Wednesday, March 24, 2010

My March Resolutions

First of all, I'll give the TTC-related update. I'm officially 15 dpo today and finally saw the faintest hint of brown last night. I took that as good enough reason to skip on the progesterone suppositories this morning and hope that AF comes in full force soon so I can move on to the next cycle. I was expecting more of her today but have only had the faintest hints of blood--accompanied by lots of cramping and back pain (and hip and butt pain, and thigh pain, and....) As always for me--at least since going off the pill.

Also, Pete and I went for his SA yesterday, since he was leaving (and left) for a conference this morning. We wanted to have them processing the results while he was gone. He wanted me to come in case he had trouble... finishing the job and needed me to sneak in and show some cleavage or something. But he did great and was finished rather quickly. I guess a few days of abstinence will do that. He brought out his brown bag and went to turn it in to the guy at the check-in counter, and the guy started shaking his head as soon as Pete started walking up. Guess what? Apparently they only accept "specimens" before noon. Which completely makes sense. But, um, shouldn't he have told us that before Pete went and jacked off? He clearly should have seen him heading back towards the "specimen collection rooms." The exit was in the opposite direction. So Pete had to throw all his little guys away, and now he can't go until Monday since he's gone until Sunday. Boo.

I am quite excited to start in with acupuncture/herbs/TCM on Friday. I was hoping AF would start tomorrow, as I've read that it's best (according to chinese medicine) not to have any treatments on days 1-3 of your cycle. But at this point, I'm not sure when day 1 will actually be, so I'm just going to go on Friday no matter what. I'm ready to get this show on the road and maybe start fixing some of the screwy things going on with my cycles.

And now for something completely different.

A year or two ago, Pete and I went to see a screening of a documentary (or "rockumentary") called Call and Response. It was, in a word, devastating. I knew a lot about the issue of human trafficking and slavery--I had to write a paper about it my senior year in college (which was before so many people were talking about it). But it's always different to see pictures and videos. On a side note, if you ever get a chance to see this movie, please do. It's beautifully done.

Seeing the video and hearing Justin Dillon (musician and producer of the movie) challenge us in the audience to take action was the first time I really thought about changing my buying habits. But I simply didn't know how we could do it. First of all, finding information about where different companies source their materials and how their factories are run is very difficult. Second of all, if I really wanted to ensure that my money wasn't supporting the horror of the modern-day slave trade, I would need to spend a lot more time and money to hunt out and pay for the "clean" clothes, electronics, coffee, etc. Let's face it: "fair-trade" certified items are simply expensive. We aren't rolling in money, and we do give a lot away to charities. So, I figured, the less I can spend on clothes, the more we have to give away. Right?

I subscribe to a magazine called Relevant. Their most recent issue included an article called "Everyday Justice: 10 Lifestyle Choices that Can Tangibly Help Others." Reading it, I was convicted and reminded of my past guilt over these issues. I mean, how can I claim to be firmly against slavery and other kinds of injustice when I'm not willing to even change my buying habits to keep my money from supporting evil in the world? Ouch.

Another thing this article helped me to crystallize in my mind is the relationship between slavery and the environment. Both are justice issues. Forcing 10-year-old girls into prostitution is a brutal injustice. Raising cows in inhumane environments and consuming too many natural resources are also injustices.

I would strongly contend that the two are not on the same level. Humans are far more important than animals. I know many would disagree with me, but that's where I stand. What's interesting, though, is that I have thus far been far more ready to change my buying habits when it comes to food than when it comes to clothing (and chocolate and coffee, two of the most notoriously slavery-based products). Over the past couple of years, I have gradually started to buy more organic fruits and vegetables and even splurge for grass-fed beef or free-range chicken (when they're on sale or something). And I've traded plastic grocery bags for reusable bags and have even recently worked on cutting back on the number of produce bags I use. In fact, just last week, I signed up for a CSA, so that in a couple of weeks we will start to get weekly produce deliveries from a local farm (which I'm super excited about, but that's another issue).

After reading the article, I started wondering why it has been easier for me to make changes that will benefit the environment rather than those that will benefit other humans, even though I claim that humans are more important. My conclusion? Plain selfish laziness. I think a big part of me reasoning for wanting to buy more organically is health-related. I don't want to be consuming those pesticides and other weird chemicals (especially while dealing with infertility and trying to get pregnant). Also, buying more organic doesn't take any more time or energy. I simply choose the organic options on my normal shopping trip. Just a little more expensive, but really not that bad in small increments. Also, I live in the Bay Area where being green is all the rage, so I have to admit that peer pressure probably plays a bit of a role, as well. Plastic grocery bags are simply uncouth out here. And I actually had a woman scold me for not buying organic at the grocery store once.

Again, ouch. That realization is pretty convicting. Shouldn't I be willing to make a few sacrifices on the stopping-human-trafficking front, as well? No, we can't really afford to simply start shopping at fair-trade clothing stores rather than the usual stores (ie Ross, Kohl's, Target--all of which are within two blocks of our apartment and are dirt cheap). But I can afford to buy fewer clothes. And make the clothing purchases that I do make count. Or at least not count towards slavery!

