07 April 2017

Sometimes, I Get Angry

I am tired of the fertility posts that are either -- hey, look at the bright side, they kept their heads up, blah blah nobabycakes; or, I am so sad and can't believe other people are so rude to be having a baby when I have problems, woe is me. It's like there is no middle ground.

I am human. I am complex. I made choices:

  • I want a kiddo. 
  • I can be sad or angry for myself, but that should not preclude me from being happy for others, or sympathetic when they are having a tough time parenting. It's not all about me; I chose not to be hypersensitive to every thing to the point of offense (and, yes, I believe this is a choice. Maybe I'm harsh...but oh well; I am a little fatigued of women feeling like no one else in the world should dare speak baby in front of them, or complain about how tough things can get.) 
  • That I would be honest and forthcoming, with the good and ugly, so that other women wouldn't feel alone or ashamed that they are feeling "abnormal" 
  • That starting a family -- and the challenges to get there -- would not be my main topic of conversation day in and day out.

That said. I am human. The last year has not been easy. Keeping up the "good fight" has not been easy. Maintaining work, life...not easy.

Some days I get sad. I'd be lying if I didn't admit that a lot of the time, I also get angry. A lot of this doesn't seem fair (J's response to this is usually, "Life isn't always fair, it's complicated."), and makes me question every single thing I have done with my reproductive health throughout my life -- should I have stayed on the pill so long? Did the IUD do something? Maybe I shouldn't have gotten the D&C? WHY ME (but really, more, why any of us)?

It's also unfair to J -- this isn't what he planned in his life, either -- but he seems to handle it much better than I.

I see everyone around me with babies, and occasionally I wonder, "why not me?" "When will it be my turn?" I am not a patient person, I am also not a passive person....I am a doer who goes after what she wants. This new process we are in, however, doesn't allow for much active behavior. There's a lot of waiting. And I feel like I can't move forward in other parts of my life while this is in limbo.

I watch shows like Girls, where this season, Hannah Horvath, the main character, gets pregnant accidentally. And I am in awe (and yes, I know this is a TV show)...everyone I know who is trying to get pregnant has to take their temp each morning, log everything in an app, take an ovulation test...but here it's easy (it always is on TV...except for my new spirit animals: Monica & Chandler). I wonder if our child's birth mother might be someone like Hannah -- a twenty-something who suddenly finds herself pregnant. And I wish and hope that this woman who will be our child's birth mother would just find us already.

I am human. I am sad. I am angry. But I am ok. I made choices. And I have found that I am stronger than I thought I was, or could be.

27 March 2017

Croatia: Best Wine Tour in the Istrian Peninsula

Rovinj by night

Croatia as a destination has been a popular one of late for many visitors. Most tend towards the Dalmatian Coast/Dubrovnik area -- and I can't blame them. From what I have seen, it is beautiful, and likely pretty cost-efficient. 

We instead decided to go to Istria, a place I had never heard of until J started his research. He found this to be the center of wine and food in Croatia...the fact that it is a bit off the beaten path helped, too.

Istria has a rich history -- it has changed hands between Italy, Slovenia, & Croatia several times. The Italian influence is very apparent here.  We stayed in Rovinj,  a gorgeous city on the coast (if you squint, you can see Italy). Rovinj's historical center is car-free -- and hilly -- and full of nooks and crannies and many feral tuxedo cats

With Rovinj as our base, we took a few day trips, one of which was one of the most fun wine tours I'd been on.  Eat Istria offers several types of wine tours all hosted by Goran, the owner and tour guide. We opted for the Central Istrian Tour, which took us a few hours away from Rovinj to the beautiful Croatian wine country. 
Old Wine Press

The wine in Croatia is quite unique -- the soil is very iron rich, which in transfers to the grapes in the form of a heavy mineral taste. The main white wine is a Malvazija -- which is rather crisp and mineral-forward. Each of the wineries we visited had several of these to taste, each was a little different. 

The main red in Croatia is Teran. To me, the iron is so rich it almost tastes like blood. (it was interesting to later contrast the Slovenian Teran...same grapes, totally different taste) 

Why Goran's Eat Istria Tour?
Taking a tour with Goran is like taking a tour with a member of one of the winemaker's families -- he is incredibly knowledgeable about wine, the area, and each of the wineries. The group was small -- a few women from Queens, a couple from England, and us -- which made for a very intimate tour.  Lunch was one of the best meals I had while in Croatia -- homemade fuži pasta in a very casual environment. We ended the tour with a deeper knowledge of Croatian wine, and a case or so of the good stuff!

10 January 2017

The Next Journey

I am grateful that our battle with infertility* was over quickly. We are lucky that the fertility doctor we saw was not one who tried to milk money out of us, or give us false hope. It hurt, but hearing that our chances of changing what my body could do were slim allowed us to make decisions quickly.

From the early days of our relationship, J & I talked about having a family. We discussed what our various options would be -- I thought that due to my age, getting pregnant may be a problem -- and one of those options was adoption. While we were at the fertility doc, she also brought up options, though she was leaning towards surrogacy. This isn't something we really considered. I am not 100% sure why, but neither of us were that interested in it.

