Monday, July 31, 2006

Hearts like Hannah

Well I just got back from our quarterly Hearts like Hannah Support Group meeting. This one was held at Caribou Coffee where my friend Ronnie is a manager. We meet two times a year at Caribou, two times a year at one of we "leader's" houses, and then we try to meet monthly inbetween for a quick lunch downtown.

I have always been blessed by this group. We have yet, in the nearly two years we have been a "group" failed to have at least one other woman join us. Every time we start wondering if this is really needed, a whole new gang of women joins us. Many are now moms and have moved on. Others are new moms and still a part of our group. Many, like me, are still waiting to be a mom.

Tonight, there were EIGHT of us! And many of our "members" were out of town.

Now this is sort of a mixed blessing. I am blessed that there were eight women that needed support and wanted encouragement. I am not blessed, however, that there are seven other women in Rochester struggling with infertility. I don't want anyone to deal with this. I don't want anyone to feel like I have felt and still feel. I know that those of you who have not dealt with this can't quite understand how it feels, and I am not asking you to. I have a few friends that are not interested in having children -- period. That's fine. However, I want to have children more than anything. And while I don't want anyone else to have this feeling inside of them, I also don't want to feel alone or have anyone else feel alone.

My first year of infertility I did it alone. I barely told anyone including my family, and it was horrible. I don't recommend that whatsoever. I filled out a questionnaire for the women's ministry, and I was very honest when I explained why I didn't attend events at church. Which event should I attend? There are groups for singles, groups for newly marrieds, and groups for couples with kids. Where do I fit in? There are groups for retired women and widows and divorced women. What about me? I didn't feel like I fit in ANYWHERE. Everyone was either newly married or had two kids.

It was then that my friend Ebby put me in touch with another woman at Christ Community. We started meeting. I started sharing. She started sharing. She knew another woman, and Hearts like Hannah was born.

We are a varied group. Some of us are not doing treatments, others are in the middle of IVF or have a child already and are waiting to return for frozen embryos. Others have gone through premature ovarian failure and know that they will be adopting or are in the process of adopting. Either way, we all share the same underlying fact: we all want to be a mom and have either had to seek medical help to do that, wait patiently to do that, decide not to do that, or find an alternate way to do that.

I am so blessed by this group. It is the one time that I feel I am not the only woman in the world whose entire family and nearly everyone she knows gets pregnant when they think about it, while no matter how hard I think, another wedding anniversary goes by with just the two of us. This is a great group, and I strongly suggest anyone else struggling with infertility to find a group in their area.

Thank you with the help for my infertility story. It will be out on September 1st, and I will definitely let you all know when it is available online.

* * * * *
Okay that post was a pretty deep post so to lighten the mood, here's another trivia question as these seem pretty popular:

Only a third of the gals say that they know how to use one of these well. The rest may never learn...

Sunday, July 30, 2006

"What does love mean?"

A group of professional people posed this question to a group of 4 - 8 year-olds, "What does love mean?"

"When my grandmother got arthritis, she couldn't bend over and paint her toenails anymore. So my grandfather does it for her all the time, even when his hands got arthritis too. That's love."
Rebecca- age 8

"When someone loves you, the way they say your name is different. You just know that your name is safe in their mouth."
Billy - age 4

"Love is when a girl puts on perfume and a boy puts on shaving cologne and they go out and smell each other."
Karl - age 5

"Love is when you go out to eat and give somebody most of your French fries without making them give you any of theirs."
Chrissy - age 6

"Love is what makes you smile when you're tired."
Terri - age 4

"Love is when my mommy makes coffee for my daddy and she takes a sip before giving it to him, to make sure the taste is OK."
Danny - age 7

"Love is when you kiss all the time. Then when you ge tired of kissing, you still want to be together and you talk more. My Mommy and Daddy are like that. They look gross when they kiss"
Emily - age 8

"Love is what's in the room with you at Christmas if you stop opening presents and listen."
Bobby - age 7

"If you want to learn to love better, you should start with a friend who you hate."
Nikka - age 6

"Love is when you tell a guy you like his shirt, and then he wears it everyday."
Noelle - age 7

"Love is like a little old woman and a little old man who are still friends even after they know each other so well."
Tommy - age 6

"During my piano recital, I was on a stage and I was scared. I looked at all the people watching me and saw my daddy waving and smiling. He was the only one doing that. I wasn't scared anymore."
Cindy - age 8

"My mommy loves me more than anybody. You don't see anyone else kissing me to sleep at night."
Clare - age 6

"Love is when Mommy gives Daddy the best piece of chicken."
Elaine-age 5

"Love is when Mommy sees Daddy smelly and sweaty and still says he is handsomer than Brad Pitt."
Chris - age 7

"Love is when your puppy licks your face even after you left him alone all day."
Mary Ann - age 4

"I know my older sister loves me because she gives me all her old clothes and has to go out and buy new ones."
Lauren - age 4

"When you love somebody, your eyelashes go up and down and little stars come out of you."
Karen - age 7

"You really shouldn't say 'I love you' unless you mean it. But if you mean it, you should say it a lot. People forget."
Jessica - age 8

Brunch with the Wans

We ran into our friend Calvin and Karen Wan at church today and decided to grab some brunch together. We went to Pannakooken downtown and had a great time catching up. Calvin has extended his stay in Rochester as he waits for a job in Cardiac surgery to open up somewhere in the U.S. or hopefully back home in Canada. While we know continuing his fellowship isn't preferable, we are glad to get to spend some more time with them and now three month old Jadon. Calvin is a compulsive picture-taker. In fact, we had to stop at their house to grab the camera on the way to brunch. Here's a few photos of Jadon. Isn't he a doll? Thanks for the photos Calvin!


Yesterday was a GREAT day. We slept in. I worked on my infertility boxes for Rochester Women. I did laundry. JB made a great dinner. I took a long nap. JB walked to Barnes & Nobles for a few hours. We watched Chicken Run (cute movie).

We also went to the mall. I was looking for a pair of shorts. Looking through my drawers, I realized that I really do not own a pair of nice shorts. I own tons of running shorts. I own tons of junky shorts. I own tons of shorts to wear around the house. However, I don't really have a pair of shorts to wear in public.

The reason. Well, truth be known, I haven't really had a nead for them since we left Kentucky, and I have let my life in this area fall by the wayside. (I know! The horror!) The summers in Minnesota, up until now, have been very cool. I remember that the first summer I was here, I had to wear a sweatshirt nearly the entire time.

However, this year has been different. We have been in the nineties for weeks now. Everyone is constantly complaining. I keep telling them, "You are only allowed to complain about one season!" You can't complain about it being so stinkin' cold all the time, and then complain about it being so stinkin' hot. I don't think that is allowed. But I do agree, it has been a little on the warm side.

Okay, so where was I. Oh, yeah ... shorts.

So I went to the mall to try to find shorts. We left ninety minutes later with a pair of shorts and some t-shirts ... for JB. I couldn't find women's shorts ANYWHERE. They don't really even sell them. The junior section sells a few pairs of tiny little shorts. The women's section sold a few pairs of old lady shorts. However, there was NOTHING inbetween. I left completely shortless.

Since we only have one mall in Rochester, I either have to wait until I go to Florida in two weeks to find a pair, or I'll have to drive to the Mall of America sometime. But either way, I was very disappointed.

