Monday, May 31, 2010

Hold music

81 minutes.
That’s one hour and 21 minutes.
One-24th of an entire day.
4860 seconds.

It’s the running time of both the 1964 film classic Santa Claus Conquers the Martians and the South Park movie from 1999 and also the amount of time I spent on hold to the Births Deaths & Marriages department of the Queensland government today.

Oh. My. God.

Me at approximately 10.49am today. Please note the beautiful scapula and rather jaunty neckerchief.

Let me preface this rant by saying that I use a headset phone (I was at work, I use a headset as I do lots of interviews over the phone) and I had plenty to go along with, work-wise, while I waited.
And waited.
And listened endlessly to that one, standard issue hold music instrumental that is most likely psych-tested as being a quite lively, quite upbeat and happy collection of classical notes and one that will more likely than not improve your mood by a factor of 3.4 or something by the time you are connected and can complete your call.
But I doubt even the psych testers would have had the patience to extend their research to examine the impact on the human mind if it ends up listening to it for almost an hour and a half.

First it was a game, as I said to myself laughingly "oh, I wonder if it will get to 30 minutes". Then it became irritating, as I said to myself haughtily "will it get to one hour?"

And then it became a battle of wills, as I said to myself menacingly, "if it gets to one and a half hours, I will kill someone"...with Michael Douglas in Falling Down firmly in mind.

Actually, it was quite interesting.
I doodled with my pen and pad as I waited – see, I told you I had plenty of important work to go along with.
I found my doodles slowly transformed from flowers, boxes and dots to mountains, then volcanoes, then trees, then exploding birds, then prehistoric cro-magnon man villages with caves and fires...and then to a primitive, angry, mono-coloured sketch depicting a sacrificial ritual whereby the incompetent underlings of this ancient society were tied to four posts, laid over a fire and then torn apart by the tribe leader’s cannibal children.
Look out for the sketches at the Art Gallery in July. Which art gallery? The one in every single fricking capital city of the world, such was the volume of my doodling...
I was ringing this fabulously well-run and well-managed department to enquire about the new law that comes in tomorrow, allowing lesbian co-mothers (that’s me!) to put their names on their children’s birth certificates.
Despite the fact that I was repeatedly told via the hold music robot that I could go to the website, where I was assured a full and comprehensive list of fees and information was waiting for me, I knew better than to naively hang up and go fossicking online.
For I know the ineptitude of government departments. I know how poorly prepared they always turn out to be when a law changes. I know how pathetic the flow of information from Parliament to government department and then on to customer service operators and, eventually, the public truly is.
We experienced it when Centrelink conveniently decided to recognise our relationship a few years back, thereby eliminating our ability to access a single mother’s pension for T.
Repeated attempts to get a straight answer out of Centrelink back then, well after the supposed deadlines stated, proved more than frustrating.
And, again, so it was.

A range of new surrogacy and family laws come in tomorrow. They will have significant impact not only on the specific families involved, but also on the way Births Deaths & Marriages conducts its business.
And so, surely even Helen Keller would have had the sense (forgive the pun) to predict an increase in phone calls from the public today.
I forget her name, but the lady who answered me (finally!) was completely lovely – and I can only assume someone had sprinkled a little amphetamine upper on her Iced Vo-Vos at morning tea.
Either that, or she was in shock and borderline hysterical.
There is no way a “client services officer”, as they are known, could have been so nice when she was dealing with this: more than 100 people waiting in the phone queue and only six, that’s right: six, people rostered on in the call centre.
Unbelievable, isn’t it? That’s what she told me was going on during her day today as a direct result of the new laws.

100 people waiting in line, and only six people in the office.

Anyway. I was right. The website was not up to date.
I initially thought we would be slugged $135 to change a name on a birth certificate. Then lovely crazy lady told me it would be $84 before putting me on hold.
On hold! Are you serious? Again??

She came back after about three minutes, during which time she checked the detail with her boss – and no doubt grabbed a cup of water, splashing it on her face and sucking down a tube of protein goo while paramedics checked her vital signs.
It will, in fact, cost us $15.50. We will fill out a form, we will send the original certificate in with that form and our payment, and we will get a new one back in the mail.
Total call duration: one hour and 32 minutes.
Ladies and gentlemen, I give you the Queensland government.

Funny, and it's such an absurd thing, this experience. Particularly when you consider the momentousness of what this means for me.

What's a few hours on the phone, when this is about inextricably linking me to my son, where no biological link currently exists?

Today I am potentially no one to him. Today, an independent third party would look at me, and look at him, and look at the documents that intimidating, powerful places like courts, police stations and governments think are the only things that define a person. And he will say, "who are you to him? You are no one."

Tomorrow, that changes.

(Good info at Australian Gay and Lesbian Law blog here.)

Friday, May 28, 2010

Papa can you hear me?

So I have made a new bloggy friend and she is a devastatingly good writer.

She is in a similar situation to me: she's gay, she using donor sperm to make a baby, she is using IVF, she's a she...see how much we have in common?

However, let me tell you the one big thing we differ markedly on: the identity of the donor.

