Wednesday, December 3, 2008

A frosty start heading out for our Carribean cruise

But we're in Florida now and will be boarding ship tomorrow. I'll try and post again before we sail (steam? diesel?) out of range.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Ultrasound Results, Heavenly Bodies, and Off We Go A-Cruisin

Okay, I'm sorry this took so long, but we've been a bit busy.

The ultrasound, and accompanying blood tests, came out perfect. We went in with about a 1 in 100 chance of Downs and such, based on our age, and when the results were in we were at about 1 in 2000. We got some good views of the baby, though once again I was unable to be in the room. This is my fave: alien baby. I tell everybody it has my hairline.

Last night I lucked into getting some shots of the moon, Venus, and Jupiter in close proximity in the sky. I had read a few days ago about them being close, but the weather has been unfavorable. Luckily last evening it cleared up for a while and I was able to get a view around dusk. This shot was taken hand-held with a fast exposure to get some lunar surface detail and minimize halos. It came out okay, but I wish I'd had my tripod handy. If you got shots of this phenomenon too, post a comment with a link. Click it for a somewhat larger view.

Tomorrow we are leaving to go on a cruise in the Bahamas. It's a Disney cruise, perpetrated by my Disney-obsessed sister in law, so one of the ports-of-call will be their private island with its manufactured beach, scenery, and entertainments. I believe we'll be stopping at another island as well with real stuff to see. I'm not sure how the weather will be. We were signed up for snorkling and such but a bit of research has revealed an average water temperature in the mid 70s this time of year so we've canceled that. I guess we'll just do a bit of biking and lounging. In any case I'll try to take pictures, and if my phone miraculously works I may post one or two from there. We'll be back Monday.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Waiting For Nuchal Fold Ultrasound

Much bigger and fancier than the other waiting rooms we've been in.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Tomorrow's The Election

I'm Voting for Barack Obama.I'm going to be voting for Barack Obama. Enough has been said in his favor so I won't go into that. Things have been said against him as well, but from what I've seen they have been mostly distortions at best, and random stuff from left field in the main. That's my very summary perspective on it.

Anyway, here are a few links that may help you if you are still undecided.

Obama on the issues - statements and details on his positions on various issues. If you've mostly heard about him via email forwards you may find things different from what you were told. - check the claims and statements by the candidates and others, and seperate the noise from the real.
Political Compass - take a quiz and see how you fit in among the candidates and other figures.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Doin' The Ultrasound Boogie!

We went in for the second ultrasound yesterday morning at the regular OBGYN office that will be taking over now. After some parking adventure we went in and joined my sister in law in the waiting room. Then we waited. And waited. And waited.

After an hour or more they called her in. She had to have blood taken and her history so we staid in the waiting room for that. Then she came out and told us that since the exam room was so tiny they would only allow one person in there with her. Naturally my wife went, so I didn't get to see the ultrasound live - just a couple stills.

The machine was reportedly nearly a couple decades old, so the images weren't as clear as they might be, but I could still make it out. But my wife tells me she could see the arms and legs moving! It's an energetic little guy or gal in there. The doctor says you don't always see that, but when you do it's a good sign. W00t!

Monday, October 6, 2008

One Baby On The Way!

Okay, the poll is closed and of the many many guesses - okay, one guess - nobody guessed right.

We have one baby on the way. The results couldn't have been better. By every measure it's right down the center of the expected range for a healthy baby. We even counted the heartbeats together.

baby sonogramThere were three of us in there besides my sister in law: me, my wife, and my mother-in-law. Since it was done with a vaginal ultrasound probe (the dildocam, as my wife calls it) we were huddled together towards the head of the table. We all got a good view of the screen, though. When the doctor announced he spotted the heartbeat (which was obvious when he held the probe still for us) we were all elated. It was such a relief. Here you can see one of the stills he printed out for us. The baby is over the little "X" and the yolk sac is above it to the left. Both are within the amniotic sac.

Afterward in conference with the doctor he told us we had walked in the exam room with a 15-20% chance of a miscarriage, and walked out with a 5% chance. Our next ultrasound is two weeks after this one, but with the OBGYN practice that's taking over.

Friday, October 3, 2008

First Ultrasound's Friday Morning

It's almost 2AM and we're heading out for the first ultrasound at 8AM. My mother-in-law is tagging along. My wife has mixed feelings about that, in case things go badly, but she was in the waiting room for the transfer so maybe she's good luck.

I'm nervous. I'm really scared of things not turning out right, but I've been trying not to show it, and not to think about this these past two weeks. If things go bad I'm going to have to be the strong one. I guess I'll cry on my own. Hopefully it won't come to that.

But even though I've been trying to occupy myself and not think about it, this has been the slowest damn two and a half weeks of my life. Yeesh!

I had been thinking of putting up a poll to have visitors here guess how many we had growing and whether any looked to be identicals. I've decided not to, though, unless and until we see a healthy fetus in the ultrasound. After that, I'll put up a poll for a few days before announcing the real result. Hopefully it'll be fun.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

We Almost Were There

We drove into Fredericksburg today figuring on attending the Obama/Biden rally. We had some work to do at Secret Headquarters first, though, so we were a but late arriving. By the time we got there the line to get in was stretching over half a mile around the perimeter of Mary Washington campus. We knew there would likely be rain and/or isolated thunderstorms so we decided to pass and head home to try and watch online. We weren't the only ones to not get in. The campus police reported that about 12,000 people got in, but about 14,000 more were not able to.

The Obama website has a live feed page for events and, except for a few drops, we were able to watch. It was pretty good, touching on McCain's flaws & shortcomings and Obama's plans. I'm definitely voting for Obama this year.

We watched the debate too, and felt that Obama did eke out a victory there on McCain's "home turf" of national defense. I think Obama sees a bigger picture than McCain and understands that it doesn't matter how well or poorly we are doing in Iraq. The big point about Iraq is that we shouldn't have started the war to begin with. It's a distraction and a drain on our resources and the lives of our soldiers. The real front is in Afghanistan where Al Qaida's stronghold & haven is.

McCain Wins Debate with TrumanWe did find it amusing when the McCain campaign released a "McCain Wins Debate" ad on the web before the debate had even started. Oops! To commemorate the event I put together this little tribute to history.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Beta Test 2

We got the levels for the second beta test today. The beta level was 335. I did some math and figured three days of doubling every 48 hours would give a level of about 322, so we're right in the groove for a single baby. My sister in law's progesterone seemed a bit low, but when we asked the doctor about it he said her levels were just fine considering she's using vaginal suppositories. The progesterone's at higher levels locally, apparently.

