Baby Dreams

I lay wide awake tossing and turning trying to force myself back to sleep. The clock blinked 3:52 AM. Enough time to sneak in another cycle of REM sleep but only if my mind would stop churning….and I knew it wouldn’t.

My anxiety fulled sleeplessness was due to a doctor’s appointment I had in the morning. An appointment I had put off for months until the pit in my stomach finally became loud enough I couldn’t ignore it anymore.

I was going to the doctor because I hadn’t gotten my period for 8 months. Pregnant? No, I had packs of pregnancy tests to prove otherwise. This irregularity had happened before so I wasn’t too concerned initially. Except those past times had only been 3 or 4 months, and this felt unnervingly different. But as happens with most ailments I wanted to wait it out – convince myself this is nothing to worry about. Plus I had plenty of other things to fret over like comprehensive exams, dissertation proposals, manuscript submissions! So of course this hormonal imbalance was related to stress. That pesky grad school stress that influences everything I do. It must be the culprit. Once summer comes all will be adjusted and my hormones will realign to their necessary levels. Yes, of course this is the answer.

Yet it was August and my period did not return. I had taken relaxing vacations, reduced my work load, and fell into a healthy diet and exercise regime. One thing that was remaining were intense stomach pains. They came in waves, pinching my insides until I was doubled over in agony. These aches would last all day and then disappear the next morning as if it were never there.

The doctor’s office was a blur. The words just spilled out of my mouth as I sat there endlessly waiting for her to report something, anything back to me. And with that she said, “Based on your blood levels it appears you have Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome or PCOS. It’s very common. It’s the #1 reason for female infertility.” I couldn’t even memorize the title or let alone understand what this means, but that word infertility was already burned into my memory.

I somehow didn’t cry in front of this woman. I just stared blank face as she told me what I needed to pick up from the pharmacy. I thanked her and told her I would keep her informed of my symptoms via the highly impersonal electronic messaging system. I stepped outside and biked the rest of my way to school, sat down in my office and started working. I sent emails, I finished reports, I ran statistics. My mind was on automatic pilot – no emotions, no panic, no sadness just the dull hum like that of a robot who was programmed to dutifully complete an assignment.

And then it happened 2 whole days later. I cried, and cried, and cried, and cried until I couldn’t feel that never-ending sadness anymore. I cried for my stupidity in thinking nothing was wrong. I cried for genes I was gifted with 27 years ago that would lead me to this very point in my life. I cried for being defected like a toy with all the wrong parts. I cried for my husband who may not ever be gifted with a child who had glittery blue eyes just like his own. I cried for all those years of dreaming and planning just to be smacked in the face years later. And I cried for the innocence I lost after those words trickled out of my doctor’s mouth.

All those tears somehow forced me to create a lifeboat. I wasn’t going to drown in this misery, this feeling of ineptitude. So I picked up my sorry self, packed up my pride, courage, and sense of humor, and set out to find myself once more, or perhaps for the first time. But before I could navigate my way into this new world, I stopped and prayed. I prayed for the first time in my life (if I’m being honest I was faking it all those years before). I asked God, Allah, Buddha, or whoever was listening up above to gift me with compassion, patience, and kindness for myself.

This inner emotional turmoil was actually the catalyst for me to start writing this blog. I wouldn’t have linked the two events at the time and would have adamantly denied wanting to use social media as an outlet for my inner frustrations. But yes it’s true, I wanted to say something, say anything to anyone who would listen. So I thank you for listening, reading, commenting. Helping me process any and all of this confusion and chaos life grants every single one of us.

I wanted to share this personal story because I find the more I talk about this the more I realize how many others it affects. Not necessarily just people who have PCOS, but others who have difficulty getting pregnant, have used alternative pregnancy methods, or those who never had children of their own. It is not an easy journey we tread down. And I think I have every right to say, “this fucking sucks.” I’m allowed to feel angry, frustrated, emotional, discouraged, sad, and even hopeful at times. I refuse to ever let someone convince me I should just get over it because it will all be fine. This feels like something because it should feel like something….and this is the wonderful benefit of being alive.

Lastly I want to thank my friends and family who unknowingly gave me the courage to write this post. I cannot ever repay you with the confidence and compassion you all bring into my life.

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Posted in Good Karma, Inspiration | Tagged , , | 14 Comments

You like me! You really like me!

Well actually I know one of you like me, rather my blog that is.

Specifically my blogger friend Monica from Yellow Brick Beauty does. She was kind enough to award me a Stylish Blogger Award!

I instantly loved reading Monica’s blog because (a) she has “yellow brick” in the name and anyone who references The Wizard of Oz is good in my book, and (b) she’s a SoCal transplant working in the field of education just like myself. So head on over to her blog and check it out because well….she’s awesome πŸ˜‰

So part of this award requires me to share 7 things about myself with you. Since I’m an oversharer naturally I love these kinds of things!