She knows him, has a good relationship with him, she's moved house to be closer to him, they have coffee regularly and she even uses words like daddy and father when referring to him.

Honestly I mean no offence, but I cannot imagine anything more awkward or strange or icky.

The most we know about our donor is contained in a 10-page questionnaire. To us, he is a number. And it might sound harsh or clinical, but that's just the way we like it.

We met up with another friend while in Adelaide a week ago - she's in a same-sex relationship too, they have one little boy also and are also trying for number two.

Her school of thought was all about full disclosure also. "I cannot imagine having someone's sperm inside me from someone I didn't know, or like."

After I gagged, I kind of got her drift. But we actually prefer and like the not knowing. And thank Christ we agree.

Honestly, we are probably a bit gun-shy. Perhaps because T's parents have not been the most, shall we say, accepting of our relationship; and perhaps because we have read one too many magazine stories and seen one too many documentaries about known donor relationships going horribly awry. I guess it is just one less thing we have to worry about trusting.

I mean, we are devoted to each other and committed 100% - that's fine, I will never question that. But then you want to bring in a third party? Who you might not know very well, whose circumstances and mind could change for all sorts of reasons?

It was a preservation mechanism: both for us and whatever children we had, I think.

Of course, there is potential for Jay to go searching for this man when he turns 18. We will help him find him and go with him on the plane if that's what he wants and if that's what ends up happening.

Right now, we are flat out preparing for how we have that conversation - and how we have it age-appropriately.

Believe me, we have both lost sleep over wondering what the hell we are going to say if Jay comes home from Year 1 to tell us that his best friend was telling him that day that he was going camping with his dad on the weekend and where was Jay's dad?

At this stage, I am content to default to what the counsellor told us at the IVF clinic: your son will not have a father, he will have two mums.

And, my, wasn't it a relief to hear those simple words? My brain had over-analysed to the hilt...I was getting ready to draw diagrams, make a papier mache diorama, write a book, illustrate it, clip a topiary interpretation of the situation on the hedge outside and stage a play to help us explain how in god's name Jay came into the world and why he had two people of the same sex as his parents...this, yes this was much better.

"Well son, you don't have a dad. You have two mums."

The scary thing of course, however, is what is said after we deal with that moment when Jay looks at us in the seconds after we deliver such forthright words with blank, naive eyes and his sharp little brain starts formulating the very next question.

Those words are something, but I know they won't be enough.

What will we say?

Who knows? But we will work it out, just as we have always done.

That was a very Hallmark end to the post, wasn't it? Didn't it smack of the "and they all lived happily ever after"?

But that's what I am slowly gathering about parenting. You just do your freaking best. Most days it's fine, some days it is spectacular and others, it's truly from a place called hell.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Umbilical links

I was watching three minutes of that reunion show Find My Family last night.
MasterChef was on an ad break and so I flicked away from the ads, not feeling particularly keen to have my ears assaulted by Harvey and his screechy wife Joyce.
There were these two girls in their 20s on there who were reunited with their mother. One girl had been given up as soon as she was born, the other one had lived with her mother until she was 17 months old - and then similarly handed over.

Can you imagine? Hell, I cannot begin to comprehend having a living thing grow inside you and then putting it up for adoption as soon as it pops out - let alone forming an incredibly strong bond with a little person over a whole 17 months and then making the call to do the same thing. That's 17 months of smiles, lullabies in the middle of the night when sickness makes it hard to breathe or scary noises make it harder to sleep...17 months of eye contact, warmth, touching, laughs, words, sharp pangs of anxiety when your little one cries and the sharper pangs of a swelling heart when that same little one sticks out their arms for you, and only you.

Anyway, they showed these three pictures and video of each other to each other - there was probably an equally teary, in person reunion, but I don't know, as MasterChef came back on and I needed to know if Carrie's spinach mistake would mean the end of her dream. (It would.)

Yeah, there were tears (from both Carrie and all three women on Find My Family) and at one stage, when the mother first laid eyes on photos of her long-lost girls, her face broke into this painful grimace of shock and utter regret.

A large, gnarled hand betraying decades of what was probably a bloody hard life whipped up to cover the raw emotion that her heart could not stop from contorting her cheeks, mouth and eyes in all different directions as she cried.

It was a powerful moment. It took my breath away.

Because it put me for a split second in the shoes of someone who had played a genetic role in creating a person...and someone who then, for whatever reason, had disappeared.

Then it made me realise how amazingly strong those genetic bonds are, no matter what kind of nurture may have overridden the nature in your mind.

And then, it gave me a tiny glimpse into what Jay might experience as he gets older and starts wondering who this man was who contributed to his life.

Of course I can understand it. Without this man, Jay would not be on the planet. No matter how much we raise him with two mums and explain that he doesn't have a father, but that he came into this world with this man's help and in a very special way...he is likely to want to know, he is likely to be curious. Right?

Then I allowed myself to slide into an empathy I have so far been afraid to confront - afraid only because I suspected to stumble upon an emotion that might make me uncomfortable. What would I do in a similar situation? How would I feel?