Next stop: first ultrasound in two and a half weeks. We should find out for sure how many we have then. We're testing right in the zone for a single, but we're still in the range seen for multiples, so it's still not 100% sure. Pretty sure, but not 100%.

My wife has been having stomach- and headaches the last couple evenings. I think it's stress and worry over all this. She's better during the day when she's occupied. Fortunately the next several days look like good weather, so we might be able to extend the day with some walks around town or along some local trails to keep busy. It'll be good for us to get back into an exercise routine. Doing IVF cycles does interfere a bit with that, what with the bloating and all.

Anyway, that's one more hurdle out of the way, and things look good so far. Stay tuned.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Beta Test 1

We got the results of the beta hCG test: 114. From what we gather the average at this point for women who have a single baby is about 100, so we seem to be in the groove. The next test, to see how it's increasing, is scheduled for Monday. The real test, though, is the ultrasound later on. That will tell us how it's developing and if we have more than one.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Testing... Testing...

We've been doing a lot of pregnancy tests the last couple days, or my sister in law has anyway. Here are the latest. If there was any doubt, having it confirmed by a third brand of test, the digital, removed it.

Friday she goes in to get blood drawn for the beta test which will tell us how much hCG she has in her, which will give us some idea of how well things are along. There will be another one later to see how things are progressing. Then it'll be officially official, but I'm going to say it now: WE'RE PREGNANT!

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Hope or a Tease?

Faint lines on the latest pee sticks. They run in the picture from the earliest at top right to the latest at bottom left. Click the picture for a larger view.

We stopped at my sister in law's house this evening to check on her report of faint lines on the pregnancy tests she's been taking. We were honestly expecting them to be merely evaporation lines - greyish lines sometimes visible on such tests after they dry, even if the result is negative. This is what we saw.

The fourth down was from this morning. The next was from this evening. The last was from late tonight, and was done about an hour after my sister in law last used the bathroom. We were not expecting to see anything at all on that one, but the fact that we saw a faint line on that one leads up to believe there is something happening. We know it's not an evaporation line since it started to show while the strip was still wet, and they are definitely pink/purple colored.

False positives are very rare, but we are trying to be only cautiously optimistic. Even so, it's difficult to restrain ourselves. Only our past disappointments keep us from being more positive about our chances. Realistically, though, a pregnancy can fail at any time. Our previous attempts failed before this point, so hopefully the one problem was that my wife's uterus was somehow inhospitable, but these are from forty year old eggs so we're not free and clear yet. On our first attempt we got a single test with a faint line - probably what's known as a "chemical" pregnancy, when an embryo starts to implant but doesn't quite. This has gone on longer, so we're hoping for better but still worried.

Wish us luck. We'll still need it!

Monday, September 1, 2008

The Trouble With Autofocus

Since my parents live in New Orleans I've been watching hurricane Gustav and looking in from time to time on a couple webcams there. On one in the french quarter the last update was around a quarter to 6PM Monday, so I'm guessing it lost power or its connection to the server around then. The other is still active, but the camera evidently does not have its autofocus turned off because it's focused on the water drops on the window it's looking out of. Here are a couple shots from today.

Going For Five

We did the transfer this morning, putting five of our embryos into my sister in law. They were of average quality, all with some degree of fragmentation. We have some somewhat lesser quality ones still incubating, and will hopefully see a couple make it to blast and be freezable.

My wife's parents tagged along this time, though they had to sit in the waiting room. I was waiting with them during the actual procedure, though I did go back with my wife and her sister to weigh in on how many to transfer. We were pretty much unanimous on five given the quality and the nine we'd transferred in previous failed cycles. They had her drop trou and get ready right away, though, so I had to duck out of the room until she was in the bed and covered. The procedure went smoothly and afterward they left a freeze frame of the ultrasound up for me to see, showing my sister in law's uterus in magnified cross section with a little white line visible where the embryos and the fluid containing them were released. We talked with the doctor and estimated about a 20% chance of success.

Afterward, we went home to tend to some business and then went to my sister in law's to hang out and talk while my father in law cut the grass. My other sister in law, the middle one, showed up later with her two kids.

The doctor recommended three days bed rest, but everyone says he's a bit conservative about that. We talked about it among ourselves and decided her taking off work today and tomorrow would be a good compromise, given that she has a desk job.

We'll find out in about a week and a half if it worked or not. The odds are long but we can't help but hope for the best.

Sunday, August 31, 2008

IVF 3: Post-Retrieval Update

The retrieval went better than we were anticipating in some ways, not as well as we'd hoped in others. Despite the worryingly estrogen plateau we got a good number of eggs. If I recall correctly it was 11 or 12 mature ones out of 21 good ones. As before, five others had cracked zonas which has the doctor puzzled. Still no idea why she's had so many do that, five every time.

The doctor called yesterday to tell us we had 13 fertilize. If things go as they have in our previous tries we'll have about half of those give us embryos, so we're anticipating roughly six or seven to choose from. Not sure how many we'll put back. I think my wife would like to put them all in, after having nine fail in her, but I think ultimately it's up to her sister to decide what she's comfortable with. The transfer is scheduled for tomorrow morning, though thankfully not near so early as the retrieval.

Wish us luck!

Friday, August 29, 2008

My wife's in the retrieval

My wife's in the retrieval room now. They've already given her a shot of anesthesia and I can hear her laughing.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

IVF 3 Update: Triggered But Anxious

We triggered last night, but we're not feeling all that secure about it. My wife went in for a progress check yesterday. The follicles were the right size, but her estrogen was not up as much as expected. The doctor doesn't think that continuing the stimulation will make any difference so he told us to go ahead and trigger. We did so at 9:30 last night and have to be at the clinic for 7 tomorrow morning. In case you haven't read my earlier posts, it's about a hour drive so we're going to be getting up pretty early. I'm used to getting up a little before 8, so this will be fun, I'm sure.

We're not sure what we'll be getting out of this in terms of egg quantity or quality. I guess we'll find out tomorrow morning. Wish us luck.

Friday, August 22, 2008

IVF Take Three

Well, a lot has happened since my last post on this subject. I started a draft post mid July, but let that sit so long it's woefully out of date. So here's what's going on...

