about
Alisa. 37. New Hampshire. Married for almost three years to this wonderful, funny, smart guy. Previously married. Went through in-vitro fertilization to have my five year old magical son Keegan. Stepmother to the charming Isabelle (6). Gushingly in love with our baby boy Harper(1). Policy Wonk and dreaded bureaucrat. Lover of fine cuisine, honeybees, truly romantic moments and the underdog.
cooking
Curried Beef Short Ribs

Note: I found this was more realistically four servings.

Finishing this dish with lime zest and juice brightens its rich flavors.

Yield 6 servings (serving size: about 3 ounces ribs, 2/3 cup rice, and about 2 1/2 tablespoons sauce)

2 teaspoons canola oil
2 pounds ...continue reading

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Next Generation

I love it when my site gets visited by other brats. It is such a truly special community. One commenter made me aware of a special site for children & families of military and public service personnel. She is also an author. I read her book "Daddy, You're My Hero" online and of course it made me cry. I don't think you ever get over growing up with a parent who's job asks them to risk their life. Every report from Iraq breaks my heart with the awful news for those families. Brats get that and it's nice when someone finally gets you.

Mobile Home

The internet can be so cool. Here I am minding my own little business on my blog and minding some of your's on your blogs. And along comes someone from a random search. A someone who lived in the same place in Italy only a few years earlier. A someone who through exchanging emails I find out lived in exactly my same house. This is amazing to me. Everywhere we lived I wondered about the people who had come before. I used to check the closets for notes that they might have left. When we moved I wanted a way to tell them. Tell them about a little girl in a new place. A little girl who spent time in that house which was home for a while. A little girl who always wanted a place to stay "for keeps." A little girl who could not mark her history with places but with memories she carried in her heart. I always wanted to connect with the next little girl in that room. I always wanted to connect.
Now as a "grownup" I struggle between two desires. The itchy feeling I get after 3 or 4 years to move and the deeper need for roots. To have "my" house in "my" neighborhood and a real hometown. Is it any wonder I become emotional about our little house we sold last year? We made it ours together. All the flowers and plants were put there by me. That's the first deck we ever built, the first shed roof we ever installed ourselves. Memories tied to a place. Admittedly we left by choice and I love our new house. But we already talk about moving farther north in a few years. And we'll leave behind this place too. Filled with the nursery, bringing home the baby and young childhood memories. A "brat curse" to wander and look for something better somewhere else. But this time I get to choose.

Episode 1

I don't have a lot of interesting things going on right now to write about. Well probably not interesting to people besides myself. So how about a blast from the past before my memory fails me. I bring you:

Dumb Stuff I Did As A Kid

When were stationed in Italy (5th through 7th grade) we lived in civilian housing in regular Italian neighborhoods. While in Naples we lived above the Cuma caves so our area was called Parco Cuma. My dad rented a villa (don't get excited, they were all villas). It had a stucco and wrought iron wall around it with a gate in the front and the back. Purely cosmetic as it had seashell shaped cutouts where you could run up one side and hop over to the other. Trust me, it did not deter burgulars or even stray dogs.
The villa had all one level living and then a basement level where we were banished to play. The basement led to the backyard and my dad's prized citrus trees. From which, despite help from the farmer behind us, my dad couldn't coax more than golfball-sized fruit. The rest of the American kids in the neighborhood all hung out together. It didn't matter if you were a jock, geek or lump, all kids were included. Because we didn't have any English speaking television stations we spent a lot of time outdoors. This made all the moms happy and we pretty much did whatever we wanted. There was one kid who had an extensive movie collection, we're talking Betamax here. His mom would let you watch movies at their house but only with parent's permission. She actually kept a Rolodex with each kid's slip including what ratings they were allowed. Did I mention she was also our Home Economics teacher? The first time I saw E.T. was a bootleg copy in her livingroom.
Other interests included kick the can, tag and fireworks. Yes, fireworks. They were unbelievably cheap and powerful. By now you've probably figured out where this story is going.
Let me set the scene. Around our villa was a sidewalk that ran along the house. For some unknown reason it had a tunnel underneath. You could climb through an opening in the retaining wall and disappear. Well we did. And on many occasions. One time in particular comes to mind. The group of us were under there including my brother and I. Basically atleast one kid from each family in the neighborhood was represented. We grew bored of the fireworks and moved on to aerosol can flamethrowers. But this was not the pinnacle of our stupidity. We decided it wasn't enough flames and built a little fire in that tunnel. Between us and the exit. Sheer genius. How we manged to not all die down there is a miracle. To this day you can still whip my mom into a frenzy at the mere mention of this incident. It's a wonder the other kids were still allowed to play with us after that.

