Thursday, May 22, 2008

The lifestyles of the rich

Last weekend, MKD and I finally were able to take our honeymoon to a very nice resort in PA. We got the honeymoon in before our year anniversary and can still be considered “newlyweds.” Buying a house and paying for our wedding in 2007 wiped out all our savings and it wasn’t until recently where we could spend large amounts of money again. At this luxury resort, spending loads of money is very easy.

A primary attraction to this resort for me was the Hardy Family Art Collection valued at almost 50 million dollars. Guests are surrounded by paintings, sculptures, Tiffany lamps, vintage transportation, etc. and can put their grimy prints on them if they wanted to. Anyone in a field related to archiving, preservation, or conservation would have a heart attack at how unprotected these works of art (some deemed 'priceless') are. Guests could flip through complete folios of the Audubon collection and used to have 24/7 access to these works. Each page is valued at $20,000 and there are about 200 pages per folio. Thankfully, the art curator has secured these in recent years, but guests can still view and handle them at their leisure with gloves and supervision. I thought about Center and how she would have a conniption fit at how works were displayed in direct sunlight, carelessly rifled through and handled, etc. I felt like I was in my own personal museum and hope that one day I too can invest a small fortune in art.

To extend this notion of being surrounded by very valuable art and antiques, MKD and I found ourselves at the Tavern on the last night of our vacation. There were four pool tables and were free to guests. But these were not just any pool tables. These were antiques and very nice with intricate inlay and an impressive lion base. I knew they were pretty old when the company name read, “Brunswick & Balke,” as the Brunswick Company has been just “Brunswick” since the 1960s. But I had no idea how old these tables really were until I was able to do some research and found this:

“In 1873, Moses Bensinger helped expand the Brunswick Company by joining forces with a competitor, Julius Balke's Great Western Billiard Manufactory. The new company was called the J.M. Brunswick & Balke Company, and it was incorporated with a capital stock of $275,000.”

Sure enough, I found this picture off an antique pool table website. This picture is the same table I was playing on:

So the table was from circa 1875 that guests can just willy-nilly play on and crap up with their spilled beverages and cigarette ashes. Again, heart attack.

All in all, it was an incredible experience that money can buy. I loved clay shooting with a 28-gauge shotgun (which I now would like to buy (much to MKD’s chagrin) to pursue this sport further), hour long massage, hour long facial, and dining at one of the most luxurious restaurants in the country with a grand tasting, personalized menu consisting of 13 courses and 4 waiters. These were all firsts for me and a glimpse into the lifestyles of the ridiculously rich and wealthy.

It was an amazing long weekend in which I was able to forget the stresses and responsibilities back home and horrors in the world. Everything a honeymoon vacation should be.

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Community or “Everything You Have Ever Wanted to Know About Lesbian Baby-Making”

Note: Misinterpretation of the title may lead readers to believe that this post will contain lesbian sex tactics or techniques. Please remember that lesbian sex lacks one vital element in baby-making: sperm. Hence, no sexual acts are discussed and you will have to go elsewhere on the ‘Internets’ for that.
If you were wondering about the last three posts, there is a reason why I wanted to introduce my “babies.” People who know us, know that MKD and I are in the process of making a baby. People who don’t know us, this is news to you. Yes, we are both female so we have certain limitations in this baby-making process. But we desperately want to expand our family and the number of “babies” (both furry and not).

The process we are using to make a baby is IVF or in vitro fertilization. It is VERY expensive, but we are in a Shared Risk program since neither of us has any known fertility problems. So if a baby is not born after six attempts or we decide to discontinue the process for any reason, we get our money back.

To give the rundown since there are so many inquiries as the concept is so novel, here is a summary:

We are harvesting my eggs by injecting my body with hormones to produce the eggs. We have donor sperm which will fertilize said eggs in a Petri dish. Once an embryo is formed, it will be inserted into MKD’s womb a week later. She will be injected with hormones so her body thinks it is pregnant and the embryo will not be rejected. Only ONE embryo is going in so the chance of multiples is 0.6%. All those freaky fertility families with 8+ children are due to non-board-certified doctors or circumstances where 2 or more embryos were inserted due to the woman being older, wanting to get the baby-making process done once, etc. MKD and I can only have multiples if the embryo splits on its own just like normal identical twins. So in essence, I am the genetic baby mama and MKD is the biological baby mama. MKD will give birth to the baby so I believe she will have automatic custody even though the child will have my last name and DNA. We think I will have to adopt the child once s/he is born. We are in the process of finding a good lawyer and giving the legal system a giant headache.

Going through this process, we are trying to find others who are in the same boat as us or those who have already reached the shore. MKD found a blog about two mommies who have successfully conceived using IUI. Finding this blog then led us to find a plethora of other lesbian baby-making blogs. Before I go further, I have to provide a handy list of acronyms because all these conception blogs are plagued with them and they made my head spin trying to decipher each one. So here are some commonly used acronyms you will find with blogs dealing with TTC or “trying to conceive”:

2WW = 2 week wait after ovulation (to find out if pregnant; also seen “TWW”)
AF = "Aunt Flo" (menstrual period)
BBT = basal body temperature
BFP = big fat positive (pregnancy test)
BFN = big fat negative (pregnancy test)
CD = cycle day (counting from first day of menstruation)
CM = cervical mucus
DPO = days post ovulation
Dx = diagnosis
EDD = estimated due date, or expected date of delivery
FSH = follicle stimulating hormone
FMU = first morning urine
GnRH = gonadotropin releasing hormone
HCG = human chorionic gonadotropin
HPT = home pregnancy test
HSG = hysterosalpingogram
IM = intramuscular injection
IUI = intrauterine insemination
IVF = in vitro fertilization
LH = luteinizing hormone
LMP = last menstrual period
M/C = miscarriage
P4 = progesterone
SubQ = subcutaneous injection
TTC = trying to conceive
Tx = treatment

In searching the lesbian baby-making blogs, I discovered that they are a tight-knit community and all seem to link/know each other. Some blogs are well organized and give the vital stats up front, and others you have to scour them to find what you are looking for. After all my searching, I could not find a single couple who was doing the EXACT same process as us. The closest I found was a couple successful with IVF, but they didn’t use the other partner’s eggs. Not to mention, a lot of couples seem to be TTC for YEARS! I know it is wishful thinking that we get it on the first try. So we are preparing ourselves for the worst and hoping for the best.

Given that we have only like 3 lesbian friends who are not TTC, we are now finding it important to seek other baby-making lesbians and form that sense of Community that we are lacking. Typically, MKD and I are not involved in the gay community nor do we ‘gay bond’ or befriend others just because they are gay. Just like I do not ‘Asian bond’ with other Asians just because we are the minority and there is power and comfort in numbers. All these years of anti/non-bonding has proven detrimental today.

Finding other lesbian couples TTC is a new thing for us, as is seeking entrance into the lesbian baby-making community and we have no idea how to get in. So if someone out there knows the meeting locations, times, and secret handshakes, please email me. My Guide to Being a Lesbian is missing those pages.
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