We went to the consult with the new doctor. We thought it would be a straightforward deal, just getting the details down for a try with my sister in law as the carrier. The doctor presented us with some options to mull over, though, including using donor eggs since my wife is now over forty. We went home and after a bit of hand wringing my wife decided that this is our last chance to have her own child so we would go with her eggs this time. Her sister is several years younger so if she's still willing we could try again later with donor eggs or adopted embryos. (Probably the latter since we're both not entirely comfortable with a child being from one of us but not the other, but would be fine with adoption if it weren't such an ordeal.)

Anyway, the protocol is underway. My wife is in the stimulation phase and will probably be ready for the retrieval in a week or so. Meanwhile my sister in law is primed for the transfer and waiting. (She has it easy: instead of shots she gets to use vaginal suppositories.)

We also got some good news today. My sperm numbers have improved greatly. The motility is greatly improved and the morphology is at 4% normal. The best morphology I've gotten in previous collections was 1%. I've been taking coenzyme Q-10 and vitamin E supplements most nights with dinner for the past month or so, the E for a bit longer. I don't know if that's what's made the difference, but my numbers are all at or near the minimum levels to be considered "normal" and I intend to continue. We both will be increasing our exercise as well to get in better shape, given that we now have an off chance of getting pregnant on our own. (It would be really crazy if she and her sister were both pregnant with our babies at the same time.)

I do believe we'll be having more sex. We've been off it for a bit. The low sperm counts & quality have been a bit of a downer, and it's hard not to think about it when you're thinking about sex. It just gives the whole thing a feeling of futility. Now, though, that load is lifting and we're both excited about it. I'm not sure when or if I'd be having any more analyses done, though, so there's a danger of uncertainty undermining that feeling if much time goes by with no luck that way. I guess we could always request an analysis.

With the numbers improved my wife asked the doctor if we were in IUI range now, and he said yes. I don't know if we'll do that, though. I read about a study recently that indicated that in cases of unexplained infertility using IUI (artificial insemination) or Clomid (to stimulate egg production) work no better than increasing the frequency of sex. Of course, you might say our infertility would be explained by my low counts & quality, but that in itself in unexplained, as is the fact that we've had three transfers of decent numbers of decent embryos with none implanting. I guess we'll see.

Friday, July 11, 2008

My Photographs - Hot Rod Cafe

I haven't posted about a photo in a while, so here's one I did recently: Hot Rod Cafe.

We went downtown to get some lunch at a place that we hadn't tried before. On our way in from where we parked we crossed in front of this hot rod car parked across the street from it. I wanted to take some shots out there, but the traffic was a bit heavy and we were hungry so we scooted on across. While we waited for our food I got a few shots, framing the window & car in different ways, which took a few extra tries with the other traffic driving by.

Lunch was good. I had a fried shrimp po-boy. It wasn't made with proper crispy crusted New Orleans style French bread, but it had been so long since I'd had one at all it did just fine. We also tried French fried sweet potatoes for the first time. Good? Let's just say we've been back a couple times since.

After downloading the images I went over them and picked this one out as the best. I tweaked it a bit to bring out the darker areas, and applied a sepia tone to all but the car to make it pop out a bit and emphasize the age of the cafe. I think it came out pretty good, though since doing it I have learned a different method for masking the sepia which would be easier to edit later if I found any flaws.

Prints and other items featuring this photo are available for purchase.
Hot Rod Cafe Custom Framed Prints and Greeting Cards at
Hot Rod Cafe Posters and Greeting Cards at

Saturday, July 5, 2008

Gonna Need An Ocean Of Calomine Lotion

Got a little poison ivy, or poison something, on my legs this week.

I was power washing the deck, and the yard does need a little work around it. The grass needs cutting and several bushes need some big-time trimming. Also there were mosquitoes, though I did manage to get rid a few with well-aimed 1550-psi blasts of water. As often happens in such case, I foolishly did the work while wearing shorts and came in rather itchy. I have allergies, so that's par for me. This time things went a bit worse.

Over the next couple days it got worse, with the skin turning red, firm, and bumpy. Oh, and itchy, though if you've ever had poison ivy, etc., that goes without saying. That's bad enough, but here's where that bandage in the photo comes in. When I went out to do the deck washing I already had scratch right there. Well, evidently when you get poison ivy on an existing scratch it itches worse. I resisted scratching though, and put on some neosporin with an analgesic. The overall itch persisted, though, so I gave that leg a good scrub-down. In doing so I scrubbed away the scab. That may have been the big mistake because it immediately started weeping clear yellow fluid. I ran around looking for the bandages & tape (why we don't keep them in a handy kit is beyond me) with the fluid running down onto my foot. Nasty.

I put together a makeshift bandage with a couple gauze sponges held together with three bandaids instead of the tape I never found. My wife went out and got some calomine, gauze pads, and some rubber stretchy tape that will breathe and won't stick to my hairs. Only problem is it won't restick if you unstick it, so you have to make sure it's at the right tightness the first time.

It was still weeping the next day, even after a saline compress, so we tried to get an appointment to see a doctor. It was the 4th so they were closed, so we decided to give it another day. This morning it was still weeping (though perhaps slightly less so) so we called again. Still closed. We went to a nearby walk-in clinic we've used before and the doctor there looked it over. He said it looked like poison ivy, and that the sore looked to be just becoming infected. He squeezed on a glob of neosporin the size of a pecan half and put a large stick-on bandaid on it. He also gave me a shot of cortisone to speed the poison ivy clearing and gave me a prescription for an antibiotic and an oral steroid.

A couple hours later I noticed the weeping was passing through a wrinkle in the bandaid and soaking into my sock so I changed to the dressing I have on in the picture. (The dark part is the stretchy rubber tape overlapping.) It's much more comfortable and should absorb much better. I globbed on a bit of neosporin myself, as well.

Hopefully I will be able to report some good news about this soon.

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Another Dip In The IVF Roller Coaster

A couple days ago my wife and I ran into a bit of a conflict.

After a conference call between us and an adoption agency rep that didn't go so well she indicated she was having second thoughts about going through with the upcoming IVF cycle. I think the call may have only brought this to a head, but that her doubts may have been mostly stoked by an orientation meeting we had with another adoption agency with a local branch. At the meeting one of the things they mentioned was embryo adoption. (One of the couples there is older than us and is planning on doing that.)

