Sunday, December 18, 2011

Say what?

My brother in law is here and we're having a good time. My father is coming this Tuesday. My mother is not coming, which is sad, but I understand. I am glad that my father decided to come anyway, even if I know he did not want to leave my mother behind.

Anyway, Plan A was to buy twin beds for my parents to sleep on, and to let my brother in law use the sofa bed. My brother in law arrived and we had not yet bought those beds. Plan B, in case we failed to buy the beds on time, was to put my parents in the sofa bed and my brother in law in the inflatable bed. Yesterday we dragged my brother in law to a furniture store while we finally chose some beds, avoiding Plan B.

My brother in law would have much preferred to do something more touristy, but he understood our need. Luckily, he had just bought a new phone (electronics are cheaper in the US) and he stayed busy playing with it and learning his way around the new features, while the spouse and I discussed beds and mattresses.

Those twin beds are going into the room that I would very much like to turn into a nursery one day. We have discussed the issue of fostering without deciding anything, but if we want to foster a young child, what we need is a cradle, not a bed, much less two. But the spouse does not even want to talk about furniture for a foster kid, and he really wants a functional guest room, since that is what we need right now.

So imagine my surprise when, as we walked out of the furniture store, the spouse said out loud: "You should also buy a cradle."

He meant, of course, a cradle for my brother in law's new phone. Luckily, I realized what he meant before I said something stupid. Still, for a couple of seconds, I was elated.

Oh well.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Is it just about genes?

The nice thing about traveling is that the spouse and I had plenty of opportunities to talk. Two conversations were very important.

In one, we talked about someone I hardly knew, but who died last Summer of uterine cancer. She and her husband had suffered infertility and, though I never got the details, I assume she underwent some aggressive hormonal treatments when trying to get pregnant. They ended up adopting two kids, who have now, sadly, lost their mother.

One case does not make a rule. But it makes me ponder whether or not I want to keep pouring artificial hormones into my body, especially now that my sister has cancer.

Another conversation was about being child free and what that would mean for the spouse. To me, it is a life I do not wish to live. To him, it is not a big deal. My fear is that sooner or later he might change his mind, and then leave me for someone younger and probably fertile. He insists that will not happen.

I also told him about Dawkins's selfish gene, and how at least some of my genes have been passed into the next generation, through  my sister's kids. However, in his case, it is looking less and less likely that either of his siblings will produce offspring. And so he asked, all of a sudden, if I would agree if he were to donate sperm. I laughed, then I said no. Then I said maybe, and said I would think about it.

It's almost been a month, and I am still thinking about it.  I don't think he was serious, because he has not mentioned it again. But what if he does? I have no answer.

Monday, December 5, 2011


O boy, I wrote I was a lucky woman  for being able to go to a recital this Saturday, and then drove over there and had a major, monumental, blasting rage episode triggered by the city traffic, compounded by emergency vehicles, tourist buses and aggressive drivers. The spouse even considered missing the recital and taking  me somewhere else to calm down. But even in the middle of my tantrum I knew that if I missed this, I was going to hate myself even more. And so we went.

This was truly a once in a lifetime opportunity, to see Frederica Von Stade before she retires, together with very accomplished Opera stars, half of which are retired. And of course, the highlight of the night for me was to hear Joyce di Donato sing a very challenging aria. Even the critics agree with me, she stole the show.

Here she is, during a rehearsal, (almost) not losing her concentration in spite of all the clowining around (the clowns are a world known composer and two of the most accomplished opera divas of our age):

By then I was feeling much better, and I truly enjoyed the show until the very end.

But then came the encore. Frederica Von Stade sang Jenny Rebecca (she had previously explained that her first daughter was named after that song). And then I cried, obviously, because my babies never got to be four days old, and all those swings, trees, days, toys, grass, sun, ponies, wind, etc. all sound like a major waste.

If you've ever experienced infertility or miscarriage, avoid that song like the plague.

The spouse drove back after the recital, and tactfully suggested getting my medication adjusted.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

By the way...

... I was there. Yes, and I was pinching myself the whole time. I thought this would happen only after we'd both retired and spent our time traveling with whatever money we'd managed to save. But it's already happened, I saw an opera at La Scala, with a great tenor and my favorite mezzosoprano (in a soprano role!! She's incredible). I can die happy now.

Today I'll be seeing her again.

Am I lucky or what?

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Vacation, family, and more MTHFR findings

I'm horribly jet-lagged in spite of having arrived on Tuesday. I hope my internal clock normalizes soon because I have a lot of catching up to do.

Boy, this trip was intense. All in all we visited three countries. My sister is doing extremely well. If it were not for the bald head, you would not know she is undergoing chemo. And the best news: It's working! God willing, she'll beat this beast on her first round. My parents were also there so I got to spend a weekend with them, and I stayed a little bit over a week with my in-laws.

Whenever I stay with them I realize why the spouse puts up with me: He's had to put up with his mother all his life. She is a kind, loving person, but she happens to have a mental illness that she managed rather well all her  life, until menopause. She is still very  much under control, but she is very disorganized, is always late, loses her keys, IDs and other valuables constantly, and sometimes spends money recklessly.

After such visits I wonder if the spouse chose me because of my gloomy moods and my stinginess.

Speaking of gloomy moods, I found out that  MTHFR polymorphism carriers, such as myself, are more likely to suffer depression, bipolar disorder or schizofrenia. This, of course, in addition to anemia, miscarriage, birth defects, heart disease, blood clots etc.

What I suspect is that having doctors tell you constantly that you are a lazy bum who refuses to follow their instructions can drive you nuts, whether you carry the polymorphism or not.