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.