She said she wasn't entirely comfortable with creating embryos without their being able to survive. We've discussed this before. My view is that this is what happens when people conceive naturally, or us at least. A naturally fertilized embryo has little more chance to implant and carry to term than an artificially fertilized one - less if the protocol includes measures to stimulate the growth of a better, more hospitable, lining in the uterus. All we are doing in IVF is accelerating the process so that we get to the one that survives sooner. Her problem, though, is in knowing that's going on.

She also is frustrated with going through all the pain of the injections with nothing to show for it. The expense is a factor too. Adoption would be much more expensive, and would bring in outsiders with a say in things, but is much more of a sure thing.

As for myself, I really want us to have our own child. I'm an atheist, if I haven't mentioned that before. I don't believe in any kind of afterlife. I believe that the only way we live on after we die is through our biological descendants, and I don't want to disappear when I'm gone. I'm ready to accept that when we've tried everything we can it will be time to move on. I'm just not ready to accept it before we've done everything, and this cycle with her sister as the carrier would be our best chance yet for a child of our own.

She's gone through such doubt before, and it was also around this time in her cycles. She does get very emotional when she is premenstrual. I'm not dismissing her feelings. I'm just saying they are hormonally amplified at the moment. I think that ultimately we will go through with the IVF. We have a consult with the doctor coming up this week, with my sister in law present, so we can go over the protocol and know what to expect. (There is some extra testing, for STDs mainly, beyond what was done already for our earlier attempts.) My wife hasn't indicated she was canceling that, so I think we will likely ride through this dip.

It's still very frustrating and depressing. I didn't anticipate this kind of thing when we started. But I think that ultimately we can get through it.

UPDATE: My wife was out this morning and came back to pick me up to get lunch and bring it to Secret Headquarters. Over lunch she mentioned the appointment we have Friday and how we should go about convoying or carpooling with her sister. (I suggested that we carpool in her sister's car since she has the GPS and we've only been to the doctor's office once before, and that we should pay for the gas.) She said she hoped it worked. We also talked about what to do after if it doesn't, like maybe trying out doing interim care (short-term foster parenting) for infants and/or small children in the process of being adopted. It could be a foot in the door if we decide adoption is right for us, and would help us decide and get ready.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Another IVF Back On The Table

My wife's sister called last night and said she was up for carrying our baby for us. My wife was trembling while she was on the phone with her. I talked her down, a little, since we want to keep our expectations realistic: though this may well be our best shot at our own baby yet, the odds are still against us. We're hoping, though, that the big factor was my wife's health and the conditions in her uterus. We're also hoping we get some extra embryos to freeze again this time. Oh heck, we're hoping for a baby.

Meanwhile, we have an adoption orientation meeting/class coming up. We're going to be laying what groundwork we can for that, particularly researching adoption agencies. (Any tips, recommendations, or warnings are welcome. Please comment.)

Monday, May 12, 2008

Infertility Endgame

It looks like we're going into the final stages of our fight with infertility. Our plan was to do a couple IUIs with my sperm supplemented with a donor's, then if that didn't work (and odds are it wouldn't) we'd try one last IVF with my wife's sister as the carrier. After a bit of delay, I looked over the info we had on donors and picked one I thought matched me best. (Redheads are scarce among sperm donors, by the way, so if you're a healthy male redhead who wants to make a few extra bucks, head on over to your local sperm bank.) It was a bit late to catch that cycle, so we waited until the next month.

The next month is here. In the mean time my wife has gone back and forth on whether she could do another IVF, so that's still technically up in the air, but I think if it comes to that she'll come to a point sooner or later where she's up for it. Her sister has also been having second thoughts. It seems their mother has been pressuring her to do it. I think we should tell their mother we've decided not to do it that way, for some sort of medical reason, just to take the pressure off. It's possible whatever reticence she's feeling is from an instinct to resist the pressure.

As I said, the next month is here and today my wife expressed some doubts about doing the IUI. It's a more expensive proposition with donor sperm in the mix (so to speak,) not likely to work, and with her health issues it would be a high-risk pregnancy if it did work (even though her health has improved with better diet & exercise habits.) I told her we shouldn't do anything unless and until she is comfortable with it. She went off on an errand, saying she'd think about it while she was out, and order sperm when she got back if she thought she was ready.

After she left I realized I had felt a bit of relief when she talked about not doing the IUI. As the time went by the thought of ordering that sperm, and having my wife pregnant by another man got me sicker and sicker. I realized I couldn't handle it, at least not yet, and, with the doubts she was having, maybe this approach just wasn't right for us.

When she got back I told her what I thought. She says she agrees.

I guess the plan now is to see what happens with her sister. If she and my wife sync up on the IVF we'll try that once. Beyond that, there's adoption which we may start looking into soon regardless.

This infertility thing is not for sissies.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Thoughts On Iron Man, Spiderman, And ILM

Iron Man image copyright Paramount Pictures, used here for review purposesI saw the trailer for Iron Man recently, and I have to say it reminds me of the recent Spiderman movies. By that I mean I'm seeing the same stilted motions in the CGI characters. ILM did the work on all the films, from what I gather, but they also did the work in the Star Wars prequils. The stormtroopers were completely convincing, even with so many of them on screen at once. If I hadn't heard otherwise I would have thought at least some were live actors. But both Spiderman and now Iron Man look like they're computer generated. There is never a moment's doubt watching them. Why is this?

I can think of three possible explanations...

A: ILM is perfectly capable of producing convincing animation of human characters, but only does so for Lucas.

B: ILM is perfectly capable of producing convincing animation of human characters, but will only give their clients what they're willing to pay for, and Sony and Marvel were only willing to pay so much.

C: ILM is perfectly capable of producing convincing animation of human characters, but only if basing them on the movements of a living model. They had live actor stormtroopers from the original Star Wars trilogy to work from, but for the Marvel superheroes only had still images from comic books. And let's face it: those comic book drawings evoke some very dramatic motion, but they are not realistic poses by any stretch of the imagination.

So what do you think? Is it A, B, C, or something else?

Friday, April 18, 2008

My Photographs - Bistro Blues

We were eating at a local Italian bistro the other day, and a man was sitting outside playing an electric guitar. I took a few shots, but felt the cars parked on the near side of the street detracted from the scene. A couple shots had stray pedestrians looking in right at the camera. Later after we ate the nearby cars had driven off and I got up and moved over a bit to get this shot. It was the last shot I could get for the day as my memory card was full. Fortunately it was pretty much the shot I was hoping for.