Of course I would want to know every little thing I could about where I came from. That wouldn't mean I wanted to deny the existence or the love of those who had raised me - but I would most certainly be curious. I knew this, but it was fuzzy and hiding somewhere in the outskirts of my conscience, out near the industrial areas.

Last night I thought plenty about it and I accepted it.

That was a powerful moment for me. It took my breath away.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Inaugural IHAC meeting

Right then, could we all take our seats please.

I am honoured to be present at this, the inaugural meeting of IHAC: the I Hate Acronyms Club, Anal Annie Chapter. Among our first order of business shall be investigating improvements to our name, as the insinuation of hacking and the general anal area may be a little, shall we say, distasteful to a certain potential membership base. Plus, in a somewhat unfortunate and ironic outcome given the very reason for our being, there are approximately 4,372 other IHACs in the world. So I am guessing that domain name will be taken.

Well now, if you are partaking in a little IVF action, you will be well versed in these capital lettery conglomerations.

I guess it's to be expected, right? I mean, we are, after all, taking part in something that in my mind, is the queen bee of acronyms: IVF. Well it's at least more important than CSIRO, and certainly carries way more weight than, say, the CWA. It might be on a par with NASA, but it does not beat the UN. Nobody beats those guys in their little blue helmets, Ban Ki-Moon would just not have it. And Ban, or Ki-Moon (I have always been confused by which one of those Asian names comes's backwards, right? asked the arrogant Westerner), may I say - I adore your name. I swoon over the Moon. I am a Moon-swooner. And Ban Ki sounds like hanky, which sounds like panky, which all adds up to a name guaranteed to make you smile.

I must make it clear that the IHAC will not tolerate any moves by any splinter groups to get their rebellious, self-righteous VIP on and tell those acronyms to POQ ASAP. FYI, and IMHO, the WAO - that's the World Acronym Office (AKA: the global authority on these matters - will shut you down quicker than you can say ADHD.

Because I have CC'd the WAO CO, the COO and the CEO (and the 2IC in the US office in the OC) with the memo to drop these confusing TLAs from the get-go. I told them these acronyms needed the heave-ho, I said so: they had to go. But then they went all OTT and some guy called Joe said NO! And I was LMAO! In fact, I was ROFLMAO.

I said I'd BBL, while I LOL'ld and very quickly went AWOL.

Has this become a Spray & Wipe ad?

BTW I told my BFF about this situation and she was all like "OMG, WTF? What a bunch of mo-fos. Whatever though, TGIF". (I slapped her and we are no longer friends, as I intensely dislike people who say TGIF. You can say the whole thing if you want, spell it out: and glory be to you for being the very first human to speak publicly about your happiness at the impending end of the working week. But hey sunshine, you are NOT Robinson Crusoe and you do not have first dibs on that emotion. It is pretty much assumed knowledge that WE ALL feel the same way. So take your superfluous word-wasting and git out.

Just when you thought you had an original idea, Google images completely shoots you down in flames.

Anyway! I'm tired, it's late and laziness is making my bones seize up. So, here is a copy and pasted list of the IVF acronyms in the world today.

AF Aunt Flo, Period, or Menstrual cycle
AH Assisted Hatching
ART Assisted Reproductive Technology
BA Baby Aspirin
BBT Basal Body Temperature
BCP Birth Control Pills
Beta HCG pregnancy test
BFN Big Fat Negative
BMS Baby-making Sex
B/W, b/w Bloodwork
CCCT, CCT Clomiphene Citrate Challenge Test (Clomid Challenge Test)
CM Cervical Mucus
D&C Dilation & Curettage
DE Donor Eggs
DH Dear Husband
DW Dear Wife
DPR Days Post-Retrieval
DPT Days Post-Transfer
Dx Diagnosis
E2 Estradiol
ENDO Endometriosis
ET Embryo Transfer
FET Frozen Embryo Transfer
FRED First Response Early Detection
FSH Follicle-Stimulating Hormone
GIFT Gamete Intrafallopian Transfer
GnRH Gonadotropin-Releasing Hormone
hCG, HCG Human Chorionic Gonadotropin
hMG, HMG Human Menopausal Gonadotropin
HPT Home Pregnancy Test
HSG Hysterosalpingogram

ICSI Intracytoplasmic Sperm Injection
IF Infertility
IM Intramuscular injections
IUI Intrauterine Insemination
IVF In Vitro Fertilization
IVIg Intravenous Immunoglobulin
LAP Laparoscopy
LH Luteinizing Hormone
LOL Laughing Out Loud
LPD Luteal-Phase Defect
MC, m/c Miscarriage
OHSS Ovarian Hyperstimulation Syndrome
OPK Ovulation Predictor Kit

P4 Progesterone
PCO Polycystic Ovary Syndrome
PG Pregnant
PGD Pre-implantation Genetic Diagnosis
PID Pelvic Inflammatory Disease
PIO Progesterone In Oil
PMS Pre-menstrual Syndrome
RE Reproductive Endocrinologist
SA Semen Analysis
S/S Signs/Symptoms
STD Sexually Transmitted Disease
SubQ Subcutaneous injection
TTC Trying To Conceive or get pregnant
Tx Treatment
US, u/s Ultrasound
2WW 2 Week Wait (from transfer until pg test)
ZIFT Zygote Intra-fallopian Transfer
Thanks to this site for the insight.

