Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Failure (TMI)

This post is about endo, periods, and making babies.  Don't read if that bothers you for some reason.  You have been warned.

One of the (many) reasons I put off getting married again for so long was because normally once you get married people start asking when you're going to have a baby, as if it's some kind of natural progression: boy meets girl, boy and girl get married, girl has baby.  And of course, now that we are married, I'm getting that question a lot more than I used to.  I usually give a vague, brushing-off type answer, because it's too painful for me to talk about it and anyway most people aren't that interested.  The fact is, we've  been trying for over four years now with no success.

Man, I tell you, if there's an early pregnancy sign out there, I've felt it, convinced myself that this time it's really happened, and cried over how delusional I am when I fail, again, to get pregnant.  I was so sure this month, I really felt different...and yet I failed.  Again.

Yes, failed.  That's how I feel each month: like a failure, like I'm somehow failing at being a woman.  I've wanted to have children for as long as I can remember - I'm certainly not one of those rare women who has no interest in having children at all.  I love babies.  I instinctively want to help crying children.  I have lists of names or girls and boys.  I have strong opinions about how my children will be raised.  Why is it so damn hard?  Plenty of people make it look easy.  Most of my cousins have already reproduced.  I have one cousin who is 2 months older than me who has five kids and is currently pregnant again.  Why is it so easy for her and so hard for me?

I guess after we get back from Malaysia I should make an appointment to see my OB/GYN.  Apart from an op to try to cure my endo (which failed, I'm sure), we haven't had any intervention so far.  But I've been putting that off for a bunch of reasons, partly because my husband has also been sick, but the most important reason is that getting help with producing a child is so bloody expensive.  Also, once you start down that path, it can get pretty invasive.  My first marriage failed, in part, because we had started seeking help.  I'm also not convinced that paying for expensive medical intervention to have a child of my own, when there are so many disadvantaged children waiting to be adopted, is the best idea.  And if we're paying exorbitant amounts for IVF, for example, how much more of a failure will I feel each time it's not successful?  My husband doesn't really like the idea of adopting, though, and that has its own expenses and privacy invasions.  So I guess seeing my OB/GYN is Step 1.

But now that my husband's illness is under control, I've run out of flimsy excuses.  Also, I'm getting old.  I had it all planned out in high school, you know: two kids, first a boy and then a girl, by the time I was thirty.  Now here I am, looking down the barrel of 31, without either of those fantasy children.  If I don't act soon, it may be too late and too risky.  I think I'll make that appointment in the morning.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Malaysia Holiday

On the 4th of May, we're going to Malaysia for 8 nights.  This is very significant for us as a couple, because every other holiday we have had in the 6 years we have been together has been to visit family, for whatever reason.  This is the first holiday we've had that is exclusively for us, to a place where there is no one else we know.

This is also very significant for me as a person, for two reasons.  Firstly, because I've never been anywhere really "foreign": I've been all over the place in Oz and NZ, but the most foreign place I've been is Rarotonga in the Cook Islands, which only half counts because it's a NZ protectorate and they use NZ currency and speak English.  So Malaysia, with it's strange currency, language, culture, and food, will be very scary and exciting for me.  Secondly, we booked this holiday on a whim.  My husband came home from work and said, "I saw in the paper today that AirAsia have super-cheap flights to Kuala Lumpur."  We looked, saw they were indeed cheap (cheaper, in fact, than flying to NZ), and booked.  Just like that.  No planning, no discussion, no idea what we were going to do when we got there - just return flights to KL.  Now, this may come as a surprise to some of you, but I'm a bit of a control freak.  So that kind of random, spur-of-the-moment thing is completely out of character for me.

Luckily, my control-freak tendencies have kicked back in, and we now have a loose itinerary, as follows:

4 May:
Fly from Coolangatta to KL, arriving mid-afternoon; check in at the Dorsett Regency.
Do a little shopping and exploring, check out any night markets that are open, eat somewhere.

5 May:
Go to Melaka - whether we catch the bus down there and explore ourselves, or do some kind of tour, is still TBC.

6 May:
Try to get our free tickets to go up Petronas Towers.  If successful, do that, do shopping, do other stuff in KL.  Otherwise, go to the Batu Caves.

7 May:
Try again for Petronas Towers, if we missed it yesterday.  Otherwise, go to the Batu Caves today.
Fly from KL to Penang, arriving late afternoon; check in at the Cheong Fatt Tze Mansion (personal valet!).  This is also TBC, because they haven't responded to my booking inquiry yet.  We may have to book elsewhere.