It's a bit modified, obviously. I cropped the top down a bit to deemphasize the cars across the street, edited out the soft drink logo on the cup, adjusted the contrast a bit, and colored it a low-saturation blue. Came out nice, I think. I tipped him on the way out.

Prints and other items featuring this photo are available for purchase.
Bistro Blues Custom Framed Prints and Greeting Cards at
Bistro Blues Prints and Greeting Cards at

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Further Fertility Developments

We saw the new doctor today. He was very personable and more forthcoming than our old one, or at least more talkative. He looked our case over and asked some questions. He recommended that if we did do another IVF that since my wife's sister is willing using her as a gestational carrier would be the way to go, given the number of decent embryos we've put in so far. He also said, though, that our chances with three tries at IUI with donor sperm would be about the same as one try at IVF. IVF tries are generally at least two cycles apart, so with the financial considerations the IUI seems to be our best long term shot. Also, my wife is really feeling worn down emotionally by all she's gone through in the IVF's we've done and gotten nothing.

For IUI we would also have a better shot if my sister in law did it, but we were told tonight by my mother in law that my sister in law told her that while she would be just fine with carrying our child, she wasn't sure she'd be able to give up a child that was genetically hers. I can certainly see that, and understand. I think we were a bit blinded to that possibility by our desire to have a child by whatever means are left at our disposal, and I think my wife was especially so and is having a hard time dealing with it.

So, it seems our next try or three will be an IUI with my sperm augmented by donor sperm, put into my wife. I hope it works, but my wife has other health issues that would no doubt make pregnancy difficult. If the IUI doesn't work, I hope she can find it in herself to do one more IVF with her sister as the carrier.

Wish us luck. We're going to need a lot.

Monday, April 7, 2008

IVF Update And Plans

Well, in case you hadn't heard, the frozen transfer didn't implant apparently. We knew it was a long shot compared to the fresh transfers, but it's still disappointing.

We're changing gears now. Tuesday we have an appointment with a new doctor. We've heard good things about him. He does his procedures at the same fertility center as our original doctor, (I believe they and a few other doctors own it together,) so that will be convenient if potentially awkward. I'm sure other couples change doctors often enough after a few failures for them not to be really surprised. I think it's good to get a fresh pair of eyes on the situation anyway.

Unless he has some really novel insight into what could be done to improve our chances with another IVF, our plan is to shift to doing IUI with my sperm augmented with a donor's.

I'm a little bit of two minds about that. On the one hand we've produced multiple embryos via ICSI with my sperm, transferring nine in total and having some that did not make it nevertheless survive longer than initially estimated. So we know my sperm can work if given a ride to the egg. It's tempting to say "why are we bringing in donor sperm when mine is good enough?" In fact our chances per try are much better with IVF than IUI.

On the other hand, IVF is rather expensive and the protocol is rough on my wife. She is also still rather overweight, but has lost a good forty pounds or so since we started this and is continuing to improve over time. Taking a break from IVF for a little while would give her a chance to improve her health and through that improve our chances, and also give us a chance to catch up a little on the financial side of things. While we're doing that, we may as well take a few shots with the augmented IUI and maybe get lucky.

The plan is to do that for a few months, then maybe, if she is still willing by then, have my wife's sister do the IUIs. She has no interest in being a mother again, has said she would be willing to help out, and would be much cheaper and easier to monitor than a paid gestational carrier. I'm not sure if my wife would still try alongside her at that point. If their cycles were offset enough so that each would start the drugs after the other had their pregnancy test that would let us avoid the possibility of having both pregnant.

At some point my wife may decide she's up for another try at IVF. We just turned forty, so we can't put that off too long, but as long as she's losing weight it's a question of whether the aging is making our chances worse faster than the weight loss is making them better. If only we had some sort of indication of the optimum window. We don't though, so we can only guess and do what we can when we can.

Maybe Tuesday when the new doctor weighs in we'll know better where we stand.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

My Most-Modified Photo Thus Far - Veteran Vespa

Veteran Vespa by John AThis one took me a couple days, though mostly it was figuring out how to get the effect I wanted. (I'd call it photoshopping, but I did it with Paint Shop Pro 7.) The color insert is a full-resolution section of the original photo. (Click to see it full size.) I wanted to blur the background to emphasize the scooter, so I first made a mask by tracing a freehand selection around it. (I saved the mask to a separate grayscale image in case I needed it again, which turned out to be a very good move.)

Then I duplicated the image in a new layer, did a Gaussian blur, and applied the mask to it so the bike would be clear. It came out okay, but looked too artificial with the pavement blurred right under the in-focus wheel. I reworked the mask image, adding a couple gradients to bring the pavement partly back in focus as it approached the distance of the front wheel. That looked much better. I made a b/w version with a grain (I love grainy b/w images,) but then I noticed a flaw. The blur had pulled color from the scooter into the nearby surrounding background. You can see it in the middle inset.

I scrapped that and started over. This time I edited the duplicate layer before applying the blur, copying and pasting parts of the background over the scooter, erasing it and reconstructing the curb, barrel, etc. I applied the blur and mask, and was very disappointed to see the pasted blocks so plainly visible. Dang it.

I backed out of the mask and blur and made another layer copying the original, on top of the others. I applied the mask, sans gradients, to it, and tweaked it to get rid of the last little bits of scooter peeking out. I merged it with the erased scooter layer. Now I had an erased bike layer with the background intact pretty much right up to the edge of it. I did the blur, applied the mask with the gradients, made the b/w version, and there it is. The top insert is a detail of that version. Much better, I think.

By the way, if you know the model of this Vespa, please leave a comment identifying it. Thanks!

Prints and other items featuring this photo are available for purchase.
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Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Kyle XY Season 3 Finale (Spoilers)

I finally watched the season finale last night. It was a much more effective cliffhanger than last season's.

In the promos they said someone will end up missing. I figured it could possibly be fem-Kyle XX, slipping off to disappear with her clone mother, (or should that be clone sister, since she's really more of a late-born twin than a daughter,) without telling anyone. It's the sort of thing her mother/older twin sister might insist on if she were at all competent at evading people as seemingly resourceful as latknock (or however it's spelled.) But that's not what happened.

Instead, the disappearance didn't happen until the very end of the episode. Kyle's girlfriend (who is becoming ever so slightly inquisitive about the things he does and who apparently failed to notice they were levitating) is gone.

