Wednesday, January 25, 2012

AP Credit

I just read Dr. Crazy's thought-provoking post about women "forgetting" to have children (go read it, if you haven't yet; it's good). I haven't articulated much of a response, but a good bit of it resonated with me--I've often thought that, yes, I'd like to have a baby, but I like the way my life is without a baby, and there are other things that I want to do, so.... In fact, it seems a little startling that we did decide to have a baby. It was sort of like, Well, we want one, so why not now? And once we started thinking in terms of "trying," it became a priority. So it wasn't actually a priority before we committed to the attempt (if that makes sense), but the attempt itself made it one. Or something.

But that's not at all what I was going to write about (as evinced by my inchoate thoughts). Instead, I'm thinking about the phrase "Advanced Maternal Age," which Crazy uses and which is all over my paperwork (as I'll complain to anyone who listens).

Dude, I'm 35. I'm no spring chicken, but I'm not geriatric, for Pete's sake. Seeing that "Advanced Maternal Age" label was one of the first things that's actually made me feel old. And also a little...I dunno, behind? In need of remediation? I started feeling like, How did I make it this long, to this outrageously old age, without having a baby?? Obviously that's freakish and strange; I should have at least been pregnant before now. What, therefore, is the matter with me? People must be staring at this ancient, wizened crone who doesn't even know how to change a diaper. Good Lord. Freak!

It was a weird feeling.

So I decided that I ought to reclaim the term, to make it a badge of honor somehow. And as soon as I entertained the wish to do so, it was so easy! The label invites reclamation. For lo--I am Advanced! Yes! Without ever having even tried to be Maternal before, I've skipped the Beginner and the Intermediate stages. Advanced Pregnancy Credit, man. That's what I've got. It makes sense, really. I've always been a quick study.

The fact that my blood type is A+ just makes it all the more compelling.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

A New Year's convention that I'm adopting for the first time

Eh, what the heck. I'll do this rather than work on my MLA paper. But be prepared for lots of N/As.

1. What did you do in 2011 that you’d never done before?
  • Hosted three different sets of parent-visitors (my dad and stepmom, TM's parents, my mom and her friend) in a house that I actually own (or am at least paying a mortgage on)
  • Paid a mortgage
  • Had an article come out in a fancy journal
  • Went to Ireland
  • Paid for my mom to come with me on a trip (to Ireland, in this case. It was a very grown-up feeling kind of thing to pay for her! In fairness, she covered meals on the trip--but I bought the plane tickets and hotel rooms and all. This actually worked out really well for me psychologically, because I'd paid for everything up front and didn't have to fret about my bank account during the vacation proper)
  • Rented a car all by myself
  • Drove on the left
  • Met a currently very prominent and (to my mind) rather loathsome political personage
  • Got pregnant
The theme here seems to be: Grown-up stuff. Maybe I'm finally a proper adult?

Oh, and there were lots of knitting and gardening adventures, and probably a bunch of other stuff, too. I can't actually remember spring break at all, for example, so who knows what happened in the first half of the year.

2. Did you keep your new year’s resolutions, and will you make more for next year?

I don't remember if I had any. I think that I wanted to be kinder and/or more generous? I'm not sure that I kept them, if so. Those don't seem like quite the sorts of things that you can self-evaluate very easily.

3. Did anyone close to you give birth?

A couple of co-workers--actually, quite a few co-workers. Probably some other people, too, but I can't think of them right now. (I'm not putting that much effort into this exercise, evidently.)

4. Did anyone close to you die?

A cousin on my dad's side--a few generations older than me. Well, she was 91 or thereabouts, so quite a bit older. I hadn't seen her in a long time, but she was someone we always visited over the holidays until my family left the state I grew up in (when I was in my mid-twenties), so she was one of the relatives I actually knew best. (We're a pretty scattered--and smallish--family.)

I think that that's it.

5. What countries did you visit?

Ireland! (And Belgium and Finland in 2010--just need to toss those in here, even though they're past their expiration dates.)

6. What would you like to have in 2012 that you lacked in 2011?

A healthy baby? Maternity leave?

