Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Sometimes Life Gets in the Way

It seems like I've been a selfish person lately. Everything is poor me, bemoaning the lack of a new life beginning for us, and not celebrating the new ones already created by family members. I've been wallowing so deep in my own muck that I've neglected those I love, and haven't been supportive. It's not that I'm not supporting them, it's just that I'm being a total bitch and keeping it to myself. Not quite sure why, but I think the time has come to get over myself and my failings and rejoice in the successes of others- K and L, my wonderful cousins.

I'm very happy for you both (and your kids and husbands, of course!), and I just can't wait to see you all soon. Please forgive me for my terrible attitude of late, A happy and healthy 6 months for the both of you (is 6 months right?). Let me know if I can do anything for you both, even though I STILL don't drive. God, I am a horrible lazy bastard.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

A New Title

As you can see, I've changed the name of my blog to "A Fetal Attraction". While I had originally thought I'd just start a new blog that was pregnancy/TTC/baby centric, I then thought about what this blog would be without all the baby talk. So, I've decided to name this blog what my life is all about right now: a fetal attraction.

Perhaps it's because I'm sick right now, or maybe it's because that damn mouse is still in our kitchen (where the dog sleeps) and we have yet to hear from the landlord, or maybe it's the fact that ovulation is coming up in a few days, but I'm feeling a little down.

I hate the fact that I'm afraid of our kitchen (although it's now at the cleanest it's ever been, yay me!), and that every day there is a MOUSE in our private space, who could possibly bite Woofie. Speaking of Woofie, he's got this skin issue right now, patches of dry skin with missing fur in some spots, and you can tell he's just itchy. We've bought medicated shampoo, an instant relief rinse, and he's been flea medicated. It kills me to see how annoyed he is by his itchy skin. I've got him on doggie supplements and I'm vacuuming the house constantly (I swear, with this mouse, everything is spic and span!) to try to make him a little more comfortable, but so far no go. We'll take him to the vet if it gets worse.

As I said before, I'm ovulating this Monday, most likely. How do I know? Well, judging from my last year's cycles, I have a 28/29 day cycle with a 13/14 day luteal phase (the days between ovulation and your period) which is pretty typical, and this means I usually ovulate on the 14/15th day of my cycle. It's like clockwork. Which would make it easy to get pregnant. Ahhh, not so, apparently. Yesterday my dad's doula friend gave me a whole box of pregnancy, breastfeeding, childbirth and postive birthing books, and I sure did send myself into a deep hole reading about pregnancy day to day. So the books were sent into the closet where they could relax until needed. Paul's starting to remark on how many movies and tv shows are centered around babies. I've noticed it for months, and I can see how our so far unsuccessful TTC is affecting him now. Makes me feel bad.

And now I'm sick. It's kind of weird to be sick when it's still hot outside and the sun's shining brightly. Still, all the aches and pains from yesterday (along with the sneezing and fever) are gone, and now we're moving on to chest cold. At least I'm not aching!

A bunch of this stuff has caused me to kind of pull inward, venturing out only to go to work and errands with my dad. At work, I prefer to just stay inside instead of getting lunch and will often go from the morning coffee (of which I am now making myself!) to 4pm without food. I just don't feel like being social, I'd much prefer to curl up on the couch with my itchy dog and one of the hundreds of books I have lying about the house. I'm sure I'll come out of this self-imposed cocoon, but until that happens I'm just going to have to get used to cleaning the house for fun- since that's what I do now. Weird.

Anyway, that's a little update from us. Hopefully things'll pick up soon.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008


Last night I prepared a Mexican supper, complete with homemade rice with tomatoes and cilantro and homemade tostadas (vegetarian beans), we had two loads of laundry in the dryer, and another two waiting for our turn at the washer (man, I hate having to share two measly washers and dryers). We had just finished our meal, and started to watch "Jumanji" that we had DVRed previously, when I turned to say something to Paul and saw a large brown mouse pattering across our kitchen floor. As if in some kind of horror movie, I silently pointed past Paul and gaped, just shaking. Paul stared at me wondering what on Earth I was doing. Finally, I managed to gasp, "MOUSE!" And shoved Woofie the dachshund (who I may add is a HUNTER by nature) toward the kitchen. The dog had no idea what we were doing.