8 May:
Explore Penang.

9 May:
Take ferry from Penang to Langkawi, arriving around lunchtime; check in at the Rebak Island Resort.

10 - 11 May:
Relax on the beach and explore Langkawi.

12 May:
Return to KL, and then to Coolangatta, arriving back home early on the 13th of May.

Our trusty Lonely Planet Malaysia and Malaysian Phrasebook should hopefully help with fleshing this out.  So far all I know in Malaysian is "thank you" and "too expensive!" but apparently that should be enough :P  Any suggestions on things to do, see, or eat in any of these places are more than welcome.  I'm starting to get excited now.  8 more sleeps!

Saturday, April 24, 2010

On Learning of the Death of an Old Friend

This poem was originally submitted for my uni paper Creative Writing.  This is the revised version.

They put out the bushfire yesterday.
When I drove past today, the bare black ground
still smouldered in patches with an angry orange glow.
Acrid smoke hung in the air, flaring my nose
and making my eyes stream with tears.

I passed the site of the bushfire today.
The trees were still bare and black,
but a wallaby cropped at coarse, green grass
where before there was only ash.

I wandered deep into the bush today.
There are still gaps like missing teeth
where the trees have not recovered.
But the gumtrees are grey-green,
and magpies swoop with shrill cries
While I tread new paths through the bracken.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

ANZAC Day Atheism

About a week ago, I was poking around trying to find info on how other Atheists spend ANZAC Day.  I posted something about it on my Facebook.  One of my rellies asked, "Sorry, pardon my ignorance but what does Atheism have to do (or not do) with ANZAC day?"

If you're not an Atheist, you're probably asking the same thing about now.  If you are an Atheist, you're probably shaking your head in a combination of disbelief and frustration, as I did.

Quick detour for definitions:

ANZAC Day is a day of remembrance in NZ and Australia.  Specifically, it is a remembrance of the soldiers who fought at Gallipoli in WWI.  The Gallipoli Campaign started on April 25 1915, so ANZAC Day is commemorated on that day.  However, it also commemorates all the other soldiers of both countries who have fought in any war.  The traditional way to commemorate ANZAC Day is by attending a Dawn Service.

When I talk about Atheists, I'm talking about people who, after examining the facts and the evidence, have made a conscious decision that they do not believe in God.  I'm not talking about people who haven't really thought about it, or who don't particularly think it's important either way.

So, are you beginning to see why I wonder what Atheists do on ANZAC Day?  I want to commemorate the day in some fashion, because I have plenty of relatives who have fought in various wars, and I respect the freedoms that all the soldiers of both my countries have fought for.  I do NOT want to do that by going to a religious service.

Neither Australia or NZ are particularly religious.  Australia has no State religion, and around 40% of New Zealanders claim no religion at all.  And yet, as Commonwealth countries, both countries have that insidious Christian foundation that permeates everything: the major holidays are Christmas and Easter, there are churches everywhere, and yes, ANZAC Day is commemorated in a religious manner.

Of course, looking at ANZAC Day from a purely religious angle ignores all the other issues with the day.  The blog post I found when I was doing my search mentions these.  ANZAC Day is a celebration of war, and also, primarily, a celebration of men.  Yes, women are in the military now, but the vast majority of people who have fought for either country are men.  ANZAC Day glorifies war, so that while we are remembering those who have fought and died for our countries, we are sending more off to die.

Yes, it's important to remember the wars.  But we should do so by remembering everyone who was involved: not just the men, but their wives and mothers and daughters who kept the countries running while they were absent, who gave them birth, who gave them something to live for when they returned home in despair.  We should remember the activists who stood up and said "this is wrong".  And we should do so in a way that is inclusive of all people who now call these countries home.

So what will I be doing this ANZAC Day?  I will go for a walk and think about everything I've mentioned here.  And then I will bake some ANZAC biscuits.  And then I will go to work, like I do every Sunday.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

All About Me

So this blog is all about me.  "And who is me?" I can hear you thinking.  Well, a random collection of my attributes is right there, on the right of the page.  Let's expand on that a little, hmm?

Atheist: Out-and-proud Atheist.  The usual way I describe my beliefs is the "Hamlet Philosophy" - you know, more things in heaven and earth and all that.  I've had what, to me at the time, were inexplicable experiences.  I believe there are things that right now, science can't explain.  That doesn't mean science will never explain those things, however.  I tried religion.  Didn't work for me.  I have plenty of friends and family members that are religious - mostly Protestant Christians, but also Hindus, Catholics, and Muslims.  I respect people's right to religion.  But I don't understand it.  I may refer to the Flying Spaghetti Monster (FSM) from time to time, because He is my substitute when I need a deity for some reason.

