Thursday, November 30, 2006

Wither the old man?

Small Boy and I were watching some car-chaos out our office window - two large rental-type vans were both trying to get something done by our front entrance, one of them had blocked a car into its parking space and another passenger car was idling behind the vans waiting to procede down our narrow one-way street (watching all this play out was great fun for the Small Boy) - when a man I see now and again walked past on the sidewalk. Suddenly I realized we haven't seen the old man in a long time; months, probably. This was a man I used to see walking regularly in the mornings, usually from Small Boy's window - his morning walk seemed to coincide with the end of Small Boy's morning nap and I would often see him walk by as I had Small Boy on the changing table. Our routines have changed - Small Boy doesn't take morning naps anymore and at that time of the morning we are now often out running a quick errand or at play group - and perhaps our paths simply do not cross anymore. And it has turned cold and a morning constitutional is probably a lot less appealing in November than in April. But I can't help but wonder what has become of the old man. I saw him often, and whenever I happened to pass him on the street I always greeted him with a formal hello - something very Small Village - and I think he certainly came to recognize Small Boy, especially those times I had him in the backpack. Over time, we came to earn a nod of greeting. It pleased me tremendously for reasons I cannot even explain to myself.

I miss seeing him, and I wonder what might have happened to him.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006


R and I told nobody in our physical day-to-day world about the FET; only Dr L knows we tried and only Dr L knows we failed. It's just the way we are. We didn't tell anybody about the initial IVF, either, and I was 16 weeks along before we told anybody I was pregnant. It was 18 weeks before we told his parents. It's just the way we are. I don't quite know how to handle words of kindness and sympathetic glances; better to keep our trials to ourselves and avoid the whole thing, I say.

But the words of kindness here have been very kind, and they have helped, and I appreciate it, and thank you.

For those of you expecting an expat blog, sorry you got blind-sided by fertility treatment this month. For those of you expecting an infertility blog, sorry about the onions. This blog is a mish-mash, much like life I guess. I would put things in boxes if I could, but I can't. I don't work well that way. I'm not sure I work well this way, either, but it's who I am.

Anyway, thanks.

Labels: ,

< 5

It's official. My blood work came back, to nobody's surprise, showing no measurable hCG (a hormone produced in pregnancy) in my blood.

I didn't speak to Dr. L yesterday - I missed his call - so I don't know what the story is from here on out. If there is a story.

It's raining. Small Boy is at The Farm. I'm sad.

Labels: ,

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

The streets of my city: Zibelemärit edition

The fourth Monday in November is the traditional Zibelemärit (onion market) in Bern. Local legend says the tradition dates back to the early 1400s. In May of 1405, the worst fire in the city's history burned more than 600 buildings of the Old Town to the ground; old stories say that citizens from the neighboring Kanton of Fribourg came to the aid of Bern. In return for this assistance, they are said to have earned the right to sell their wares in the Bernese market once a year. The Seeland region of Fribourg is known to this day for its vegetables, especially tomatoes, but it is said that back then they specialized in onions and so when they came to the markets they came above all with onions and the Zibelemärit was born. This is mostly legend though; the true story is more prosaic. As the city of Bern continued to expand, and especially with the construction of the Rathaus (city hall) and the Munster (cathedral), the existing markets no longer met the need and the city government instituted two additional markets, one beginning on the day of Saint Martin (November 11) and running the following 8 days, and a second in May. The so-called Martini Market was the forerunner of the Zibelemärit.

I must say, I prefer the legend.

Today the Zibelemärit has morphed into part market, part parade, part party, part excuse to take the day off but it remains an important onion market; according to the evening news the stalls sold approximately 42 tons of onions yesterday. I don't know if that figure includes all the Zibelechueche (onion tarts) and Zibelesuppe (onion soup) that is consumed, or if it's just the amount of raw onions sold. They are sold in bulk, of course, simply as onions, but also in traditional braids or wreaths.

You can also buy onion figurines.

And necklaces.

And ropes of peppermint candies (said to aide digestion) made to mimic the ropes of onions.

Or just a pretty little thing.

But be careful! Bands of youths roam the crowds bonking people on the head with little plastic hammers and throwing confetti in faces, all the better if somebody has an open mouth!

You can read more about the Zibelemärit (in German) here.


Monday, November 27, 2006


Dr. L's office is closed today - it's a bit of a Festtag in Big City, which I'll blog about with pictures tonight - so I can't even get the satisfaction of an official Not Pregnant until tomorrow.


Labels: ,

Sunday, November 26, 2006

It's all over but the counting

There is no longer any doubt that this FET has failed; I can't pretend that the blood is anything less than my period. The blood test - which I hope to take tomorrow simply to be done with this and to enable myself to have a few stiff drinks with a clean conscience - is simply a formality.