* * * * *
Some of you may have noticed a comment the other day from my relative, Hero. Hero lives in Holland, and his first language is Dutch. He has, however, attempted to communicate with me in English. I am not sure how he tracked me down, but I have been helping him try to fill in the holes of our family tree. He is 85 and is my grandfather Martin, who passed away in 1995, first cousin.
Anyways, Hero wrote his comment in Dutch. Many of you all know that I am 100% Dutch. However, I don't speak any Dutch really. I am trying to get my friend Joan, who grew up speaking fluent Dutch, to help me translate, but for now, I have attempted to translate on my own. Here is what I have come up with.
Hero wrote:
Ik hou van kaarten en wel het meest van klaverjassen en canasta.Overigens is na 1 les en dan winnen 'beginners'geluk. Tot mijn spijt besteed ik de laatste jaren niet veel tijd aan kaartspelletjes omdat de voltooing van onze stamboom nogal wat tijd vraagt.Hardlopen voor een 85-er lijkt mij geen gezonde bezigheid Ik doe meer aan fietsen, bijvoorbeeld 2-3 keer in de week en meestal 25 -45 km per rit. Jouw blog is zeer informatief en lezenswaardig (ben nogal eens een woorden boek nodig) en doet mij denken aan een dagboek waarin toch wel persoonlijke mededelingen worden gedaan.Ik verwacht dat een kenner van het Nederlands dit verhaaltje wel even vertaald.Ik woon in een kleine stad in het noordoosten van Groningen .een provincie van Nederland, dicht bij de grens met Duitsland.
I think, in a general sense, he has said:
I play cards and Chess and after one lesson, I win. Beginner's luck! I don't play much though because working on our family tree takes a lot of my time. I am 85 and healthy. I ride my bike 2-3 times a week for about a 25-45 km ride. Your blog is very informative but I need a dictionary to read a lot of it. I think a Dutch expert could translate your blog or this comment. I live in a small city in Northeast province of the Netherlands, near the border of Germany.
I am waiting for Joan to confirm this for me. I did my best.

Saturday, July 29, 2006

My allergies and his career

Did you know that ... I am allergic to perfume? Actually, I am allergic to something called Balsum of Peru which is in all perfumes. I was just thinking about this because I was thinking about doing the laundry. Well, actually, I already did the laundry (and now I am thinking about the fact that I just did the laundry.) Hey, stay with me here! Focus everyone.

Anyways, I really like the smell of dryer sheets. Every time I walk into our laundry room downstairs, I smell all the dryer sheets, and I find myself wishing that my laundry could smell that way again.

Unfortunately, my allergy prevents me from using dryer sheets. It prevents me using any detergent except the Tide variety that is free of dyes and perfumes. I can only use perfume-free soap. I can only use perfume-free lotions. When I have a really bad flare up, I even have to watch out for my shampoo and conditioner and use the only variety without perfume that we have been able to find -- Head and Shoulders. Yuck! My Florida hairdresser, who still cuts my hair every time I return to Florida for a visit, was appalled when I told her that. Sorry Debbie!

To make matters worse, companies don't put "Balsum of Peru" on the limited list of ingredients on their bottle. They list derivatives or you have to call them to get a full list of ingredients. Poor JB has spent many an hour on the phone (don't forget my phone phobia, people!) trying to figure out if I can use a certain product. For instance, Cetaphil soap works great for me. However, we couldn't figure out why I was still having flare-ups until JB went looking deeper at Cetaphil lotion. The stupid stuff has Balsum of Peru in it! Ugh!

I was just married when we discovered this allergy. We believe that it was kept "at bay" while living in a hot and humid climate like south Florida and only appeared to a limited degree prior to my move to Kentucky in 1995. However, once we moved north and I started taking two showers a day as a basketball player in a cold climate, I ended up (and Kristi can attest to this) with an itchy, bleeding skin rash that covered nearly my entire body. It was horrible and especially bad on my feet, hands, and arms. Yuck. This is really stupid, but I actually got mildly depressed from this rash. I felt so ugly and uncomfortable in my own skin and did not want anyone to see me.

However, keep reading folks. This allergy story has a happy ending.

We went from dermatologist to dermatologist trying to find the source for my rash. I was taking cortisone shots to help stop the itching. This would help for about three days. One doctor told me my skin was too dry. Another too moist. Finally one of the dermatologists turned to us and said, "Darling, you are going to have to learn to live with this!"

Of course at the sound of these words I started sobbing. John was also stunned, and we left the office completely shell-shocked. I had to wear turtlenecks in the summer to cover up the scabs. And I was just supposed to live like that? Forever?

So, completely frustrated, John went home and got on the Internet himself. He researched and researched and decided I needed a patch test. A week later, the patch test revealed the Balsum of Peru allergy. It also revealed that some people are actually allergic to the food-version of Balsum of Peru which is in -- GULP -- chocolate. Thank goodness that wasn't the case for me. Can you imagine the horror of a future with no chocolate?!

JB also started treating me with aloe vera (straight from the plant) every night. We eliminated every single thing from use that could bother my skin and started using the aloe. What I was supposed to live with was soon nearly gone.

Okay, so that's part of the happy story. But there's more. Think bigger picture.

It was however, this event that triggered JB's mind into thinking about becoming a doctor. He had always thought doctors came from rich families and were some sort of ethereal being out of his reach. In fact, that is partially true. A lot of his classmates come from families of doctors and money. However, seeing how a little time and brain-power solved my "life-long" rash, made him realize that doctors were just human beings, and you didn't have to come from a long line of them to be one. So he signed up for a class or two at Western Kentucky and within a year, was hooked. He was going to be a doctor.

It is hard to believe that seven years later, he is just one year away from graduating with his MD. I am so proud of how hard he has worked. He put himself through WKU without loans and working full-time on his graphic design business. In addition, he helped around the house and ran errands while I worked a 70 hour work week for four years. He would work through the night to finish jobs on time and still managed to graduate with a 4.0. (He'll be embarrassed I put that on the blog, but it's true.) He also coached the JV and Varsity girls soccer teams at my high school, taught Sunday School, and made it to a ton of my basketball and volleyball games.

Okay, enough bragging on JB. But I am proud even though I still can't use dryer sheets.

* * * * * * * * * *

Oh and for those of you who like the trivia, here's another:
Of all the sports you can watch, which is the fastest growing in America?

Thursday, July 27, 2006


Well, JB successfully finished his Sub-I today. He did his last night of call last night and finished his last call day today.

So wait, before I get to today, let me rewind to yesterday ...

After work yesterday, Kelsey and I came home, and she taught me cribbage while JB was sleeping. We only played once, but I won, so I certainly feel like a professional, and can now (for all of you who understand the game), count to fifteen in a variety of ways.

After cribbage, we went for a run (also while JB was still sleeping). We ran together for about 1.5 miles, then we went our separate ways -- me to run another half mile and Kelsey to run another 3.5 miles! Ugh. I would love to run a marathon, but I am just not sure I have it in me.

After that, Tara came over. She brought Thai from a restaurant Christo recommended in Austin. Tara is doing a rotation in Austin, about forty minutes from here, and blessed us with carry-out! Christo, you were right. It was very good! Although the idea was that we would all eat together and Tara brought the three of us food and none for her. What's with that?!

Now it's Friday. I was supposed to do a half day at Mayo, take Kelsey to the airport for a weekend jaunt in the fabulous Dakotas, and then work from home for RLS. However, my boss at Mayo requested that I stay on through the afternoon. So beside the break to drive Kelsey to the Rochester airport, I was at Mayo all day.

What is wonderful about this weekend is that I can spend the entire run of it with JB and we have, basically, nothing to do. Tonight we are going to have cake and ice cream at the Rays to celebrate Ebby's birthday, and of course we will go to church, but other than that, nothing major planned. We were thinking about going tubing. However, with the little rain that we have had, I am afraid that the water will be very slow, and I am not sure I want to be in the sun that long.

Not that the HEAT bothers me mind you. It has been in the nineties for quite some time here in Minnesota -- the warmest summer since I have been here by far. However, as some of you may know, I had a pre-melanoma removed when I was twenty, and my father has had two melanomas removed. The doctor told me that I had had all the sun I needed for my entire life after growing up in the sunshine state. I therefore really try to limit my intake of the sun despite the fact that there is nothing I love more than having a tan!

Speaking of the sun, I actually had someone today ask me if I had lightened my hair. I have not lightened my hair which means all of my running and walking outside has made me look a little less Minnesota-like. Someday I pray I will live in a climate where my hair naturally returns to the blonde-blonde I love.

Jb often jokes that when women want to emphasize something they say the word twice. So ... I love JB-I love JB!

P.S. Thanks for the comments on the previous post. Please keep them coming.


