16 Days to Go
Well I hate to say how predictable this all is. The usual falling asleep within 10 minutes of watching a movie at around 8pm because of the severe exhaustion the injections give me, then with my combination of the fresh delestrogen booty jab, and sharing a gorgeous, not-too-chocolatey cafe mocha from Extracto (I am not a regular coffee drinker anymore, having cut the near-daily cappuccino habit out a few years ago and now consider it a lovely treat just like I do cocktails), and a mind obsessed with conversations we’ve been having about prospective country living, I was a bit, as my hubby would say, “all over da map”.
Oh yeah and the mood swings that range from serene to panicky, the ones that remind me to “never make a major decision while undergoing IVF”.
But I’ll do what I gotta do to stay distracted, you know?
So just in the nick of time (as if my recruiting and coaching work, DEIVF, and the new health class I signed up for fast approaching aren’t keeping me busy enough!), Our Newest Distraction was announced this week in the form of an email letting us know we’re being gifted with a Honey Flow Hive, something I wrote about here in December. While there are many extremes of how great or not-great this is, we found that most of the blog posts on the negative side were from people who’d never laid their hands on one, much less tried it out, and the positives were those from – you guessed it – folks who were giving it a shot. So while to some it may be the equivalent of going through a drive through wedding chapel instead of getting married in a cathedral, to us it’s a foot in the door to something my husband’s been dreaming about trying for years. And hey, I’m agnostic.
So what we’ve decided to do is to share the gift. Well, kinda. Here in Portland we have a ton of urban beekeepers, so we’re going to check out the monthly meeting of Portland Urban Beekeepers, which of course is a couple hours after the embryo transfer (actually y’all, it’s the perfect distraction). My thoughts are, since we weren’t really ready to jump right in, we are going to see if anyone is interested in mentoring us (since all we’ve done thus far is one year of mason bees and don’t have any experience catching our own swarm) and with that, get the chance to check out and test out the Flow Hive without having to pay a cent for it.
I told my husband when we got the news and were thrust into the sudden schedule (get the hive put together, get a swarm by late April, learn how to monitor/maintain, then harvest), that maybe this was a teeny tiny indication of what it’s like to find out you’re pregnant. We are, after all, going to have a family of bees joining our homestead!
Hey, whatever works for this hormone-filled brain of mine…
Parenting Outside of the City
Lately my husband and I have been overdosing a bit on Pinterest, thinking about what we don’t have and what would be oh-so-nice to have. A house with a wraparound porch with more than a standard 50×100 city lot. Room to walk around on our property without seeing other humans peering down from their next door perches in the new godawful tall skinnies next door (Their back door is on the 2nd floor, maybe 15′ from our fenceline. Nice people but there’s not a fence tall/legal enough to give us that privacy back.). Enough room for ducks and bees and a garden while still having room for a dog to fetch while not having to worry about the ball going into the onion patch. Enough room where we can’t hear the neighbor’s toddler crying every single day from inside the house. Somewhere with room to plant a little orchard. Maybe a couple of pigs. Or even more space where I can have a couple of horses. Somewhere that’s quiet. Somewhere we can breathe deeply.
So just for giggles, we’d started looking around – what’s close enough where my husband could still access his work that provides us our health benefits? Does this translate into a small town? Is there something in the middle of nowhere? They all sounded of interest. Not to do tomorrow, but in a few years, when we’ve figured out our next move, i.e., post-adoption, and hopefully a successful DEIVF this time around.
Our first thought was like serious, backwoods country. A ton of acreage miles from the world. But um yeah, not sure about that. It’s a love/hate thing. Love the isolation, hate the isolation. Love the space to be more self-sustaining, but detest how so many rural areas are filled with conservative ideology that are a complete juxtaposition with valuing the beautiful environment we’re blessed. with
And oh yeah, we don’t actually want to be farmers like in Field of Dreams like many assume all urban homesteaders strive for. We just want some peace and quiet and to have the room to become a bit more self-sufficient. Not 1000% off grid, dependent-on-nothing-or-no-one, just seeking to be closer to simplicity and the quiet we crave.
Did I mention quiet?
Door Number One? Notsomuch.
So with all that, we decided that the first thing we’d do is go to these areas we’ve contemplated in our heads and see if we can make it a full day.
Saturday we drove out to Yamhill County. In the general vicinity of Oregon Wine Country, this area has several small towns that still are known for having decent food, coffee, a bookshop and a wee bit of artsiness. And with that, we chose McMinnville for that along with it’s small ‘main street’, low housing prices, reputation as one of the best places to live in Oregon, and its proximity to Portland (35 miles).