Labels: ,

Saturday, November 25, 2006

FET update aka straw, meet fist; fist, meet straw

So. I was moving along, doing my thing and passing the two weeks between the transfer of Draft Pick and the beta (blood test - scheduled for Tuesday) quite calmly, if I do say so myself, perhaps in part thanks to the Thanksgiving preparations and celebrations which distracted me and took up large amounts of time. Okay, I confess to wondering about the occasional twinge now and then, but for the most part I think I've stayed on as even a keel as one can stay on while knowing that there is a tiny two-celled embryo floating around in one's comparatively enormous uterus and wondering if it has found safe harbour.

Until this morning. A pink stain on the toilet paper, a bit of blood clinging to the Crinone applicator. Tears in the shower, hope swirling down the drain with the soap suds. It's eleven days past a two-day transfer; this is too late for implantation spotting, if I even believe that implantation spotting is always a good sign, which I'm not sure I do. For I had none with Small Boy; I had nothing with Small Boy and was convinced it had failed and you could have knocked me down with a feather when I got that positive beta back. But it's been hours, and I've been up and walking around, and there is no fresh blood on my pad, and now I don't know what to think. I didn't spot with Small Boy, at implantation or any other time, and it would be so late in the game for implantation anyway. Eleven days. But I do remember one night during the Small Boy cycle eleven or twelve days past transfer when I had such severe cramping that I was lying on the floor moaning and I was sure it meant it was all over. But I went on to have a positive beta just a few days later. Implantation cramping? Who knows. I've always thought it was the second embryo (for the initial IVF we transfered two) giving up the ghost. I have always thought that, that both implanted and that night one of them gave up the ghost. But now, in my attempt to cling to straws - and given my apparant fears about my ability to parent a second child I'm surprised at how hard I am looking for straws to cling to - now in my attempt to cling to straws I'm writing a new story line: if that was implantation cramping, then this pink toilet paper is falling at the same time in the cycle and could be implantation bleeding. Maybe I'm just a late implanter? Maybe?

Although I know how pointless it would be I'm considering throwing away the money on an HPT anyway. But it really would be just a waste of money, because if I'm such a late implanter wouldn't the thing turn up negative anyway? And if it turns up positive, then how do I explain the blood but that Draft Pick implanted and then died? Frankly at this point even a positive beta - and I'm going to call Dr. L's office Monday and see if we can't push that up one day - isn't going to be entirely reassuring. You know, what with the blood and all.

Me and my big mouth. Hubris, I tell you, hubris. It cometh before a bleed.

Labels: ,

Friday, November 24, 2006

Small Boy's Thanksgiving


Thanksgiving, expat style

At our Thanksgiving table sat 3 US-Americans, 3 Swiss, 2 Dutch, 1 Frenchman and three children with dual nationalities, no two of whom share the same combination of passports. There was turkey and cranberry sauce and stuffing and salad and potatoes and pumpkin pie and my mother's apple pie. There was wine and water and beer and Möst and conversation and cameras. Dessert with coffee and tea and sugar and cream. This morning there are messy pots, dirty dishes, wine glasses with bottoms stained red. There will be left-overs for lunch and more apple pie to eat tonight.

Thanksgiving, in other words. Expat style. Which looks a lot like Thanksgiving US-style.


Wednesday, November 22, 2006


I made the first of two apple pies for Thanksgiving today, using my mother's recipe, and my apartment smells like nutmeg and warm apple. I've criticized my mother a lot over the years, but I always gave her credit for being the great cook that she was. She made a leg of lamb with garlic pressed under the skin that was to die for; a rolled stuffed round steak that was sublime. I have several of her recipes, for coq au vin or chicken cacciatore, but when I make them they never taste as good as I remember my mother's. As a child, in the manner of children, I was simply unaware of how excellent the food I was eating was; I came to understand that much later. I don't think she took any special enjoyment from cooking, but she was wonderful at it nonetheless.

She did not, however, bake, not even the tollest of Tollhouse cookies, except for that apple pie at Thanksgiving and, if the heavens were smiling that year, Christmas. My birthday cakes were usually Pepperidge Farm chocolate and I'm not complaining - I loved those square three-layered Pepperidge Farm cakes into my teens. There must have been the occasional bake sale obligation, but I have no specific memory of any; if so, I'm sure we solved the problem with Betty Crocker cupcakes. But that pie! Moist and sweet and brimming with apples covered with just the lightest crumble. I have eaten that pie every Thanksgiving of my life for as long as I can remember. That pie is Thanksgiving.