Something kind of nice happened today. My editor from Rochester Women liked my story! I mean, not that she has hated other pieces, but this piece was an infertility article -- something, obviously, near and dear to my heart. I thought that this would be the "easy" story for me to write, but in the end, it was probably the hardest piece I ever written. There was just so much I wanted to say and only 1,000 words to say it in.

Either way, the piece will run in the September/October issue of Rochester Women magazine (check out the link to the right if you want to visit the magazine online.)

Anyways, Ellie (that's my Editor), emailed me today, and told me she loved the piece. I was so relieved. I was honestly (and I am not saying this to be modest) quite worried that I wasn't far enough removed from the story to do it justice. She also told me that there was room for a few more "info" boxes ... boxes that I thought would only go on the website because I was already to the word count in my story.

That's where my audience and loyal blog readers come in. I would like to do two boxes in my story. The first box will be "Advice for family and friends". The second box will be "Advice for the infertile woman". Now obviously I won't name it that, but for the sake of making sure you guys understand what I am talking about, I am making it quite obvious. I know I have a lot of "family and friends" who read my blog, and I know I have a lot of current and past "fertility challenged" women who read as well so please, post a comment. If you are a friend or family member, what are you glad you know? What has helped you in helping me or helping another friend or family member? If you are a current or past infertility gal, what advice has helped you in dealing with infertility?

I can't promise your comment will make the article, but either way, it'd be nice to get some ideas.

Thanks everyone!

The picture says it all

This is an actual photo of Mugsy Bogues and Manut Bol when they played on the Bullets together. This picture, believe it or not, has not been edited in any way. 7'7" and 5'3". Woah!Craziness!

Wednesday, July 26, 2006


It is rare that I don't have time during the day to post a blog. It's even rarer that I don't have very much to say. It's also rare that I am up at 10:49 p.m.

But today, all those rarities are actualities in the life of Wendi.

I helped Kelsey do some moving today -- she is nearly completely settled now. We just finished, and I am wiped out. JB is on call. It is his last night of call for quite some time. Friday is the last day of his Sub-I, and then he has a week off before heading to Florida.

I also realize that there is another thing in my life that is now fairly rare ... headaches!!! I realized yesterday that my headaches have nearly become a thing of the past for me, and it has been a solid week since I struggled with pain. I cannot even tell you how wonderful it is to not feel ill -- to not be sick from the metformin, to not have a headache, to not have to take a shot in the evening, to not be uncomfortable from procedures and surgeries. I feel so wonderful. I am running and in shape and the healthiest I have been in three years.

It is difficult in these times of great feelings to imagine starting drugs and procedures again ... which I will do on August 4th. However, we are believing my headaches will not manifest themselves again. We are also contemplating trying some alternative therapies instead of medication to try to combat them if they do appear.

Either way, we are blessed. We are at a place of peace. We really want to be parents and have children of our own, but we are also blessed by our freedom, and continually watching as the Lord shapes our lives. We both feel called to do mission work to some degree -- most likely short-term medical missions similar to what JB will do in Nigeria next spring. We also definitely feel called to adopt. Yesterday I was browsing on a favorite website: (Take a second to visit this site and check out the "waiting children".) There was a sibling group of five children that just nabbed at my heart, and when I showed the picture to JB, he felt the same way I did -- felt that if we were ten years older with a bigger house and a little more money, we would adopt those kids in a heart beat. We truly know the Lord has a bigger plan, and we are trusting him day by day to show us that plan.

Okay, so I guess the rarity that I don't have much to say isn't as true as I originally thought.

Sleep tight all. I know I will!

Tuesday, July 25, 2006


I was checking in on a childhood classmate's blog page, and she had a short post about losing mothers. It made me instantly think back to our friend Kelly in Kentucky. Kelly's husband Scott was Ronnie's first cousin, and they had six children. The oldest daughter was sixteen and little Ben was just one year old when Kelly went in for routine surgery (tubal ligation) and developed sepsis. She went home, got sick, went in to the hospital, was transferred to Vanderbilt, and died at Vanderbilt. At the time, I was in Chicago and unable to get a flight to Nashville. I still think about Kelly, Scott, and her kids quite often. She was a wonderful woman and only thirty-six years old. I get reports quite often through Ebby or Deanna, and when I saw Scott and the kids about a year ago, they seemed to be doing well. Ellie and Anna were only 4 and 5 when Kelly died.

Okay, so that was a downer start to this post. I just started thinking about Kelly. As for my life personally, there isn't too much going on. As most of you know, Kelsey has made herself very comfortable in our guest room, and we have a good routine for the three of us living here together. It has honestly been no trouble or inconvenience. Kelsey gets up after us in the morning so by the time I hear her alarm clock, I am heading out to work. By the time she needs the bathroom, both of us are long gone. In the evenings, she is training for her marathon and is therefore gone for quite some time (to think that she is running the whole time is hard to imagine!) Most evenings, she has been eating dinner with us, and yes, Kelsey IS allowed to help with the dishes. As some of you know, I don't allow anyone to help with the dishes when they visit my home. However, since Kelsey is not a visitor, I have decided to give-in on this issue. Actually tonight, Kelsey is making dinner!

JB is leaving for Eglin Air Force Base on August 6th, and will be there until September 2nd. I will be going to visit from August 10-21. It will be nice to have Kelsey here with me during that time. As most of you also know, I am not too keen on being by myself. I do feel safe in the condo, but it takes me forever to fall asleep when I am the only one in the house. (The birds and fish do not count.) So it is actually a good month to have some company.

We have also been looking ahead to JB's trip to Nigeria in March/April of 2007. Originally, it was just Tara and he planning to make the trip. However, two of our friends, Ajit and Hans, are now planning to join them. They will be going to a clinic in Nigeria for a month to do medical work. Apparently, fourth year students are very in-demand, as they are just a few months from becoming doctors. They have most of the knowledge and foresight to get the job done, but are not busy with their residencies yet.

As for me, whether I go to to Nigeria or not will depend on if we are pregnant. If I am pregnant, even a little bit, I will probably not go. We would discuss it with our doctor, but after waiting and trying this long, we would probably not risk me leaving the country and having to take shots for malaria etc. Even if I am not pregnant, I would need to get a month leave from work which I am not sure I can do. However, I would love to be able to see JB actually in his field. I truly have NO idea what JB does everyday. He tells me, but I can't really picture it until I see it.

* * * * * * * * *

Congratulations to Gabbi K. (JB's brother's wife) for knowing that the answer to the last trivia question was a LAWNMOWER! Yikes -- 80 mph. That's fast.

Monday, July 24, 2006

Sad job news

Don't worry, don't worry. I didn't lose my job. However, the Restless Legs Syndrome Foundation sold the house we currently work in three blocks from my house. They felt that we could benefit from a more traditional work place and a place that isn't downtown (and therefore so expensive). They close on September 15th. At that point we may lease the house for a limited amount of time. However, it is most likely inevitable that we will be moving somewhere NOT downtown. This means ... gasp ... I will have to drive or take the bus to RLSF. I am NOT thrilled about this. I mean, I don't work there that often (about 8 hours a week in office and 8 hours a week out of office), but right now it is so convenient.

For example, today I worked at Mayo from 7:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m. and then stopped at home, grabbed my lunch, and continued walking down the street to RLSF. It is so ideal. It's a fifteen minute walk from my job at Mayo and merely a ten minute walk or less from my house.

We currently fill up our car about every six weeks. Sort of important when gas is nearing $3.00 a gallon. Neither of us drive very often at all. JB will sometimes drive the mile to St. Mary's simply to save himself some time for those early mornings, but we basically walk everywhere.

For the first time in over two years, I may have to COMMUTE! My Floridian compadres are laughing hysterically at this. My commute may be all of ten minutes with predictable traffic -- how horrid!

* * * * * * *

So do you guys like the "pointless trivia"? Here is another:

According to the folks we pay to know these things, the fastest one of these ever was clocked was 80 mph!

