

My Aunt Patty joined us in the lobby and waited along with us. My Uncle is a bit of a celebrity at this hospital and is the only known member of Grandma's entourage. The flock of grey hairs came over to let us know Grandma was out of surgery. I was quick to point out to my aunt that the tone in their voice was not as *bubbly* as the previous update from the lady sitting a short distance away. I was certain that bad news was eminent and happy to be proved wrong. The surgeon came out and gave us the skinny: surgery went well, significant amount of blood loss but not too much and we should see her in a few hours. The hospital was jam packed and they were waiting for a bed for her. The surgery lasted about 3 hours, you know - the same surgery that my Grandma told me would last, at the very most, 45 minutes. I watched my Aunt and Uncle's expressions on their faces. While this news and my feelings and emotions were raw, from my perspective this was news regarding my grandparent. From their vantage point, news regarding their mom. There is a certain level of sensitivity that comes into play and chain of command to be followed. I am careful to make my love and support known while not stepping on toes. We were grateful for the doctor and feeling very thankful.

We all got on our cell phones to call other family members and my dad was quick to shoot an email out for those who were working. My Aunt left to go and see my Grandpa then Uncle Larry and I ran down to the cafeteria. Time went very slow in the lobby, I had my school books to keep my company while my Uncle spent time reading the newspaper and magazines. We would take breaks and start conversations, here and there. Noon rolled around and we decided that it was time to stretch our legs and that we shouldn't leave together, instead staggering our lunch breaks - he went from 12-1 and I would go from 1-2. At 1:45 PM I was headed back from lunch, walking up a very steep hill when the phone rang. It was my Uncle calling to tell me that Grandma was in room 511. YAY.

Finally, I get to see her. I walked up to her room and she was loopy from the drugs still. The blanket covering the area that once was a leg. We didn't talk about it.

We joked about the hospital food and the location of her room. She was located at the end of the hall - this would be good for the crowd of people she would probably have visiting her. Doctors came in and out to check on her. I left for dinner around 4:45 and told her I would see her Saturday. My Uncle stayed.

Grandma had refused to eat her cucumbers in her salad so I told her we could do a little spa treatment and place them on her eyes.

She is such a trooper and I am sure the drugs helped.

Saturday was a big day for her. I walked in her room and the blanket was pulled back so everyone could see the brace and wrapped up area where the open wound is. The (SUPER HOT) physical therapist came in and told her it was time to get out of bed. She laughed. He said "I'm serious" - or something like that - I was too busy drooling. He got Grandma out of the bed which she was certain she could not do. She was amazed and everyone that phoned her during the hour that she was out of the bed got to hear all about it. She is too cute. Tomorrow she goes to the hyper-baric chamber then off to rehab.

There is a whole other layer of personal, family drama that goes along with this and will be better left off of the world wide web - I just wanted to give everyone a huge verbal hug and say thanks.

Also - a huge shout out to Alex, Jon and Bailey for hosting me Saturday night and letting me crash at their home. I had a blast at dinner and cannot thank you enough for the hospitality.

Make it a great week guys!

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Call your Grandma

If your Grams isn't around, call your mom - or someone you love and who loves you unconditionally.

This Friday, my grandma will have her foot and/or leg amputated due to complications of diabetes.

We like to call her the energizer grandma (like the bunny) she was diagnosed years ago with congestive heart failure. Stints, bypass surgery, angiograms and heart attacks all come and go. This woman has given birth 10 times, heart attack - schmar - ta -tac.

Her comments about her heart doctor still echoing inside my head "He has a very nice bedside manner and has the handsome looks of JFK Jr."

We discuss the loss of her limb and she points out the following with a chuckle: Less of me to cremate, I've never been a dancer, as long as I can get from A to B.

She states that the surgery should take anywhere from 1/2 hour -45 minutes and that she will only be in the hospital for 3-5 days. I am not sure of how much of this is true.

We briefly discuss her youngest adult child (My Aunt) who turns 42 today. Aunt P has recently moved back in with her 4 children, grandchild, boyfriend and daughters boyfriend. Did you get that? It's 9 people total - Grandma included - in a 4 bedroom house. Grandma doesn't complain about sharing her home, handing out money, making them meals and paying the mortgage each month. She mentions it's a fair trade because they take care of her. I BITE MY TONGUE and refrain from what would be a world wind of very mean yet truthful things to say about this situation. Obviously, if she was being taken care of - she wouldn't be in the situation she is currently in. While I know she loves the company she is forced to state the obvious and mutters the words "That girl of mine has to grow up".

Grandma mentions about how she was named after St. Therese. A brief history, St. Therese was born to a middle class french family of tradesmen. She was known for her child like love and trust of God. At the end of our conversation, Grandma mentioned she will have Fr. Mike at her parish give her a special blessing and pray over her before she heads to surgery. She mentioned that she has had them do this in the past however she has never shared this with me. It's fear, the fear of the unknown and her life possibly ending. I know it's a possiblility yet I am unable to wrap my mind around it or the thought of her passing as a reality. Not yet, I need more time with her.

We have a tearful good bye. I tell her that I will be around to see her either Thursday, Friday or Saturday - not sure when. She reminds me that God only gives us what we can handle. I say "Well, Grandma - he must think you are one tough cookie."

The surgery is very high risk and her overall health is not good. For all of the unconditional love she has given me, for the caring spirit wrapped in her DNA that we are so blessed to have, giving selflessly - to a fault. If I could take all of her fear away -I would, in a heartbeat.

Monday, December 1, 2008


As I close in on my first year of blogging (December 7th - Pots on Stove and December 16th - Becoming Parents) I can't help but reflect on the friendships I made and the connectedness now felt in what has been a very tumultuous, hilly ride through the land of Infertility.

I've been so impressed and amazed at how this community here comes together and can't help but scream a huge shout out to Mel - The stirrup Queen aka Lollipop Goldstein. She has compiled the most comprehensive list of known IF blogs - and they are categorized by topic. Cheers to you Mel - you have connected people to create a community in what otherwise has been a silent struggle. Words escape me and somehow the words Thank-you just don't seem to capture my gratefulness to you.

I went back and visited my very first post (have you ever done that?), it feels like a million years ago. What a journey, anyhow - I was wondering who my first comment was from and happily it is from someone I still keep in touch with. She is super cool and always sends a happy, upbeat thought my way. If you get a chance - go say hi to Ally.

Peace, love and blogland!