So, we got up quietly in time to watch it scamper back into the wall somehow, we're guessing it got in through the dishwasher. Nothing makes you feel creeped out more than seeing some kind of vermin traipsing across the very floor you were just standing on- BAREFOOT- not more than an hour ago. So, despite our fatigue from all the other things we were doing (I was making the beans, frying the tortillas, cutting the tomatoes, shredding the cheese and making guacamole all at the same time), I got to work scouring the kitchen, since now I just felt so... skeezy. I put away all the leftovers, washed all the dishes, set them in the rack because the shoddy dishwasher hasn't worked for a bajillion years now, and set about cleaning the stovetop, mopping the floors, cleaning beside and under the fridge, and putting away the dishes once clean and dry. I had just folded up Woofie's blanket and sprayed the floor with bleach when I did something to my back. I have a feeling it was something to do with my sciatic nerve, as it was mainly on my left side, and radiated down my leg. It got so bad I couldn't even walk. So that was fun.

We'll talk to the landlord tonight about that huge problem (hello, anyone read Princess Bride? Sucker was a R.O.U.S!), and then go about getting that vermin out of our apartment. I'm telling you, living off one of the busiest streets in Los Angeles has a definite downside. Our front gate is facing a small side street, but our bedroom/kitchen windows face the big boulevard. Another downside: the two tylenol pms kicked in and I fell asleep, only to be woken up at 1am or so with a group fighting (in Spanish, no less, the night's theme continues) and crying literally right outside our bedroom window. Being nosy, I usually would get up to see what was going on, but due to the tylenol I had taken, I'm pretty sure I would have been mighty unstable on my feet.

Ahhhh, the joy of apartment living. How do you go about getting rid of a mouse? Would they call an exterminator in? And if so, does he spray poison, or set traps? Would we need to take Woofie out that day? All things to ask the landlord, I suppose.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008


I've been a member of a forum for diamond lovers, but it's not strictly about diamonds. There are separate areas for posting questions about stones and settings, for posting pictures of your new stone/settings, an area to just "hang out", one for all the ladies in waiting, who were waiting for their proposal to come. I originally joined as a Lady in Waiting, even though my story wasn't so much about anxiously awaiting a proposal, since I chose my own stone and setting. After I was proposed to, I then moved on to the Brides World Wide area, where we posted wedding planning questions, pictures and updates. Since I was asked to be a blogger for Weddingbee, I pretty much spent all my wedding planning time over there, and didn't really post on the BWW forums as much. In the diamond world, when you're done with the wedding, most people move to the TTC forum, where you chat with like-minded ladies who have the research bug as well- the whole reason we found the diamond forum to begin with- a need to know MORE. When you get that BFP, you move to the "Expecting" area, where you commiserate with other pregnant ladies, and THEN once you have the baby, you move to the Mommy thread. Yeah, it's like a little world in that one forum!

Today a fellow TTCer got her BFP. Yesterday another one got hers. A week before that there were three, count 'em, three new BFPs. I am now the longest residing TTCer, and it really is the most depressing thing possible. It seems like everywhere people are pregnant, and I sit here with my cramps and mood swings (can you tell?). I never really thought about how long it would take to get pregnant, but still, I just keep getting lapped by the other girls who come into the TTC thread, spend one cycle there bemoaning their lack of a BFP, and then voila! Pregnant, adios, I'm moving on. I feel like the older dog at the pet store, just sitting there while the puppies come in and out like a revolving door of newness, pleading and hoping that someday I'll get my ticket out.

Every month an egg works through like clockwork, mocking me with it's regularity. I know exactly when I ovulate, I temp every morning, examine every fluid (gross, isn't it?), and purchase insane things called pre-seed. Yes, it's come to that. I don't even know what to do anymore, other than sit here wringing my hands and marking off dates on the calendar. Every month another cycle comes by, and I tell Paul, "If we conceive this cycle, the due date would be..." And yet again, that month goes by fruitless.

Somewhere along the line I became that girl. The one with the permanent frown lines between her eyebrows with eyes constantly brimming with tears, the one who everyone makes hold the new baby, because then I'll want one, they say. If only they knew that holding that baby and smelling her sweet head just makes me ache inside. Of course, we can't tell them the truth, because should we do that, and things take longer than they are already, I couldn't bear to have to explain over and over WHY it's taking so long. I've become the one who instead of congratulating the recent recipients of the positive pregnancy test, pulls away from the crowd and keeps her misery inside. It's not that I don't have anything nice to say (ahhh, the words of Thumper, "If you don't have anything nice to say, don't say anything at all" thankfully don't ring true in this case), it's just that I'm a bitter old woman. :) I don't feel like being nice. I feel like being a bugger and simply emanate my angry bitterness.