Ten coldest temperatures

So I saw on that they had recorded the cities with the ten coldest temperatures. This is the average temperature of course. The average tempterature for the YEAR! Now what concerns me is that two of these have a MN next to them! And what concerns me secondarily is that three of them have a ND next to them which is only a hop-skip-and-a-jump from here. I know that these are still quite a distance from us, but the fact still remains that the AVERAGE temperature of a Minnesota city is 37.4!!! Why not just become a Canadian? (No offense Calvin and Karen).

I know it is only July, but do you know that July is the ONLY month without recorded snow in this history of Minnesota? Holy cow!

Sorry, I'm starting to get freaked out about winter approaching. It's like, what, only one month away? :)

1. Mt. Washington, NH (27.2°F)
2. International Falls, MN (37.4°F)
3. Marquette, MI (38.7°F)
4. Duluth, MN (39.1°F)
5. Caribou, ME (39.2°F)
6. Sault St. Marie, MI (40.1°F)
7. Grand Forks, ND (40.3°F)
8. Alamosa, CO (40.8°F)
9. Williston, ND (40.9°F)
10. Fargo, ND (41.5°F)

Sunday, July 23, 2006

Congratulations to ...

Ray Kay, the oldest of JB's three younger brothers (did you follow that?). Ray figured out (with a few hints) that the answer to the trivia question was TEXT MESSAGING. 50% of people have done this while driving! How insane is that? He also volunteered the information that Gabbi (his wife) has participated in this activity. Atrocities!

Since this trivia seemed fairly popular (Hey I got the most comments EVER on a post), look for it to resurface very shortly.

Sweet Saturday

Saturday was WONDERFUL! It was wonderful because my husband and I had a day off, on the same day, with NOTHING scheduled to do.

Not that we were bored. We got up round 8:30 and went to the Farmer's Market. We bought a bunch of different vegetables and some homemade bruschetta and bread. We ran into the Philips there. I asked Melissa about selling my clothes to a local consignment shop, and she told me that I would make a lot more money on Ebay. I agreed, but that would be a lot more work, and I don't need another computer-hobby, so I dropped a few items off on our way to the Breadstore (free samples included!), Target (we were out of everything), a car wash (the car said "thank you"), the pet store (the birds were hungry), and sports authority (we both needed new running clothes). It sounds like a lot, and it was, but we just had a great time together. It has been awhile since we had some time just the two of us or without one of us (mostly JB) having to work.

When we got home, JB made smoothies and we had a sandwich before heading out on a run together.

I must digress for a minute to talk about running. I have made a decision, with the okay of my almost-doctor husband, that I am going to start running again. I will take breaks after our transfer in September, and if we do another harvest, I will also take a break, however, let's just lay the facts out on the table. My body does not do what it is supposed to do, and my lack of ovulation has not changed even a little bit. Running doesn't seem to make it worse. Not running doesn't seem to make it better. There is no change in my body. And in the meantime, not running does not help my self-esteem or my energy level. Exercising has been a part of my life since I was eleven years old. Not exercising (and speed walking does not qualify for me) leaves me feeling lethargic and couch-potato-ish. I love to exercise! I really, really do, and while I have agreed to take breaks during transfers and retrievals, I have to leave the rest in the Lord's hands.

We believe it is possible that the Lord could bless us with a child without all this fertility-stuff. However, I often use the analogy of a broken leg. If you had a broken leg and were lying on the side of the road, would you tell the ambulance driver not to take you to the emergency room because the Lord was going to heal you? Of course not. You would go, and you would allow them to set your bone, and you would pray that the Lord guide the doctor's hands. And in the meantime, if He did a miracle, and healed you before surgery, you would tell the whole world.

That's how we feel. Is there a chance that someday we could miraculously find out we are pregnant without a surgical procedure? There definitely is. The fact that we now have two issues (my annovulation and the sperm-binding issue) makes it more unlikely but only in man's eyes. With God, all things are possible.

I often get frustrated because for some reason, with infertility, people often attribute what is happening to something I am doing wrong. And often times people believe that seeking help for this "illness" has to do with not trusting the Lord. I completely disagree. I have a health condition. And I am seeking help for that health condition. I also believe that the Lord is the great physician!

Either way, I feel that running isn't helping me or hurting me so why not just do it? I have also decided to continue taking metformin which I have now been on for two years. I am at 1500 mg. The doctor wants me at 2000 mg, but every time I take that next pill I end up getting so sick with flashbacks to when I started that drug in 2004. I wasn't writing a blog then, but please trust me when I say, I didn't know it was possible for no food to go through you so fast. (Sorry, is that too much information?) I spent two weeks eating practically nothing. Then I spent another three weeks only eating breads and crackers. Then I spent three weeks only eating a select menu of foods that didn't make me sick. Even water tasted like metal to me!

In retrospect, we realize my doctor started me off on too much of the drug too fast. He wasn't experienced in using metformin and therefore didn't know you were supposed to give it gradually. When I told my boss at Mayo that I was taking 2000 mgs right off the bat, he said, "That's like poison!" It was at that point that we cut my amount in half and I started working my way back up. I have never gotten back to 2000.

However, now that that has passed, I don't want to discontinue to the metformin because that would mean possibly having to restart it some day. So I continue to pill-cut and attempt an increase even though it doesn't appear the metformin is affecting the annovulation either.

Alas ... back to our Saturday. We were also able to go to church together (the first time in forever), have dinner together, and watch a movie together. Kelsey finished her marathon training and joined us for the end of dinner and the end of The Rookie. She had never seen it before and really enjoyed it. Kels is planning on running the Chicago Marathon in October, and is running like a mad-woman. I think today is her twelve mile run! Yikes! I have been running with her some on her "short" days (three miles), and even those three miles leave me barely crossing the finish line, if at all.

Okay so this short recap of my Saturday ended up being a novel. Sorry for that. I am disappointed only my father (who has NEVER posted a comment on my blog before yesterday) attempted the trivia. Anyone else have an idea? Otherwise, it may be time to reveal the answer.

Saturday, July 22, 2006

Trivia ... do you know the answer to this question?

It's dangerous, stupid, and in some places it's even illegal...but almost half the drivers under 55 say they've done it - tell me what "it" is!

(Please don't cheat! If you listen to the radio station I took this from, let other people have some fun and politely refrain from answering.)

Game night with Hans & Rachel

Last night we went over to hang out with our friends Hans and Rachel. Hans is one of JB's classmates. His girlfriend, Rachel, is a Rochester-native who is currently in dental school in the Twin Cities. However, Rachel's parents live in Rochester and have a beautiful home by Century High School. We all got invited over for Mexican Dominoes (which, to Kelsey's great relief, does not include setting them up and pushing them over for "great fun"). Hans did a great job grilling out, Rachel did a great job on the cookies (who cares HOW you made them Rachel), and as always, we just had a fantastic time. I am excited to be friends with Hans and Rachel especially because there is a good chance that Hans will stay in Rochester for residency unlike a lot of our other friends (not saying any names here -- TARA and AJIT!).

Here are some photos from our fun filled evening.

Around the table starting with JB in the back, Ajit (to his right), Tara, Rachel, Hans, Kelsey, David, and (barely visible) Lesley

Here is Hans with Kelsey and Dave concentrating on his next move.

Here are Ajit and Tara pretending that they like each other. Not "like-like", just "like" ... anyways, yes Tara, I think I am still in middle school.

Here are Rachel "the dentist" and Hans "the anestheiologist"

If you are a loyal "Polar North" reader, you know who these two are. No more introductions for you Lesley!

Here's me with Kelsey. Kelsey and I were glad to see we were wearing a completely different wardrobe for this outing. Last night we went out with our friend Diana for dinner and to see "You, Me and Dupree" and only when we were climbing into the car did we realize we each had put on blue jeans, flip flops, and a blue-grey t-shirt. That's a little weird!

Tara and Rachel

Okay. Here is a picture of Kelsey. What you can see is that she is talking. What you can't see is that she is talking to JB. As much as Kelsey and I have in common, we found one thing that we do not have in common. Kelsey likes to debate. Most of you know that John likes to debate. This is a dangerous combination! They have, however, promised me that they will throw in a "don't worry, we aren't fighting" here and there to make me feel better. Poor Lesley and I just want peace.