Who did it? The obvious answer is latknock, but that may be too obvious. I mean would a member of a super-genius society be so dumb as to leave their ring behind? Okay, there's the whole "absent-minded professor" stereotype, but these folks don't seem to be made in that mold. Could it be fem-Kyle's "father" trying to get some leverage to get Kyle to help find fem-Kyle? No, that would take too much planning to pull off so soon after fem-Kyle decided to run off with sister mama. Is it that big bad corporation again? Maybe, but I forget what even happened to end their involvement in the show and suspect the writers may have too at this point. I suspect the writers plan to introduce yet another organization that's after Kyle.

But leaving that for next season, let's take a look at what we know of the circumstances of the girlfriend's disappearance. There was a security guard hanging out in front of the gym, who seems like an obvious suspect. There was the very young to be a TA DJ who spoke to Kyle in the gym. And there was the ring. Like I said, I doubt the ring was there by accident. I think it was a plant intended to misdirect Kyle, and us. And I'm really suspicious of the DJ.

Here's why. First, he's a super genius for his age, and attends (if I have this straight) the same college that the Kyles' clone parents/siblings attended. He's Kyle's foster dad's TA, and there is a precedent for villains placing their operatives close to the dad. And just look at the tension with Declan and Lori. You just know she's going to get together with the soon-to-be-revealed evil boy genius DJ, (but won't put out, per her declaration to her dad,) then when his evil affiliation is revealed the conflict will be resolved and she'll go back to Declan who will somewhere along the way do something to establish himself as her hero and the guy who truly loves her and always will and who is a true friend to her and her family, especially Kyle.

It's just all so obvious. Maybe the writers are trying to make up for last season's cliffhanger, the resolution of which was so unpredictable it didn't even seem like a cliffhanger. I do want to see what happens, though, so I'm going to watch.

Monday, March 17, 2008

My Photographs - We Have The Negatives

I've been fiddling a bit with macro (physically close up) photography. I took this one of some old negatives this weekend. I'm calling it "We Have The Negatives" with the idea of evoking images of blackmail letters and spy photos of illicit acts. (The negatives are actually from our niece's 3rd birthday party.)

The strips were laid on a pad of white drawing paper, and lit by a closely positioned desk lamp with a helical compact fluorescent bulb. I white-balanced the camera with the back of a paper plate before the shoot.

Prints and other items featuring this photo are available for purchase.
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Wednesday, March 12, 2008

What My Wife Got Me For My Birthday

A New York style cheesecake! And a small jar of chocolate fudge topping to go with it. :)

Thursday, March 6, 2008

Frozen Embryo Transfer.

We transfered two frozen embryos today. The quality varied a bit between the two. When blastocysts are frozen the collapse like raisins. When they are thawed and survive they reexpand like grapes. (Well, grapes don't actually reexpand, but you get the idea.)

One of the two was in the process of expanding at the time of the last check before the transfer. It had some ruptured cells, but that is expected in frozen embryos. The other one was still raisiny, but did have plenty live cells. The doctor told us that usually if they had only the one raisiny blast they wouldn't bother transferring it. Since we did have the fair one, though, we put back both.

Now we wait. The pregnancy test will be on the 17th, if I recall correctly. (It's been a long day.) We asked what our chances are, and after thinking about it a bit the doctor said we have a 20% shot. It's not that much, but a frozen transfer is a much less expensive and uncomfortable cycle, so it's a shot worth taking. If this doesn't work, I'm not sure what we'll try next. My wife may or may not feel up to doing another fresh cycle. Our contingency plan is to do IUI with donor sperm supplementing mine. Hopefully, though, we'll get pregnant this time and not have to worry about that.

Monday, March 3, 2008

Had A Filling Break

I just got back from the dentist. This is the piece that broke loose. (Much enlarged.)

It was an old metal filling, dating back at least to my teen years, if not pre-teen. I'm nearly forty so I guess my folks got their money's worth. The dentist put in a new-fangled type filling that matches the tooth. She put it in in layers with a syringe and the assistant held a UV light gun up to it to cure it. Pretty neat.

Saturday, March 1, 2008

Lining Is Good

We went in for another uterine lining measurement yesterday. It was over 8 mm and the doctor declared us ready to move on to the next phase. Today I start giving my wife injections that will shift her from growing the lining to making it hospitable.

The transfer is set for this coming Thursday afternoon. If neither embryo survives the thaw - they pretty much always lose some cells, but at this stage they can usually weather that - they'll call us around mid-day and tell us not to come in. They said we can call if we don't hear anything, to make sure. I think we'll probably call when the employees go to lunch.

I hope this one works. After this the next thing to try is IUI augmented with donor sperm along with mine. If we simply can't have a child that's mine so be it - I'll take what we can get. When we were first getting to know one another I briefly suspected our nephew might actually by my wife's son, and I was okay with that. I really hope this new child will ultimately be our own, though, and as long as what we're trying involves sperm, and I have some to contribute, I will.

Monday, February 25, 2008

Lining Check and Restroom Adventure

Lining Check
We went to the doctor this morning to do a lining check in advance of our frozen transfer. It was a little thinner that he'd like, so he gave her some estrogen patches. She put one one before we left. I later joked with her that all the weight she's been losing lately has been from her deflating, but now that she's patched we can pump her up again. We talked with the doctor about the embryos and their chances, and he thinks it's unlikely both wouldn't survive the thaw. If neither does survive, the fertility center will call the dr.'s office and they'll call us before we leave. (For those just joining the blog, it's an hour drive there - a long way to go just to be disappointed.) Just in case, we'll call ourselves before we leave. We also asked if the embryos' surviving to blastocyst stage boded well for their viability. He said that while some abnormalities would prevent them from getting that far (implying they don't have those particular abnormalities at least) there was plenty enough abnormalities that would cause them to arrest later. That's the possibility every couple doing IVF has to deal with anyway,though , so there ya go.

Restroom Adventure
After we returned to Secret Headquarters I soon had to use the restroom. Long drives will do that to a person. We share a restroom with the rest of the floor, and since we're on the first floor and the restrooms are accessible from the lobby we share them with pretty much everyone in the building who can't wait to get up to their floor, or who don't want people who know them to know how much they stink up the things. It wasn't that big a surprise, then to find that the toilet hadn't been flushed. What was a surprise was that it was clogged with what if I didn't know was a turd I would have sworn was a sweet potato.

I tried flushing several times in an attempt to erode it enough to flush away, letting the water slowly drain past the monstrosity between attempts. It didn't work. So I went and got the plunger from the ladies' room, figuring I'd make short work of the thing. Nope. It disappeared from view, but apparently lodged somewhere farther in. I pumped the plunger repeatedly with no apparent effect. I pumped it harder and some of the water splashed on my hand and the leg of my jeans. Ick!

