Category Archives: photo challenge

conspicuous consumption…& beds beds beds

i am in no way doing the 30-day photo challenge in thirty days. nevertheless, day #7 is “post a photo of something you recently bought”.

the non-grocery item i most recently purchased was a mattress cover.

the white quilted-looking bit.

jared & i bought our mattress when we first moved in together three & a half years ago, & now there are two human-sized divots in it where we sleep, with a big ridge in the middle separating the halves. it’s hard to cuddle because you’re just paying there all tense, trying not to roll down the ridge. needless to say, we did not really shop around for a long-wearing mattress or read up on what “consumer reports” has to say about the best mattresses for maintaining structural integrity. but we did invest $20 in a quilted mattress pad to try to fill in the divots. the mattress pad we bought was also labeled “slightly irregular,” so it was marked down from $50. i don’t know if we truly did get a bargain because of “slight irregularities,” or if that’s just a hilarious gimmick on the part of the mattress pad company.

i feel like we are constantly tricking out the bed with new mattress pads, new sheets, new pillows & blankets. but we are thinking of upgrading to a king size bed. jared informed me recently that i sleep like a rotisserie chicken, which is to say, i spend all night thrashing around & rolling over. every night. a king size bed would give me more room to thrash, & it would also give me more room for a belly if i ever manage to get pregnant. & we want to co-sleep if we ever have a baby, & it can be tight quarters in our current bed since i apparently sleep like i am being attacked by sharks. but i worry that a king size bed would be the death knell of our relationship. don’t people always break up when they get such a huge bed that suddenly each member of the couple is voting in a different district? it’s like the modern day version of having someone sleep in the den, right? i’ve slept in king size beds before & they really are enormous. if each person cozies up on their own side, there’s an immense expanse of blank terrain between them. at 5’5″, i can comfortably sleep long ways in a king size bed.

in my dream world, we’d get a bed that has mobility functions like a hospital bed. i like the idea of not having to sit up under my own power. i’d also like one of those beds you see on TV, in which the pitch man drops a bowling ball on one side & the person chilling in the other side is all, “i didn’t feel a thing.” i really like to fidget & “shake the bed” even when i am just laying there reading (jared & i spend a lot of time reading in bed) & jared hates it. (shaking the bed is where you lay on your stomach with your feet hanging off the end of the bed, & then you flex your feet over & over, which shakes the entire mattress. i don’t know why i do it–it’s an unconscious habit i can’t break, like how i’m 32 but i still bite my nails. jared says it makes him seasick.)

okay, enough about this! i know it’s not exciting. but i also know that certain exes are out there reading this, working up a real head of steam over the idea that jared & i share a bed. yeah, that’s right, crazypantses! we’ve been dating for nearly five years & we actually share a bed! get a grip & get over it!

i bought this coat in november. it was a total retail therapy purchase, which is not something i endorse, but i had just found out that i wasn’t pregnant for the fifth or sixth month in a row & i have gotten into the habit of buying myself new items of clothing when that happens, to take the edge off. might as well, right? since i’ll never need to worry about maternity clothes, at the rate i’m going? i didn’t have a winter coat with a hood, & it was just $45 at target. (i honestly think it’s gauche to talk about how much things cost, usually, or where they were purchased, but the fact that this is the cheapest, most mass-market coat i’ve ever bought is relevant to the story.)

i wanted the gray version of this coat, but it didn’t fit as well as the plaid one, which i only tried on to see if target’s sizing was consistent. (it’s not.) so i bought the plaid one. it’s so not my style. who the fuck wears outerwear that isn’t black or charcoal? answer: children & women who have seen one too many wes anderson movies. & especially, who buys a coat with so much white in it? winter coats drag on the ground when you sling them over the backs of chairs or if they fall off the coat rack. white is hard to keep clean even in a highly washable garment. i really just bought this because i was in emotional distress & wasn’t thinking clearly. but it has become my default coat & i get complimented on it every time i wear it. strangers have stopped me on the street to ask where i got it. it’s just target, guys. now i feel like an idiot for ever paying more than $45 for a coat.