Of course, it is true that few stores out there are willing or able to be completely open about all the sources of their materials. The final product is just so far removed from the factories that many of them simply don't know. But here's a start. I went to the site ChainStoreReaction and found all the stores that I might shop at that have responded to the many letters in a somewhat adequate fashion. In other words, they already have some good policies in place to do their best to make sure their materials are not being made in sweatshops or other inhumane conditions. I've written them all down on a list that I now plan to carry with me when I go shopping. I was quite relieved to find H&M, Banana Republic, and Gap all on that list. So I have a few decent options. If you want my complete list, you can find it here.

I also found a cool website that is a database of sorts of various fair trade clothing and food shops. I'm sure there are many more out there like it.

Finally, I plan to do my best to purchase only fair-trade coffee and chocolate. The coffee shouldn't be a problem. I'm off it for infertility reasons right now anyway, and even when I do drink it, I don't drink that much. Chocolate is a different story. I'm a bit of an addict, which means I like to have chocolate in the house at all times. Which means I like to buy it cheap. So I might need to make the*huge* sacrifice of cutting back on my chocolate consumption, as well, so I can afford to buy the fair-trade stuff.

When we get to the point of pursuing adoption, we will definitely be thinking about justice issues in the arena of orphans around the world. That will be interesting, I'm sure.

Do any of you have any cool resources for incorporating justice more into everyday lifestyle choices?


Jenny said...

Wow I had no idea they had to jack off before noon. I still need to get my husband's little guys tested. That's a good thing to know!

And as for the human trafficking thing, I still have a lot to learn about that. I mean, I'm aware it exists but I wasn't aware it was affected by our shopping and other things. I need to start being more aware of that stuff.

As for organic food, I'm such a cheap skate. And now that I'm into coupons it's so hard for me to look at organic food as anything other than expensive (even though I know it's good for me). Blah. It's hard to be aware and yet follow what you know is good when it's so easy to do other things.

Ceejay said...

Jenny - The before noon thing was a rule in place at the lab we went to, not a universal rule. I don't think it makes a difference in the results. But I guess since an SA needs to be done within an hour of submitting the "specimen," they have to have the people on site to do it, and our lab only has someone until noon. So just call the lab you go to beforehand and check.

Stefanie said...

We have to have our specimen in at the lab in the mornings before 8. I suppose all the different labs has got their own way of doing things

~Stopping by for ICLW #78

Stickles McQueen said...

That totally sucks about the SA. I would've been a lot more p*ssed about it, but I think I'm just wound up knowing that we'll have to do this pretty soon ourselves with an IUI coming up.

Good luck with this next cycle and the acupuncture/herbs!

Leslie said...

Im very sorry that this doesn't appear to be your cycle... :(

Bay area ladies are so funny with their hemp grocery bags and their organic EVERYTHING. Oh yeah, and their green (like actually GREEN, not just "green") Priuses. I personally hate them. And I make fun. Probably because I've gotten yelled at by them before too...

But I do agree that it is worthwhile to try to buy grass-fed beef and local eggs/poultry. I do. Not always, but I do make the effort. I hadn't really thought about clothes, though. i will definitely check out your links here to start making better clothes-buying decisions. Thanks!

S.I.F. said...

Whenever things like that happen (hubby jerking off just to find out they won't accept it) I sometimes think people allowed it to go down on purpose for their own personal amusement! You know that guy had to know what he was doing!

Either that, or I'm far too cynical!

AnxiousMummyto3 said...

Hey Ceejay!
Ugh how frustrating for poor DH! Anyway hopefully you'll be able to get another one done early next week. The acupuncture and herbs sound like a great option, what is TCM though? Looking forward to hearing how you go with them...thanks for your sweet comments on my blog BTW!

Alex said...

I can't believe your hubby's SA went down like that!!! So awful! So freakin frustrating! I like your discussion about organics and being more green. I try to do my part but I could definitely do more! Maybe we should try to do more together! It's funny about how different parts of the country treat it differently. I'm from Colorado but now live in Texas and it's very different now! :)

Ceejay said...

Anxious Mummy - TCM stands for traditional chinese medicine. Sorry, I should have clarified. Basically, it means acupuncture, herbs, and then eating the proper foods, etc.

Adele said...

Boo is right!! That's awful. My DH is like a shamefaced schoolboy in those situations and he wouldn't have been too pleased, and I'm guessing yours wasn't, either. You'd think they might have warned him on the way back. Sheesh.

I agree with you - the decisions we make in every day life do have an impact. And if we care about certain issues we must put our money (quite literally) where are mouths are. I'm going to check out those links with interest.

One site that I love is the Environmental Working Group (, especially their "Skin Deep" Cosmetics database. It's scary reading, though, I warn you!

Good luck with the TCM. I really believe in the acupuncture and love my practitioner. She surprised me by saying she actually prefers to see me in the first days of a cycle.

Crossed Fingers said...

What? That is so not fair! Hopefully his SA comes back with great news and the wait was worth it!

ICLW #59

Kelly said...

I hope AF cooperates and arrives soon so you can get your TCM underway. Good luck to you.