I've said it once, I'll say it a million times- I'm a horrible person. Somehow, in my Grinch-sized heart (pre Whoville makeover), I do manage to feel happy for the pregnant, I do. I'm not truly self-obsessed. I just can't immediately congratulate them, because I'm too immersed in my own pathetic misery, and need some time to formulate a reply that isn't focused on my "Lucky you, I wish I could be so lucky" mentality. Still, once I do manage to give them the congrats they rightly deserve, I may bow out of the TTC thread, it's just too hard for me. Again, don't you know it all revolves around me? I must say, though, if any of those friends complain about being pregnant (again, they've done it before), they'll be hearing from me. I may even have to revoke their children and raise them as my own little Mexican babies. We'll start a soccer team. The incredible sporty family. I can see it now.

Once my friends have been pregnant for some time (and the pain has lessened), I'll gladly lurk in their lives, watching as their bellies get rounder, and they pick out nursery furniture. I'll search all over for that perfect stuffed giraffe, and the right kind of bottle, and possibly a soft blanket the baby will never part with, so I can say I had a part in it. I'm really not that terrible after all.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

An Anniversary, of Sorts

Nine years ago yesterday, something momentous happened. Shield your eyes, those of you who want to retain the vision or image of a pure, innocent Amber.


Okay, nine years ago yesterday I lost my virginity. *gasp* Although I had plotted it to be the day before it happened (9/9/1999, how much more perfect could you get?), things don't always work to plan. My virginity had long plagued me, all through high school and beyond. It was almost a joke amongst all my slutty friends at the time. Who will it be? After a while, it almost became somewhat of a nuisance. Okay, I'm tired of writing the word "virginity", let's call it... Margot.

Margot and I had started out like those neighbors you have that you don't really notice until something interesting happens, like the cops are called, or their dog gets loose. She didn't bother me, I didn't bother her. Even when the boys started asking after Margot, I still ignored her presence. Until that fateful day in my junior year, when I was a teacher's assistant, and roaming the halls with nothing to do. I ran into a friend, and talked with him for awhile. The next day came, and all of a sudden the existence of Margot was questioned. What? First of all, should I relinquish Margot, you think I'd do it at school?! REALLY? That's what you think of me? Secondly, I do have morals, you know. I'm not about to just lay Margot out for any friend passing by. Of course, you know how it is with Margots, people don't believe you. Even your friends begin to doubt you.

That's when I started to debate- what AM I waiting for? Oh, yes, a steady boyfriend who doesn't call me Knobs. That would be nice. Hey, call me choosy, whatever. At one point, I think even my mom thought I'd asked Margot to walk the plank. Sex-ed gave you gobs and gobs of condoms, and some of us didn't use them all to water balloon our fellow students. Ahem. Well, not ALL of them. That little conversation with mom went like this, "Um, Amber, you DO know condoms aren't 100% safe, right?" Me: "OH GOD, MOM! Don't even TALK about that with me! And get out of my ROOM!" Yes, totally mature.

As the years went on, friends said goodbye to their Margots, and bothered me about mine, asking all sorts of questions: Are you waiting until marriage? Not that I know of. Is it a religious thing? I don't have a religion, so I'm going to say no. Are you scared? Of what? No! Pretty soon after graduation, I had my first job. Working at Jamba Juice really helped you "get out there". I had dates all over the place, but nothing serious, no one to make me think: this is the one. At that point it was a novelty for my co-workers, almost a sideshow. Meet the incredibly Chaste Woman! I was just trying to find a steady guy who wouldn't immediately drop me, in LA, you'd think it would be easy! Well, it was TWO full years after graduating from high school, and good ol' Margot wouldn't leave. I stopped thinking of her as a virtue, and started thinking of her like some kind of virus. Guys thought I was an oddball- an almost 20 year old virgin? In Los Angeles? Of course, while it was a novelty, no one wanted the kind of commitment I would need to give Margot the boot.

Until I met A. I had met him the previous year, at a party for my good friend. I thought he was Mr. Right. He wasn't Mr. Wrong OR Mr. Right, it turned out. I guess lying to him and telling him I was half Armenian (the friend who brought me to the party was Armenian, as it was an Armenian party!) didn't really set the stage for a good healthy relationship. Annnyway. We had met in 1998, and he bugged the crap out of me. I couldn't stand him. Then we ran into each other a little later, and hit it off. We began dating, which was hard, given the distance- he was a student at UCSD. So, months passed, and we got along really well. Our friends liked each other, and we were happy. So, I sent him an email one Thursday night telling him it was time to evict Margot. I got a call the next day, he was in town. Wow, that was some speedy drive home!