Fascinating, huh?
Although, I can't help but pull a face when I read CM...much the same reaction as BMS, haha. Oh, I am happy with the S, just there's no real BM possible in our case...shame Derryn, shame.

Well I think we have made some real progress tonight. Thank you all for coming.



Oh and BTW, AF arrived tonight. Tardy bi-arch! And, man, does she look mean this time. So, hooray, we will resume regular programming shortly.

Stand by!

Friday, May 21, 2010

Am I ready?

So the scotch is on ice and it's made me a tad emotional.

Plus I thought I'd put all the randomness and tangent-inspired postings to one side and focus on something vaguely IVF-y for once. Actually, due to the size and volume of the randomness and tangents, I think it will need two sides. It will easily take up enough room for two sides, so two sides it shall have. That means the following post will form part of the third side.

Is that like a third dimension? Does that mean you will need 3D glasses to read this particular post? Will there be a Blu-Ray Avatar version of it out tomorrow?

Jesus, I can hear you exclaim. First she dazzles us with her polynomial multiplication knowledge (actually, I didn't, I just wrote the two words down, but please feel free to be dazzled) and then she talks some kind of crazy talk about things being squared. Who is this chick? Some kind of Stephen Hawking?

No. I could never hope to fill his shoes. Does he even have shoes? Does he need them? Why do people in wheelchairs need shoes? Or socks. Or feet. That's mean. I apologise, I take that back.

Now what was I saying about avoiding tangents? I got a little lost back there.

Alright, let's go issues-based then. Fine.

Honestly, and I don't want to get all Tears Of A Clown on you, but I have always been someone who defaults to a joke or a sarcastic remark as the instant first response to anything vaguely emotional.

I'm an avoider. It's a coping mechanism. What was that? What deep-seated place does that characteristic come from?

Oh-hoh, look over there! Something shiny - is it a kitten? - it sure does make me laugh. HahahahahahaHAHHA.

Me? I like to break any and all emotional tension with a cleverly crafted crumb of wit...I see myself as a jovial ice pick to be used in social situations. Nothing I like more than to ease an awkward moment with a comment of varying comedic quality, only to have it followed by polite laughter. Phew...order restored, dignity saved, humanity lives to conduct small talk again! That was close.

But then something enormous like making a baby using some random Yankee dude's sperm comes along and ...
"There may be a smile on my face, but it's only there trying to fool the public."

No! I told you this ain't about Smokey, it's not!

All of a sudden I feel completely unprepared. It's like me as a garden variety journalist of questionable talent turning up for an interview to replace the retiring Rupert Murdoch. C.o.m.p.l.e.t.e.l.y. out of my league.

That line from The Castle keeps coming back: "Tell her she's dreaming." (gender reference modified to suit present usage.)

And it's not just about feeling emotionally unprepared...I am not sure my body is ready. Should I be fitter, leaner, have taken part in a Mensa entrance test to check on my mental toughness - or at the very least, done the Facebook IQ challenge?

Should I be sitting in a western-oriented corner for 17 minutes at sunrise while chanting some healing prayer to my ovaries...should I be consulting oracles, drinking rosemary tea, stocking up on crystals, having my aura read, re-jigging the house according to all feng shui principles and putting a silk pouch of garlic and cloves under my pillow while praying to Ashanti, Brigid, Rosmerta, Artemis, Parvati, Mbaba Mwena Waresa and every other freaking fertility goddess for guidance and support?? What???

Thing is, we tried once and it didn't happen. Alright, a negative result after the first go happens ALL the time, ALL over the world. But, to be so disappointed at the very first hurdle kind of cripples your resolve and makes a dent in your hope reserves. How big or small that dent is, well, that depends on the day. But it's a bloody ugly dent someone has backed into a Maserati and driven off. Away. Gone.

But then we were watching some DVDs of Jay from last year and it made me realise, firstly, how quickly time really does fly; and secondly, how far both he and us have progressed.

Looking at him as a chubby toddler - a real toddler, days after he learned to stand upright - or sitting in his high chair, feeding himself...well, it was shocking to remember how I felt at that moment back there in history.

Worry that he would never know how to hold a spoon, or walk properly without falling over; unbridled anxiety and fear that I wouldn't know what to do, how to react, how to cope if he didn't learn those things, or make progress or if he fell behind or developed some problem.

And then, something of an epiphany. For a split second, sure, all these emotions consumed me. But that was back then, ages ago, and that was before I let life take its course and - guess what? - it bloody worked out!

Somehow we muddled through. Of course we did, that's what we do. Together.

Why can't we do the same this time? And who says we can't have just as spectacular an outcome?

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Rwanda heterosexual

Still with me?
Still hanging in there, troops?

Today I would like to write about one of my pet peeves concerning technology.

Predictive text.

Did you know I was going to say that? Huh?

To me, it's presumptuous, arrogant, is often wrong and thinks it's smarter than me. Or, more American than me.
Well color me angry, that sort of attitude just will not fly!

