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Rest in Peace

Carla Cohen, an icon of Washington, D.C. and the literary world, died yesterday.  She was the co-owner of Politics and Prose, an independent bookstore which was known well outside the confines of the city.  And it was well-loved; I bought a membership because it was the sort of place where you wanted to belong.

Carla gave me my first reading of Navigating the Land of If.  My book is certainly not in the ranks of the other people who usually read at Politics and Prose — just peruse who’s coming this week: Michele Norris, David Grossman, and Condoleezza Rice.  But she knew what the space meant to me, and she had a soft spot for Josh, so she set up the event.  She was one part tough businesswoman, one part erudite life-learner, and one part thoughtful and compassionate mum-to-all.

A long time ago, back when the cafe was under different management, they named a drink after me because I spent pretty much every evening there.  I wrote a large chunk of my translation project down there.  I went on a lot of dates there.  I read a lot of books there.

The drink was a chocolate egg cream, and I’d like to virtually raise one right now to toast her.  She will be greatly missed.

So that was my news this month.

As always, it has been about a month since we met, bitched, cried, comforted, and caught up each other on our cycles and lives. Pull up a seat and I’ll pour you a drink. Let everyone know what is happening in your life. The good, the bad, the ugly. My only request is that if a story catches your eye, you follow it back to the person’s blog and start reading their posts. Give some love, give some support, or laugh with someone until your drink comes out of your nose.

I have a ton of assvice in my back pocket and as a virtual bartender, I will give it to you unless you specifically tell me that this is simply a vent and you do not want to receive anything more than a hug.

So if you have been a lurker for a while (or if this is your first open bar), sit down and tell us about yourself. Remember to provide a link or a way for people to continue reading your story (or if you don’t have a blog–gasp!–you can always leave an email address if you’re looking for advice or support. If not, people can leave messages for that person here in the comments section too). If you’re a regular at the bar, I’ll get out your engraved martini glass while you make yourself comfortable. And anyone new, welcome. I’m glad you found this virtual bar.

For those who have no clue what I’m talking about when I say that the bar is open, click here to catch up and then jump into the conversation back on this current post.

So have an imaginary cocktail and tell us what is up with your life.


1 Cece { 10.12.10 at 1:32 pm }

I’d like a nice margarita to celebrate my successful, fun weekend – and in anticipation of a mini-vacation this upcoming week!

2 HereWeGoAJen { 10.12.10 at 1:47 pm }

I’ll have a chocolate egg cream too, but in my engraved martini glass, please.

My life is pretty good right now. Except for the germs, but they are only temporary. And the fact that I have been ignoring the budgeting software. That’s less temporary. But I don’t know, I feel kind of stable at the moment.

3 serenity { 10.12.10 at 1:49 pm }

Oh man. First of all, Mel, can I apologize for being so absent lately? You’re one of my favorite people and though I’ve been reading, it’s been more of a cursory quick-let’s-peruse-so-it-looks-like-I-am-keeping-up-with-my-google-reader then it’s been a REAL read. I am sorry I haven’t been a better friend. And I miss you. And I love you.

I’ll have a shot of tequila please. In fact, might as well give me the bottle, a lime, some salt, and a shot glass. *sigh*

I’m just marking time. BFN a few weeks ago from our frozen cycle. We’re now doing The Last Waltz FET – our last blast.

Likely done forever with pregnancy and babies after this because I cannot stomach the idea of IVF all over again. I just can’t do it. And it makes me feel guilty, like I’m not willing to go all out to make it so my son isn’t an only child. I just can’t, though.

But on the flip side, this month I finished my second half marathon this year a FULL 13 minutes faster than my first one this past spring. I have plans for when this FET fails for an even faster time NEXT spring.

Because if I can’t control getting pregnant, at least I have something to put my energy into, yeah?

4 Lori Lavender Luz { 10.12.10 at 1:50 pm }

I was sorry to hear about Ms Cohen. She sounds very much like the lady who runs the Tattered Cover here in my town. What a loss for DC-ers and readers near and wide.