The camera was off. We were all playing quietly and suddenly Hans says, "Wendi, take a picture." I asked him what I should take a picture of. "Take a picture of me," he said. And for good reason. This move won him a hand, and he wanted it well-documented. Unfortunately for Hans, it was Lesley who took home the big win!

Kelsey adding up all her points after Hans quick victory!

Dave, Les, and Wen

Tara preparing to play. Tara was preparing to play most of the evening. We all had a good time giving Tara a hard time about how much "thinking" she did in this game. The game would move rather quickly until it hit Tara's spot wherein JB and Kelsey could resume their heated debates.

Thanks for a fun evening Rachel and Hans!

Today, JB has the day off on the same day that I have a day off. We are going to go to church together TONITE! Something we haven't been able to do in weeks. Yay! We are also going to just have a fun time hanging out together. I am really looking forward to having him home today.

Friday, July 21, 2006

Step by Step

Here's another reminder that as much as we worry and wonder about our own lives, God has it all under control!
As though goest, step by step, I will open up the way before thee. (Proverbs 4:12)

Child of my love,
fear not the unknown morrow,
Dread not the new demand life makes of thee;
Thy ignorance doth hold no cause for sorrow
Since what thou knowest not is known of Me.

Thou canst not see the hidden meaning Of my command,
but thou the light shall gain;
Walk on in faith, upon My promise leaning,
And AS THOU GOEST, all shall be made plain.

One step thou seest -- then go forward boldly,
One step is far enough for faith to see;
Take that, and thy next duty shall be told thee,
For STEP BY STEP thy Lord is leading thee.

Stand not in fear thy adversaries counting,
Dare every peril, save to disobey;
Thou shalt march on, all obstacles surmounting,
for I the Strong, WILL OPEN UP THE WAY.

Wherefore go gladly to the task assigned thee,
Having my promise, needing nothing more
Than just to know, wher'er the future find thee,
In all thy journeying I go BEFORE.

Author Unknown

Thursday, July 20, 2006

And the winner is ...

Well you all have gotten pretty good at putting comments on my blog. I decided to address some of them in a blog of its own. I decided to give some awards! Hey -- since this is my blog I can do whatever I want. These are awards from the best comments of the last two weeks. If you didn't win an award, please don't be hurt. I'm just randomly choosing these awards myself (committe of one mind you!)

The most touching comment goes to:
Tara Arness
"Oh geez. Rochester is, at times, truly fine and even (gasp) memorable, although I do think Nicole is a very, very smart girl for working the away-rotation-system. In all truth, I even caught myself saying one time, "Well, if the Kits stay here, I might be convinced..." (Back me up Ajit, if you read this blog!!). No, it is true that I feel my "calling" is NOT HERE, but I have met some of the most wonderful people I have ever known while living here, so how can that NOT be memorable?"

The funniest blog comment goes to:
Josh Huisman
Josh says...Here are a couple more South Florida traits...
1. You're IQ is 50 points lower than average
2. You eat dinner around 4 pm to get the senior citizens discount
3. You have extremely attractive cousins whose first names start with "J" end in "osh" and rhyme with "gosh".
4. You wear shorts that are 4 sizes too small.
5. You have tattoos right above your butt that say, "Stop Looking At My Butt"!(Okay, that last one isn't true, but it should be!)

The second funniest blog comment goes to:
Josh Huisman
JB explaining american music is like me trying to explain the theory of relativity!I think JB should stick to what he's good and making up answers to questions he doesn't know the answer to!!!

The most sincere blog comment goes to:
Bara Zuhaili
Friday and Saturday were one of the best days ever in the US so far for me! I can't describe in words how wonderful it was! So I better leave it for you to imagine! Also, this posting is one of the best ever! it's very educational at least for non-americans! at least for part of my family and friends back in Middle east who read that for sure! Although Wendi is right in front of me now, I don't really know how to thank her and JB for this "pick-me-up"! I really can't express in english words! "excuse my english"! so I will put it here: Thank you guys! you are the best ever! Thank you! sorry for being long!

The most middle-of-the night blog comment goes to:
Lesley Jones
I love that you put a picture of "Tara and Bara" on the blog! I am really into things that rhyme. It's also 3:41AM, and I'm on call so maybe I'm just delirious. But I had to get my daily dose of Life in the Polar North! :)

The most "she feels my pain comment goes to:
Cassie Orme
Wendi! I love that you are discussing this because this exact issue has been on my mind. I also have my excuse all ready for the cop that my husband is a student and therefore that should count for me not getting a MN license. I have gone over the scenerio multiple times, even with what the cops rebuttals will be, and then what I will say back, etc. You see, when we first moved here, I called the DMV lady and I convinced her that I didn't need one until she agreed, so I thought I could tell the cop that one. I am worried though because technically you are suppose to get one within 30 or 60 days of moving here, so I wonder if they will try to give me some fine. Also, we do not have a front license plate either. Our car does not have holes to line up with the plate. But just a couple days ago, I read that not having a front license plate in Hennepin County is $112... so even though I have my excuses all layed out for the cop on this one too, I think we may just try to find a plate holder or something?? How did you get your front plate on?Ok, this is too long of a comment- sorry. But also, I enjoy the bullets as well. :)

P.S. I STILL have not found my stupid black pants. For crying out sideways!

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Bullet points for Melissa

My friend Melissa tells me that she likes my bullet point blogs. This may be because she has a toddler and is growing increasingly uncomfortable with #2 on the way, and bullets read much faster.

Speaking of Melissa, last night Melissa called me on the phone. In the two years that we have been friends, I am not sure if I have ever spoken with her via telephone. Two phone-phobic people does not allow for a lot of electronic gabbing. Anyways, to make Melissa's day easy, here are my current bullets:
  • My Kentucky driver's license has expired. Yes, you read that correctly. I still have (or had as it has now expired) a Kentucky license. The reason is that JB is a student, and is therefore not required to obtain a Minnesota license. This point is actually null, however, because he has a military ID which operates in place of a license. When I first moved to St. Charles, the local police officer told me that we only had to get Minnesota plates on a car that I drove because I was not a student. Since we only had one car, and I drove it, this meant our one car needed plates (and plates on the FRONT of the car in Minnesota is a requirement.)
  • Speaking of plates on the front of the car, that reminds me of a funny story, and since the last bullet point is really too long to even qualify as a bullet point, I will make this bullet #2 (for Melissa's sake.) First semester of medical school was a busy time in JB's life. So busy that the local St. Charles cop (where I taught) had to tell me two times to get a plate put on the front of the car. This led to an argument (between JB and me not between the cop and me) because JB wasn't jumping as fast as I would like (or as fast as the cop would like). One day, just to prove a point, I took the drill out to the garage and prepared to drill the holes into the front of the car to hang this stupid front-of-the-car plate. However when I realized that messing up our car was not worth proving a point, I put the drill down and backed up very slowly into the house. Later, when I tried to explain to JB what I had done, I couldn't recall the name of the tool (how hard is it to remember the word "drill"?) John then said he didn't think anyone should be allowed to use a tool they can't name. Funny.
  • Okay, so back to my license issue. If I would have been smart enough to realize that my license was going to expire a year before we may possibly leave Rochester, I would have just gotten a stupid license the first year I was here. I always just planned on telling the cop that I was a student's wife. I didn't think it was fair that he didn't have to get a license, and the cop wasn't even positive what a student's wife had to do. How fair is it to move to the Polar North out of love and then have to get a new license because of that love? I don't know if my "I'm a medical student's wife" idea would have worked, but in Minnesota you have to take a WRITTEN test to join their state's fantastic driving association! How bogus is that? Worse -- I hear the test is really hard.
  • Since Melissa is on my mind, I wonder if she has a Minnesota license as she is a medical spouse. Cassie, Kristen . . . do you have licenses? If you do, was the test hard?
  • Okay, enough about driving.
  • Next major thing I need to get done? I need to get a passport. I lost my passport when we moved to Minnesota. It was in my pile of "very important things you definitely shouldn't lose when you move" which included my teaching license and a few other items that made me shed a few tears when it became completely obvious that they were gone forever.
  • Problem is I need a current driver's license to get a passport.
  • I have gotten the passport photos so that is one thing I don't have to do.
  • Another thing I need to is make an appointment with my allergist. He saved my life last fall but told me I needed to come in sometime around July to get "prepared" for another ragweed season. I called today so I will wait to hear if I have to come in or if they can just prescribe my medications.
  • I am slightly concerned that my allergy medications may not be safe to take with my IVF medications or in pregnancy. I hope my allergist, Miguel, who is a friend of our's from Bible Study, can help with this.
  • Speaking of doctors, I am noticing considerable improvement in my headaches. Today I actually only took THREE Alleve. What a woman huh?
  • I have been running quite a bit. Monday afternoon I ran with JB and yesterday I actually ran with Kelsey. She is training for a marathon! Now yesterday was her "light" day so I decided to run with her, and I actually didn't do half bad. I feel so much better when I am running. I will stop during the week preceding and the two weeks following my transfer, and if I ever do a harvest I will stop for longer, but man, it feels so good to run.
  • Monday afternoon JB and I ran at 4:45. It was 97 degrees at the time. In conversation today I told my boss this. He immediately switched into "doctor" mode asking me what I was thinking running in that sort of heat. I explained that I grew in south Florida and 97 degrees with only 47% humidity was not that bad, but he didn't buy it -- he said as a physician he had to advise me against that sort of "reckless behavior." :)
  • Tonight I am filling in for my RLS office manager's co-ed volleyball team again. I enjoy these occasional outings. I would love to play more regularly but don't think I can commit to a team with my required weeks of no activity for infertility events. However, it has been raining all day today. We haven't had rain in so long so I am just sitting by the window watching it come down. This could ruin the chances of playing volleyball this evening.
  • Okay Melissa, I hope that gave you your fill of bullets.