My sister showed me a text she was writing last week. All she simply wanted to say was "you're here".

What did the wisdom of her predictive text automatically assume she was writing?

You Rwanda heterosexual.

What the hell is that about??

Please, please don't tell me it's yet more proof that damn Mugabe has his homophobic, domineering hooks in EVERYWHERE!

Extensive research (a three-second scan of Google search results) tells me predictive text is meant to allow common words to be entered at the press of one button as opposed to five, six or seven.

When you can explain to me why words like Rwanda and heterosexual are "common" and why you're and here are not, I will wipe egg from my face as I fall on my knees, cap in hand and tail between legs, apologetic for ever daring to heap criticism on predictive text.

It's one of those love-hate things, I guess.

Personally, I do not understand its purpose. Seems like a bunch of geeks developed a technology that does the opposite of its intended purpose, to save time. Instead, it forces way more button presses than necessary to correct the inevitable mistakes and is more trouble than it's worth.

What is the point if technology is not as smart or smarter than we are? Is the latter even possible? asked the arrogant human.

Whatever the answer, I am convinced there is a massive pile of money waiting to be made by the person who markets an ultra-basic mobile phone.

One with larger buttons that simply makes calls and texts. That is all.
You may be able to upgrade to a calendar, alarm clock, calculator or phone, but those features are not standard.

Think of the battery life - it could last for, like, weeks! Think of the sales!

All those oldies who are shit-scared of using phones and all those poor unfortunates who missed the IT boat (a sleek speedboat which, in my mind, looks like a giant commercial version of this:

I think it would go off. And I would buy the first one.

My Nokia phone apparently has 3G, some music player thing and Push To Talk. It has a camera, duh, something called Apps and something called Media. My point is that I only have use for, or ability to understand, about 20% of its actual features.

To be honest, and a warning this statement will cause audible groaning: I still cannot get my head around accessing the internet while NOT sitting in a building with a computer plugged into the wall.

There, I said it. I am in awe of, and will forever be intimidated by, wireless. I am so old school that if it doesn't have wires and 459 metres of black cables, I don't trust it.

That sort of thinking comes from decades of hooking up chunky old stereos with an impressive assortment of thick and thin black cables...attaching speakers, record players - remember them, etc. It comes from decades of connecting TVs to videos and DVD players with those tri-coloured cords that somehow never work first time even though a toddler could match those three colours without looking up from his Yogo.

Well it's time us tech-tards fought back with a new product range!
They shall have simple names, because they are for simple people.
So we will have The Phone. That's it. The Phone.
We may then have The Computer You Can Actually Take Places: Outdoor Places, The Portable Music Player That is Not The Enormous Boom Boxes You May Remember From The 80s or From Various Spike Lee Movies, and The Portable Organiser That is Not Named After a Fruit.

Screw you Apple, I am coming to get you!

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Random and randomer

So there I was partaking in a little light reading with the Adelaide Advertiser (newspaper) on my lap and a cup of tea steaming on the table.
I love holidays. They remind you not only of the existence of a word like "linger" but also of what it actually feels like.
And so I lingered a lot longer than I normally would when reading the paper...all the way, in fact, through to the classifieds of the large Saturday edition.
My favourites are the Lost and Found important that I felt the need to honour them with a capital.
Sometimes, when I am on holidays, I like to see if I can match a Lost ad with a Found one: it gives me immense satisfaction and a feeling of order being restored!

No such luck this time. No, there was another, much larger gem waiting for me.

Among the cats, the cockatiels and the hearing aids was a missing will. Interesting.
They lady owner of the will was named, as was her husband - Brian Button, who was searching for it. Brian's phone number and address on Cross Road were also printed in the ad.

Four entries further down the same column, and there is an ad for a missing wheel. "Surely this is a joke," I thought to myself, as I read on.

But no, apparently the same Brian Button had a missing WHEEL as well as a missing WILL. "Oh! What are the chances?" I exclaimed.

And, by some extraordinary coincidence, both ads have the same phone number, address and...hang on a minute: they have exactly the same WORDING! Except for that crucial noun: will and wheel.

My eyes flickered up and down between both ads. Both ads that mentioned Brian Button.

Suddenly, something that looked a lot like common sense showed its face in my mind...

I am now convinced that scoundrel Brian Button killed his wife after loosening the nuts on just one wheel of her car. The wheel spun off as she rounded a bend on Cross Road (which is actually straight as a die, but we can dismiss that for the purposes of these "facts"). Poor Mrs Button hit a brick wall, while the wheel spun into the bushes and its whereabouts remain a mystery to this day. Also in a location of a very mysterious persuasion is Mrs Button's will.

That's why supposedly unassuming old Brian - who no doubt prunes his white roses with military precision and waves at the neighbours on Sundays while muttering curses under his stale, anchovy breath - is placing these two ads.

There is no other explanation.

Of course, there could have been a Colombian working in the Advertiser classies department...
Rosa Rodriguez: "Sorry, sir. What was dat?"

Brian Button: "It's a will, a missing will."