After that I slowed down a bit and eventually got things flowing. I finished my pressing business, washed up, and returning to Secret Headquarters I globbed some alcohol gel hand sanitizer on the leg of my jeans. Hopefully that was sufficient.

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Valentine's Day Bear

This is what I gave my wife for Valentine's day. I came up with the design on the shirt myself, and had it printed at Cafepress. (It's also available for purchase on t-shirts and stuff.) It says "I love you howots." "Howots" is a common expression in her family, meaning "a whole lot." Exactly which kid used to say it originally is a bit murky. Her family tends to latch onto such things and work them into conversation for years and years. It's catching, so she and I do it too a bit, as in this case.

I meant to leave it on her chair at Secret Headquarters on the evening of the 13th, but things were a bit hurried as we left and I didn't really get a chance. On Valentine's day she went off to another part of SHQ for a bit and I jumped at the chance. Soon after she went back to her desk she came around to mine, looking shy but happy (she gets a bit embarrassed by such attention sometimes.) She liked it. :)

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Drinking Game

shot glass checkers set

We spotted this shot glass checker set in an antique shop. I guess the player who gets jumped has to drink. Would you stack glasses when you're kinged, or make that shot a double?

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Local Wind Damage

Roof Damage at the Cafe New Orleans, Fredericksburg, VA
We were relaxing in the local non-Starbucks coffee shop early this afternoon after a walk around town on this windy day, when a fire truck and a couple police cars went by and stopped just on the next block. We didn't see any smoke and just assumed someone had a kitchen fire or smelled gas or something. After we finished our coffee we went out to discover what the fuss was about.

The roof of one of the buildings had half blown off, and there were broken bricks on the ground. The police were blocking off access with tape when we arrived. I got some pictures. This was the best view of the roof damage. It was blowing up from time to time. I tried to get video, but never got it more than just sitting there wobbling a bit.

The building is, perhaps ironically, the Cafe New Orleans. I suppose it might end up with a blue tarp roof until repairs can be made. I asked a policeman what was upstairs, since sometimes people live above the businesses. He said it was a club. Another officer quipped that it was a sun room now.

Sunday, February 3, 2008

First Sign Of Spring

I was taking a few pictures in the yard today and spotted this beginning to grow alongside our driveway. I don't care what that groundhog says about his shadow, I say the first signs of spring are already upon us.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Test Results and A Weekend Of Painting

Test Results - We went in for the HSG test Thursday. The wait in the outpatient check-in was a long one. From what I could overhear my wife wasn't in their system for some reason. Eventually they called us up and we got checked in and she got a bracelet. Off to the radiology waiting room from where we were very soon escorted to the x-ray room. I had to wait in the hall, so I pulled out my Palm and read a book on it.

My wife had been dreading this test for a while after reading stories of it being very painful for some women. I could hear her laughing from time to time, though, so I figured it maybe wasn't nearly as bad as she had thought it would be. Still, I was prepared to hear a scream and rush to the door. (Okay, maybe just comfort her after - there were x-rays in there after all.) Soon, though, the nurse came out and told me I could come in. The delay in the check-in didn't amount to anything consequential, as it turns out, because the doctor was late. We chatted a little bit, and my wife flashed her bare hip at me as she sat on the xray table, and I patted her butt. She asked me to fetch her a bit of paper from the adjoining restoom, and as I came back the doctor entered. They shooed me out and I went back to reading.

Before long I sensed someone near. I looked up and the doctor was there, rolling down his sleeves. He said everything looked normal, and there was nothing he saw that would get in the way of her getting pregnant. When my wife was done dressing she came out, and as we left she told me about it.

As with many of the procedures so far the worst for her was when the doctor was inserting the hardware. Once everything was in place they had her lie down and the x-ray machine was moved into place. Then the doctor started injecting the dye. My wife says it felt like a bad cramp at its peak. Afterward the doctor rewound the tape (they recorded the whole thing rather than just take a few shots along the way) and showed her what was what. There was nothing amiss in her uterus, and the dye flowed freely through one tube. There was so much flowing through the one, it was hard to see the other, but he could see enough to know that at most there was a blockage, and nothing else.

Before the test she had taken some anti-anxiety medication, so on the drive home she slept most of the way. She woke up right as I turned off the highway.

Weekend Of Painting - As I had promised my wife earlier in the week, this weekend I finished a long put off project: painting the den. When we first moved into the Secret Lair we painted the walls in this room a pale peachy pink. I don't remember the name of the color. The trim was sort of a pastel pinkish mauve. It worked well, but I don't think it was quite what she was after. A few years ago - October of '04 according to the sticker on the paint can - she picked a different pair of colors: terra cotta for the walls, and sand for the trim. We pulled the furniture away from the walls in phases, painting each wall and its trim and allowing it to dry before moving the furniture back and moving on to the next wall. The end of the room where the computers are posed a bit of a problem. My wife had, at that time, a huge corner desk with cabinets, and of course my smaller desk was heaped with junk on top and underneath. It was a daunting task. She wanted to get a new desk anyway, so we decided to put off finishing the paint job until she could pick one she liked.

Finally, not long after alluding to it in this post, we got the new desk. The old one is in the dump now. It was fun tossing it into the compactor. But still we didn't paint. We had the whole IVF thing going by then, and that just ate up too much of our time. Plus, I was hesitant to expose her to paint fumes. We're in a lull now, and since we're doing a frozen transfer next we don't have to worry about the conditions for developing eggs, so now is the time. Friday night my wife cleared off her desk. Saturday morning she headed out to the gym and then to Secret Headquarters to catch up on some paperwork. I stayed home to paint.

The first thing I did was disconnect her computer and move the components out of harm's way. Then I removed her keyboard tray and drawers, taped the computer cabinet door shut, and rolled the desk away from the wall onto its top. It slid over the carpet easily after that. Then I started clearing off mine. That took a while. I boxed up most things, and put some in a pile on the sofa. There were many things I threw away, but the piles of papers I just moved intact without going through them. I'll do that when I put them back. My current computer has been sitting on top of the desk, while my old one remained in its cubbyhole below. there was also a much older computer, salvaged from the junk pile at my former workplace, sitting idle on the floor under the desk, with the cable modem and router on top. I moved both old computers out permanently. (I'll strip out the hard drives later.) Man there was a lot of dust! I vacuumed as I went along and the dust cannister, which started out pretty empty, is now about 1/3 full. The place where the older computer was on the floor is visibly lighter than the rest of the carpet. I think we need to clean it, or replace it - it's been here since before we bought the house.