slippers! i bought these at the end of december. it’s supposed to be a cat on one toe & a ball of yarn on the other. i don’t think the cat looks much like a cat. more like a red-nosed gremlin. but the slippers are super comfortable & versatile & i expect them to last for a long time. & everyone who sees them (which is to say, the ladies in feminist book club, as they are pretty much the only people who are in my house regularly) always compliments them.

a little something for the shoe fetishists

photo challenge day #6: a photo of your favorite shoes. i think this is a weird one. it’s difficult for me to wrap my mind around the idea of someone having favorite shoes. i mainly think of shoes as a tool to help me avoid contracting ringworm. if left to my own devices, i wear slippers as much as possible. slippers are like pajamas for your feet, & i think we all know how i feel about pajamas. (i love them.)

these shoes are looking hella busted, because i wore them pretty much every day for four or five months this past summer. they are glittery pink toms & they are so comfortable once you break them in to the point that the glitter stops scratching your feet & causing horrifying abrasions. they are like slippers, but socially acceptable for public venues.

about a month after i bought these shoes, the first toms i have ever purchased, the news broke that the founder of the company was speaking at a focus on the family event. the reports went even further, stating that toms & focus on the family were parterning up somehow in the area of charitable giving or something. crunchy hippie lefty liberals love toms because they give a pair of shoes to an “impoverished child,” mostly in developing nations, for every pair of shoes sold. who doesn’t love helping out impoverished children by doing nothing more than buying yourself a pair of shoes? personally, i think it’s nice, but gimmicky, & i could definitely live without all the photos all over the toms website of the founder dude, blake mycoskie, with his arms around little brown children. it has kind of a white man’s burden/colonial fantasies for the new millennium flavor, & plus blake has perfected this open-mouthed grin for photographs that i find really disturbing, like he’s about to unhinge his jaw & eat the children. & needless to say, anyone who knows anything about politics at all knows that “focus on the family” is pretty much synonymous with “homophobia”.

so, i was wicked bummed. ordinarily my modus operandi upon hearing such news would be to walk around town & notice all the hipsters & cool kids wearing toms & silently judge them for being so ignorant as to support the shoe company of someone who supports homophobia. god, people are so stupid, amirite? but now i myself was one of those cool kids. & i loved the shoes so i kept wearing them. (part of the reason they look so awful is because i wore them to the beach on my birthday. going to the beach is a great way to ruin any shoes.) it didn’t take toms long to release a statement saying that they had been unaware that focus on the family was linked to homophobia, & to make clear that they are not in any kind of partnership together, & that basically they hope queers will still buy their shoes. i am kind of wondering how the fuck you spend more than half an hour on this earth without realizing that focus on the family is kind of homophobic, so the statement rings a little disingenuous, & i probably won’t buy toms in the future. but i will wear these shoes when the weather is appropriate until they literally fall apart.

my sorels! it’s hard to tell in the photo, but these have pink accents (which have discolored into looking orange-ish due to salt exposure) & pale pink laces (NOT white–i’m not a white supremacist skinhead). i got them at an army/navy surplus store in downtown boston for like $12 or something. they have thermal waterproof liners & are amazing. they’re insanely heavy, at least five pounds each, but they keep my feet toasty & dry in the worst of weather. unfortunately, their weight makes me walk weird. jared calls them my “gallumphing boots,” because he says i gallumph rather than walk when i wear them. i think he means i shuffle (not in a LMFAO way, unfortunately, although i am teaching myself that dance). i haven’t had much reason to bust them out this winter. it’s february 13 & last night was our first significant snowfall. we have maybe two inches of accumulation, & it’s supposed to be over fifty degrees for the rest of the week, so it should melt in no time. but if there is ever a blizzard, i will have no reason to fear for my feet with these guys.

