Tuesday, April 29, 2008

No more pencils, no more books, no more teacher's dirty looks...

Tim here; since Sarah has challenged me to post on here now that school is out I'm up for it.

My first semester of my Master's program in Career and Technical Education at Western Michigan University is complete! I actually managed to get through with all of my sanity but the last few weeks were pretty intense with projects due in all three classes and final exams in two of the three classes.
Since my current job, selling cardboard boxes, isn't very challenging and I actually have about an hour or two a day without much to do I was able to work on homework during that time. I'm in a remote office, by myself, so management didn't have any issues with my homework at work.

I have two classes to take this summer, three more in the fall and then I'll be
ready to student teach starting the second semester of the 08-09 school year.
One of the couples we've met through our church are both high school teachers here in Portage so they will help me get into one of their classes to student teach if I choose to go that route.
I may decide to student teach for another teacher in Schoolcraft who comes highly reccomended by my student teaching placement counselor at WMU who has a pretty good line on who's a good mentor type and who's not worth student teaching for.

My goal is to teach at the high school level and share my vast and varied knowledge of business and technology that I've learned throughout the years in the business.
Schools really like the idea of professionals coming from industry to teach since students have a better chance understanding things if real-world ideas can be associated with what's being taught.

I'll sign off for now on this post but check back in a week or so to see what the summer semester of school will be like.

The First Step . . . one of many

We've taken our first big step on the IVF cycle path. Tonight was my first shot. And, it actually went OK. I did flinch a little bit when it came time to stick myself in the stomach, but Tim was there to cheer me on, and it didn't really hurt. Just a little sting. The needle is really small, it's an insulin needle. I have an awesome husband, he did a couple of cheers for me to get me revved up as I got the paraphernalia out. We are incredibly silly at times (well, mostly I'm incredibly silly) and it works for us.

The Lupron that I shot up tonight -- I love saying that -- goes for 14 days. I'll probably be on it a few days longer than that because I think I need to have a period before we move onto the next drug. Since I don't have periods on my own, I'll have to take a drug to induce one. I'm sure the nurse coordinator will let me know what I have to do. She seems pretty good at that.

I had to stop reading about the side affects of Lupron on line. They sound pretty horrific -- mostly things that are like going through menopause and some weird bone pain. What exactly is bone pain? I hope I don't get to find out! Basically, Lupron is supposed to suppress any hormonal signals I actually do have. This is so we can isolate the ovaries and stimulate them with later medications.

Now, I get to take the show on the road. I am going to an event tomorrow night and will have to do my shot at the same time tomorrow evening. I can just imagine someone coming into the bathroom at the restaurant when I'm sticking a needle in my stomach. Should be interesting!

Butterflies are a sign of Spring?

This weekend I went with some of the 'ladies' (a pretty diverse group of women from work) to Meijer Gardens to see the butterfly exhibit. This was the last weekend for it, so I was excited to see it. It was also the start of our cold snap. (Freeze warning for tonight with lows in the low 20s!). Meijer gardens is known for its outdoor gardens and sculpture gardens, but this was a blast. Lots of beautiful tropical plants, with name plates and sometimes other information. And really fabulous butterflies. Unfortunately, the pictures don't do them justice -- they move too fast for my little camera. The cool brown spotted butterfly in the picture actually has brilliant blue wings when flying.

After the butterflies we tried to walk to see some of the sculptures, but it was too darn cold. So we lunched instead. Lunch at the Blue Water Grill had great views of a nice lake and good, interesting food. Interesting is always important when a bunch of food scientists go out to eat! Apparently, it is difficult to get in for dinner without reservations, but lunch was easy. Tim later told me that the lovely blue lake is an old gravel pit. We were quite close to where Tim's sister and Dad live, so I could impress my friend Connie by knowing a new route to drive home.
We've done several "days out" with this group with the most recent being a trip to Ann Arbor to shop at a couple of great stores (food oriented, of course). I work with some pretty accomplished folks, so it is a lot of fun to get to know them outside of work on trips like these.

More Free Sports

After the Chicago weekend, Tim took one of his vendors up on an offer to go to the Red Wings playoff game. I am not a huge sports fan, but definitely watch more now that Tim is in the picture. But, I have loved hockey since grad school. Cornell had a great hockey team when I was there and we had much fun going to the games and behaving badly. I even went to a lot of Lumberjacks games in Cleveland when I worked there after college and before grad school. (Interesting aside: The Lumbarjacks are a farm team for the Pittsburgh Penguins and used to be in Muskegon, MI, near where T grew up. He was miffed that they left Muskegon to go to Cleveland). Plus, I actually know some of the rules and can follow the game. Still, I don't watch on TV because it is difficult to follow. (That may change, of course, with the gigantic TV now in our basement. It's pretty easy to follow the puck in HD.)

