Monday, December 31, 2007

2007 ends with a whimper

Oh dear, what an "interesting" week we've had around here! Unfortunately, it was one medical blunder after another and happily I'm finally feeling a bit better and ready to ring in the new year, but it has been a very rough few days.

It all actually started last weekend when I was sort of feeling out of sorts but couldn't explain why. My back hurt, my knees hurt - I was all around feeling funky. It wasn't until Christmas day, when I took an aspirin for a headache and broke out into a sweat that I realized I had a fever! What's so sad is that I didn't even recognize a fever without stuffed up sinuses or a hacking cough. But the thing is, when you've had a miscarriage, they tell you to be on the watch for fevers, as this could be a sign of a uterus infection - not good news!

So we managed to get into a doctor here in Tiny Town on Wednesday, who told me that it probably was an infection, put me on the strongest non-penicillin antibiotic he could think of, and told me that if I still had a fever on Friday that I'd have to get in touch with my icky doctor. Well, don't you know, Friday rolls around and the fever is still there, but my icky doctor is on vacation! (Of course he is, because that's my luck in a nutshell.)

So we call the urgent care of the clinic where my icky doctor practices, and they set me up with the icky doctor on call at the clinic. She doesn't quite know what's going on, as now not only do I have a fever and random back and tummy pain, but a massive headache to boot. She sends me off for an ultrasound, where the ultrasound doctor tells me that there is no infection in my uterus. Hooray! No, he said, it's probably just a virus in my kidneys or liver or something. Do what?

So we go back to the icky doctor on call, who tells me that since it's probably just a virus, it should clear up in a week or less and that I should stay on the antibiotic through today so I don't become immune to it. Of course, my headache only gets worse and we finally realize that it's the antibiotic that's giving me enormous pulsating migranes and we make the decision amongst ourselves to cut the dosage down in half, and the migranes have very nearly disappeared.

Today I'm feeling the best I've felt in weeks and to be honest it's just a relief. But just because I was feeling bad doesn't mean I wasn't productive:


I wanted desperately to get it done in time for Christmas Eve, but I just couldn't do it. At least I got it done for the end of the year! My very last FO for 2007 is certainly my most difficult to date, but it looks great and IT FITS! Hallelujah!

As for New Year's Eve, we had been invited out but I've been so sick for so long that we just decided to stay home this year and have a quiet celebration. We went to the grocery store a little while ago and picked up some New Year's goodies and we'll likely celebrate in front of the tv with a glass of wine and plenty of good food to ring in the New Year.

Wherever you are in the world and however you're celebrating, I wish you a very Happy New Year! Roll on, 2008!!

Monday, December 24, 2007

merry merry!

The bad news is the sweater didn't get done. Having to redo the sleeves put me too far behind and I still have about four inches of the yoke to go. Hopefully I'll still get that done in the next couple of days.

The good news is that we got our butts in gear and got the Christmas cookies baked and packed! Because our EZ bake oven is so small, we can only bake about 10 cookies at a time, we decided to do one double batch on Saturday and one on Sunday. I had cracked and crushed enough walnuts for the first batch over the last week, so while the first batch was baking, we worked together to crack and crush another four kilos (nearly nine pounds!) of walnuts. Then it was just a matter of time to let them cool...

cookie factory
about 1/5 of all the cookies!

and then packed them in these fancy tins (which are commonly used for holding sugar cubes for coffee and tea, so they're practical, too!)...

cookie tins

and I just finished wrapping them all up:

mad wrapping skillz
check my mad wrapping skillz!

We'll be off in about an hour and a half to pick up the cheese and wine for the big dinner tonight and we'll probably get home around 2am, since we open our gifts to each other after dinner. Christmas is definitely an exercise in endurance in this family!

Other than that, I'm doing ok. During the last few days I've been unbelievably tired and suffering from freaky flash mood swings, going literally from laughing to crying within seconds (poor Stéph!!). I sincerely hope this is just my hormones being out of whack because I feel like I've been walking through water these last few days.

Well, nevermind, Christmas is my favorite holiday and I plan to enjoy it! Whether you're celebrating tonight or tomorrow, I hope all of you that are celebrating have a wonderful time!