1. I blush very easily. Blame it on my Irish roots, but my face goes from pale to red in less than 10 seconds. I kid you not. This blushing ability means that I am an awful liar and would be an even worse courtroom lawyer.

2. I would be perfectly happy wearing workout clothes everyday for the rest of my life. Particularly black yoga pants, they make everyone’s butt look good.

3. I have laughed so hard I’ve peed my pants (but don’t worry I didn’t in this picture)

4. I believe in karma. The more positive energy you send out into the world the more likely this will come back to you. On the flip side, rude and mean behavior will be equally returned in some form or another.

5. I have broken a table. How? Dancing on top of it. Where? In some back alley bar in Bangkok. Why? Because I was a 20-year-old idiot traveling abroad who loved to bust a move to any top 40’s hit. (I should note I still love to dance to anything with a beat at 27, but now I’m smart enough to stay on solid ground.)

6. I have only had one pet in my life, Kitty. Well actually her name was Custard after Strawberry Shortcake’s cat’s name but Custard doesn’t flow off the tongue very easily. So she became Kitty, and then eventually “Shitty Kitty” because she had the unfortunate experience of being pooped on by our neighbor’s cat, who’s name was “Pooey” coincidentally. Poor Kitty….hopefully her afterlife is proving to be less humiliating than her existence in our house.

7. My mom and my dad got remarried the same year as I did. Not remarried to each other but to two wonderful people, Beth and Mickey. Also among my 4 best friends in high school, we all got married within a year of each other. Was I a trend setter? Something in the water in 2009? Who knows, but either way there was a lot of love going around that year πŸ™‚

So there you have it, 7 completely random things about me. The second part of this award requires me to nominate other bloggers for this fabulous award:

So now you know a little more about me. No judging please πŸ˜‰

Posted in Neurotic? Why yes I am | Tagged | 1 Comment

Do’s and Dont’s of Interviewing

Interviewing is hard, stress inducing, and requires lots of energy and traveling. But at the same time it’s invigorating. You get to meet tons of new people, hear about great work going on in your field, not to mention the excitement that comes with starting a new phase of your life!

So how do you make the most of those couple hours you have with a potential employer? Here are my suggestions*

Do your research on the place. Know the key players and the basic gist of what the company is looking for.

Don’t know the brochure so well that you are spouting off lines from memory. They know their mission statement and the odds of you having the exact same wording for your future goals is highly unlikely. You know well enough to not plagiarize when writing so don’t do it speaking either.

Via exactsourcing.com

Do look professional. Brush off that black suit from your closet and whip out the pearl earrings. Now is not the day to wear those new dangly earrings and curve hugging top. First impressions do matter.

Don’t let the suit wear you. You want to be comfortable so if you’re adjusting your pants and shirt constantly you might want to get a new outfit.

Do remember this motto because this is the reason you got the interview in the first place:

Don’t respond to the question “Why a degree in child psychology?” with “I love working with children and families! I just love helping others!” I bet that is the same answer the high school graduate is saying in their undergrad applications. You’re smarter than that.

Do be as honest and real as possible. If you truly don’t know the answer to the question and don’t have training in a certain area say that. Maybe this lack of expertise on a specific topic is why you want to work there.

Don’t try to bullshit your way through an answer. Unless your very good at lying (me, I’m horrible and my face turns bright red) don’t try to concoct some crazy response when you have no clue what you’re talking about. Just don’t be that jackass.

Do be mindful of what you have on Facebook. Employers do check so if this is your profile photo you might be in some serious trouble.

 

Via dailymail.co.uk

Don’t laugh extra loud at the interviewer’s jokes. Yes it’s good to have a sense of humor but when you’re busting a gut over a joke about the weather you’ll probably come across as crazy.

Do be prepared for off the wall interview questions like “If you were an animal what would you be?” (I didn’t get this one but a friend did). And saying you want to be a bird because you could fly around is not what you want to say.

Don’t be overly agreeable with whatever the interviewer is saying. In one of my interviews we were talking things to do in the area and how there are tons of restaurants around the center. A fellow applicant remarked, “Oh my god I love restaurants!! I love eating! Ha ha ha ha (huge smile)” Wow good for you, so does the rest of the human race.

 

Via boiserealestatesoup.com

Do prepare for travel disasters. Give yourself plenty of time to get to the interview place, map out where you are parking or how to get a cab/train/plane. And if you find yourself running late make sure you have the contact information of the company to call someone.

Don’t be late. It’s very unbecoming.

Do make sure you eat something. I had a raging headache in one of my interviews because I barely had breakfast and didn’t drink enough coffee. Not smart move on my part.