We went through two rounds of fertility treatments -- for me that meant a few rounds of estrogen. At the same time, we realized that this may not be the best avenue for us, so we started exploring other options, specifically, at this point, adoption.

I guess nothing in life is guaranteed, but with adoption, you are likely to end up with a child. Unlike IVF, or surrogacy, where you can spend a lot of time and money and still be left with a hole in your family. I'd seen many of my friends go through some extreme fertility issues --  I saw the stress to them and their relationships -- and while those that ended up with children said it was all worth it, I wondered about those who ended up still childless.

But still we thought we would see one more specialist. Then, my uncle passed away very suddenly. Very shortly thereafter we found the second round of estrogen hadn't worked at all. And I was tired of fighting what seemed like a very uphill battle where we were unlikely to be successful. And I needed success; I needed a win. J & I discussed and then agreed to stop fertility treatments and focus more seriously on adoption.

And this decision was the best we could have made.

*I still struggle with considering myself infertile, but, by definition, I am. I can conceive, but not get pregnant. 

05 January 2017

Sicily: Not your Godfather's Palermo

J looking out from our balcony
Before we got to Sicily, we heard a lot about driving there. To be careful, that drivers were a bit crazy... but for most of our trip, the driving was pretty sane and the roads mostly country.

Until we got to Palermo.

Palermo is what folks are talking about when they mention the insanity of driving.

We were headed from Cefalu to the Kalsa neighborhood of Palermo. It was a bit harrowing, to say the least. As is often the case when you go to a new big city, we didn't know the rules of the road that locals follow, so we basically just followed what the cars in front of us were doing.

Our AirB&B was a nice one -- a big one bedroom with a lovely balcony that with a view of the nearby church. The weather was nice, so once we arrived and parked, we relaxed. There is always a point on a long trip where I need a day to not be a tourist, not do anything...this was that day. We hung out and watched movies, drank some wine, and eventually got ourselves together to get out of the house.

The first thing you must eat while in Palermo is arancini. These things are huge, and delicious. They are usually filled -- with meats, cheeses, and sometimes both -- and a wonderful snack while walking around. And, in my opinion at least, walking is the best way to see Palermo. This is a big city, and as such, you should take the same precautions you would take in any big city. My understanding is that there has been a concerted effort to rid the city of the mafia, and other than the Godfather souveniers, I didn't see any overt evidence of it. So there is nothing to fear there. But while there, like in other cities, be smart.

Quattro Canti
We walked towards the Quattro Canti, an important corner with beautiful artwork on each side of the street. This was the first but not the last time we visited this area -- you can spend quite a bit of time wandering the streets, following a parade, and checking out the various churches and monuments...you can also pop into a bar when you need a drink or to hear some locals shout about their families.

Eventually we made our way towards the Teatro Massimo, which takes you through the main pedestrian area. These streets are lined with shops, people, and food vendors.

Stop by il Siciliano to have a few drinks. Arrive early enough that to get some seats...then sit and watch the local nightlife unfold around you. The drinks came with some appetizers -- enough to hold us over for quite some time.  Eventually stumble out and over to get some proper Sicilian food -- it'll be filling and delicious and just what you need before you go pass out!

We spent our last night in this neighborhood, surprised how busy the restaurants were on a Sunday night. We found ourselves at Ciccio Passami l'Olio. The bar here was particularly great -- and had several local, Sicilian beers; I'd highly recommend.

Palermo is ideal for wandering around, eating until you burst, and drinking granitas. I also loved that I didn't feel like I was running into too many other tourists, especially in the neighborhood where we were staying (that was what you would describe as "up and coming").

il Siciliano
Via Orologio, 37

Ciccio Passami l'Olio
via 90133, Via Castrofilippo, 4

03 January 2017

Reading is Fundamental: 2017 Book List

The Advantage: Why Organizational Health Trumps Everything Else In BusinessPatrick Lencioni I had to read this for work -- but it is a good one. If you are a team leader, or aspire to be one, it can help you identify key issues that can cause disfunction and failure, and walks you through ways to get past them.

The Rocks: A Novel, Peter Nichols The perfect vacation novel -- this book follows the story of two people who first fell in love in the 1960s, drifted apart, then came back together in a very odd, and possibly tragic, way.

Beyond Belief: My Secret Life Inside Scientology and My Harrowing Escape, Jenna Miscavige Hill Scientology is fascinating. This book was written by the niece of the head of the church, and looks at her life as a child brought up in Scientology, what she went through, and how she finally decided to leave.

Becoming Queen Victoria: The Unexpected Rise of Britain's Greatest Monarch, Kate Williams I have a deep love for the British Royals, and their history. With the launch of the new Victoria TV series, I wanted to learn more. This was a great start! A look at what led to Victoria becoming the heir to the throne, with a brief insight to her very controlled upbringing that influenced how she reigned.