My apartment smells like apple pie tonight, warm and sweet, like Thanksgiving. I have much to be grateful for, there is the Small Boy after all. And there are days like today when I remember that it wasn’t all bad; my mother was human and complicated and deeply flawed and the bad outweighed the good, but there were those pies, those moments when our house smelled like nutmeg and warm apple. They were rare. But they were there. And I’m grateful for that.


Monday, November 20, 2006

It's not failure if you do it on purpose

Although I'd committed myself to a post a day in November, I decided not to post anything over the weekend. After Friday's post I didn't feel like posting for the sake of posting, and I've done all the heavy emotional lifting I want to do for a few days. And I'd just as soon have that post stand at the top of the page for a few days; it's honest, and it's good, and to write something honest and good now and then is why I decided to blog in the first place.

I'll probably be back tomorrow, maybe Wednesday, with some more Big City reflections.

Bis später!

Friday, November 17, 2006

Scattered thoughts

A decade ago I scattered my mother’s ashes in Trail Creek, north of Ketchum, Idaho. As best as I can recall, this is the spot I sent her into the river, though it’s hard to be sure. I scattered her ashes in winter, and trout streams wear different faces in winter, snow and ice blanket and blur the distinctive curves and dips of their banks, half-frozen water changes the way the river runs, makes narrow what in summer is broad. But I think this is the spot – I remember that tree. I chose it because of that tree, because of the way the creek was slowly undercutting the bank there and carving a deep pool that in the summer would be shaded and in the autumn would be rich with rotting detritus. I chose it because I was trained to look at rivers with a fisherman’s eye and because when I saw that spot with the water undercutting the bank, changing what thought itself to be unchangeable, my heart said yes and my feet said stay.

So I scattered my mothers ashes in the winter chill, and with them I scattered the ashes of a letter I had written to her, a letter closing the conversation we never really had, a letter I burnt right there on the banks of Trail Creek. I scattered all my disappointment, all my anger – much justified, some not – all my self-pity and all my unfinished business. All the unsaid things, kind and unkind, I put in that letter, burnt to ash and sent downstream.

My mother was deeply, deeply flawed – alcoholic, in all likelihood self-medicating a very real depression; bitter and unhappy and incapable of watching happiness unfold its butterfly wings in her presence. I have pictures of her from an earlier time and she looks happy, but I do not know that woman. By the time I was growing up my mother was a storm cloud and the least little thing could seed her to rain. I learned to hide, to shrink and avoid, to keep my voice low – to this day R can’t hear something I say almost daily, and I am even quieter in German – and to head for the barn when I saw storm clouds gathering. But I have pictures of her from an earlier time and she is smiling, at Warm Springs, Idaho, she is smiling and oh! in one or two of these pictures she is lovely. Her loveliness surprises me; I did not know that woman, either. I do not know what happened to that woman, where she went, or why.

My mother should not, probably, have had children; or she should only have had one, being my older brother, so that I evaporate from this story like invisible ink leaving not a trace on the page. We overwhelmed her limited resources, the alcoholic daughter of an alcoholic mother. We were too much. I, the second child, was too much. I am hyper-aware of this as I wait to find out if I am pregnant, hyper-aware of my status as the second child of a woman who had one child too many, hyper-aware of my own shortcomings as a mother.

But I have scattered these thoughts already. I wrote this and said this to the winter air and burned this and scattered this in Trail Creek a decade ago. I have scattered all of this. But today is my mother’s birthday, my flawed, wounded, hurtful, hurting, overwhelmed mother’s birthday and I am waiting to find out if I am pregnant with my second child and out of the corner of my eye here in the clean Swiss wind I see ashes swirling where they should not be swirling.

I sent this downstream a long time ago, to slowly settle among the river rocks beneath the cottonwoods. Didn't I?


Thursday, November 16, 2006

Is that good or bad?

The first time around, while waiting to find out if the Small Boy IVF had worked, I made no attempt to read the tea leaves of bodily aches, pains, changes, ups and downs, and I assumed it would be the same this time around as well. Just wait for the definitive blood test, I think; everything else is magical thinking. But I can't help but wonder, that twinging and pulling I've been feeling all day that sometimes makes me take a sharp breath - is Draft Pick implanting, or dying?

Labels: ,

Tractor dog?

The latest Amazon order arrived; most of it was for me but, on the strength of Richard's recommendation, I had ordered The Adventures of Taxi Dog for Small Boy. We've already read it four times. He seems to like the meter to the words; I love the pictures. Full, bright, positive pictures of a city full of life, pictures clearly drawn by somebody who lives in and loves cities, who walks to the bakery and shops and the local mom-n-pop and chats with his neighbors on the stoop.