10,000th visitor to Polar North Blog is .....

Matt Kit!

I got a text message from JB's brother Matt yesterday that he was visitor number 10,000 to the Polar North blog. Congratulations Matt. (You can view the number of visitors if you scroll to the very bottom of this page.) Truth be told, I didn' teven know Matt visited my blog.

Now of course, I have to take Matt's word for this as I have no direct proof this was true. I also can't be sure he didn't hit the refresh button a few times to push him over the top, but either way, congrats Matt.

I'll have more to post later today.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Doctors alarmed over growing preemie problem

I found this article online. It really stirred up a lot of thoughts and questions in my mind:

WASHINGTON - More than half a million babies are born prematurely each year, and specialists are urging that doctors take new steps to battle one cause: infertility treatments that spur twins, triplets and other multiple births.

Among the institute’s recommendations: Specialists should strengthen guidelines that reduce the number of multiple births as a result of infertility treatments. Sixty-two percent of twins conceived through such care were born prematurely, as were 97 percent of other multiples.

To improve the odds of getting pregnant, doctors often implant several embryos at once into a woman’s womb, a technique that sometimes works too well. The American Society of Reproductive Medicine issued guidelines in 1999, and tightened them in 2004, urging doctors to implant fewer embryos, sometimes only one at a time — and triplet-and-higher births have dropped significantly.

The group said it will consider tightening those guidelines further. But European countries that implant just one embryo at a time also pay for women to undergo multiple IVF attempts, while very few American women have insurance coverage for a procedure that can cost more than $15,000 per try, noted Dr. William Gibbons, president of the Society of Assisted Reproductive Technology.

“If we want to buy into this, society needs to buy into it,” said Gibbons — who added that parts of Europe also found they saved money on treating preemies even after paying for repeated single-embryo IVF attempts.

I really don't know how I feel about this. Is infertility a right or a privilege? Should insurance cover infertility treatments? Is it fair that women who can't afford to have infertility treatments can't have children? Can they limit how many embryos when we have to pay for each attempt?

Any thoughts? Currently I am leaning toward the fact that insurance doesn't have to cover anything they don't want to especially something that isn't health-related. I am blessed that Mayo chooses to pay 50%. I wonder what non-infertility patients think? Don't worry. You can't hurt my feelings on this. I'm interested to know what others think.

Monday, July 17, 2006

Bara's last day

After JB woke up from his nap on Sunday, we packed full the rest of our afternoon and evening. We started with the grocery store (which I didn't take a picture of -- shoot!) We spent about an hour and a half teaching Bara about foods in our grocery store and ideas about how he can all the food groups in fairly easily, cheaply, and conveniently. I am excited to read on his blog about how he puts all these lessons into practice. He took LOTS of notes!

After our grocery lesson, we headed down to the cities.

Here is Bara and JB right after watching "The Beavers" IMAX movie. (We were all fascinated to learn that one pair of Beavers take down 400 trees a year!). This photo was taken outside of Body Worlds. It was an excellent exhibit and extremely fascinating. Basically it was the opportunity to view actual body muscles, arteries, nerves etc. on real people that donated their bodies to science. Believe it or not, this exhibit was not gross. It was very educational, and I was very entertained. It was a little crowded despite the fact that they limit the number of people allowed in to fifteen minute intervals.

After visiting Body Worlds, we toured the rest of the Science Museum a bit (there really isn't much more than the featured exhibit) and took a break outside. While taking a break, we attempted to teach Bara about miniature golf. He said that he thought it looks like a lot of fun, and if we would have had more time, I would have loved to be there for Bara's first try at miniature golf (and maybe assure myself a victory!) I have not played miniature golf in years, but it was one thing our family really enjoyed doing together when I was young. My father showed no mercy!

JB talking to Ajit on the phone. This isn't an important part of the story, but, he's my babe so I'll include it anyways! I love this guy (A LOT!) We got in a lot of relationship discussions with Bara. He observed the fact that JB and I have a very sarcastic and humor-filled relationship. This is something we once attempted to change, but have since decided that bantering works for us and so if it works for us, who's to say otherwise?

On the way to the restaurant, JB attempted to teach Bara, in one hour or less, about all the genres of American music. He started with Big Band and made it all the way to Alternative Rock using actual selections from his own IPOD. Bara's favorite? Classic Rock 'n Roll.

Lesley and Dave joined us for dinner at Chino Latino. They had spent the day at the Mall of America. I really love Dave and Lesley and am so blessed they are in Minnesota. I really hope that all four of us get to stay here for residency. If one couple doesn't get to stay, I'd prefer it would be us because I really don't want to be in Rochester without them here. (Is that selfish? I think so.)

Bara, JB, and me after dinner. Bara liked some of the dishes but not the shrimp curry (way too spicy!) We offered to buy another type of dish, but he said he would rather save space and take us all out for dessert. We settled on Cold Stone. I learned another thing about Syrians (or maybe just about Bara). They can eat A LOT of ice cream. For any of you who have ever had Cold Stone or Marble Slab type ice cream (where they throw the ice cream on a slab and combine it with topping of your choice), you know how THICK this ice cream is. On my BEST night, I can manage to eat a medium, but normally can't get beyond the small. And as most of you know, I can EAT ice cream. Bara, taking my advice, got a medium, and added a chocolate waffle cone. Despite this, he was debating getting a second dish!!! Wow!

Another funny thing: on the way back to our car, we passed a punch buggy car. In America, when you see one of these, you punch the people you are with (not hard unless you are mean). I punched JB and then punched Bara and said "Punch buggy." We cracked up when he said, "Why did you Punch Boppy me?" I had to explain that it was not a "Boppy" but a "Buggy". It's only when you try to explain something that you realize how stupid it is. What the HECK do we punch people when we see a type of car? I have no idea. It's like trying to explain why we don't end sentences with the word "I'm". I have no idea we just don't!

Bara is now back in Boston. We had a WONDERFUL time while he was here. I have learned so much about his culture and about our governments and about the world from him. Honestly, if everyone in the world was able to get along like we do with Bara despite some major differences, then there wouldn't be any wars!

Bara said the thing he will miss the most when he leaves Minnesota is hearing people say, "You betcha!" Hmmm ... is that the most memorable thing about Rochester? (Tara is probably nodding profusely).