john fluevog operettas. i almost never wear these because…come on. i’m always wearing baggy jeans & a hoodie. i don’t think heels would add much to such an ensemble. the photo makes clear that i also do not take care of them. i could probably stand to polish them up a bit & do something to keep the toes from cracking. especially because they were kind of insanely expensive–easily the most expensive shoes i own. they were a birthday present to myself when i turned thirty. i guess i was thinking that turning thirty is a big deal, a threshold in adult living, & that i should have some adult shoes. not that fluevogs are particularly adult–they look like a footwear that dr. seuss might dream up while high on opium. but you know, being a grad school widow, sometimes i have to go to fancy events where i am expected to look nice, & i have exactly one nice dress, & it is long enough that it must be worn with heels or else i look stumpy. i always get tons of compliments on these shoes. my only regret is that i bought them in this red color. i never wear red. i don’t know what i was thinking.

little purple house for you & me

photo challenge, day #5: a photo of your home. this is going to be heavy on the photos because i am infatuated with my house.

the view from the alley between connecticut st. & rhode island st.
the view from 8th st. ignore the old dude strolling along. i didn't see him when i was snapping the photo. but i saw him after & he side-eyed me like i had intentionally been taking a picture of him.
the view if you are walking up the alley. please note the adorable wooden garbage can holder. it is trellised with roses on the back so we can look out the window & see roses instead of trash cans.
snake wall! in the walking tour brochures for east lawrence, this wall, which is in our backyard, dividing the yard from the alley, is described as "a classic example of folk art from the 1920s".
the backyard--or part of it, anyway. it's mostly just a big garden. as you can imagine, it's a lot more exciting to look at in the summertime.
the mosaic detail on the back porch steps. there's even more of this in the yard, including a big plaza area designed to look like a frog.
my office-y corner.
the high-traffic hang-out zone.
the more infrequently used half of the living room. it features built-in bookshelves (filled to near-capacity) on every wall except one.
jared laying in bed, reading. the bedroom gets the most gorgeous light in the winter, it's hard to stay away. jared says, "we make the bed, like adults."
bathroom. i won't inflict a toilet shot on you (even though it, like the rest of our house, is always pretty clean).
pantry! the jar on the windowsill is full of water from the atlantic ocean. the buoy hanging above it from revere beach. so we have a little bit of the east coast even in kansas.
kitchen table & fridge. jared is making bread.
another view of the kitchen. chicken is defrosting so we can have chicken kiev for dinner tonight.

i love this house. after living in a series of horrific crapholes both before & after moving to lawrence, i sometimes think that we finally earned our right to live someplace so wonderful. you can’t tell from these photos, but another perk of living here is that it’s only a block & a half from downtown lawrence. we can walk to the indie movie theatre or our favorite coffeeshop or the public library or the best indian restaurant in kansas in under five minutes, literally. i’ve timed it. our rent is dirt cheap, & even though it’s a historic bungalow & you’d kind of expect those sorts of places to be drafty, it really doesn’t require that much energy to keep it warm in the winter & cool in the summer. we pay less than a third to heat this entire house than we did for the last apartment we had in boston.

given the choice, of course i’d prefer to move back to boston (or someplace else on the east coast). but the real dream would be to load the house on to a truck & take it with us whenever we leave lawrence. too bad our landlady would never allow it. she lives next door (she’s the one who maintains the yard) & she says it’s her dream to eventually live in this house herself. i’m not sure what’s stopping her, considering that she lives in her current house all by herself & it’s like twice the size of ours. it seems like she could live just as comfortably in our place (if we weren’t in it) & she could rent out her place for twice what we’re paying. not that i want that to happen. i want to stay in this house for as long as we are living in lawrence. so linda, if somehow you have stumbled across my blog, please don’t let what i’ve written give you any ideas! let us live here for another couple of years & then it’s all yours!

can a cat be a friend?

photo challenge day #4: a picture of you & your best friend.

seeing as i am 32 & not twelve, i don’t really have a best friend. but i have some tights bros.

me (with the pink hair) & jessika rae disaster.

jessika rae is the person who convinced me to start going to NCOR (national conference on organized resistance). i went for two or three years. i don’t know if it’s still being organized. if it is, i don’t think it’s happening at american university anymore. but this is jessika rae & i in washington d.c. over NCOR weekend in 2005 (i think). i’m pretty sure that was the year that an unofficial meeting of women that are in reproductive health groups took place. i was in a small reproductive health group in boston. we did things like teach workshops on fertility awareness, sell d.i.y. self-exam kits, & learn about menstrual extraction. jessika rae was going to midwifery school in maine at the time. the meeting was in the basement of a collective house & all us ladies were all sprawled out, shooting the shit about vaginas & abortions. suddenly brian crimethinc & his 90 pounds of dreadlocks appared in the doorway. we all stopped talking immediately.