I’m trying to find just the right name for my blog. It’s much harder than naming a person, lol. For one thing, you have to worry about any other blog on the planet having the name you want.

Egg-cream cheers to you. And a condolence hug.

5 Stephanie { 10.12.10 at 2:03 pm }

I’m raising a hot chocolate with loads of whipped cream, because that’s what I used to get pretty much every night for the 3 years or so that I camped out in the cafe at P&P. That place was a refuge for me from a lousy relationship, from schoolwork, from a stressful job, and pretty much from life. I hope that whoever buys the store keeps the wonderfulness of the whole space — of people who care about ideas and their written form — as vibrant and alive as Carla and Barbara did for so many years.

6 dana { 10.12.10 at 2:07 pm }

I’m slowly making my way through your “How to Get a Book Published” series and I think you should require we enroll in the course … AND PAY you. It’s proving invaluable.
So, thank you thank you thank you.

7 Katie { 10.12.10 at 2:19 pm }

A chocolate egg cream in honor of Carla, please. I am so sorry for your loss.

Right now? I’m drowning in school work. But I can’t complain. Every assignment takes my mind off the fact that I still don’t have a baby.

8 a { 10.12.10 at 2:24 pm }

I’m so sorry for the loss of your friend. But how nice it must have been to have someone like that in your life. I’m sure she will be missed very much.

9 Amy { 10.12.10 at 2:38 pm }

I’m very sorry to hear of the loss of Ms Cohen. I’ll have a chocolate egg cream in her honor as well.

As for me, yesterday I reached the 18 month milestone of my first ever pregnancy! Last Saturday I bought my first pair of maternity jeans and have been wearing them proudly ever since. Now…if I could only focus, I might be able to actually get something done.

10 Jendeis { 10.12.10 at 2:54 pm }

Just wanted to extend my condolences to you on Carla’s passing. Saw the obit this morning and was immediately transported to Carla’s wonderful words at your reading. She will be missed.

11 LC { 10.12.10 at 3:20 pm }

Ooo… Chocolate egg cream sounds good to me. 🙂

Now a little vent… Today was supposed to be my first prenatal appointment.

After a year of trying, a month before calling an RE to setup an appointment to figure out just how much my PCOS was messing with my system, we got pregnant. Woohoo!!! I called the OB/GYN my normal doctor recommended and made the 8 week appointment for 10:30 this morning. They asked me to show up 15 minutes early (which I expected). Jump three weeks to this morning… We live 15 minutes from the doctor’s office, which means we’d need to leave the house by 10AM in order to be there on time. At 9:55, DH says “oh, just let me do a few things on the computer”… At 10:15, we get started driving. There are no short-cuts, so we arrive at the doctor’s office at 10:30. There is one other couple in the waiting area. When I tell the receptionist who I am, she says “Oh, we were expecting you at 10:15… Let me see if I can fit you in.” Since this is a vent, you probably guessed that they couldn’t “fit me in”. Luckily, they had an appointment for Thursday morning, so I don’t have to wait much longer. But seriously, I was 2 minutes late for the appointment. I took the paperwork home and filled it out in less than 5 minutes. There was NO ONE else in the waiting room. It sounds like they always allow 15 minutes for pre appointment stuff. Maybe I’m naive, but I didn’t think it took that long to run my credit card for the co-pay. Even if you add in weight and blood pressure, we’re still not over 5 minutes. ARRRRRG!

12 Annie { 10.12.10 at 3:42 pm }

Sorry to hear you’ve lost a dear friend!

In real life I don’t drink at all, but here I’ll take the hardest stuff you’ve got. I’m really down right now. November is supposed to be my IVF#2 – with higher stim doses and heparin from transfer, which had me in a hopeful mood . It’s been two years of failed fertility treatments, preceded by the loss of two little boys both five months along (no, not twins). I want a rainbow baby so badly. I need a rainbow baby. And now I find out that I have an endometrioma on my only ovary, which is obviously going to hurt my chances of getting many eggs. On top of that it is hurting most of the time now, so it’s very hard to enjoy any of the good things I do have!