I love cities, when they work well. I think that, on the whole, for the average resident the average European city works better than the average US city, but I harbor a deep love for Chicago and DC and a secret-admirer crush on New York. I treasure my decade in DC and every time I watch a Sex in the City rerun I get a pang for the New York I didn't visit often enough even though it was just a few hours up the tracks.

I hope Small Boy gets the city bug. His grandparents hope he gets the farming bug. That's fair, farming is in their blood and they worked their whole lives to build their farm and hope it stays in the family, and at the moment Small Boy is the only grandchild. And Small Boy sure loves visiting the farm and driving the tractors. At the moment it's pretty hard to compete with REAL. LIVE. TRACTORS.

But I can't help it: I hope Small Boy gets the city bug.


Wednesday, November 15, 2006

The fountains of my city: The Chindlifrässer

My decision to write a post about each of the main fountains of the Old Town has already led me to uncomfortable and disappointing historical discoveries. The Chindlifrässer Brunnen (Kinderfresser Brunnen in proper German, literally the children-eater fountain) is probably the most famous of all the fountains in Big City. If it is not the most famous (perhaps Justice is the most famous simply because she is Justice?), it is certainly the most unique.

It is a giant – ein Riesen – eating small, naked children. I love this fountain, it cracks me up. Who puts a giant eating small children on a fountain?

Like all the Brunnen in the Old Town it was erected in the 1540s (1545/46 to be precise) and replaced an older wooden Brunnen at the same site, but it does not seem to fit in the same mold as the other figures erected around the same time – Moses or Justice or a Schutzenfigur. Its intended meaning is clouded and mysterious, but there are two main theories. One theory, which is usually proposed in a sentence or two without a lot of background, is that it is a Fastnacht (carnival) figure. The other theory is that the child-eater atop the fountain is Jewish. And he’s eating small naked defenseless little children. Charming. Blood libel, right there in front of the public library!

Those who propose that the figure was originally designed to depict a Jew eating small children suggest that it illustrated an old (and eventually discredited) story of a Jewish man ritually murdering a boy in Bern in 1294 (a story, by the way, that was eventually used as an excuse to ban Jews from the city because of course it was not discredited until centuries later). They note that the hat calls to mind a Kippah or yarmulke and that the hat, belt and sleeves on the statue were originally yellow, a color Jews were often forced to wear. Then there are those who suggest that the original meaning behind the figure is lost to us but would have been perfectly clear to contemporaries much in the manner of a Heronimus Bosch painting. The statues were commissioned by the city; it’s hard to imagine that the city would spend so much money simply to portray a Fastnacht figure or to defame Jews. It’s possible that it carried some meaning we simply can’t decipher today; perhaps it was just whimsy. But knowing the history of Jews in middle Europe, the whiff of blood libel lingers. I take some comfort from the fact that today not a lot of average people on the street seem to suspect this about the possible origin of the Chindlifrässer; to them it’s just the Chindlifrässer (for example R had never heard this explanation before, but then again I know more about Big City than R does and have for some time now) but nevertheless it's not the sort of thing I like to learn about the place I call home.

You can read more about the Chindlifrässer here (in German).


Tuesday, November 14, 2006

FET update - transfer

We transferred a single two-celled embryo, the Draft Pick, this morning. We didn't get a picture like last time; the lab camera was broken. We did, however, get to go into the lab and look through the microscope, which was totallly cool. The Draft Pick looked good - all two round cells of it. (Yes, we're doing an FET with a TWO. CELLED. EMBRYO. Oh the optimism of it all.) A second had been thawed as well - to transfer one you really need to thaw two in order to be sure you have something good to work with - and didn't look very good; three very unequally developed cells so there is little chance at all that they will re-freeze it. Not much point, really, since it's pretty clear that it would never make it in the Big Leagues.

So our hockey team is down to eight. And the Draft Pick, of course.

Blood test in two weeks.

And just to keep up with my reputation of the ART cycle with the fewest possible updates, I should warn you not to expect any HPTs along the way. I just never saw the point.

Labels: ,

The streets of my city

The streets of my city are bedecked with flowers. Especially in the Old Town, especially in the summer, window boxes overflow with above all geraniums. The first summer I visted Switzerland with R I jokingly asked him if it was a law that the buildings in the Old Town fill their window boxes with red geraniums. It's not a law, but there is a certain social pressure to have the right flowers in your windows at the right times. The geraniums can be hanging, like below

or upright

or both, but they are predominantly red, though the house below throws in some pink for good measure.

Other flowers, flowers in your garden or non-geraniums in your window boxes, can be any color you please so long as you take good care of them.

