Saturday, December 31, 2011

Boy, am I glad THAT'S over

2011 I mean.

I always have high hopes for a new year, but things always seem to fall apart. Last year started out great with my husband getting a job with infertility coverage. But then he went into the hospital, got laid off and my eggs proved themselves to be totally inadequate. I was hoping for better things when I did manage to get pregnant, but then miscarried and was laid off in the same month. Thanks asshole employer, fuck you too. I did manage to get a job I really love, but my husband is severely underemployed and we are still unable to catch up. Too bad I spent all that money on IVF. Have I mentioned the insurance is still screwing around with paying my medical bills?

I really don't want much out of you, 2012. All I really want is for my husband to also get a job he loves, maybe even one that has regular hours? I just want to catch up in my life. I'm not even going to ask you for a baby. I'm going to be very easy to please this year. Thanks in advance...

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Merry Christmas Tree

I grew up in an artsy family, and my mom was a florist (i.e. professional tree decorator) so I've always had a sense of what kind of trees I like and how I like trees to be decorated. In fact, the first time I saw a friend's tree that didn't match my preferences, I was somewhat appalled. I realized later that not everyone really understood what made a professionally decorated tree look so good, so I thought maybe I would share the bits of wisdom passed down to me from my mom.

First - type of tree is important. I grew up with douglas and noble fir trees, and now I continue with another local species of fir. I really love the tiers, mostly because the ornaments are displayed so nicely and the branches are well defined for lights. You don't necessarily have to choose one of those, but you do want a tree that looks like a cone, not one that looks like a big puff ball. I have no idea what kind of tree that is, but I have seen them.

The most important thing you can do to make your tree amazing is to add lights. Lots and lots of lights! In fact, most professionally decorated trees use 100 bulbs per foot of height. See? LOTS of lights! I use a fraction of that many, but I do use a lot more lights than a lot of amateur trees I see. I love white mini lights, but I also love the C7 light strings I inherited from my mom. The bulbs blink individually, because the filaments separate randomly based on how warm the bulb gets. But, I digress!

The best way to get your lights onto your tree is to string them out and back along each branch, and the easiest way to do that is to use specifically designed clips (I LOVE these things) or even garden twist tie. That way, it attaches to the branch, you can hide the wires under the branch and push the bulbs up through the needles. Also, instead of trying to string the lights end to end, a Christmas tree extension cord that can run up the trunk and provide multiple outlets is ideal.

Next lesson - the smaller the ornament, the higher it should go, and vice versa. The top of the tree should have the smallest ornaments, and they should get larger, the further down you go. Why? Not really sure, but I know it looks better. It also probably creates a slight optical illusion to make your tree look taller. Have I mentioned that I prefer tall trees? Not just tall, I'm talking "I had to cut the bottom AND the top off, and it STILL scrapes the ceiling" tall. That's how my mom did it, so that's how I do it (when I can afford it). Another alternative is to go for the table top size. The in between sizes just don't look right to me.

Last key element is to layer ornaments from the inside out. Each branch can handle multiple ornaments, and it creates depth. If you have a thicker tree, like a douglas fir, you can get away with clunkier, weirder looking ornaments on the inside, because you barely catch a glimpse of them, and yet they create that depth you are looking for. If you have a tiered fir, like a noble or the kind of fir I get from my local forest, you have to go more dainty because you can really see clearly all the way to the trunk.

I am fond of glass ornaments, and happen to own a good number of vintage ornaments (thanks again Mom!), so I prefer to stick to those. When I was younger, and we had douglas firs, we did more of a country style tree, with wood ornaments and pinecones, and buried glass ornaments deep into the tree to create depth. I think going with a theme makes your tree look more professional.

These are some great guidelines for you to aspire to, in order to improve your tree decorating. I am not perfect - I don't use enough lights, I don't always hide my cords the way I should, etc. but my trees look pretty damn good. My mom is proud.

Sorry I didn't get this posted in time to help you this year, but maybe I'll bring it back early next Christmas season :)

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Over the river and through the woods

Back when I lived in the mountains the last time, I would go out into the forest to cut a Christmas tree myself. It was economical ($5 for a permit from the Forest Service) and fun as well. Think Chevy Chase in Christmas Vacation, without freezing my eyeballs.