Two other things I wanted to note quickly. Today was a VERY hot day in Minnesota. It felt SO wonderful. However, despite this, the humidity was 47%. So just for kicks, I looked it up in Fort Lauderdale. 70%. Case closed on that one Elizabeth Ray! Yes, I called you Elizabeth, Ebby. That means I am SERIOUS.

Another thing? I have mentioned before that I usually don't get a lot of tall comments in Minnesota. There are a lot of tall women here, and it is rare to be made fun of or commented about. The time that I get the most comments (if any) is usually when I have to run an errand for my boss and I walk through the main part of the clinic. The reason is that these people are usually NOT from Minnesota and therefore not used to all the tall women (and also not as polite.)

Today I had a man say something to me I have never heard before, and it so took me off guard that I made sure he knew he offended me.

As I walked by, this man in his late twenties said -- get this. "Six foot seven -- halfway to heaven." Then he stopped and stared at me.

I said, "Excuse me?"

Thinking I really wanted to know what he said, he repeated himself!

And I said, "Well that was a really nice thing to say."

It was at that point, and ONLY at that point, that he realized he had offended me and mumbled, "Well good day to you."

Now I need to be cautious here. This man very well could be sick. He could be mentally sick. When you walk through the main stretch of the Clinic, you often see some VERY sick people. However, he didn't look sick. He looked very normal. What does that comment mean anyways? I really am not sure. For one thing, I'm not even 6'7", however, because he wanted to rhyme with heaven, he obviously thought it was okay to make me more than four inches taller. I was actually so shocked to hear someone say something that brazen.

He must be from south Florida. Who ELSE could be that rude?

Oh well. At least he didn't complain about the humidity after that. I may have had to lay him out.

We'll miss you Bara!

The Knot

My brother and AD now have a "Knot" page. Now obviously I am old because I did not have one of these when I got married, but they do. You can visit it at: ADRIENNE BROYLES & KEITH HUISMAN.

Also, just to give you a head's up. Keith and AD aren't having a mombo-sized wedding so the guest list will be limited. So don't be offended if just because you know me, you don't get invited! They still love you because they love me. (Right guys?)

P.S. Bara and JB just left for the airport. We had a GREAT time yesterday and after work I will post some pictures and details.

Sunday, July 16, 2006

Bara meets (and remeets) our friends

Friday night, as I was having my girls night and JB was on call, Bara hung out with Ronnie. Ronnie took him to the Dodge County Fair.
Now you don't have to be from Dodge County to picture the Dodge County Fair. If you have ever gone to a fair in a tiny country town, you can picture it. They are all the same.
Bara loved it! He got to see a Demolition Derby and also see the way many Americans live. It is so difficult to picture the fact that most of Americans don't live in huge over-crowded metropolises (it's hard to pluralize that word) unless you see it for yourself. But Bara saw it. He saw people that, most likely, have no idea where Syria is or maybe, even where Wisconsin is!
Country towns present a different world and are a far cry from Boston or even Rochester. Bara said that he heard a statistic once that 50% of Americans do not have a passport. Now since I am positive that most of my family, including my parents, John's parents, and most of my cousins and other blog readers don't have passports, you don't find this number amazing. But it was amazing to Bara.
It was amazing until he went to the Dodge County Fair. What would these people need passports for? There's their farm, their neighbor's farm, and the Demolition Derby. Do they need anything more? However, to a visitor, like Bara, these country towns often go unnoticed.
Saturday afternoon, Bara and I watched Father of the Bride while JB attempted to catch up on his sleep. Bara really enjoyed it, and even though I have seen it numerous times, I enjoyed rewatching it. That's a classic American romantic comedy! The last time Bara came he hated romantic comedies and wouldn't go near them. Now they are one of his favorite genres. Go figure!
Saturday evening we had a bunch of friends over. Since John didn't have a lot of time to prep, we had chicken and steak fajitas, an easy meal in John's repertoire. Bara was a little unsure of this new food but wanted to watch John make them to get another idea of something he could cook in his apartment in Boston. I asked him if he liked them, and he said that the fact that he was on his third is pretty indicative of the fact that he thought they were really good. The first time he used sour cream, he just put a little dab, but the next time, he had smothered his shell in sour cream and was a little more adventurous in the contents of his fajita.
We have so enjoyed having Bara visit our home. It is always wonderful to catch up with old friends, and we have had some wonderful and educational conversations. The world is such a big place, and I am so thankful to have so many friends of different ethnicities and nationalities to share that world with.
Speaking of a wide assortment of friends, you can definitely appreciate that from some of the pictures of our evening.

Here is Tara and Nicole. Nicole spent much of her third year of medical school avoiding Rochester as much as possible and doing rotations all over the country. However, she actually said that while she did not miss Rochester, she missed all of us and so she is going to stay closer to "home" for her fourth year (not counting a month long jaunt in Australia!) So hopefully, you will get to see more pictures of Nicole. I think the girl on the right has made enough appearances on the blog to no longer warrant an introduction, but if you haven't paid good attention in the past, that's Tara who personally finds Rochester the most riveting location of her twenty-four year existence.

So here is a picture of Bara and JB. This was taken during our game of the evening -- Time's Up. Time's Up is a game that requires you to be semi-familiar with pop-culture. Bara was my partner, and while we finished in dead-last, he was getting the hang of it by the end and earning everyone's praise. Even though we lost, even Bara recognized that the point of this game wasn't so much about winning but about how hard you could laugh at other people and yourself.

As I have mentioned previously, Karuna now repeats everything and anything anyone says. This object she is holding is a battery recharger. We are all well aware of this because Karuna told us so upwards of fifty times in a period of less than two minutes.

Here, Karuna finally acquiesces and gives Wendi the battery recharger, assured that everyone in the room knows what it is.

Here's Lesley and Karuna, both of whom no longer need introductions on the Polar North blog. I admire Lesley for a lot of things, but one of them is her ability to play with children in a room full of grown-ups. I think we are all so prone to get into our adult conversations and shoo the kids away, but Lesley always takes adequate time to entertain Karuna with the utmost of patience -- even if Karuna won't let her pull her next card in Time's Up.

Cole (front) and Hunter (back) are growing WAY too fast. Take a look at Hunter and Cole on year ago on my blog. You can see what I mean. Man time flies and kids grow up fast. They are great boys and always fun to have around.

Here is Bara with his first attempt at a fajita. Also pictured are Ronaldo Ray. Do you all remember the picture from a few days ago which featured Cole making a crazy face? Is it any wonder where Cole gets his antics from when you see Ronnie in this picture? Also pictured is our great friend Melissa (off to the right) due to have another baby in just a little over a month.

I am sure that Lesley will only realize what was occurring behind her when she views this picture on my blog today. Lesley, don't worry, it's Nicole who has reverted back to her adolescence, not you.

Here is Dave playing Time's Up. Dave has gone, in a matter of just two years, to being the worst Time's Up player we had ever seen, to the best in Rochester. In fact, the reason we did not play in couples last night was because Dave and Lesley are so stinkin' good at the game now, no one else stands a chance. However, Dave did agree that his pop culture is still well behind the rest of the crowd, hence he and Bara's reason for determining they were probably not the best two to pair together.

So there are some pictures from our evening.

Currently, it is Sunday morning. We were hoping to make it to church this morning, but Wendi had one of her headaches last night. They have gotten much better, but as the neurologist warned, not going to bed at a consistent time, could cause them to flare up as is what happened last night. Not only could I not sleep, but my poor husband who had not slept more than two hours the night before could not sleep. He finally wandered to the couch around two a.m. and wandered back around six a.m. I made the executive decision to turn off the alarm clock and let him sleep until he wakes up. In addition, I am still fighting a doozy of a headache this morning. Please continue to pray for me in this regard, especially as we start another round of IVF on August 4th, and I must restart the drug that initially sparked these headaches.