Dead or dying flowers in your window or garden is simply not done, unless they are sunflowers and then not only is it permissable to let them die a natural death, it is again almost an unwritten rule to let them do so. I think it's so that the birds can eat of the seeds as the flowers slowly die; the Swiss are great bird-lovers.

I personally love the slowly drying sunflowers and always left them standing until the bitter end in the garden back in Small Village. It's nice to see that even here in the shadow of the Bundeshaus people let the sunflowers fade into late summer.


Monday, November 13, 2006

Boys, men, and people who think one should not discuss one's girly bits with all the internets should stop reading now

I appreciate that Dr. L prescribes Crinone gel (propgesterone, which has been added to my regimine in advance of tomorrow's transfer) rather than progesterone in oil (PIO). I'm not interesting in giving myself - or, more to the point, having R give me intramuscular shots in my rear for up to twelve weeks, so I really appreciate that Dr. L prescribes the gel rather than the shots. Makes my life easier and less painful. I used the Crinone in the Small Boy cycle, so I'm confident with it.

But I'd forgotten how really and truly icky the discharge is. Yeck.

Transfer tomorrow at 09:45. Small Boy will be spending the day at the farm, and I will be spending the day on the couch.

Labels: ,

Sunday, November 12, 2006


Since Lillian posted a picture of her kids' stuffed animals, I thought I'd post a picture of Small Boy's tribe of bears (I don't have the heart to tell him that bears are solitary creatures and wouldn't live in a tribe like this; he can learn that on the next Yellowstone trip perhaps.)

The white bear was mine as a kid, so Small Boy calls it "Mama rar-rar"; the other two bears both go by the ignomious name of "udduh rar-rar." It's hard to see but behind his sucking thumb he's holding on to his neck with his other hand, which is his unique self-soothing technique. He used to pinch his neck so hard he'd leave little red welts and yet found it comforting; now he just holds on to a little bit of skin. He sucks his thumb a lot, but when he goes for the double-barrelled thumb-suck-neck-hold-combo I know he's really desperate. I'm pretty sure we put him to bed not long after this picture was taken.


Saturday, November 11, 2006

This is why I've started carrying my camera around

I've started to make a conscious effort to carry my new camera (we went with a Nikon D80) with me more often. For one thing, it's just too nice of a camera - and too expensive - to use once a year on vacation; although our pictures from our Yellowstone trip are the best vacation pictures we have ever taken, they alone do not justify the expense. For another thing, I would hate to see something like this

and not have a camera with me.

How often do you see a horse dentist in the middle of the city? Frankly, I didn't even know there were horse dentists. I would have assumed horse dentistry would have come under the general rubric of Large Animal Veterinarian, but I guess I would have been wrong.


Friday, November 10, 2006

Off-season cycling update

Coffee in the morning with some girlfriends and a visit to the pediatrician with Small Boy leaves me with little time or energy, but since I've blown NaNoWriMo to the four winds I'm trying to at least NaMoBloPo; thank goodness for interesting news in the cycling world: Ivan Basso is signing with Discovery Channel. Interesting. Interesting, interesting, interesting. An interesting, Tour de France-winning match made in heaven.

And did you all catch Lance running the NYC marathon in a shade under three hours? Stud, I tell you. The man is a total stud.


Thursday, November 09, 2006

FET update

The short version is everthing looks good and we've got a transfer scheduled for Tuesday morning.

The long-ish version is my lining is measuring at about 9mm and I'm pretty sure I'm triple-striped. "About nine?" you say. "Pretty sure?" What is this about and pretty sure business? (I was 9.8mm and triple-striped at this point in the Small Boy cycle, btw.) Dr. L took three measurements, one was over 10 - I wasn't reading the ultrasound screen yet - one was 8.9 and one was 9.2, so let's just call it a nine. (Consider it my mulligan for this round.) I only know those precise numbers because I was reading the screen, because it's hard to get exact details out of Dr. L even though it's, you know, my uterus. He's just not a fill in the patient with medical details unless the patient makes a point of asking for it kind of guy and I forgot to ask flat out if I was striped, but from the ultrasound I think I am. I think. To some extent I see his point; what good does it do me to know if I'm 9.8 or 9.2 or 7.5? It's not as if I can do anything about it. On the other hand it's, you know, my uterus. Seems like I'm entitled to that sort of information. At any rate, from the minute the ultrasound started he was all "Schon, sehr schon" and even said "Bravo" so who the hell cares what the exact number was. I'm plumped up and ready to go. Still. Would it kill him to give me the number up front?