Thursday, December 20, 2007


First of all, I have to thank you all very much for the kind comments and emails I've received over the last week or so. It's frankly shocking how many people have been touched by miscarriage, personally or otherwise. I wouldn't wish it on anybody but it's comforting in a way to know how common it is.

So how am I doing? Now that's an interesting question, one which I thought I had the answer to. Yesterday morning I replied to most of the emails I'd received, saying that I was surprised at just how well I was doing - freakishly well, in fact. I somehow managed to schedule a fully packed week this week and that is doing a great deal of good. Of course, just hours after I sent those emails out, I had a full-on breakdown and was useless for the rest of the day.

Perhaps we should just say that I'm getting there, and leave it at that. We're choosing to say that yesterday afternoon I had a "hormonal day." I guess they're still out of whack, those crazy hormones.

And what have I been doing this wacky busy week? Well, I've been writing - twelve articles so far and three more to go, on an assignment that took much, much longer than it should have. Plus I attended a very interesting seminar in Troyes Tuesday morning (more on that to come) and then took the car in for its two year inspection in the afternoon. Plus we'd decided that we were going to make cookies for all the in-laws for Christmas (that's still five families, including Stéph's parents!) and I really wanted to make my Dad's famous Christmas Crescent Cookies, which we road tested last week and Stéph took the results to work. The only problem is that they require 2 cups of crushed to nearly powder pecans for each batch. Pecans in France are brutally expensive, and if I bought enough for five batches it would have cost me 32€ for the pecans alone! So we're going with walnuts. But this means I've been cracking open walnuts and crushing them in my handy nut crusher (tee hee!) every day and I still have plenty of nuts to crush (ha!). The real shame is that my grandmother has more pecans than she can handle thanks to three or four pecan trees at the farm and there are literally buckets of the things lying around. If only we'd thought of it in advance! Oh - I'm also determined to finish Stéph's sweater before Monday evening, even though I only discovered this weekend that I'd knitted the wrong size sleeves and had to start them over.

See? Totally busy.

Tomorrow I'm going to Stéph's work Christmas lunch at one of the few nice restaurants here in Tiny Town. I'm really touched that Stéph insists on including me in these outings, especially since it's at lunchtime I'm sure to be the only spouse there. The best part is that the menu is done in advance, and Stéph forgot to bring me the menu to choose, so he chose for me based on what I don't like. For example, he chose the meat meal because he knows I don't like fish, and the foie gras entrée because I can't stand salade de gesiers. That made me smile today.

Ooh but this didn't - at lunch Stéph came home and told me that we were invited out to a colleague's home for dinner tomorrow night. The invitation was actually made last week, and he does this all the freaking time, but I'm so thrilled to be going out that I really don't care. The only problem is that he volunteered an apple pie, and guess who gets to do that tomorrow? Well, at least we know I'm not having a hormonal day, since I took the news in stride.

Friday, December 14, 2007


This past month has been one of the happiest cluster of weeks in my whole life. It's been a dream come true; something both Stéph and I have been working towards for years. Plus, because of the timing of the thing, we both felt like this was literally heaven sent.

But it wasn't meant to be.

Wednesday night I miscarried at ten weeks, five days. Since that time, I have been experiencing the worst pain I have ever felt in my life, both physically and emotionally. In an unprecedented move, I am letting my family take care of me, for a change.

I know that we are going to get past this, and we are going to try again, and to tell you the truth, I was starting to worry that we couldn't even get this far, so it is a relief on some level to know that there can be an "again." But my heart, well, that's a different story. For now, it's back to the drugs, and oblivion.

Friday, December 07, 2007

seven more things

I know.... I know. I'm exasperated with myself! I promise you, I have a really, really good reason for not posting very much right now. You're just gonna have to be patient with me until about Christmas day. Really.

So Miz JChavais over at No Place Like It tagged me a little while ago for the seven things meme. I honestly thought that I'd done this one before, but I was thinking of this instead, so here are seven random things about me.

1. I really do not handle confrontation well, but that doesn't mean I don't have rip roaring, neck rotating, snap inducing arguments... in my mind. Even if I can't work up the courage to confront someone about something that really bothers me, I'll imagine the showdown down to the last detail, and I'll get so worked up about it that my heart will race and I'll break out in a sweat. I have lost nights of sleep over this.