Call really stinks! I don't know how else to say it. Our church only has services on Saturday evening or Sunday. For the last five or six weeks, JB has been on call either Saturday night, Sunday, or he's been post-call and not slept at all in the days preceding Sunday. It's frustrating. During the school year we at least attend a Bible Study on Thursday nights, but our church doesn't have a mid-week service. We've actually been talking about trying to find another church that we could just attend during the week.

Today though, we have a packed day planned! First we are going to take Bara on a field trip to the grocery store! We are just going to try to familiarize him with some American foods that would be easy for a bachelor of his cooking caliber to make. Then we have tickets to Body Worlds at the Science Museum of Minnesota. We also plan to take him back to Chino Latinos, the restaurant Tara introduced us to. Dave and Lesley and Ajit may also join us, but are not positive yet. Call is screwing EVERYONE up! Dave and Lesley have a busy two weeks coming up and need to make sure they have everything in over first. Ajit also, wants to make sure he gets a good night sleep to prepare for the craziness of his next rotation which begins on Monday.

Okay so tonight or tomorrow morning, I will post some more pictures from our day in the cities with Bara. Tomorrow, he returns to Boston. Hopefully, we will be able to make a trip and visit him there sometime in the next year and a half.

Saturday, July 15, 2006

Thank Goodness it's Friday

Last night, Tara and I decided to have a girl's night. We had plans to watch Beaches (which I have never seen) and just hang out and maybe get pedicures etc this morning. But everything got changed -- for the better. EVB, Nicole, and Tia (all classmates of Tara's and JB's) all ended up calling to see what Tara was doing (she is so popular!) and while Tia had to leave, EVB, Nicole, Tara, and I decided to go to TGI Fridays for dinner and then hung out back at Tara's after that. I spent the night at Tara's and then this morning we walked to the Farmer's Market where I got great looking rasberries, cherries, and JB's favorite -- a brandy wine tomato!

It is now about 12:30 on Saturday. JB just got home from being on call. He and Bara are hanging out, but John didn't get much sleep last night so he is going to take a nap. Tonight, we are having some friends over for dinner.

Here's a couple pictures (thanks Tara) from our dinner last night.

Tara and EVB

Nicole and myself

Friday, July 14, 2006

Hearts like Hannah

The support group I am apart of is a huge part of my life. Two woman at Christ Community Church and myself helped start this group we call "Hearts like Hannah". I know I haven't talked a lot about this group on the blog, but it is a very special part of my life, and I am so thankful for the people I have met through this group. Women who get pregnant are still welcome to attend, and we have had quite a few of our "members" go on to become moms. For example, one of our meetings we had nine women in attendance. Six of them now have a child. Here is an announcement for our upcoming meeting so you can see what it is we do. We meet quarterly and then meet for lunches inbetween our quarterly meetings.
Hearts Like Hannah ~ Infertility affects one in six marriages, yet remains one of the most overlooked and least understood issues facing Christian couples today. We want to invite you to join other women who are or who have been through what you are experiencing. We are a group of women all on different paths in this journey. Our next meeting is Monday, July 31at 6:00 p.m. at Caribou North (by Target). If you would like more information, please contact 282-5569 or

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Jb's Syrian meal (as best an American can do)

Here, as promised, are the pictures of JB's meal last night:

Baba ganoush. This is put on pita bread. It is pretty good. At first, Bara said it was not sour enough. With a little more lemon, he said JB got it just right.

This is actually dessert. These are actually quite tasty but very strange. They honestly taste like dried cotton candy with pistachios in the middle. Or maybe flavored rope. These were a gift from Bara.

Sambusak. The ones with meat were excellent. The ones with cheese were just so-so. Bara said that these were not totally authentic due to the bread that was used to make the dough. However, JB was unable to recreate that part of the dish.

Tabouleh. This is a salad. Everyone liked it but me. I thought it tasted like I was eating parsley. Maybe that's because it has a lot of parsley in it. Bara said it was very authentic.

The main dish: Moroccan Lamb Stew with Basmati Rice. This was delicious!

Tara and Bara (there names are pronounced in rhyme-style!) helping us with the meal.

We are now off to see Pirates of the Caribbean with the Ray family. I'll update you tomorrow!

One year Anniversary of "Life in the Polar North" blog

Today is the one year anniversary of my blog. I have 306 posts so that is pretty good especially considering in the beginning I only posted every few days.

In celebration, I thought I would link to my very first blog ever on July 13, 2005. Here it is:

In other news, Bara came in yesterday. It was great to see him again. Today he takes his big medical test down the street from out house.
JB made a great dinner last night, and Tara came over to eat with us. Later this evening I will try to post pictures from the food JB made. He attempted to make a Syrian meal of sorts, and Bara helped him figure out what he was doing right and not so right.
Tonight we plan to go see Pirates of the Caribbean with the Rays.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

It's the little things

I often say it's the little things in life that make life memorable.

One of those little things?


I just ate one of my favorite sandwiches for lunch: hot ham and swiss on a croissant. I used to eat this at Roy & Joan VanWyck's on a weekly basis when I was a teenager.

But then, I got health conscious and stopped eating white bread -- or at least eating less of it. So I stopped eating croissants as well.

Then, yesterday, I found WHEAT croissants at Hy-vee.

I just ate two of them for lunch. I'm going back t work now, but I needed to share about this little thing in life that made my day.

Talked to the nurse

I Peter 1:6-9 In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. These have come so that your faith—of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire—may be proved genuine and may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed. Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy, for you are receiving the goal of your faith, the salvation of your souls.

My pastor talked on the verse above in church on Sunday. It is my new IVF theme verse, and I am sure many of you can make it your theme verse for whatever situation you are personally in.

So we have some more IVF news:

I spoke to the IVF nurse yesterday. She gave me the option to do our FET (frozen embryo transfer) on September 7 or put it off until the 21st. (The 14th is out because of work conflicts for me and school conflicts for JB).

September 7 works fine for us. However, my doctor is out of town. Good ol' Dr. C. (He's awesome!) We would have Dr. G (the new doctor) do the procedure instead. He is new to Mayo but not new to infertility.

September 21 works out okay for us, however, John has a test in Chicago on the 22nd. We would have to leave immediately after the procedure to make the six hour drive. This is a lot for him to handle the day prior to a huge test.

We have decided ... to just go ahead and do the procedure on the 7th. I spoke with the nurse in detail. In the past, patients didn't even get a choice as to which doctor did the procedure. Whatever doctor was in that day was the doctor you got. She said that residents and students are never allowed to do the transfers -- that only the fellows or consultants to do these.

As much as I love Dr. C, there's no proof that he is better. Heck the first time didn't work. My biggest thing is being comfortable with what is happening. It's nervous being wheeled into an OR awake and knowing you are going to stay awake. You talk about being uncomfortable going in for a physical. Imagine being wheeled into an operating room, on valium, with half a dozen strangers walking around you talking about how things are going. It's not my favorite activity.

However, I am not sure I can ever be perfectly comfortable in this situation, and either way, I will leave with one (hopefully two) embryos in me. After talking to my good bud Kristi and JB, we have just decided to go ahead and do our procedure on the 7th.

I did get good news though. If this procedure were not to work, we are scheduled to do a fresh harvest as early as Thanksgiving! I am extremely happy about this! This means that we will be able to get home for Christmas and my brother's wedding which is Saturday, December 30th! We want to do the harvesting before January 5th so we don't have to re-run all of our tests.

I do want to make myself very clear though. I definitely believe that being positive and upbeat is helpful to our situation. I am not planning on our FET not working. The odds are nearly as high for a frozen to work as a fresh. However, I have learned in this process that you have to be one step ahead of the game. If I don't get on the nurse's calendar for an IVF in November, then the schedule will fill up. So we continue to schedule things and look at the next event while praying that the current one will work.

I also have some other news to share:

I wanted to give a shout out to my cousin Justin! His thumb is healed and he is back to AAA Washington to pitch after rehabbing in Arizona! He is very happy, and we are happy for him. Yay!

Our friend Bara is coming into town tomorrow for a few days. We are really excited to see him. I will have to include some pictures. His blog today was very funny. If you are a coffee drinker, you will enjoy it.