Until next time.....

Fiber Of My Being

(Once again I was not able to get internet access until well after midnight.)

It seems like most of what I want to write these days involves the military. Partly because this war is giving me flashbacks and also prompted by an interesting email conversation I have been having with Sara.

Like many people I talk to I am torn over the war issue. I have my Bachelor's in Political Science, specifically foreign policy. So even though I have not kept up as closely as I should, the knowledge of the history is there. And I can not shake 23 years in the Army of my total 31 years of life. It is as much a part of my culture as someone else's ethnic background. I feel a strong bond with the military and was raised to support our government. But I also hate war. I recognize that sometimes it is absolutely necessary. I just wish I felt better about this one. I can not trust the reasons we are there now. I have difficulty not meeting the latest facts on weapons intelligence with scepticism. I studied war and it's effects extensively and see the horror in my mind during all the news reports. It is a difficult place to be seeming as though you are forced to choose sides. I don't know. But I will support the troops until the last ones come home.

My father thing is a whole different story. He is conservative and I am liberal. I think we respect each other's opinions well. He supports our government and I support people's rights to protest the war. We respectfully disagree. I was not alive when he was in Vietnam. But over the course of my lifetime I get tidbits. Mostly from my mother who was 19 with a newborn when my dad shipped out. He does not speak of it directly to me. He does not brag or romanticize any of it. I must have been in my 20s when I found out that he was a hero. That he had been decorated for bravery and saved lives. He is proud of his service to his country, a choice he made at 20. A career for 30 years. But he has never been able to go to The Wall. To read the names of the men he knew so well. The men who he led and who's faces he says he remembers. Every single one of them. I have been several times. I go for him. I stand in awe and cry for him. And I cry with pride that he was a part of those men's histories.

Searching

Is this a sign of the times or what? I keep getting daily hits on a yahoo search for "daddy+was+a+soldier+poem" or variations of that. They must be getting this.
Which I wrote more about the experience of being a "brat." It puts tears in my eyes to see local coverage of the families waiting at home. It brings back the ghost of a feeling, one I haven't felt in years. Right now my father is in Virgina on business. His good friend is doing military commentary for NBC. I can close my eyes and picture them both in uniform. See them as young soldiers and also as older men who survived their own generation's war. My mom told me about anti-war protests back then. How they stormed my father's ROTC building in college. How they did not return to a hero's welcome. How people spat on them. How after all these years my mom still doesn't speak to her cousin who called my dad a "baby killer" at a family reunion. I wait with heavy anticipation the next hours, days, and months of this war.

Lifetime Membership

I grew up an Army brat. It was just simply a part of who I was. A few years ago, I discovered there is a whole community of brats out there. I also discovered that there are books about us. Books that tell my truth and explain facets of my personality, it was eery. But I felt like a member of an exclusive club. A club where only fellow members can truly understand. Infertility is like that. A special club that you can only join by happenstance
I have been thinking a lot today about infertility. It is probably because I am approaching the time for my cycle to end and we will move on with bloodwork and further tests before IVF meds. When we first started having trouble last year I told Tom that in my heart I knew something was wrong. That conviction helped me push my doctor to do testing before they wanted to. I was right, there is something wrong that keeps us from conceiving naturally.
Today I said to Tom that I just know I will be pregnant this year. A part of me is worried about superstitious jinxing. But the louder part of me (the positive side) really believes. I believe in the doctors and the IVF/ICSI process. I believe that we have a really good shot. I believe that somewhere inside me is the strength to get through the shots, the tests and the procedures. I believe in the place deep inside that only became known to me in the past few years. The part that can almost hear my child's voice say my name, and all the imagined days ahead when I teach my child how to navigate the world.
It's not the pregnancy or the idea of a baby. It's the idea of creating a child from myself & Tom. The idea of a family made more by the sum of it's parts.

The following is a story I read on one of my Trying To Conceive (TTC) bulletin boards. It's a great metaphor for what it is like inside infertility.