Rosa: "Oh, j-yes, I see now sir. A weel, of course a weel! Ay, ay, ay!"
(Much laughter and mariachi music in the background).
Speeling, people. It's almost as important as taking a stand against multicultural stereotypes!

By the way, if you have become increasingly frustrated at the randomness of these posts - and their distinct lack of IVF-ness - please don't be mad. There is just not much to share at this point. I am waiting for my period to arrive...we have made up the spare bed and stocked up on gin. Then, the doc will schedule another blood test and we can get another embie put in! In the meantime, I am sorry, but the randomness must reign.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Funny photo

Meanwhile, we visited what is perhaps Adelaide's most famous landmark aside from the Big Rocking Horse in Gumeracha...the big-ass silver balls in Rundle Mall.
That's right, two enormous silver balls sitting on top of each other, smack bang in the middle of the CBD shopping mall.
They are stainless steel, or something, and provide quite an amusing "skewiff" perspective when you look into them...kind of like those distortion mirrors at Coney Island. Well, it's amusing if you don't look like me in the following photo.
Please witness the most hilarious photo ever taken of yours truly...and believe me, there have been a few.

That's me, on the far left, with my sister in the middle and Jay on the end. So, my sister did alright out of the Malls Balls distortion: she has awesome cheekbones and enormous Angelina frames. Jay looks alright, if a little broad under the eyes, but me? Really.

But it's not all bad.

I shall be marrying this handsome young man and, by winter, I will be Mrs Rocky Dennis.

Dear Adelaide, wo

Dear Adelaide,
after spending eight days with you, I can now confidently say Billy Joel did not have you in mind when he wrote those immortal words "don't go changing to try and please me..."
Nothing, in fact, has changed in that quaint little city for years; but unlike that Noo Yawker with a penchant for ebony, ivory and Christie Brinkley, I am decidedly pleased about that.
There are the four terrace ambassadors of the points of the compass, there are the old stone cottages with their prickly brush fences, there are the gnarly trees wearing leaves of burnt orange and pale yellow as autumnal coats...coats so bloody necessary for all living things in this city at a time of year when the temperature plummets faster than the sun at about 3pm each day.
And there is the delicious coffee, the Italian wood oven bread and the oakiest red wines that carry the same labels as the ones I drink at home, further north and in more tropical climes; but ones that seem to taste better when the chill in the air is blowing at you straight off the Antarctic.
There are the gorgeous old pubs on every street corner, the Pale Ales flowing from their taps, the wide open streets - even in the city, and the pasties and iced coffee from my memory.
There's that landmark, and that college I used to travel past on the bus every day...and that fountain in Victoria Square, and that funny little shop with the red awning. God! That awning is still the same as it was 15 years ago!
Funny though, it all seems smaller. Perhaps because a severe bout of holiday eating has made me bigger. Much bigger.
Yes, and there is the Woglish* spoken by the Italian and Greek-descended peeps...Dom and Con and Mario talking in that expressive, Alpha Male brogue about their cousins, their Monaros and this chick called Tina they met at some neon-lit club last Thursday.
(* No offence intended)
And they are still wearing gold chains, white t-shirts that deserve a spot on the Napi-San ads, jeans and Adidas jackets. Nothing changes.
Here, thank god, is football. No, not soccer, although that would have been a nice segue from the Wog* boys I was just talking about. (* Seriously)
No, I mean AFL...Australian Rules, a game so great they named it Australian, not like some wimpy "league". Haha.
But here in Adelaide, of course, is family. That hasn't changed and that's why it's so nice to go back.

In other news, and writing the word "segue" has caused me to pause, reflect and ruminate on another strangely spelled word: "whoa".
You know this one, right? It's very Wayne's Worldy..."Whoa Garth, is that Heather Locklear?" or indeed, Keanu Reeves from Bill and Ted's, simply "Whoa..."
My point is this: phonetics goes out the window with these words, and many others in this strange little language we call English.
Look at "segue" and expect to say "seg", or even "seg-yew". Show me an accent on the e if you want me to craft an "ay" sound with my mouth; tell me it's French or Spanish to justify this weird pronounciation!
Look at "whoa" and expect to say "wo-a". I can sort of see where you are going here, with a whoa as in boat. But there ain't no helpful guiding consonant after your whoa to give me any freaking idea about what the hell is going on. So in future, please just limit your whoas to "wo". That's the sound we make, that's the sound you are implying, that's all you need!

Sunday, May 9, 2010

A mother of a day

So, it's Mother's Day. An occasion that is squared in our house, containing as it does not one, but two mums - one for the maths nerds out there.
Actually, I stopped maths in Year 10 and have trouble to this day with any numerical transaction more complicated than single digit addition. I can roughly get my head around working out 10% of something, but anything more complicated and the "bbeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeep" coming from my flatlining brain will be publicly audible. So much so that I am embarrassed to say I actually had to Google the definition of squared before I posted it on my Facebook status.
Sad, people, but sadly true. Plus you know what those Facebook types can be like, all superior and knowledgey about tricky maths terms...they would shoot a greenhorn like me down in flames before you could say polynomial multiplication.