13 Mrs. Gamgee { 10.12.10 at 3:44 pm }

I’m very sorry for your loss, Mel. If I knew what an egg cream was (please don’t shun me!) I would lift one in her honour! Instead, I will raise a glass of siegerebe (my favouritest of wines, two bottles of which are currently sitting in my kitchen, awaiting a day when I can have alcohol again).

The most recent happenings in my world involve adjusting to life on mat leave, and getting my head around the fact that my first ever baby shower is this Friday, on pregnancy & neonatal death awareness day. Rather ironic, and yet somehow fitting.

14 Blanche { 10.12.10 at 3:53 pm }

Life is pretty good – nothing to complain about. I did go back to work for the first time today for a few hours…despite it being still a perfect situation, I’m not sure how long I’m going to want to keep doing it. Other things just seem more important now, you know?

Since it’s a warm day, how about a nice frosty hard lemonade, thanks!

15 Jen { 10.12.10 at 4:02 pm }

Sorry to hear about your friend…I will toast her with a cold beer!

I am still in a holding pattern waiting for my IF insurance to start over in January. We will be starting IVF#2 in early 2010.

16 Bionic Baby Mama { 10.12.10 at 4:34 pm }

Can I have an egg cream AND the beer I’ve been craving these past several months? They both sound good, and I am awful hungry.

Feeling a little overwhelmed at the prospect of having an actual baby one of these days — which is good news, in the sense that it means I’m starting to believe we will.

17 Kristin { 10.12.10 at 4:46 pm }

Toasting Ms. Cohen with my Amaretto Margarita! Life has been good but crazy lately. I’m celebrating my 6th blogoversary…go me! I’m a bit bummed because my best friend was going to buy a townhouse that was less than 1.5 miles from my house but the inspection put the kibosh on the sale. There were too many problems with the place.

18 Rach { 10.12.10 at 6:30 pm }

I’ll take a double vodka straight up, no stuff it just give me the bottle.

I’m tired. After 11 years I’m tired of not feeling normal, of “it” taking away normality. Simple things like being happy for a friends great news without it also being tinged with sadness.

I’m so tired, I’m thinking of closing my blog.

I’ve just had enough, of everything.

19 Mary { 10.12.10 at 7:24 pm }

Oh Mel, I’m so sorry for your loss. It sounds like she was a wonderful woman and an important part of your life. A toast to celebrate her life seems to be in order (though I do prefer vanilla egg creams myself.)

Life is having its ups and downs at the moment. We are in a bit of a real estate crisis with 3 houses right now, but at least I will never be homeless (I think this is the definition of “house poor.”) On a happy note I am on Fall Break and in the mail today I recieved a notice that we have been assigned a juvenille court specialist to review our homestudy. That means in the next month or so we should be officially certified to adopt and on the registry. Kids could be coming our way anytime after that. After 11+ years of trying to build a family I think we might actually be on our way this time. (Did I just jinx myself by saying that???? Take backs please.)

20 VA Blondie { 10.12.10 at 7:43 pm }

The chocolate egg cream sounds good to me. I will also raise one in a toast to your friend.

Right now I am on vacation with baby, and he is kicking my ass. Apparently, mothers do not get vacation as we previously knew it. My “vacation” consists of chasing after the baby and trying to do some class planning while he naps. Not exactly restful. (Yeah, I teach and I am vacationing mid-semester. I did not know about the teaching job when I planned my vacation.) It did not help that my mother said I should stock up on reading material before heading to the beach. My thought was, “when will I have time to read it?” On the bright side, he is sleeping fairly well, and is not too stressed by the travel. I think I am more stressed out than he is. Vacation will be over soon, and we can settle back at home. I think I am looking forward to going home. This has not been a peaceful vacation for me.

21 TasIVFer { 10.12.10 at 7:50 pm }

I’m sorry to hear of Carla’s death. I hope it was peaceful, people she loved were there, and it was her time. I’ve never met her, but you’ve spoken of her before and she sounds just like the sort of person I would have loved.

I have absolutely no idea what a chocolate egg cream is. So I’d like one of those, please. In memoriam to when my life was more full of adventure and I’ll-have-that-because-I’ve-never-have-before-ness. And it’s got chocolate in it, so how can I go wrong?