It was an amazing game. They were playing the Nashville Predators and scored early in the first period. They out performed the Predators in most measures and had a huge number shots-on-goal by the end. Still, the Predators goalie was having a good game and didn't allow any more goals. With something like 40 seconds to go, the Predators scored a goal to tie it. They have sudden death overtime in the NHL. Still we were prepared for a long game when 18 minutes of OT went on the clock. In under 1:45, the Wings scored another great goal and it was all over. They won that series and are now winning the second series. Go Wings!

The following weekend we almost didn't know what to do with ourselves -- no free sports in executive suites.

Chicago, I love Chicago!

A few weekends ago, Tim and I went to Chicago. This was about 10 days before our 1st anniversary (4/21) and since Tim had a final on our anniversary, we were going to have some fun! We stayed at the Conrad just off of Michigan Ave. This is the high end Hilton. Of course I used points -- somehow all that traveling has to pay off! Loved the hotel. It wasn't boutique like, but just very understated and very high end finishes. Marble floors. The reception was on the 4th floor. We had free breakfast certificates (as benefits a Diamond Hilton member). They hand wrote them and delivered them to our room. Our room had a flat screen TV (ours still is bigger!) and marble and granite in the bathroom. A separate soaking tub, and so on. You get the picture.

The best part was going to the Bulls/Cavs game in the executive lounge sponsored by one of my suppliers. Gretchen, the sales rep, is a really awesome person in general and she has great ideas for entertainment. After the game (which, sadly, the Cavs lost) they took us out in limos to a local bar and kept feeding us and supplying the drinks. A great time was had by all.

The next day, we slept in. The fact that we did not hear street noise and the curtains blacked out the light completely -- another sign of a really top notch hotel. Unfortunately, it was a cold and rainy weekend so we opted to go to the Aquarium and spend some time with the fishes. What an awesome place. The fish were amazing and we saw a lot of ones similar to what we saw snorkeling in Tahiti. Great frogs and some really fun lizards. We finished Saturday off with some awesome Chicago style pizza. Yummy:-)

The only jarring thing the whole weekend was our breakfast service on Sunday. I won't bore you with the details, suffice to say the food served in no way matched the description on the menu. We had to work to get the waitress to come by and when she did, she didn't handle the situation well. They ended up taking off our bill (the free part of the breakfast only covered so much) but I was shocked that such a high end place would stumble so badly. The hotel did redeem itself -- I filled out a survey online they sent asking about our stay. I was fair, but did tell them about the restaurant situation. 3 hours after submitting the survey, I received a call from the restaurant manager apologizing. He didn't offer any excuses, but said that this was not acceptable and invited us to be his guest at a meal the next time we stayed at the hotel. Wow! that's responsive customer service. (Of course, it would have been better to not have had the incident in the first place . . . ).

Saturday, April 5, 2008

Henry is a good citizen!

Our excitement last week was Henry's Canine Good Citizenship (CGC) test. We've been taking him to classes at the Kalamzoo Kennel Club for the last 8 weeks or so. He had 10 things he had to do on command to achieve the certification. This is an AKC designation. Check the link to see what Henry had to do: http://www.akc.org/events/cgc/training_testing.cfm.

Basically, this now means that Henry will be OK when we take him out in public. He has definitely improved, and so have we! (We need the training as much as he does :-) Don't think that CGC means he's now a mellow and completely trained dog. He's still a little bit house possessive. A leftover, we think, from the long, long, long winter. Yesterday, he was sure our back yard neighbor, Marty, was a threat, and let him know it. All Marty was doing was yard work in his own yard. Apparently, owning a dog is always an adventure!

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Choose your own adventure . . .

Remember those cool books you had as a kid where you were in control of how the story turned out? I loved them and read lots. Sometimes I think that life should be more like that. If I'm not doing the choosing, somebody or something else is going to do it for me -- right? Well, Tim and I are embarking on our own adventure and choosing something really exciting and a bit scary.

Our families and friends know that we've been trying to become parents (since before the wedding, even!). Clearly, not a whole lot has happened. It seems that I actually need to ovulate in order to become pregnant. It doesn't matter how much "practicing" we do, not much is gonna happen if there isn't an egg for the sperm to meet. We've been working with a great Reproductive Endocrinologist (RE) since a few months after the wedding. Tried a several rounds of drugs, and drug combos. We finally have decided to start a round of IVF (In-Vitro Fertilization). Starting, well, right now! It's about a 2 month protocol and has many, many steps and lots and lots of needles. (I'm really not too sure how I'm going to handle those needles. Apparently I will start out with small ones and by the time I get to the large ones that go in my butt, someone else will have to wield the syringe.)

One big worry for me is how I will manage the travel in my job. I travel a lot, and some of it is not very predictable. I love my career, and we do need it to pay the bills, so balancing is going to be key. I have gotten incredible support from my team at work and from my manager. They've offered to fill in for me and help out however they can. So, thanks to them, I can put that worry aside and focus on other things. We'll keep you posted and Tim can give you his perspective on what it's like to live with a woman taking massive does of injectable hormones!