Anyway, I wasn't going to blog today...I didn't want to get all morbid and morose-militant and whine about how I wish I was pregnant already.
You know me, that is assumed knowledge - but let's not dwell on it. Life needs to be lived in the meantime, right?

But I just this minute made myself the most obscenely large cup of English Breakfast and whenever I do that, I feel a compulsion to do one of two things immediately: sit on the couch and inhale Honey Jumbles while watching The Amazing Race, or blog.
Thank you Mr Twinings for inspring me to lead such an eventful life.

Plus three things have happened already this morning that make you realise Mother's Day really is a day solely enjoyed by the people who make those dodgy breakfast trays
(because no one has one at home all year round, so they go to Crazy Clark's to get one just for Mother's Day - because the "family" on the Target ad has a breakfast tray, it's what white Australia is meant to be doing on that second Sunday in May. It costs $3.95, it's made in China from an ethically-questionable wood plantation, it breaks under the weight of the burnt toast or the pancakes, mum gets scalded with hot coffee and dad swears he will make one out of real wood from Bunnings next year. Next year comes around and, what a surprise, dad has forgotten his promise; so he grits his teeth, tries to push the bitter-tasting feelings of inadequacy out of his mind, bundles all the kids into the Ford Territory and goes to check on Clark's mental health. Again.) or the people who make Roses chocolates. Yep, three things already have made me mutter "Mother's Day Shmother's Day" under my breath.
Let me preface this by saying toilet-training is not fun and we have probably done it wrong: we started too early and we have relied on pull-ups and nappies too much.

That, coupled with a little boy who last night came down with a head cold, has resulted in me coming into extremely close personal physical contact with poo, snot and wee before the clock had struck 10am. These revolting bodily fluids have been on my person - on my person! - this morning. What am I? An aged care nurse working the winter diarrhoea shift?

I mean, COME ON!!!!!!!!!!!

Look I wasn't expecting flowers, burnt offerings on a wonky breakfast tray or one of those cute homemade cards that look worse than the roast chook bag - and yet you throw the roast chook bag in the bin without a moment's hesitation.
No, I understand Jay is just over two. But he is a smart kid. Really. He should have picked up on the fact that this was a day specially set aside for his mummies.

Instead, he recreated Christo's wrapping of, oh I don't know, the Olgas by pooing in his jocks.
Instead, he blew out about four kilos of yellow snot (in an alarmingly long string) and potentially some of his brain thanks to a Force 5 sneeze.
And instead, he weed on me while he sat on my lap after I had changed him into fresh, clean jocks Mark 2 and fresh, clean pants Mark 2.

Mother's Day. The joke's on us, mums, but we ain't laughing.

Anyway, I should be packing for my trip. Aaarrgghhh. So long!

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

It shall be a musing-o-rama

Ok, so...I predict we will make it to Random Musing #3472 before something appropriately IVF-y happens.
We are on hiatus, people; repeat, on hiatus. So I'm afraid the liguistic equivalent of Barry Manilow muzak is going to have to continue to pipe through my keyboard, through the fibre optic cables of the world wide web and straight to the optical fibres of your eyes. Hell, why should I be afraid...perhaps you should be...
Here's the latest.

I had a blood test on Monday morning - that would be yesterday. I have a lovely vein on my left arm too, that's what the path lab chick said. I am convinced she was trying to pick me up.

We are having coffee on Friday. I plan on showing her the vein in my left arm and maybe, if things go really well, the one on my neck. I know. Racy with a capital Aarrrrr.

Anyway, due to the public holiday, the results didn't get down to the IVF doc's office until today - faxes like to respect Labour Day too: they like to march in the parade, partake in a spot of unionising over a sausage sizzle.

So the doc rang this morning and asked me to get another blood test on Thursday.

"Why?" I asked the lovely receptionist. "It's nothing at all to worry about whatsoever," she said. At which point, I start worrying and feeling a bit sick before sensing anger and impatience rise up my neck in a hot wave.
I mean, why did she choose to be so emphatic when telling me it was supposedly nothing at all to worry about? I think we all know now that if over-analysing is an Olympic sport in my mind, then I am its fittest, most-medalled record-breaker.

"Nothing at all to worry about whatsoever." Nothing at all, whatsoever. Superfluous and unnecessary in normal speech - IF THERE WAS ACTUALLY NOTHING TO WORRY ABOUT!

Anyway, turns out I am having a slow cycle and the bloods need to show that I have ovulated before they can pop another embryo in.

And ordinarily it wouldn't be an issue...and it's really not...but we fly out on holiday next Monday. We will be gone 10 days.

The embryos need two or three days to thaw, and the doc won't be able to make a call on whether or not I am ready until later Thursday. I don't know if they work weekends and, frankly, we are just going to run out of time.

I'm a journalist who works to deadlines every day. I'm impatient. I put a lot of pressure on myself. I like to plan and know I can rely on certain big things in life. I am genuinely looking forward to being pregnant and I cannot wait to meet our baby.

Line these qualities up in a row and, what does it spell? A very annoyed Bec.

But I have to remember that there is no rush - no deadline applies here. It will happen, I just have to give in to the process and trust that forces at work outside and inside my body - ones neither I or any doctor on the planet will ever understand - must take over now. Time to's the only way to be free.