This last month has been full of my 14th fresh IVF cycle, my only 4th ever FET cycle, and finding out from my clinic they will give me half an egg donor. So once this FET’s inevitable BFN comes, I’ll be starting drugs for my first donor egg cycle. And closing the door on the possibility of having a child that is genetically mine.

Yesterday was also the one year anniversary of the day I found out I was pregnant with Blobby, who I miscarried at 14 weeks 2 days. The next few months are going to be full of bittersweet and horrid anniversaries. I’m exhausted already.

22 loribeth { 10.12.10 at 7:58 pm }

Never heard of chocolate egg creams, but I will have one in honour of your friend. : ) I’m assuming it’s non-alcoholic, in which case I will have a chaser of something stronger. ; )

Let’s see… on the bright side, dh & I had an absolutely marvellous vacation in Nova Scotia… & after YEARS of trying, I learned last week that my position at work is FINALLY!!! being reclassified at a higher level with a higher salary range (including an immediate raise). : )

On the other hand — I am (still) trying to get used to a new boss with a very different work style, after 16 years of reporting to the same person (who retired in April)…and it’s been very, very busy at work (and with year end fast approaching, it won’t be slowing down anytime soon). I could ramble on, but you get the idea. Needless to say, I was glad to see the Lushary was open tonight!

23 Nelly { 10.12.10 at 11:52 pm }

So sorry for your loss. You were very blessed to have such a wonderful person in your life. We should all strive to be as influential as she was (even in small ways:).

I have no clue what an egg white whatchamacallit is. Remember I’m in the sticks here! I’ll take an ice cold Coors Light so I can fit in with my redneck friends. Shit, just put a six pack in front of me.

Had a Dr’s apt yesterday. They noticed some abnormal areas on the OUTSIDE of the uterus in the U/S. Looks like fluid shaped sacs (perfectly circular) and they’ve never seen this before. I’m a Medical Marvel, love it. Remember we live in the sticks. Sooo…no more fertility plan next cycle until laparoscropic surgery (which I can’t say it’s like aluminum for others). Waiting for my period to start then another U/S then surgery.

Either endometriosis (on top of my LPD) or cancer 🙂 Any other ideas? Dr. Google is scary.

Good news? GO GIANTS!!

24 Sushigirl { 10.13.10 at 4:29 am }

Hi – I’ll have a chocolate egg cream in honour of your friend..

It’s my first time here and I hope you don’t mind me joining in. I’m currently on a break between FETs.

25 April { 10.13.10 at 8:11 am }

I’m sorry for the loss of your friend. She sounds like she was a great lady. I’ll raise a glass of wine in her honor.

Right now we’re still on a break. DH is in the beginning of what I refer to as “theater season” and will be building sets for the next two months on and off for a couple of community theater groups with whom we volunteer. I’m in the middle of a really nasty ear infection that is probably going to result in surgery to fix the ruptured ear drum. So because of all of this, no chance of trying to hae a baby until at least after my surgery, whenever that will be.

26 Kir { 10.13.10 at 10:08 am }

Toasting your friend with something fun and pink (in honor of BC awareness this month)
We are settling into Fall, we have been to NYC with the boys enough times for them to “ask to go to Central Park” and we’re working. We took some time off this weekend and went to MD to visit my brother, spent some time at Summer Farms Adventure, you know toddler stuff.

I am still trying to lose weight, so I don’t feel very pretty lately, but other than that, I’m ok. Started Christmas shopping, have about 10 days left to take off until Dec and looking forward to more time in NYC…

I found out a close friend of ours has breast cancer, she had her surgery yesterday and now it’s waiting. I hate this for her and I’m scared, for all of us of a certain age. I try to push it down and just live in my moment, pray a lot and hope against hope for good news for everyone I love.

and last but not least, we are still trying to potty train, both boys are talking in almost complete sentences and growing up way too fast. Where 2 was a challenge with Gio, we are thinking that 3 is going to Jacob’s time…he’s been pushing a lot of buttons. Let’s hope we all make it to 4

love you my friend, I am so sorry for your loss. Looking forward to your book in a few months, I’m buying tons of Copies for xmas…now if I could only get the author to sign them…(wink)