My desk is much lighter, so I was able to lift it out of the way. That being done, I started the actual wall prep, beginning with a wash with some TSP substitute. My wife has had a long habit of squishing bugs against the wall, then not cleaning them off, so the wall by her desk was a bit of a mess. I scrubbed the worst spots, then did an allover wipe down. After that dried, I did a dry wipe with an old clean towel to clear off any lint from the disintegrating washcloth I'd used with the TSP, and the walls were ready for paint.

We had a full can of the terra cotta left, plus a partial cam. I opened the partial can first and found that there was some corrosion around the rim that had rubbed off and sprinkled into the paint as I opened the can. If the paint had been fully mixed I would have skimmed it off the top, but after over three years the color had all settled to the bottom. I tossed that can and opened the other, which was fortunately pristine. I finished up, including the brush painting in the corners and along the ceiling, around 9PM and after a quick clean-up we headed out for a much-needed meal. Afterward I discovered I had had my fly open the whole time we were out. Good thing I was wearing a coat. We had to switch from one sale to another at midnight, so I rolled her desk back over, moved mine back into place, and set up the computers.

Today my wife headed out again, to the gym, Secret Headquarters for a bit of work, and to her sister's house for a visit with the family. I stayed home to paint the trim. This time it didn't take so long to move everything out of the way. The main part of the trim went fast, but the den is sunken a couple steps down from the rest of the house, so there was a banister to paint as well. It meets the wall with an oval piece which was a lot of fun to tape around. After that I went back to the beginning and gave it all another coat.

My wife wanted to get on the computer tonight, so I set them back up again. It's still temporary and the desks are out from the wall a bit since I want the paint to have time to dry well and adhere tightly before we have anything rubbing against it. Tomorrow evening I plan to go along the trim with a small art brush to touch up the places where the trim paint seeped under the tape. After that, it'll all be done. Yay!

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

IVF Update: Our Next Test - HSG

Thursday afternoon we're traveling to the Dr.'s office, or rather the hospital adjacent, for my wife to have a hysterosalpingogram, or HSG test. Basically, the doctor will inject a contrast dye into her uterus through her cervix and take some x-rays as it goes through her fallopian tubes. If everything is normal, we'll see a clean triangle-ish shape of her uterus, the lines of her tubes, and a couple wispy plumes of dye coming out of them into her abdominal cavity. It can reveal some things that can cause infertility, such as tubal blockages (not so much of an issue for IVF since we're bypassing the tubes altogether,) uterine polyps, adhesions, etc. She's already had a sonohysterogram (saline & ultrasound instead of dye and x-ray) which is said to be better for detecting polyps and fibroids and nothing was found, so we're not expecting those.

What we do next will hopefully be informed by the results of this test. To be honest, we're not sure what our next move will be if we find nothing wrong. At that point we'd be left with abnormal embryos or just dumb luck as the cause of the failures so far. I guess we would move ahead with the transfer of the two embryos we have frozen, if they survive the thawing. (Chances are at least one will, though.)

I'm kind of hoping something is found that can be easily fixed. We may be no better off, really, than we would be if nothing was found, but at least we'd be better off than we had been.

At this point we have to accept that the odds are against us. We have two frozen embryos, but also two failed IVF cycles with three and four embryos transferred respectively, and in a couple months' time we'll both be forty. I really hope this works. I think we can afford one more try after this, financially. Will we be able to put ourselves through it again emotionally. I think I can - I'm sad and frustrated, but also a bit psychologically numbed by it all. It's much harder for my wife, though, which is really the worst part of it for me, and I'm not sure she could handle another. Fortunately, a cycle with frozen embryos is much less involved and taxing for a woman since she doesn't have to go through the hyperstimulation and all it entails, so maybe that will be the break we need. Here's hoping.

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Some Of My Photos - IV - City In Motion

City In Motion - New YorkThis is another shot from our trip to New York. The camera shook - we were on top of a tour bus - but I like how it came out. I think it gives it a real sense of motion, which fits New York well. Pretty cool, really.

This was taken in Manhattan on the city lights tour before we crossed over to Brooklyn where I took the skyline and Brooklyn Bridge pictures.

Prints of this photo are available for purchase.
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Monday, January 14, 2008

Some Of My Photos - III - Brooklyn Bridge on A Cloudy Night

Brooklyn Bridge on A Cloudy NightThe Brooklyn Bridge under a cloudy city-lit December sky. I took this at the same time I took the previous picture of the New York skyline. I like it pretty well, except for the way the tower of the bridge lines up with that building.Closeup of Brooklyn Bridge tower with flag at night
In this full resolution close-up, the tower is more distinct from the building, and you can see that what looks in the other view like part of the lit-up sign on the building is actually an American flag flying on top of the bridge tower.

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Monday, January 7, 2008

Some Of My Photos - II - New York Skyline on a Cloudy Night

New York Skyline on A Cloudy NightThe New York City skyline lights up the clouds on a cloudy December night. I took this on last year's trip to New York and Pennsylvania. We were on a city lights tour on one of those open-topped tour buses, and had stopped at a pier across the East River in Brooklyn. Shortly after this picture was taken it started raining, and on the way back over the bridge we rode through the worst of a thunderstorm. I had an all-weather coat which protected me and the camera well enough. My wife had a plastic poncho the tour guide gave out. It was a bit tattered by then end of the drive, and a fold had channeled a good bit of water onto our bag. Nothing was damaged, though.

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Some Of My Photos - I - San Gervasio on Cozumel

San Gervasio on CozumelOne of the Mayan ruins at San Gervasio on the island of Cozumel off the Yucatan Peninsula of Mexico. San Gervasio was dedicated to the Mayan goddess Ixchel, goddess of midwifery, fertility, medicine and weaving. We visited on our honeymoon, which was of course when I took this picture. We didn't have a guide or anything, and my wife wasn't quite as interested in Precolumbian civilizations, or walking, as I was, so we mostly poked around the ruins nearest the parking area. I'd like to go back again some day, and I think my wife would be more up for exploring these days too.

Prints and other items featuring this photo are available for purchase.
San Gervasio Custom Framed Prints and Cards at
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