“hi,” he said.

“hi,” we said. an awkward silence filled the basement.

“oh,” he said. “um…is this…like…a private meeting?”

“yeah,” we said.

he stood there for one more long awkward minute & then said, “sorry,” & went upstairs. jessika rae & i decided that it will live on forever as “that time that brian crimethinc totally tried to crash the secret reproductive health meeting.” i mean, that’s just bad security culture, you know?

this photo was taken in the back of one of the ladies’ trucks on our way to the meeting. it was all very cloak & dagger, getting directions in a parking garage & such forth. all because we were going to be talking about menstrual extraction. like it’s a federal crime or something. (it’s not.) if there’s one thing i never liked & don’t miss about hardcore anarchist organizing, it’s that whole obnoxious “what we’re doing is a super big deal & we gotta really keep our heads down because we’re so revolutionary” thing. i always thought it was embarrassingly self-aggrandizing & kind of isolating & exclusionary.

me & jared.
charlotte & i napping, late 2001

i really don’t have that many photos of myself & my friends in the same shot.

i call it crazy refrigerator lady blush sauce

photo challenge day #3: take a photo of something you ate.

oh, girl. i can tell you about something i ate! okay, many years ago, before i was even dating jared, & i lived with this crusty punk couple. i had a surprisingly rocky relationship with them. sometimes we got along beautifully, drinking beers & chainsmoking, introducing each other to new music, gossiping about our fellow punks, annoying each other’s pets (they had three dogs), tearing it up at parties, etc. & sometimes we got along really badly, for reasons i never understood. i got along better (more consistently) with the dude half of the couple, which is funny, because i don’t tend to get along with dudes that well. i almost always connect better with ladies. but this particular lady ran really hot & cold with me. i think she sometimes didn’t like how well i got along with her boyfriend. things finally blew up one day when i came home after being out all weekend & found a note on the fridge that said, “ciara–you have until october to find a new place to live. good luck.” it was august 28. & the note was actually written ON the fridge with permanent marker. by the lady. i found a new place to live that very afternoon & stiffed ’em on september rent (we didn’t have a lease, so there wasn’t much they could do about it). i still have no idea what caused her to believe that she couldn’t stand to live with me for one more second. i guess i’d been agitating for more equity in the rent distribution. i paid $535 for my bedroom, which was small to average-sized. they paid $275 each for their room, which was fucking enormous, about one-third of the entire apartment. if you add their rents together, yes, their room cost more than mine did, but only by $15 & i didn’t think it was fair that they got such cheap rent just because they were a couple who shared a room. i still think it’s pretty unjust, although i’m somewhat more understanding now. the only reason a couple would ever split an apartment with other roommates would be to score some cheap-as-fuck rent. i don’t know. i just didn’t know about the way rent was divided up before i moved in. i thought everyone was paying around $500 for their room because that’s what passed for pretty cheap rent in a shared apartment in boston at the time.

anyway, this lady i lived with was definitely a little bit bananas, with the writing notes on the fridge & all that, but she made this incredible dish that she just called “blush sauce”. despite my all-consuming love affair with italian food, i was unfamiliar with the concept of blush sauce (probably because it traditionally involves vodka & i was hardcore anti-alcohol until i was 26 years old or so–i didn’t even eat it in food). she only made it once every couple of months, but when she did, it was an all-day affair involving the huge pasta pot, a million hours of simmering, god knows how many kinds of cheese, & then she’d boil up a pound of two or penne & simmer it directly in the sauce until it was imbued with all the gooey cheesy tomato-y amazingness. she always made more than enough for herself & her boyfriend, & our fourth roommate was a pretentious vegan, so more for me! i asked her for the recipe, but she was really flaky & never got it to me. & then she turned on me & you know…refrigerators were drafted into her holy war against ciara.