Now that we are back in the mountains, we decided to continue the tradition, because not only does it get us into the Christmas Spirit, we can get a nicer tree for less money. Also, because we cut it down ourselves, the tree is beyond fresh. I remember taking my trees down the first week of January and being shocked at how green and pliable it was, even after spending a month in my living room! Therefore, we decided to get our tree right after Thanksgiving. (BTW the tree is still pliable, more than three weeks later.

We decided to hit up Virginia Lakes on our way to Bridgeport, and it was cold! But also gorgeous.

Virginia Lakes = Frozen

More Virginia Ice

Bravery. I know the ice is super thick, but still...

Rudolph crossing. I lovw this sign, it has been there for years!

Snow on the road, but this was the furthest we have been able to drive into the forest in a while. And that's actually sad...

We found a tree in our normal spot, and it was overall fairly uneventful. Except for the moment when hubby was looking at the trees on the side of the road, and almost ran smack into a herd of deer. I yelled out deer when they were 10 feet away, and he was able to stop. Of course I was so freaked, that I forgot to pull my camera out... ::eyeroll::

I make him do all the work


Wednesday, December 21, 2011


First of all, even though it really is a minor holiday for my Jewish friends, Happy Chanukkah! I had to link to because I love the site name :) Hope your eight crazy nights are happy and festive!

For the Christian-ish of us (I say that because while I celebrate Christmas, I'm not Christian. I prefer to celebrate the food and Pagan aspects of the holiday) we are a mere four days away from the deadline. I am still procrastinating on the cards, and haven't done any baking. I barely bought any presents - we decided to only buy for each other, and to limit it to chatchski stocking stuffers.

The fact that we moved away and are not required to attend any of the family gatherings, seeing everyone's new babies and pregnant bellies, has been a life saver. This has kept me from breaking down too much during this holiday season.

As far as the holidays go, we have done a pretty good job enjoying them. We went out, got a tree, and decorated it, like a long ass time ago. Since we can go cut our own down, it stays fresh for so long, so we decide to get it early. I put up decorations around the house, listened to Christmas music, and watched some great movies. I haven't been able to enjoy the holidays this much in years!

I think I need to refocus my blog. I keep saying I will, but I haven't yet. This is the week it changes :) Stay tuned.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Always Updating

Yeah, I kinda fell off the planet there, didn't I?

Hopefully, soon, I will be actually blogging rather than doing a half assed update on what the fuck has been going on with me/my brain/my life. Once can dream.

The last few weeks have been rather off, mostly with regards to my place in this world. That sounds so cryptic. I guess I have been struggling to find my place with regards to having a family.

I knew moving away meant giving up on IVF. In some silly, stupid, school girl way, I thought maybe this would be my miracle. Giving up on IVF would somehow make my body cooperate. Instead, my husband is no longer willing to try.

I get it, 3.5 years of trying is exhausting, mind numbing torture. But I am also under no illusion that these things will just "happen." Hell, we could have impeccable timing and I still may never get pregnant, but to tell me that temping, OPK'ing, and the like puts too much pressure on you, well, we might as well give up completely.

Sometimes I think I'm okay with this. Other times I am a fucking mess about it. I have these waves of grief that wash over me, and then 30 minutes later, I feel like I'm over it. Part of me just wants to enjoy my husband. I am, but sometimes I wonder if that's enough.

I think the hardest part is that I am the odd man out, because I'm not a mom. All of my friends here are moms. And you know how smug moms can be. I just don't understand their trials and tribulations, or so I'm told.

And I think about what should have been. I should have celebrated my second trimester on my anniversary in September. I should be having the best Christmas ever. Woulda coulda shoulda.

Maybe I'm just never going to happy, no matter what.

That being said, I'm going to try. I need to try. I have let myself go in so many ways - gained weight, stopped running, stopped knitting, stopped getting my hair cut, stopped caring about myself in many ways. I'm starting to come back. Maybe it was that crush I had that made me start caring about myself again. I got my hair cut and highlighted, I started running again. I bought some new cute clothes. I pulled out the makeup again, and even bought a few new things. I joined Weight Watchers again. I hope I'm coming back.