Monday, March 31, 2008

Guest Post: On the Road in Pennsylvania

This post comes from my friend Annie.

So I was driving to work this morning and saw a SUV with the license plate that says TITLIST. I’m thinking the guy is a golfer and wanted it to say TITLEIST but couldn’t score that plate or at least I hope that was the case!! I have seen this vehicle before and all I see every time is the naughty version of it….did the guy not think when he agreed to have that plate after hopefully his first request got denied??

Heh heh... TITLIST.

Sunday, March 30, 2008

Generation Gap

I've been pondering the difference between Gen X and Gen Y recently. There have been a lot of theories on what Gen Yers need at work, including acceptance of their need to have access to all their social networking tools, many of which cause major security concerns for the corporate network, and all of which are productivity drains.

Personally, I don't care how wired you were growing up -- you don't get to play on Myspace and Facebook all day at work, because we don't pay you to do that. In the end, good employees are good employees, and contrary to this BS conventional wisdom, many of our recent college grads are actually doing really well, working hard, and waste no more time online than your average worker. That's not to say we're always on the same page, though.

Yesterday I was driving to lunch with three coworkers. Two are Gen Xers like me; the other is one of our really successful recent college grads. She may have the work ethic down, but she perfectly and violently illustrated the generation gap when "Lovesong" by the Cure (c. 1989) came on the radio. And out of nowhere, the young Gen Yer blurted out: "Oldies!"

Saturday, March 29, 2008

The Medicated Cycle

I just finished my second medicated cycle, the first one that went all the way through. Before it started I was pretty curious about how it would all go down. Everyone will have a different protocol per her doctor, but maybe this could be useful information for others to have.

Disclaimer: If you're easily grossed out, you probably want to skip this post.

On Day 3 of my cycle (the third day of bleeding), I went to the doctor for a transvaginal ultrasound (the wand that goes inside the va-jay-jay) and a blood test. The ultrasound allowed the doctor to take a look at my ovaries and ensure they didn't have any cysts left over from the last cycle. The blood test ensured I was not pregnant. I was cleared to begin medication after those tests. I started on Day 3 with 25 mg of clomiphene citate (AKA Clomid) to stimulate my ovaries. I ovulate naturally on my own, but I have a unicornuate uterus (only the left side of my uterus formed) and I have no right fallopian tube. This means that if I ovulate on the right side, the egg has no way to get to my uterus and ends up just being released into my abdomen somewhere, where it eventually dissolves. The clomid increases the chance that both ovaries will ovulate, and every time the left one works, that's a chance for pregnancy.

Clomid, however, has side effects. For me, they included increased thirst, a hot flash or two, and the most unfortunate one -- it reduced the thickness of the lining of my uterus. I took the clomid through Day 8, and starting on Day 9 I began taking a 2 mg estrogen pill called estradiol. This is a green vaginal suppository that counteracts the issue with the uterine lining. I inserted it twice a day through the remainder of the cycle. The estradiol caused intense headaches until around the time I ovulated. And because it is a green pill, it caused bright green vaginal discharge.

On Day 11, I headed in to the doctor again for another transvaginal ultrasound and blood test. At the ultrasound, I had three follicles on my right ovary (the disconnected one) and two on my left of a good size, so we were good to go. (The prior cycle had been canceled because I had no follicles on the left.) If the follicles were not large enough yet, I would have been told to come back in a day or two. This was all in preparation for my "trigger shot," which triggers ovulation.

The blood test results revealed that I had already started the 24-48 hour process of ovulation, so we were told to make sure I injected myself with my "trigger shot" that night and to ensure we did the deed that night as well.

The trigger shot is a syringe pre-filled with 250 mg of recombinant human chorionic gonadotropin. It is best injected into the belly. I was disturbed at the idea of injecting myself in my tummy, but it actually didn't hurt at all. It was trippy, sticking a needle into myself and pushing the plunger, but the pain was less than minimal.

So we did the deed that night and the next night. We were actually told to do it that night, optional for the second night, and definitely on the third morning. But I was pretty sure the show was over by the third morning, because the ovulation pains (pretty noticeable when you're on clomid) had disappeared. And the third morning was a Monday, so that was that.

I don't regret missing that last opportunity. Remember, this is a natural cycle, which means we do it the old-fashioned way, and I was inserting those little green pills. And nothing says romance like green vaginal discharge.

Starting on Day 14, I began taking prometrium capsules, which increase progesterone levels. They were also vaginal, so they got popped in right after the estradiol, creating an even greater need for a panty liner. Prometrium is supposed to help with implantation. The side effects basically mimic pregnancy, which to me is a cruel joke. My breasts were very sore, my chin broke out, and I felt irritable and tired, especially as the cycle wound down. Luckily, I'd been warned about the pregnancy symptoms, so I didn't get too excited.

At 7 a.m. on Day 28, I went in for my beta test (a blood test to check for pregnancy). I found out later that day that the test was negative.

On the bright side, I was able to stop all the meds. And the meds are not pretty. For two days after that, I still had to wear a panty liner as the meds continued to drip out. Finally, yesterday, it stopped (Day 31).

And today is a new Day 1.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Signs of the Apocalypse

Britney Spears on the cover of the Atlantic Monthly:

I wonder how many kids will pick this one up at Borders thinking it's the latest US Weekly.