At some point I'm going to have to write a post about Dr. L. He's an odd duck. Very good at what he does, and I'd never consider looking for somebody else, but short on the interpersonal skills department. Or maybe that's a culture clash happening, I don't know. He's definitely not the most forthcoming of doctors - maybe he's just traditional and I'm all patient-proactive and give me the details - and not a hand-holder (literally or figuratively). It's culture clash, most likely, and in the big picture not that important. But definitely worth a post at some point.

Labels: ,

I hate freedom, too! Now with a conspiracy-theory UPDATE

Via Raising WEG:

Your 'Do You Want the Terrorists to Win' Score: 96%

You are a terrorist-loving, Bush-bashing, "blame America first"-crowd traitor. You are in league with evil-doers who hate our freedoms. By all counts you are a liberal, and as such cleary desire the terrorists to succeed and impose their harsh theocratic restrictions on us all. You are fit to be hung for treason! Luckily George Bush is tapping your internet connection and is now aware of your thought-crime. Have a nice day.... in Guantanamo!

Do You Want the Terrorists to Win?
Quiz Created on GoToQuiz

I'm pretty sure I lost my 4 percentage points answering "yes" to question 17, "Do you believe 9/11 'changed everything.'" I suppose strictly speaking I believe that the response to September 11, the ways in which it was exploited and turned into a club with which one could beat one's political opponents to death, the fact that September 11 was used to pass the PATRIOT Act and drive us to a war that is now kicking our asses changed everything, so when I say yes to that question it's really not what they mean, but I said yes anyway.

I was in Switzerland on September 11th. Within hours the gates in front of the US Embassy were drowning in flowers and candles. People from my German class called to see if I was okay. The Bernese Feurwehr association donated thousands of Swiss Francs to the fund for families of NYC fire-fighters. The city stopped that following Friday - Europe stopped that following Friday - for a moment of silence. If you listened, you could hear the sound of Swiss hearts shattering everywhere you turned.

That is gone today, all gone.

So I maintain that yes, September 11th changed everything, but not in the way Bush means it when he says it. He doesn't even know the myriad of ways in which everything has changed.

UPDATED to add: Should I be worried that somebody somewhere in Washington, D.C. clicked on this post after using The Google to search for "terrorist win." (Just the one terrorist, mind you.)


Wednesday, November 08, 2006

The fountains of my city: The Mosesbrunnen

Big City is a city of fountains - Brunnen, auf Deutsch. They line the main street through the Old Town and sit in important squares and in front of important buildings. These fountains scattered around the city are one of the highlights of the Old Town and the oldest among them date back to the mid-1500s. The statue of the Mosesbrunnen that stands on the Münsterplatz - the Cathedral square - dates to 1791. On a clear and sunny day the sunlight glints off the gilding and Moses' blue robes echo the sky above.

An older figure of Moses dating back to 1544 once decorated this Brunnen, but I haven't yet figured out if the old statue was destroyed, and if so, how; or simply replaced. The figure from 1544 showed Moses with a full beard and horns, which I believe was common in that time period, and the tablet he carried was engraved with the first two commandments in Hebrew. (The current statue holds tablets engraved with roman numerals I through X.) In the 1544 statue Moses was pointing particularly to the second commandment forbidding "graven images" - in the years immediately following the Reformation (which came to Big City in 1528 with a wave of iconoclasm that stripped the previously Catholic Münster of statues and frescos alike) this would have held especially weighty meaning.

The Brunnen of the city are a marvel and not simple because a good many of them are 450 years old. The statues that adorn them - Moses, Justice, the Chinderfresser (yes, the child-eater) - are works of art and their bases are intricate as well. Here's a detail from the base of the Mosesbrunnen.

Unless labeled otherwise the Brunnen water is potable; many's the hot day I have cupped my hands under a fountain like this and taken a cooling drink before continuing on my way, down the street to where another Brunnen waits to be admired.


Who are you, and what have you done with Small Boy?

I just asked Small Boy if he's ready for his nap. His usual response to that question is to shake his head vigorously from side to side saying "Uh-uh, uh-uh, uh-uh" before he starts to cry and run away from me. Today he said "Yeah!" and tried to climb into his crib by himself. Have the pod-people been here and I didn't notice?


Tuesday, November 07, 2006

The non-update FET update

Because I have noticed that I keep getting new traffic coming from being listed on Julie's list, I feel like I should be posting more about the FET for people coming here expecting, you know, infertility stuff. But as I mentioned, we are low monitoring over here in Switzerland and there is really nothing to update. I upped my Progynova from 4mg/day to 6mg/day today - how non-interesting is that? - and I seem to have stopped expanding like a water balloon, thankfully. Other than that...I'm sorry. I've got nothing at the moment.

Ultraschall on Thursday to measure my lining and pin down transfer dates (I assume).

And that concludes this non-update update.