27 Clio { 10.13.10 at 10:22 am }

Mel, I’m sorry for your loss. She does sound like a fantastic woman. How wonderful you got to meet her and feel part of her store as well.
I’ll have a Cosmo, please.
Thanks Goddess you are on FB, so I could be reminded that this fantastic community is still here. I’ve been absent for many months, and my blog is probably feeling abandoned right now.
Last year was very tough. After IVF#2 we got a BFP just to lose it a few days later. Then at our frozen cycle, another BFP, right on the holidays, but it was ectopic… That added to some other pretty shitty stuff going on in my life made us decide to move back to South America where DH and I were originally from. And that’s where I am right now. Reconnecting to friends and family and taking a huge break from TTC. I felt I was losing huge pieces of my soul, so this was the only way to get them back, getting myself back. So I’m working on feeling strong once again, slowly settling back in, finding work, proving myself capable of other things in my life (since biology eludes me). Of course we are always open to nature changing Her mind, but if it hasn’t happened on its own in 8 years, it’s not gonna be now. When we are settled and have things truly going we want to plan for adoption. The other thing is that my body is messed up from the treatments. My ovaries are enlarged and I’m seeing a doctor here to find out what’s going on and what I need to do. So that’s it. I’m enjoying my new life, in a new city and taking a break from the blogosphere as well in the process. But it was great to stop by and say hello for a little bit. cheers!

28 Ashley { 10.13.10 at 11:40 am }

I’ve been stalking your blog for a few months now. I am so sorry to hear about the passing of your friend.

I will take a Bailey’s on Ice please, and keep them coming!

We were supposed to start our first ever round of IVF / ICSI this month – well start the BCP this month and then onto stims in November. A test of mine has apparently gone missing and for this reason we might be delayed until January. I am really hanging on by a thread here. I am a bottle of anxiety and I can’t deal with it. Into my 2nd month of blogging and loving the outlet so far! cheers!!

29 Kristi { 10.13.10 at 11:52 am }

I am sorry for your loss it sounds like Carla lived a wonderful life. Maybe you should buy Politics and Prose you would make a great book store owner.

I looked up a chocolate egg cream and I will pass. Let’s go with pink lemonde in honor of breast cancer awareness month. My mom is 3 years into her remission and I thank god.

I am pregnant after IVF #3 and am cautiously optimistic we will see a heartbeat on 10/22.

30 HopelesslyTTC { 10.13.10 at 12:31 pm }

No way am I drinking anything called a chocolate egg cream. As the token guy at this bar, it wouldn’t be good for my delicate male ego!

I’ll have whatever comes in a big-ass glass and looks virile and manly (preferably with those lovely drops of condensation running down the glass)!

I’m not really a drinker, so this macho thing may be an over-reaction to appearing on national television two nights ago, talking about MFI. I was embarrassingly, knocking-knees nervous before it aired, but the feedback has been great.

I live in South Africa which may just have one of the most macho, patriarchal societies on the planet. So talking about azoo, desperately wanting kids, not being able to get my wife ‘knocked up good and proper’ and other unmanly behaviours probably shocked the socks off a good portion of our population! (And if that didn’t, the video sequence of my wife jabbing me in the backside with one of my 4-times-a-week hormone shots, will definitely have got them bare-footed).

I’ve had phone calls from strangers (a bit of a shock at how totally our anonymity has been blown), people finding me on Faecebook (ahh Freudian slip there), additional joiners to the Fertilicare forum, all off the back of seeing the programme – so it’s definitely been worth it…plus there’s nothing like flying out the IF closet in style!!

But, after all this stress and excitement, it’s great to pull up a pew, and have a cold one with you guys.
(and TasIVFer – still got my fingers crossed for the FET – hoping you won’t need your half an egg donor)

31 DI Dad (Eric) { 10.13.10 at 12:48 pm }

Sorry to hear of your friend’s passing.