If you're interested, the article is here. I thought it was moderately interesting, but I had expected more of a big picture (no pun intended) or global view. Instead, it was pretty much all about the photographers following Ms. Spears, and that was it.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Happy St. Patrick's Day

About 8 or 9 years ago, when I lived in NYC, I would take St. Patrick's Day off and find an Irish pub in which to plant myself starting around noon on the big day. Total alcohol consumption: unmeasurable.

Today, I wore a green suit jacket to my client meeting, and bought a shamrock shake at McDonald's on the way. It was tasty and delicious. When I got home this evening, I cooked corned beef and potatoes (puhdaydahs to my New England relatives), and the big excitement came when we gave our beagle some of the beef. Total alcohol consumption: half a beer with dinner and a hot toddy afterwards.

How times have changed.

I'll tell you what, though -- it was a pretty good day. And I won't have to deal with a hangover tomorrow.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Organizing the Parrot Head Movement

On one of my commutes last week, I found myself behind a Dodge Caravan sporting one of those special interest license plates, you know, the ones that are pre-printed with designations like "Horse Enthusiast," "Hokie Grad," or "Bowler." Well, this special interest was "Parrot Heads" and the plate itself said something like "4PIRATE."

To get a special interest license plate in VA, you need to get at least 350 prepaid applications. That seemed kind of counter to the flip-flops-and-Corona spirit of parrot heads. Organizing a shared special interest license plate is quite an organizational endeavor. Maybe they passed out the applications at a Buffett concert when the fans were potentially impaired and especially pliant. Next thing they knew, a license plate is showing up in the mail.

If it wasn't that, I'm baffled.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Adventures With a Digital Recorder

Steve got me a digital recorder for Christmas, so I could record any deep thoughts I have while driving. I'd been using it intermittently for a while when I noticed the battery was already low. I assumed the device just eats batteries. But that wasn't it. Today, I noticed there were 11 files saved on it, and I couldn't figure out what they might be. I started listening.

It seems that I had forgotten to switch the "hold" button on, and I had inadvertently recorded:
  • Several lengthy files of me walking around at work (my heels going "clomp clomp clomp," me saying hello to people);
  • One file containing four hours of silence (I think it turned on when I put my laptop in my work bag and it recorded through the night); and
  • One especially brilliant one -- it was a minute of rustling sounds, capped by the sound of the toilet flushing and me washing my hands.

Saturday, March 8, 2008

A Very NYC Valentine's Day Taxi Story

I intended to write this one up for Valentine's Day, but better late than never.


One Valentine's Day circa 1999, back when I was living in New York, I found myself single and looking for something entertaining to do. I set up a dinner with three girlfriends, and we embraced the idea of enjoying a girls' night out. We booked reservations at Florent, a cool French diner in the Meatpacking District. (This was before Bungalow 8 made the Meatpacking District into hipster central -- at the time, meat odors of varying freshness still wafted through the neighborhood air.) But this post isn't about the restaurant. It's about the journey. Or rather, the mode of transportation.

My friends and I left work around the same time that V-Day evening and headed down to the taxi stand in front of our office. We were third in line, with two couples in front of us, and cabs were scarce. The way I remember it, the weather was cold and snowy. A cab pulled up for the first couple, and they headed off. Then, the couple right in front of us saw an empty car from a car service (a Town Car for hire) about 10 yards away. The couple got out of line and began negotiating with the car service driver.

Finally, a taxi pulled up in front of us. We opened the door, and out of nowhere, a homeless-looking guy plunged into the taxi ahead of us. He ignored my protests and that of my friends, and told the cab where he wanted to go. As he prepared to shut the door, I called out, "Happy Valentine's Day, ASSHOLE."

Suddenly, the taxi driver asked the guy: "Do you have any money?"

The guy didn't answer -- he just jumped out and ran off. (I assume the answer was no.)

We wasted no time piling into the cab. I can't speak for the other ladies, but I know I was smiling smugly. It wasn't over yet, though.

The couple that had been negotiating with the car service came running back to the cab, claiming it was theirs. I felt no guilt, as they had clearly relinquished their spot in line. AS IF we were going to get out. Someone shut the door. We all waved goodbye to the couple, grinning widely.

And we drove off cheerfully into the snowy, lamplit evening.

Friday, March 7, 2008

Some Things Are Always Funny

Things that are always funny (as long as they don't happen to you):
  • Accidental macing
  • Gas passed in a formal setting (especially if you aren't sitting next to them)
  • Pants/skirt falling off unintentionally
  • Tripping and/or falling down in front of a crowd
  • Toilet paper on the shoe or hanging from an article of clothing
  • When a friend's online dating service matches her up with a guy whose picture contains the caption, "getting ready for the Renaissance Festival"
What's on your list of things that are always funny?

Thursday, March 6, 2008

XM Song Selection

Yesterday, I heard the opening strains of the Macarena on the XM '90s channel. I flipped the channel immediately.

This morning, I heard the opening strains of Mambo Number 5. Again, I evacuated that frequency post haste.

Come on, people. Really? I mean, really? Those songs are just terrible by any rational measure. You have a whole decade of songs at your fingertips. If you have to play these songs, play them at 3 am or thereabouts.

And while I'm on the subject, what's up with the Milli Vanilli on the '80s channel? They sucked and didn't sing their own songs! Don't play them!

Is This Thing On?

Wow. So I've been swamped with work and just haven't wanted to go online after the (often extended) workday. Things may be calming down, so I'm hoping to get back on the blogging horse for real this weekend.