Labels: ,

What we thought we wanted, but bad timing

The six ground floor units of our apartment building have some fenced in open space in front of the units, enough space for patio furniture and a grill, and little gardens in the back - they're postage stamp sized but they exist, and in the summer they get quite a bit of afternoon sun. And from the units with gardens the kids can walk directly to the play area in the back, whereas Small Boy and I have to go downstairs and out the back door, which is kept locked. This means that even when he's three and would be old enough to go out back and play by himself, he won't be able to get out there or come home by himself. But the kids who live in the garden apartments go back and forth to the play area all the time, even the three-year olds. By the time R and I found this building and looked at apartments - and there were only three units still available when we looked at them - all the garden units had long since been rented.

I have garden apartment envy.

R contacted our rental company several months ago and asked them to let us know when any of the families in the garden apartments were moving so that we could consider switching to one of those units. With Small Boy it would really be nice having the outdoor space but especially access to the play area that didn't involve me all the time. Well. Somebody is moving out of one of the garden apartments in December. Here's the problem. It's one room less than we have now - 4.5 rooms instead of 5.5 rooms - and each of the 4.5 rooms is a bit smaller than what we have. We'd not only lose a room but each remaining room would have less square footage. (Their kitchen is better, though.) If we knew it would just be the three of us, we could make it work - we have more space here than we need, strictly speaking. But if we become four - well, it wouldn't work for us. And of course we do not know if we will be three or four. Now of all times we really, really don't know what's going to happen.

And so we have to pass on the garden apartment, and hope that once we know what our family will look like another option becomes available.

As my father would say, phooey!

Monday, November 06, 2006

The streets of my city

The butcher...

the baker...

sorry, no candlestick maker!

This extremely abbreviated version of my Streets posts brought to you by a non-napping Small Boy, an impending deadline, and a frazzled mother.


Sunday, November 05, 2006


I'm supposed to be writing an article explaining the Swiss vote back in September over reforms to asylum laws and laws concerning foreign nationals in Switzerland, but for the past week every time I sat down to do something I just couldn't bring myself to work. (See, for example, just how much I got done on Friday when Small Boy was at The Farm.) My mind wanders and I surf the internets or, better yet, just hide somewhere and read. I just cannot bring myself to write a serious yet relatively simple article about Swiss politics.

I used to be able to keep six balls in the air at the same time, in college, especially, but even for many years after that. In college I was a student-athlete pulling almost straight-A's and participating in activities other than my sport as well; when I first started graduate school I attended full time while still holding down a full time job at a law firm; once I became a teaching fellow I still always had some paid research gig on the side in addition to my own work. These days, I don't know; I can't string two coherent thoughts together but more to the point I find that I don't care. I don't want to work that hard anymore. It's tiring, and I can't say in the long run that it got me anywhere exceptional, and in the face of the truly limited free time I have, given a choice between something that resembles work and something that resembles leisure, the leisure will always win. I feel as though I am rolling slowly downhill, and the farther away from that efficient person I once was I travel, the harder it is to find my way back to her.

And here's a conundrum: am I lost now, or was I lost then?

Saturday, November 04, 2006

A teaser

I just wrote a post - complete with pictures - about one of the many fountains that dot Big City; next the the Zytglogge - the old clock tower - the fountains are the pride of the city. I think in addition to my Monday "The Streets of my City" series - have you all noticed that I started a Monday Streets of my City series? - I'll add a series on the fountains. This will help me get through NaMoBloPo, which Sandra basically convinced me to commit to.

And that public service announcement will serve as today's post.

Friday, November 03, 2006


When Profgrrrrl posted that a magazine had a "headliner about your girlfriend's sneaky pregnancy trap," I confess I clicked the link. And I'm so glad I did, because what what should greet me but a luscious lovely picture of the extraordinary Lance Armstrong. Yummy. Yes, the man beats cancer and goes on to win seven consecutive Tours de France and I say "yummy." What can I say, everything about the man from his special aerodynamic time-trial water bottles to his RPMs, oh especially his RMPs!, to his beautiful smile to the fact that he wrote openly about building his family through in-vitro fertilization turns me on. Seriously on. Cancer beating, L'Alpe d'Huez crushing, Tour de France winning, under three-hour NYC marathon running IVF daddies rock my world.