 

Don’t let your jetlag show. Even if you barely got sleep the night before, are on the verge of a migraine, and have been living off granola bars for the past couple days don’t tell the interviewer about it. You will feel better another day, just suck it up right now.

In the end be yourself. You want to work in a place where you feel comfortable and get the best training for your future career. And remember these are people (not robots) you are meeting with. They too have been in this position and understand you’re nervous, but remember why they asked to meet with you in the first place.

 

*These are based off my very limited experience and not knowing if I got the position after interviewing (fingers crossed), so take these all with a grain of salt. And maybe the job your applying for actually wants you to act like an idiot so go ahead and post those drunk facebook pictures for your dream job!

Posted in How To..., I β™₯ Grad School | Tagged , | 2 Comments

Taking the Long Way Home

Oh hello friends!

My first post of 2011. A little late but life got in the way blogging. Here’s the quick wrap up of where I’ve been: flew home to Baltimore on the 23rd, Christmas came and went, played lots of hide-and-seek with my nieces, celebrated Mike’s 30th birthday on New Years Eve, had to say goodbye to Mike as he went back to Santa Barbara, took every mode of transportation (literally) around the east coast for my first round of interviews and now I’m back in Baltimore preparing for the next batch until I head back to SB on the 21st.

Busy? Yes. Exhausting? Absolutely. But it’s also exciting preparing for this next big move!

Through these crazy couples of weeks I have learned several things:

1. I’m really bad at blogging when I’m not on my normal schedule.

2. I really love Baltimore. It’s a quirky, long “o” speaking, ravens crazed, crab cake obsessed bunch that I proudly say I’m a part of. Oh and we know how to do some serious Christmas decorations.

3. I don’t like being away from my husband. Because all my interviews are on the east coast and they go until Jan 20th, I won’t be able to see my husband for close to 3 weeks. It sucks being away from him and I miss him tons. I mean wouldn’t you when he looks this cute??

4. My mom still loves to humiliate me by pointing out my ugly ornament I made in kindergarten to our entire family. Hey, at least I wasn’t eating the clay like the other kids in my class…

5. I miss these 2 little peanuts so much! They are a big reason I would like to be closer to home. I mean look at those faces!!

6. Mike and Caroline have very intense phone conversations with one another that typically consist of 5 statements:

“Oh Hey”

“How’s it going?”

“Ummm Imma little busy right now”

“Okay talk to ya lay-ter!”

“Bye”

(this same conversation happened probably 20 times)

7. And Santa really does exist…and apparently he also likes Canon Rebel cameras πŸ™‚

I’m hoping to resume semi-regular blogging this week. But no promises will be made as I’ll be traveling 4 of the days.

And check out my guest post on Making Food and Other Stuff tomorrow! Katie is hysterical and shares my love/hate for all things related to grad school. I wrote about my 4 top favorite posts on The Morningstar Project…perhaps some of your favs too??

Hope everyone had a wonderful holiday break!

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , | 8 Comments

What to get the kids?

Kids can be surprisingly tricky to buy holiday gifts for. Take my two nieces, Cate and Caroline. That’s my niece Caroline above in a sea of Christmas gifts, majority are probably for her. Do we think she might be a little spoiled? πŸ˜‰

So what do you get kids who have just about anything you could imagine already?

You have to get creative. And thankfully I read a lot of blogs by other people who are really creative and like sharing their ideas! I saw this read DIY Christmas gift idea on Then Heather Said that she made for her nephew. So simple and so cute that I knew I had to make them for Cate for Christmas!

Alphabet Blocks

What you need:

  • Wooden blocks
  • Mod Podge glue
  • Variety of colored paper
  • Paper Cutter
  • Stick-on letters

Step 1. Get as many wooden blocks as you need. I got enough I spell out Cate’s full name, which ended up being 14 blocks total. I found mine at Michael’s and they were only 99 cents each.

Step 2. Pick at least 6 different paper patterns to place on each side of the blocks. I went super girlie since the blocks are for my niece. The more fun patterns the better!

Step 3. Cut the paper to fit the sides. You want it exact so measure it before!

Step 4. Use a brush and lightly paint a layer of the Mod Podge on the wood. Pick a colored paper and press it firmly down on each side. Then add another thin layer of glue on top of the paper.

Step 5. When dry pick your letters and stick on. I found these green felt stickers, aren’t they cute?? Side note: the blocks will take a while to dry so give yourself plenty of time. I think mine took about an 1 hour and were still slightly sticky until the next day.

I ended up spelling out her name on the one side and “I Love You” on the opposite side. This will give her lots of letters to play around with and spell out other fun things as she gets older. I’ll probably put some animal figurines or little dolls with the gift to make it more fun and interactive.