yesterday i was hanging around the house, wondering what the fuck to make for dinner. & suddenly i was like, “BLUSH SAUCE!” i never got a recipe from her, i’d never made this dish before, but i have learned a lot about cooking since i started dating jared & i figured i could probably cobble something together if i couldn’t find a decent recipe online. in the past few years, i have been trying to perfect my macaroni & cheese recipe, which involves a cream roux that is mixed with cheese, & i figured i could adopt the principles of the roux for a basic blush sauce (sans peppers, onions, mushrooms, etc–i wanted my sauce to be a conveyance for nothing but creamy cheese & tomato).

i didn’t take any photos of the actual meal because i think that shit is kind of weird. an acquaintance of mine went on a blind okcupid date once with someone. they went to a restaurant, as you do on first dates, & after their entrees were served, the date whipped out a camera & was like, “i hope this is okay. i just have to take a photo before i eat?” my acquaintance was weirded out, mostly because no explanation was offered. why do you have to take a photo of your entree? do you run a food blog? are you the phantom gourmet? are you on weight watchers? do you have some weird camera-themed eating disorder? did you lose a bet? are you just a pretentious hipster who thinks random people give two shits about what you ate for dinner?

so here are my photos:

leftover sauce.
dirty dishes aftermath.

i didn’t end up using a recipe. i just kind of made it up. here’s what i did (warning: this is not remotely vegan–but it is vegetarian!).

melt about three tablespoons of butter in a saucepan. mix in a tablespoon or two of tomato paste. saute about two cloves of chopped garlic in this mix. throw in a can of diced tomatoes (like one of the cans that is about the size of a soup can, not one of the huge guys). pour in some heavy cream. i don’t know how much i put in. maybe half a cup or so? mix that all up & start stirring in fresh grated parmesan. i don’t know how much of that i used either. i’ll estimate 3/4 cup, maybe a little more. & then i tossed in a little handful of flour (like a tablespoon-ish? maybe two?) to thicken it up a bit. i was going to include mozzarella, but when i tasted it with just this, it was so insanely delicious that i decided not to fuck with a good thing. i served it over penne & it was enough for two people to have two big plates with the leftover sauce you see here chillin’ in the (permanent marker-free…so far) fridge. this was the best thing i have ever cooked, aside from a couple of especially incredible lasagnas. despite not being italian even a little bit, i really think i might have been an old italian granny in a past life.

a few of my favorite things (& a crazed rant about bingo)

alex’s photo challenge day two involves taking a photo of something you like. as one might imagine, this was challenging for me, because i prefer talking about things i don’t like. but jared & i both made new year’s resolutions to try to be a little more upbeat & positive in 2012. we made these resolutions after having lunch one day in boston with a couple of folks that jared attended quaker youth activities with as a teenager. one of them told us that we should totally, definitely for sure check out this amazing stage production called “hadestown”. apparently some other woman that had been in the quaker youth circle with them had written it. it’s a musical that riffs on the whole orpheus & eurydice myth & takes it in this rock opera kind of direction. jared & i had in fact seen one of the first (& apparently) only actual musical versions of it right after we started dating. (apparently it is now performed as more of a concert than a musical. i don’t know.) we did not care for it. mainly just because we don’t care for musicals. i can’t speak to jared’s feelings, but musicals make me super-uncomfortable. all that singing & emoting & earnestness. plus anything that is too religious-y makes me cringe & while i know orpheus & eurydice are characters from ancient greek mythology, hades makes me think of hell & hell makes me think of evangelical christianity &…just, no thanks.

anyway, we were like, “oh…yeah…we’ve seen that, actually.” & the guy we were chatting with was bubbling over with enthusiasm & was all, “you have? oh my god, wasn’t it amazing! i am just so proud of her for writing this incredible music & telling this phenomenal story! god, it’s just the best stage production i have ever seen. did you love it?” we were like, “um…the costumes were…great. &…the sets were…very colorful.” i mean, i didn’t want to shit all over this thing this guy loved. that was created by someone that jared apparently knows from his teenage days. i know i don’t like musicals, i have never liked musicals, & so i am the last person who should be offering her opinion about musicals, & no one should really listen to me if i say i dislike a particular musical. & my exposure to this stage production or whatever it is now was as a musical, so obviously i was biased against it.