Thanks, Profgrrrrl! And thank you to my baser instincts that made me click that link


Last nerve, meet wit's end; wit's end, meet last nerve

R. has been in military service since Wednesday night. Two-and-a-half short days, yet I am at my wit's end with the single-parenting gig. I just took the train out to the in-law's farm and dropped off Small Boy; hopefully by the time he comes home for dinner I will no longer feel like duct-taping him to the couch and turning Winnie-the-Pooh on repeat play. While I was out there, Grossmutti fed me a lunch of fish and potatoes and pumpkin, which makes the first meal in two-and-a-half days that isn't pronounced "Mandelgipfeli" or "handful of peanuts" or "Diet Coke." Which, now that I'm thinking about it, might be contributing to the desire to duct-tape small people to the furniture. (Actually, I think it stems from the fact that he woke up at 5:45 this morning.) I generally eat like a freshman at finals time when R. is in the military, I don't know why. It's definitely a pattern though. And it's crazy because I'll cook this whole dinner of chicken nuggets and pasta and peas and maybe some cheese and apple for Small Boy but nothing for myself. Then I'll nibble his left-overs and eat some peanuts and pour some Diet Coke.

But R should get back sometime tonight, though unfortunately almost surely after Small Boy's bedtime, and Small Boy is at the farm with Grossmutti for the whole afternoon and am I just going to sit here in the silence of my apartment. I miss that: although Grossmutti takes care of Small Boy once a week, she almost always comes to us and I leave the apartment to go swimming or shopping or just to go out into the world without a small person at my side. I miss hanging out alone in my home, all alone. I've got about three-and-a-half hours of solitude ahead of me. Time to log off.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Hahahahahahah, the crazy laughter of the overly optimistic rings through my apartment

For some reason, I actually committed myself to NaNoWriMo. (I'm 1,000 words behind schedule already, thanks for asking.) I mean, really, what was I thinking? R is in the military until the end of the week so I'm even shorter than the usual short in the free-time department (hence being 1,000 words behind after just. one. day!) and really, can somebody please tell me what I was thinking?

And now RaisingWEG, Sandra, and Christina are doing NaMoBloPo. Dare I attempt it? Hahahahahahah. Oh, I slay me! Then again, the FET will carry me through most of the month (well, not really because we don't do a lot of monitoring over here so there's reallly nothing to say from day to day), and then there's always the expats' Thanksgiving...

I don't think I'll officially take up the challenge, but I can commit to the ever-vague "increased frequency."

And since I posted twice today, can I count this post for tomorrow already?


Anybody out there familiar with Progynova side-effects?

Does anybody out there know if I can blame the fact that I have gained a kilo since Sunday - and it's Thursday, people, nine a.m. on Thursday - on my Progynova? And if so, will my weight gain taper off or only increase as I move from 2mg to 4mg to 6mg daily?


Labels: ,

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

FET update - no numbers, lots of emotion

There's nothing particular to report; I've got an ultrasound to measure my lining scheduled for Nov 9th and until then I just roll merrily along taking my 2mg of Progynova. Saturday I'll bump up to 4 mg and stick at that for the rest of the week and then bump up to 6mg.

I'm much more low-key about this FET than the original IVF; something about not having to jab a needle in my thigh every night makes this a much less stressful process. (Progynova is an oral estrogine supplement.) That and the presence of Small Boy. I'm very conscious of the fact that if this fails, then the worst that happens is Small Boy is our only child whereas the ramifactions of failure prior to Small Boy were enormous, too enormous for me to contemplate. I can grasp having a single child; I know what that looks like and feels like and I know how to do it. I know everything that's been great about it; it's easy for me to see the genuine positive in it. It takes a tremendous burden off this FET; failure will not feel like the end of the world.

A small part of me wonders if that's unfair. Going into the IVF I was so greedy for Small Boy and to contemplate his eternal absence was heart-rending. To contemplate the eternal absence of Player to be Named Later* is sad; it is not heart-rending. That feels disloyal, as though I committed more to Small Boy, gave more, when he was but a Blob than I am committing, giving, to PtbNL.

I am going into this knowing that succeed or fail, on the far side there is certain happiness. I feel guilty saying that, that if PtbNLnever makes it past 4 cells I'll still be happy. It's the truth, but it feels wrong - it feels disloyal - to think it, much less say it. I'm not saying that it wouldn't matter, that the scales are equal and it's all the same to me if it works out. No. I'm not saying that. But it is true that I'm not as desperate for this to work as I was the first time around. I'm hoping; prior to Small Boy I was wildly longing.

I don't know what to do with this knowledge. It troubles me. It comforts me, because I'm on a much more even keel than I was then, but it troubles me. Am I playing favorites already?

I am troubled.

* R and I call our frozen embryos The Hockey Team, so our still frozen embryo that will be transfered in a few weeks is the Player to be Named Later. You know, as is So-and-So was traded for the number 1 draft pick and a player to be named later. Okay, it's cheesy but once I went with The Hockey Team I got stuck in this sports metaphore, didn't I?

Labels: ,