Besides, that's one more month of drinking! Yee-haa!

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Random musing #2

Ok, so public toilets. There were, like, 15,000 other things I completely forgot to write about in my previous entry.
Bah, blame it on the full moon - I don't know about you, but that big sky-y thing of white brightness was certainly responsible for one shit of a week for me.
So here goes, and it really is shameful that I forgot to write about this first as it is probably my number one toilet turn-off: what the hell is with that little liquid present the “lady” before you leaves on the seat?

Who, what, why, when, where is that ever appropriate? I don't want to see drops of anything spoiling my seat. They have no business being there and it is your responsibility, your hygienic duty TO CHECK THE GOD DAMN SURFACE BEFORE YOU LEAVE.

First of all, it's revolting. Second of all, it's unnecessary and third of all, it should be fricking impossible.

Because here is the thing: this is a female toilet, presumably used by people sporting female anatomy.
So I want to know what the hell kind of position you are in to physically, as a woman, be able to leave behind something like that? Were you standing on the toilet seat, did you have your back up against the cubicle wall just trying to aim in that general direction, were you hopping from one leg to the other, what?

Physically it should be IMPOSSIBLE - for all sorts of reasons relating to the sciences of engineering, genetics and biology - for that to happen at all. Impossible! Do you hear me?! And yet happen it does.

Do you do it? Please, please school me in the ways of liquid toilet seat gifting and comment down below, um I mean at the end of this post - I want to understand, I really do!

Please note: no standing, squatting, leaning and most definitely no callisthenics or fishing.

Another pubtoil favourite, although thankfully one that happens to T more than I, are the people who choose the stall RIGHT NEXT to you in a bathroom featuring no less than 476 other cubicles.

You managed to find a cubicle on its own, up the back, where the light globe has blown...nice and private. You are the only one in there, in fact, and it's quiet, peaceful.

Then those dreaded footsteps barge in on your concentration. Hang on a minute? Those footsteps are getting closer! What? They are right next door?? Nooooooooo. You can hear them breathing, clearing their throat...and worse. Lady, there were 476 other spots to park your ass that you could have chosen RATHER THAN go beside me. Why are you here? Why? I don't know you, I'm not your friend and I certainly don't want to be your friend now. Why?

Frankly, you may be separated by flimsy MDF door panel, but it's a disgraceful invasion of personal space.

I have had countless potential random musing topics slam forehead-first into my conscience this week; surrounded as I was by a kind of full moon load of chaos and randomness.

Here is a sprinkling of what I came up with: people who wear high-waisted pants and are definitely not making a fashion statement. Equally nasty for either gender for a variety of reasons involving camels and dressing to a certain direction. Honey, your own spouse wouldn't want to know that kind of information, what makes you think I would?

How when you reverse your car, you just about give yourself whiplash checking as many directions as possible, and yet you still seem to see 100 new and different things ALL THE TIME. I do it all the time when I am backing out of my driveway - and that reversing scenery doesn't change! But I totally freak myself out and trick myself into believing that some truck that is travelling at faster than the speed of sound and is shaped like a tall pillar, to fit neatly into my blind spot, is zooming past me RIGHT AT THAT MOMENT. So I look left, right, three-quarters right, two-thirds left, one-fifth right, in my mirrors - and yet I still almost hit the tree on the other side of the road.

Humans need more eyes, it's that simple.

That makes me think of kids hearing a loud noise and then looking in that direction. Every single time, they look in the wrong direction first. Every time. Try it yourself, it is downright hilarious. Jay was sitting in his high chair the other day when a loud motorbike roared past the house, to his right. Instantly, he shit himself, whipped his head around to the left and then snapped it back to the right just a split second later. Haha! It's like the most violent, ridiculous double take - kid-style! Who are you? Ace Ventura?

Then there's an affliction I call karminsurancephobia. That's the gut-wrenching feeling you get when you make a purchase, any purchase seemingly these days, and there is an insurance policy up-sell attached. You know the one. For just 30extra bucks you can cover yourself against repairs or damage or whatever (supposedly).
And you just know that if you don't take out that policy, precisely that sort of damage will happen and those vicious AAMI karma gods will sink their teeth into your vulnerable white ass and sting your tail for eternity. So you are compelled by fear, karma and some stupidity to fork out your hard-earned...for an eventuality that is highly unlikely to happen.

And finally, do you ever have those days when you go shopping and you are browsing through the women's clothes, enjoying yourself, when all of a sudden you realise you are standing smack bang in the middle of the Size 26 - Size 34 racks. And you just slink out of there as fast as your-hopefully trim and hopefully-little legs will take you? It happened to me today. I had actually got to the point where I was flicking my fingers up and down the racks, in and out of the jumpers, lifting one or two off the rack and holding it up...wondering if "enormously oversize" was going to be a trend this winter. Uh...again? Then I realised. And I am sure everyone was looking at me, staring. Oh.

Problem was, I slinked and skirted and skated right on out of there and straight into petites.

All the Size 4s and 6s tried to chase me away, but they were way too weak.