2. I have been knitting for less than a year and I wish I could spend every waking hour doing something related to it. My goal for next year is to create a knitting blog (from scratch if I'm really ambitious) and my long term goal is to learn how to spin and dye. How I'm going to learn to spin out here in the boonies, I have not yet figured out.

3. I haven't had a cigarette since November 9. I think I have finally flung this monkey off my back!!!

4. For the second year in a row, I have absolutely no desire to put up a Christmas tree. I know that last year it was because Dad was here the year before and the thought of getting through Christmas having just lost him was too difficult to bear. This year I can't be bothered because we're not expecting any guests, we'll be celebrating Christmas Eve with the family at Stéph's parents' home, and I don't want to clean up the huge mess. I still love Christmas, though!!

5. I have been wanting to get a cat since I got here. I got my first cat when I was a freshman in high school (I think) who of course became mom's cat when I went to college, but she would give me preferential treatment when I came home to visit. (The cat, not my mother.) I adopted an older cat the year before I moved here, and he was a great big furball. I even thought about bringing him with me, but I was moving from a small apartment to a small apartment with two people, and I thought that wasn't fair (because he was a big beastie and needed plenty of room to run!). Anyway, there are loads and loads of feral cats here in our neighborhood, and they fight, scream in the middle of the night, and rip open our garbage bags on garbage pick up nights. I'm not so sure I want a cat anymore.

6. I'm not too desperately homesick anymore (except for family and friends, obviously), but I do really miss my Sunday morning routine of picking up my favorite breakfast - toasted bagel with crispy bacon, cream cheese on the side, large coffee, (omg drool) - and the Sunday paper and going home and listening to NPR (I loved "Wait Wait Don't Tell Me" and "Prairie Home Companion") and reading the paper from front to back all morning. *sigh*

7. I can't really think of a seven so... as much as I miss my American goodies, I don't know how I could live in a world where there aren't three boulangeries within a five minute's walk. Yay, France!

Now, normally I'm suppose to tag five people, but everytime I tag, I get yelled at, so if you wanna steal it, please do and let me know so I can link you here.

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

This is the cold that never ends just goes on and on my friend...

Ugh. Ok, it's nearly over, with some residual sniffling and coughing still going on, but this past week has been awful and I'm SO GLAD it's nearly done. Let me see what else has been happening around here...

Stéph found out Friday that he's coming up for inspection on the 10th. Teachers are inspected around every four years or so (depending on how backed up the inspectors are, although Stéph's seems to be right on schedule) and they're required to be up to date with all that fun paperwork stuff that teachers JUST LOVE (oh sorry, did I drip some sarcasm on you?). So you can imagine that Stéph has been working double over time to get everything in order. That's not to say that he paperwork isn't in order, but it maybe wasn't as organized and pretty to look at as it could have been. For example, he spent most of the weekend redoing his daily planning so that it could be legible. Yes, it seems the details do count.

I've come to terms with the fact that no, none of my knitting projects are going to make it under any Christmas or other types of trees this year. The socks I was making for my sister are a complete bust - first done on needles to large, then on needles to small, I'd have to do them AGAIN on needles just right and I just can't be bothered. So I gave sis the option to choose another colorway if she didn't like the one I was using and apparently she didn't because she chose a new one. Well, it's just as well since I'd rather make her something that she'll actually wear.

We have not even started any type of Christmas shopping, thanks to me being ill and now this inspection thing. Coupled with the fact that we are freaking POOR and I don't know what we're going to do this year. It sucks because our inlaws always give us really nice, thoughtful gifts and I feel like we're pulling Christmas gifts out of our collective butts every year. (good gracious, what a mental image!) I've enjoyed making gifts for the nieces and nephew but this year I have neither the inspiration nor the time, so I don't know what we'll do there, either. Panicking shall start imminently...

Oh - I've been tagged (thank god!)! I've been asked to write about Seven Things, which I've done before and will happily do again as soon as I can think of more than one thing (I swear, my brain is leaking slowly out my ear) and also to show you the contents of my handbag, which should be both sad and short, since I don't think there's much in there. Exciting things to come!