7. What dates from 2011 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?

Sept. 4--the date at which my pregnancy officially starts. (This is a bit of a theme, no?) Not sure about any others.

8. What was your biggest achievement of the year?

Good question. Um...making it through the Fall semester, which was inexplicably difficult? Getting a short story published (in a weird little on-line venue)? Making a journal out of paper I made myself? Those aren't very momentous. It's not that I haven't been doing things, but nothing feels like a Big Climactic Achievement. And that's fine. I don't think that life is normally measured in that way, and--as we all know better and better as we age--the thrill of The Achievement invariably wears off.

Oh! Just remembered! Paid off my student loans! That counts.

9. What was your biggest failure?

Again, not sure. I think that I was less available to some of my students this past semester than I normally am, or would like to be--but I also think that, ultimately, that was a good thing. Setting some stronger boundaries in my professional life is something that I'd like to work on this year. So no--this wasn't a failure.

Getting an article rejected, I guess, but "failure" seems like a pretty strong word for one of the inevitable set-backs of an academic career.

10. Did you suffer illness or injury?

A couple of colds and headaches, but that's all.

11. What was the best thing you bought?

No major purchases this year. I did pay for a year's subscription to a streaming yoga video service, which I liked a lot and will continue to use. And I bought some pretty sock yarn. Also a few really wonderful meals out with TM.

12. Whose behavior merited celebration?

TM, who is fantastic at all times.

13. Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed?

Oh, feh, I don't know. Pass.

14. Where did most of your money go?

Mortgage. Trip to Ireland.

15. What did you get really, really, really excited about?

Being pregnant (although it took a while to sink in. It's still sinking in, in fact, and the excitement is still mixed with anxiety, so "really, really, really" is pretty much relative). And TM had a couple of articles accepted, which was great.

16. What song will always remind you of 2011?

N/A (I've listened to amazingly little music this year, in fact.)

17. Compared to this time last year, are you:a) happier or sadder? b) thinner or fatter? c) richer or poorer?

I was pretty happy this time last year, I believe, so I'm probably about the same on that score. Weight-wise, well, I'm up a few pounds, but to say that I'm "fatter" would be unfair, given the circumstances. Financially, close to the same, but we're in slightly less debt, so that counts as "richer," right?

18. What do you wish you’d done more of?

Yoga. Meditate. I gave up both in the fall due to first-trimester fatigue, which I believe was a legitimate excuse, but I intend to get back into them now that I'm feeling better. I have started doing yoga again, in fact.

19. What do you wish you’d done less of?

Worry, probably. That's always the case.

20. How will you be spending Christmas?

I spent it back East with my family. The littlest nephew was incredibly cute.

21. Did you fall in love in 2011?

Already was.

22. How many one-night stands?


23. What was your favorite TV program?

Doc Martin.

24. Do you hate anyone now that you didn’t hate this time last year?


25. What was the best book you read?

Scott Russell Sanders, A Private History of Awe.

26. What was your greatest musical discovery?


27. What did you want and get?

A positive pregnancy test.

28. What did you want and not get?

Can't think of anything at the moment.

29. What was your favorite film of this year?

I saw exactly one movie in a theater--The Cave of Forgotten Dreams. It was pretty good. This brings the total number of movies that I've seen in theaters since I started dating TM (in April 2008) up to 2: Our first was Metropolis. (I'm probably a poser, but I sort of love having absolutely no idea what's going on in the entertainment industry.)

30. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?

I was 35. We bought a new oven because ours broke the night before. My dad and stepmom took me and TM out for a nice dinner.

31. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?

Immeasurably more satisfying? I have no idea.

32. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2011?


33. What kept you sane?

I wasn't aware that insanity was such a proximate risk.

34. Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most?

N/A, for reals.

35. What political issue stirred you the most?

Oh, whatever particularly outrageous thing TM read me out of the Times on any given morning.

36. Who did you miss?

A couple of friends. Family, sometimes. But I got to see a lot of them in the last few months!

37. Who was the best new person you met?

I don't know. I'm sure that there were some good ones, though.

38. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2011.

No, thank you!

39. Quote a song lyric that sums up your year.

I repeat: No, thank you!