This was a super fun project and so easy! And even if you claim you don’t have a crafty bone in your body, you really can’t screw this one up. And if you do, who cares! Little kids don’t care about little mistakes you make along the way. Also you can give these blocks for any holiday or celebration. A baby shower gift would be absolutely adorable. Or you could spell out any holiday, like St Patrick’s Day, and place them on your mantel. Lot’s of possibilities.

All it takes some patience and a little creativity…..and voila! A wonderful, personalized gift for your favorite child who-already-has-everything πŸ˜‰

What are you getting the little ones in your life for the holidays?

Posted in How To... | Tagged , , | 10 Comments

Being a Grinch

I hate to do this the week of Christmas but I need to complain for a second.

Just real quick, I promise. Then tomorrow I’ll jump right back into the holiday spirit.

Today was just was one of those days.

It’s day 3 of the rainstorm in Santa Barbara. I partially feel responsible for this awful weather since I complained about it being “too hot” last week. God sure does have a good sense of humor.

Today I also really, really needed to get some laundry done. Mike didn’t have any more work shirts and I was down to my last gym clothes (and they were the ones I probably should have thrown away last year). The laundry situation was even more needed today because we’re leaving this week to fly back home for the holidays.

This wouldn’t be so much of a problem if not for the fact we don’t have a washer and dryer in our apartment. Instead I have to lug my loads of laundry to my apartment’s laundry complex…in the rain.

There are a lot of things I’ve done in the rain: swimming in the ocean, playing outside as a child, kissing a high school boyfriend (in my old age I don’t kiss my husband in the rain but back then it felt very romantic ;)), and lots of running to and from my car in the rain. But laundry was a new one. Turns out you get to dress like a total crazy person when you do laundry in the pouring down rain:

This picture is deceiving because I look kind of excited to be doing laundry in the rain.

It was actually more like this:

Soaking wet sneakers

Oh it was a blast! And don’t forget the waiting in the sterile laundry room.

I found a little friend to hang out with though. He had seen better days too.

This whole experience running back and forth in the rain was just made even more joyous with the realization that my rain jacket is falling apart. The lining is literally crumbling off the shell of the jacket. What the heck North Face?? Don’t you love how you learn these things when you’re in the middle of a rainstorm?

I also noticed my brand new wreath was falling apart. Literally got it a month ago at Target! They should all be red berries, not white and red balls. The red wrapping on the balls apparently doesn’t take to kindly to the rain and dripped off the wreath like wax on a candle. And this lovely disaster was left all over my doorstep.

Target I have a bone to pick with you now….

Then things started looking up. 8 loads of laundry were done, folded, and put away nicely. Now I was ready for a yummy lunch. I was in the mood for soup, but as luck would have it just as I sat down the soup went all over me, the couch, and throw pillows. Awesome.

Let’s just say my husband is one very lucky man he had to work today. He owes me BIG time.

Posted in Neurotic? Why yes I am, People doing dumb things | 6 Comments

Chocolate Peppermint Bark

Do you ever wake up wanting to bake?

I did Tuesday morning. Problem was I didn’t know what to make. And I didn’t want to make anything too complicated because I wanted to immediate feedback of a successful dessert. Hey, I just went through finals so I need something easy!

Christmas cookies? Nah everyone brings those in.

Another pie? I wasn’t in a dough making emotional state….yes there is a pie-making mindset that exists.

Brownies? Oh I know I would eat those all myself. Not good.

And then I remembers the chocolate bark recipe I read in the latest issue of Food Network Magazine. Perfect.

Chocolate Peppermint Marshmallow Bark

(based on Food Network Magazine recipe)

Step 1. Line a baking sheet with foil, shiny-side up.

Step 2. Pick your chocolate. I used 1lb semi-sweet chocolate. You can also use bittersweet, white, or a combo mix. You just need 1lb total.

Step 3. Melt the chocolate (This is easier than you think!) Place all but 1 cup of chocolate in a microwave-safe bowl. Microwave on high for 30 sec, then stir. Keep heating, stirring until all the chocolate is melted. Don’t overdo it because burnt chocolate is the worst! Add the remaining 1 cup of chocolate and stir into the melted portion. Combine until everything is melted (it’s ok if there are some bumps left).

Step 4. Spread the chocolate out on your baking sheet until it is about 1/2 inch thick.

Step 5. Add your toppings! I added crushed candy canes, mini marshmallows and a sprinkle of cinnamon.

Step 6. Let cool for at least 1 hour. Once solid break into pieces.

This is probably the EASIEST recipe I have ever followed! It is perfect to bring to any holiday party, wrap up and give as gifts to co-workers, or just admire your handiwork from the comfort of your living room.

And just think Crate & Barrel literally charges $15.95 for their holiday peppermint bark! You however can make your own, get tons of compliments, and feel like a perfect hostess all without turning on your oven.

And don’t forget the best part…..

Have a good weekend everyone!

Posted in Deliciously Addicting, How To... | Tagged , , , | 2 Comments