BBW: If I lost all the fat on me until I was nothing but skin and bones, I still would not be a size 8.  I have broad shoulders and hips (the dreaded "big boned").  Even when I was a teenager I was a size 12.  Right now, I'm size 16-18 (I have a big arse).  I would like to lose a little more weight, to get to around 14-16, so I can buy clothes without going to "fat chick stores".  But I've long since given up hope of ever being skinny.  I like food.  I'm a good cook.  My husband works as a cook.  I have a sweet tooth.  My mother is a BBW, as is her mother before her, and my aunt, and a bunch of my cousins.  I'd rather enjoy my life and my food than worry about what I'm eating all the time.

Cat/Dog owner: I've always had at least one of each.  I love my fur babies.  My dog, Phoebe, is 8 years old and moved over to Oz with me from NZ.  My fat black cat, Jeddah, I got from a workmate when she moved house and couldn't have a cat any more.  And my silver tabby, Bubbles (short for Beelzebubbles, holla Blackadder fans!) turned up in the palm of my neighbour when she was nothing but a 3-week-old ball of fluff and fleas.  People say that you're either a cat person or a dog person and that it says a lot about your personality.  Well, I'm just a pet person!

Married: Technically, married-divorced-married.  I got married young and divorced a couple of years later.  When I started dating the man who is now my second husband, I told him I wouldn't get married again.  He just said "whatever you say".  I guess he knew more than I did.  We got married on 6 March 2010.  I didn't change my name again though.

Transplanted Kiwi/Gold Coaster/Hurricanes supporter: I was born in Papakura Obstetric Hospital in South Auckland, New Zealand, and grew up in Papakura.  I moved to Wellington when I was 18, and lived there for 6 years.  Then I moved to Hobart, Tasmania, in Australia and lived there for 2 years.  Now I've been here, on the Gold Coast, for 4 years.  Wellington is my spiritual home.  I support Wellington sports teams and plan on eventually moving back to Wellington.

Communication student: I already have a Bachelor of Arts in English Literature and Classical Studies.  I was planning on being a teacher and never quite made it.  Now I'm doing a Bachelor of Communication, probably in Creative Writing/Media Studies/Journalism Studies, although I haven't finalised that yet.  This blog will probably include random items of poetry and that kind of thing, for that reason.  I'm studying through Massey University in NZ by distance learning, which is good because it's flexible, bad because it requires discipline.

Endometriosis sufferer: Endo is kind of personal and a lot of people don't talk about it, because it's all about that mysterious thing called a period.  Come on people!  All women get periods.  It's normal and natural.  I don't understand why talking about it is so taboo.  However, I will flag all my endo posts with "TMI" so if you're grossed out by that kind of thing, just skip those ones, ok?  Anyway, what my endo means is basically that twice a month (yes, twice: when I ovulate and when I get my period) I suffer from agonisingly painful cramps. And turn into the Bitch Queen From Hell.  It also means it's extremely difficult for me to get pregnant (although not impossible: my Mum had endo too and she had two kids).  We've been trying to get pregnant for around 4 years now.  Quick trivia! two things not to say to someone who is trying (and failing) to get pregnant: "I know how you feel, it took me 3 months to get pregnant with my second" and the clear winner "Just forget about it and relax and it will happen".

Gamer/Geek: I'm a geek, aka nerd, and proud of it.  I wear nerdy t-shirts.  I read webcomics.  I play computer games.  I like learning.  I like trivia.  I enjoy sarcasm.  Etc.

Libertarian: I can't vote in Oz because I'm not a citizen, and even if I could, there's not really a party that suits me.  But if pressed, I describe my politics as libertarian.  I'm left leaning but also have some right-wing tendencies.  I don't really fit in a box.  But I'm concerned about civil liberties like internet filtering.

Family-focussed/Daddy's Girl: I have a big family.  I only have one sister, but my Mum comes from a family of five and my Daddy from a family of seven.  I have 42 first cousins.  Most of my cousins have babies.  My husband's family isn't as big (Thank the FSM (told you!)), but they still add to the total.  I miss my NZ family a lot.  It's heartbreaking for me to not be there for so much.  I will move back one day.  You may also notice that I call my father Daddy.  I'm a Daddy's girl.  My Daddy is like MacGyver but with cooler hair.  I miss my Daddy!

Reader: I read a lot.  I used to go through around 3 books a week, although with my current study commitments I'm not reading quite as much as I used to.  I still read a lot though.  I mostly read Fantasy, but I'll quite happily read pretty much anything.

And that's me in a nutshell.  Well, a pretty big nutshell.  Basically this is just an outlet for me to express myself and talk about stuff that's important to me.  Sorry if that's not really your thing.