As we drove in to town, I mumbled to my husband that I was feeling the walls closing in around me mentally. The further we got from the city, the more I got nervous. I had butterflies – and not the good kind.
And while breakfast was lovely and we liked walking around the streets with our dog surrounded by beautiful homes, I could feel something familiar.
We were in a tourist town. People visited here for one of two things – winery proximity or they’ve got a kid at Linfield College. And did I mention everyone was white? I mean ev-er-y-one. Along with this we saw not one single bicycle, very few pedestrians, and beyond maybe 3 teenagers, nearly everyone was in The Retirement Zone. Nothing wrong with older folk, but where did everyone else go?
My anxiety rose again.
Then a light bulb finally came on, explaining the feeling I was having. It was almost exactly why I left Santa Barbara in 2005 to return to Portland. I needed to see diversity. I needed to see diversity in color, in age, in background, in perspective, in socioeconomic status.
Back in Santa Barbara, the problem there was there were only three groups: college students, millionaires (for those who don’t remember, Oprah bought her home there for $50M), and a very small, dwindling working class supporting the basic economy of the city. It was a beautiful town but was split down the middle between the haves and have-nots (very few ‘have-some’ in the mix, i.e., middle class), and where the diversity was caucasian and Latinx, the latter primarily relegated to low paying roles because employers did very little to support their economic and professional growth.
And while it wasn’t as overt in this town we visited, I could see the differences between the haves (vineyard owners) and the have-nots (the ag workers). Hell, John McCain beat out Barack Obama in 2008 in this town.
I can’t live in that world.
But there’s the other part of me of course that’s about changing that world. While this town isn’t the one, I suppose if you don’t come yourself and bring that open minded vibe, that creative feel, that diversity of thought, that fierce love for our earth and that love of every color in the crayon set, I can’t really complain, can I?
I don’t know. How to bridge that gap? How to get the best of both worlds? How to bring up a child in a world teeming with diversity while also ensuring the natural, wild world is at her fingertips?
Getting the Most out of this Cycle’s Side Effects
So yeah, I’m a bit flighty right now, and that’s fine. It gets my mind a thinkin’ and my creative juices flowing. The philosopher in me is all amped up. We’re watching Epigenetics lectures on Coursera and I’m thinking about what else I want to stuff into my brain. I’m redecorating the house in little ways. Husband and I are designing a floor-to-ceiling bookshelf project that we’ll create with found and repurposed objects. I’m using graph paper to design stuff. I’m wondering how long this recruiting thing will last if we’re destined for another economic shithole as hinted in The Big Short (god I love that movie even in all its darkness and sadness at the way the financial sector and much of humanity works). I’m baking – god almighty am I baking. Let me tell you about this brioche I made yesterday that took half the day and within 24 hours of emerging from the oven was so perfect my husband and I tore it apart and let our eyes float to the backs of our heads in joy. So good I couldn’t even post a picture for y’all as you could smell the bready goodness from the front yard. And there’s more. I mean, hell, I’m a to-do lister. There’s always something more to accomplish. Build. Grow. Learn. Process. Work. Create. And then, Blob on the Sofa at the end of the day, a cuppa lemon-ginger tea to ease the tumtum and bring me back to center.
Sweating it Out
Fortunately, the exhaustion is tempered by my trips to the gym. Still battling this plantar fasciitis in my left heel, I have split up my time between the elliptical and the stationary bike to counter the amount of time spent putting pressure on the painful area. I’ve got the latest and greatest insoles to help fight it, and the world’s best foot massager every night to help work out the kinks, but I still am craving choreographed workouts (i.e., step and zumba). With next week anticipated to have March truly “go out like a lamb” and bring us temps in the upper 60’s/low 70’s again, as the weather pros predict a quick change from El Nino to La Nina next month and a hot summer here in the Pacific Northwest to boot, the bicycling will resume regularly very soon! With my husband having changed to a new store, and therefore a new (and less hilly!) commute, I’ll be joining him on many of his rides once again and not be like this cartoon 🙂
The one thing I’ve learned is no matter how shitty I feel, I’ve got to do what works best for me. On some days, it’s getting into the gym to get those endorphins up. On other days, it’s writing or baking or puttering around in the garden. And then there’s days where I allow myself unlimited Pinterest time, three hours of TV in a row (Thursday nights: Jeopardy, Entertainment Tonight, Grey’s Anatomy and Scandal), or just napping on the sofa cuddled up to my sweetheart.
So there we go, a bit over two weeks til the next round of Valium and Vicodin-infused fun, hoping this embryo transfer turns out to be more than just another line item on our medical expenses spreadsheet…
“Good instincts usually tell you what to do long before your head has figured it out.”