The actual act I will keep to myself, but it was a Friday night, and it was in a car. Yes, in a car. A two-door. Every time I moved, I hit my head on the overhead light, turning it on and off. It was like a freaking disco in that car. Still, it was finally over with. Our relationship lasted a good three years, until he told me he had met someone new- and get this- She's MEXICAN! Damn! So, it ended, I finally got to stop lying about my race, and we both moved on and married other people. He married the girl he left me for, so that's nice. As you all know, I married Paul. Sometimes I want to email A to see how he's doing, and to break the "I'm really not Armenian" news, but it's been such a long time since we've spoken that now I think it's best to leave things alone. We had many good times, and I was able to stop being such a headcase about Margot.

If you speak to my parents, I'm still a virgin. Despite being married. I'm sure it's best for us all to just let it go at that. It's funny to me, because now that we're trying to conceive, when I actually DO get pregnant it'll be like, "Oh my god, now everyone in the world will know I've had SEX." Apparently, I'm still a child!


My dad brags to people about his son-in-law, and how great of a teacher and coach he is. Dad, who isn't sporty in the least, will go to games just so he can sit there with me and cheer on Paul's (MY) team. Since Paul is the "least successful" of his siblings (and I say that because of how it's been said to US), people don't brag about him, they don't praise him for doing a job he LOVES, and doing it well, at that. I think our marriage came along at the perfect time- Paul's dad has passed on, and my brother moved to Australia- a father needing a son, and a son needing a father. When I tell Paul about how my dad likes to brag about his son-in-law changing children's lives, I can tell he gets excited about it. For once, someone else recognizes what a fantastic person Paul is, and what a great difference he's making to this world.

Although Paul is very busy with work, and quite often brings it home with him (and by bringing home work I mean various viruses and all the other factors that occur with children), I'm so glad to have someone who obviously cares so much about other people. The bad side of being a teacher/coach's wife is the attachments I form. It's easy for Paul, he's been doing this for over ten years, and while this is going on my 5th year as number 1 team supporter and fan, I can never get used to saying goodbye to these kids when they graduate. It's widely known that I cry at every graduation ceremony, every "last game of XXXXX's elementary school career", because I just get so attached to these kids. Being around all the boys (Paul coaches mostly boy teams) on weekdays, weeknights, weekends and holidays you start to learn about them all.

Paul isn't a normal coach. He cares about these kids, sometimes too much. One boy in particular was growing up with only his mom, older sister, and younger sister to guide him into adulthood. His mom was working at least two jobs, his older sister had a job, and he was to take care of his younger sister. He was at St. Mark's because of a gift from a God-Mother type, who wanted to make sure he made it to high school. The boy had a father, although he rarely saw him. For one summer basketball season, Paul noticed the student was running awkwardly, and asked him what size his shoes were A 10 and a half, he replied. Gently, Paul asked, "and what size do you wear?" A twelve, he replied sheepishly. That day, Paul worked out a deal with a friend who works at Footlocker, and bought the student a nice pair of basketball shoes. Not wanting the kid to feel like a charity case, Paul pretended his brother got him those shoes, but they were the wrong size, and did he want them? The kid took him up on his offer and took the shoes, and played so well that season. This boy would be a constant source of worry for us over the years. There would be days that he'd come to school with no lunch, having had no breakfast. He would act out against other teachers, and when brought to talk to Paul would break down in tears because although he's not around much, his father hadn't gotten in touch with him in over a year, and he was afraid he was dead. His sister attempted suicide, and his mother began having heart palpitations. A twelve/thirteen year old boy, left to parent himself. There would be nights that I'd beg Paul to let me invite him over for a nice hot dinner, and a calm place to study and just be a kid.

I think his father figure was Paul, and although I know Paul can handle that, it just breaks my heart to think that he's probably in a public high school, where the teachers won't care as much as we do, because he's just another of the 34 students in their class. They won't notice that he's worn the same shirt three days in a row, won't notice that he hasn't eaten in three days. Even though we know he's acting out because he's scared, hungry, tired, and just weak from all the pressure put onto his 13 year old shoulders, I worry that the school will see just another troublemaker who takes school for granted. Even though he's been gone for a few months now, I worry every day that we're the only ones who can help him, which may be irrational, but I can't help it.

So although I say Paul brings his work home with him, sometimes I wish he really would bring it home, so I can stop worrying about whether or not the kids are doing okay.