when we left the lunch date, i remarked that every quaker i have ever met is not remotely shy about being enthusiastic about the stuff s/he likes. save for jared. jared is like me in that he likes to make fun of everything. jared said he felt the same way & we started getting all neurotic (which is what we do when we’re not making fun of stuff) & wondering if people who are more expressive about their interests & passions are somehow happier, more well-adjusted, have more friends, are better-liked, etc. we decided to give this whole “talk about stuff you like/maybe don’t constantly condemn everything you don’t like all the time” thing a whirl. i know, it’s totally counter to the entire spirit of who i am as a person & what i have been writing about for at least the last fifteen years. but. maybe you can teach an old dog new tricks.

i've got a fever & the only cure is more dabbin'!

i like bingo. i cut out & save all my winning bingo cards so i can relive the good times. actually, i don’t know why i do it. probably just because i’m a little bit obsessive. i’ve only been to bingo twice so far this year. it’s a lot of money to spend if you don’t end up winning anything. i usually spend $34 on cards. i only have to win one of the lowest-paying games to make all my money back & then some, & if i win multiple games or one of the higher-paying games, i come WAY ahead…but it is hard to justify dropping over $30 only to win nothing except for three hours spent in a room with a bunch of oldsters with their quilted bingo caddies & oxygen tanks.

the last time i went, i wound up sitting next to some woman, also alone like me, who would not stop mumbling to herself all evening. she kept muttering, “the next one is gonna be a B, i know it. probably B3.” then the next ball would be, like, N34. but that wouldn’t stop her from trying to predict the next ball, which was incredibly distracting. & not once in three hours was she correct. or even in the ballpark. she also kept saying, “ooh, my hand is getting itchy. the last time i was in vegas, i played the slots every time my hand got itchy & i won so much money. i always know i’m about to get on a hot streak when my hand starts getting itchy.” then someone across the room would call bingo & the game would be over. & she’d be all, “oh, i was so close on that one. all i needed was a B2, a N42, & a G56. oh, & an I13, & an O71.” i mean, come on, lady. if you were two away from the bingo on five of your cards, don’t you think EVERYONE ELSE in the room was as well? except the lucky duck that bingoed? get over yourself. & THEN. the last game of the night was the progressive blackout & the big prize was $1000. this woman is all, “oh, my hand’s getting itchy.” (try to imagine all of her dialogue in this raspy, toneless mutter.) “wouldn’t that be just like them? make me wait all night before i finally win something.”

WOMAN. you are talking about winning ONE THOUSAND DOLLARS. are you seriously trying to COMPLAIN about CHOOSING to go to a bingo night & losing every game except for the very last one, which has a THOUSAND-DOLLAR JACKPOT? i would gladly spend three days in a sensory deprivation tank for a thousand bucks! bingo is actually fun–even when you lose! take your itchy hands & get out of my face! (she didn’t win, by the way.)

okay, i’m not doing a great job of talking about stuff i like. here are a few other things that shouldn’t provoke quite as much emotion:

a small portion of my complete collection of babysitters club books.
my landlady's kitty cats. we call the orange-y one the little lion & the white one sir poops-a-lot, but their real names are vinnie & frankie or something else vaguely mafioso-inspired.
look at this fucking weather forecast! it's february, motherfuckers! i don't know if this is climate change or just kansas's one redeeming quality, but i am loving it right now.

the internet will kill (or bore) us all

i am falling down on the job of maintaining a regularly-updated blog, so i am going to fall back on that useful old crutch of hacks & frauds: gimmickry. alex wrekk came up with a 30-day photo challenge, & i’m going to try it. (which is not to say that alex is a hack or a fraud. but maybe i am, as i do not generally take a whole lot of photos, let alone post them on my blog.)