Been a while since I have stopped by as my own blogging, on the blog Life As Dad to DI Kids, has dropped off due to my change in marital status. Kids are all good. Adjustments but everyone is handling the changes well enough. Their half siblings are generally well.

Sending my regards. Eric aka DI Dad

32 Eve { 10.13.10 at 9:46 pm }

Sigh. Loss abounds. My sincere condolences for Carla’s passing. I recently lost a dear friend and mentor to ovarian cancer…and I miss her advice so very, very much.

I’ll have a strong raspberry martini. VERY strong. With it I will toast to my daughter, Abby, turning 6 months old tomorrow…and then chug it to quelch the ache of missing her twin, Will, who died somewhere around 9 months ago yesterday.

And Pregnancy Loss Rememberence Day on Friday has me all jacked up.

33 Sara { 10.13.10 at 10:53 pm }

I’m so sorry for your loss. Carla sounds like an amazing and inspiring person and friend.

As for my order, I think I’d like a cosmo to celebrate the fact that my family seems to have survived a major bout of the toddler “pukies.” And I’d like to order a chocolate egg cream for you also, and for everyone else in the house.

34 Mali { 10.14.10 at 1:26 am }

Ooh, a virtual bar, I love that idea. Chocolate egg cream sounds delicious, but it’s gone straight to my hips.

I am very sorry you lost your friend.

I’ve been lurking here recently. After two ectopic pregnancies and failed IVFs, I’m living a life without children. I volunteer for the UK based Ectopic Pregnancy Trust that provides support for women from all over the world. And I blog about my life (http://aseparatelife.wordpress.com), but don’t focus on the no-kids/loss factor, although it’s always there and present and occasionally spills over into posts. I like to think it’s evidence that we can still live good (no, great!) lives even after infertility and loss.

Your virtual bar now has me thirsty, so I’m off to open a bottle of wine. Cheers, to all here.

35 Foxy { 10.14.10 at 12:04 pm }

I just love the idea of virtual lushary.

I am really sorry to hear about the passing of your friend Mel. There are some people who leave their mark on us, and on the world, in ways that words just can’t begin to describe.

Feel free to pull out my engraved champagne glass and serve me up a mimosa, ahhhhh.

As for us, we finally exhausted any possibility of finding sperm. It is a bittersweet feeling, grieving the loss of having my husbands genetic child, yet excited to finally be moving forward to donor conception. I think that we both needed to know that we had done everything possible, before we could accept this next step. I have an appt to start with IUI next Wednesday.

Much love to all of you – and many thanks for all of the lovely and supportive comments this past month. I appreciate each of you more that you’ll ever know.

x0x0 – Foxy

36 Shana { 10.15.10 at 12:06 pm }

I’ve never tried a chocolate egg cream, so I’ll try one of those in honor of your friend’s passing.

Let’s see, this week I had enough blood drawn to feed a small family of vampires and am awaiting the results of my miscarriage work-up.
I’m also planning on attending my first Walk to Remember this Saturday.

37 JJ { 10.15.10 at 3:51 pm }

I will try one for sure, in honor of your friend. So very sorry for your loss…

You always open the lushary at just the right moment 🙂

I lost my PT job this week–the one that has allowed me to stay home with Oman and add to our mortgage and such…I have HIGH levels of anxiety about this. Wondering what will happen now…

38 rhi { 10.15.10 at 5:05 pm }

cosmo, please….

we are def having issues getting me pregnant…. not just a likely possibility anymore, but a for sure fact.

but we dont have insurance to figure out exactly whats up in my body at the moment so that suck too

and i feel fat lately.

….sigh :-/

39 Roccie { 10.15.10 at 9:01 pm }

I am sorry Carla is gone Mel. She sounds like a unique blend of person. I love women like her. I know only a couple in real life and I treasure them.

I am not sure I like today. I know I am late to the party and the bar is closed, but I am gonna cry on your shoulder anyhow.

I like the idea of Oct15. The timing is just bad. Hurts too much today.

40 Bea { 10.16.10 at 1:44 am }

I’m so sorry to hear that news. I hope the bookshop continues to be a great place for you, but I’m sorry it won’t hold this fine person again.


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