here’s the list she generated:
Day 1- A photo of you today
Day 2- Something you like
Day 3- Something you ate
Day 4- You and your best friend
Day 5- Your home
Day 6- Your favorite shoes
Day 7- an item you purchased recently
Day 8- Your favorite place to eat
Day 9- Your room
Day 10- Your music collection
Day 11- Your bookshelf
Day 12- Your mode of transportation
Day 13- Something you don’t leave the house without
Day 14- Something that makes you happy
Day 15- An old photo of you
Day 16- The view out your front door
Day 17- What’s in your bag/purse/pockets
Day 18- Where you work/go to school
Day 19- Something you love
Day 20- Your mailbox
Day 21- A photo you are proud of
Day 22- Something you cooked
Day 23- Your desk or work area
Day 24- Something important to you
Day 25- Graffiti you have seen
Day 26- Something you do everyday
Day 27- Your favorite place
Day 28- A favorite piece of clothing
Day 29- Something you like
Day 30- A photo of you today

so, today, a photo of me:

oh. hey, guys. *sigh*

pretty sexy pajamas, huh? i don’t usually get dressed for the day until after i have finished my morning coffee. & jared has observed on multiple occasions that unless i really make an effort, i always look sad or upset in photos. apparently that’s just how my face is.

without this photo challenge to distract me, i feel like this could really easily become an infertility blog. or, in the vernacular, a TTC blog. i’d be writing posts that say thinks like, “hey guys. well, i’m 4DPO today. i started the prog on CD17 but it’s unclear if it’s affecting my temps or not. i’m using FF’s estimates on my DPO but the data is an imperfect science at best. i did get a +OPK on CD16 & i was thrilled. the BF & i were just so sick of all the BDing, it was good to finally see a light at the end of the tunnel. i’m going into the lab tomorrow for my CD21 prog draw & i’m hoping for a high number. i’m going to try to hold off on POAS until CD15. even if i don’t get a BFP this time around, i’m hoping to at least add a few days to my LP.”

if you understood any of that, you’re in the tribe. if you didn’t understand a word, i hope you never do.

what it means is that i ovulated four days ago, confirmed in part with a positive ovulation test. jared & i were relieved because the “fun part” of having a baby is actually not all that much fun when it starts to feel like a science experiment. i was also relieved because i was scheduled to start progesterone supplements the next day, & progesterone can interfere with fertilization. i was really hoping to get the fertilization out of the way before starting progesterone.

progesterone supplements can raise a person’s basal body temperature, which i chart using a web tool called fertility friend, in order to confirm ovulation (a positive ovulation test just indicates a surge in luteinizing hormone; it doesn’t guarantee that you’ve ovulated). my temperature has been high since the day of the positive test, but maybe it’s the supplements? i’m going to the hospital lab tomorrow for another blood draw to check my progesterone levels. this will indicate for certain that i have ovulated. i’m going to try not to take a pregnancy test until i’m fifteen days post-ovulation, but as my luteal phase is never more than ten days, i’ll be happy to gain a few extra days there even if i’m not pregnant this time around.

fascinating, huh? yeah, probably not unless you are also struggling with all this shit.

i keep reminding myself that it’s a waste of time & energy to get obsessive about every detail right now, because there will be so much to potentially obsess over once i’m actually pregnant & have a child. this whole phase of the process will suddenly start seeming like small potatoes.

other ways i’m distracting myself include: picking charlotte up every day. i call it “scooping” because you have to hold her away from your body lest she rip your limbs off. i’m hoping that it i scoop her every day, eventually she won’t mind being picked up. she’ll be like a normal cat, instead of a vicious demon sent here from hell to feast on human blood.

i’m also toying with the idea of writing a stunt memoir in which i allow the good people over at yahoo! answers to make all my life decisions for me. for example: “there’s a sunday brunch place that has awesome bread pudding & i kind of want to have breakfast there today, but it’s pretty expensive & i’m kind of broke from spending $500 on fertility meds & doctors this month. should i go anyway?” or: “what should i make for dinner tonight? i’m torn between macaroni & cheese (easy, & my recipe is flawless) & chicken & dumplings (complicated, & my recipe is still not perfected, but we have like five gallons of chicken stock in the freezer).” i just know that the folks at yahoo! answers would find some way to take these innocuous, low-consequences questions & give me answers that would result in my house burning down, jared dumping me, & me contracting tuberculosis or something.