Monday, August 25, 2014

Dear Daughters

I wrote the following email and sent it to the women I know with daughters. I heard back from Meg and Suzanne right away, but I cringed a bit for not hearing back from the others just yet. In truth, this is OK. I didn't write it to get encouragement. I worries at first that some feel I was innapropriate in sending it.

A day or so has passed though, and I continued to get responses. The responses have helped me feel less helpless. They've been encouraging and supportive, which I appreciate, It makes me feel much better that others are listening and maybe learning something for their girls. It makes my experience hurt a little less knowing it could help someone else someday.

Hi all,
I'm sending this email with a great amount of hesitancy. I send it not to be preachy, or to push some science on you, or suggest that "traditional families" are the only way to go in this world, or to tell you how to raise your kids.

I’m emailing you because you all have a daughter. Maybe even more than one. I wish I’d known to ask the right questions while there was time to ask, so I’m sharing this with you so that you know to answer the questions before your daughter knows to ask.

I share this very personal information not for encouragement, pity, sympathy, or out of some weird need to over-share.
I share this because if in sharing this I can spare your daughters the same disappointment in their future that I’m feeling right now, it will be worth it for me.

At 38, still single, and with no interest in having a child by myself, this summer I looked into having my eggs frozen.  I’d considered it a few years ago, but thought “oh, I’ll meet somebody. I have time! I’m sure it’s not too late for me!”  Cut to present day and wouldn't you know, it’s too late for me (and before you tell me that “miracles can happen!”, I’m telling you, the results of my test could not have been worse.)

I believe in adoption. I’m all for it.  And I hope I get a shot at parenthood, still, with an adoption scenario someday. This entry is not a knock on that amazing, awesome option.

Here is the point; according to the doctor I met with, genetics plays the biggest role in predicting your child-bearing deadline. Whatever the deadline was for the other women in your family, it will likely be for you too (and your daughter). I had no idea that menopause starts relatively early in my family. I just never knew to ask or that it mattered in some way. About five years before you start menopause (from what I’ve read), you become increasingly less fertile. Assuming you have had no major medical procedures like chemo (which can damage your reproductive system), it’s genetics that can tell you when you’re running out of time (and healthy eggs). Genetics and a blood test (for those of you who might have adopted girls).

So basically, I’m hoping that you will simply learn from my experience, and consider a conversation with your 25-30 year old daughter in the future (mark your calendar). You may not believe in this sciency stuff and that’s totally fine, obviously this email isn’t for you, (and I have not sent it with any intention to promote the procedure). You might think, well, if my daughter wants to have children surely she will be with someone by the time she’s the age to have children!

Ask Cheryl and Peter Scott. I’m pretty sure they would have said the same about me.

Maybe your daughter will be totally career driven but still hope for kids at some point. Egg freezing can take some of that pressure off to meet a deadline, but it needs to be done when you’re eggs are still healthy and young (something I learned the hard way).

The thing is, if she chooses to not have her eggs frozen, so be it! If she chooses to have her eggs frozen but then never uses them, so be it!  If she chooses to not have kids at all, or adopt from the get-go, super!
I just wanted to share my story with you so you know what I learned, in case you didn't happen to know this fact yourself.


some responses...
Dear Cydney,
 Thank you. Sharing this is really important and I really appreciate it. I am more often than not totally surprised at what we don't know and have to find out the hard way. I think you and the other intelligent, thoughtful women of our generation are changing the rules and being open and honest about issues that for many years went undisclosed, and not talked about. Thank you and thank you again. This is information that I will share with (my daughter) someday probably around the same time I tell her to never have sex anyway. No really, this is so important to know and I know that menopause also starts early in my family as well. I cannot imagine what you are going through personally, but please know that I have you in my thoughts and am hoping for strength and peace within, and that you carry the same amazing attitude that you have had as long as I have known you. You are such a great, cool, funny, and daring woman and you will get through this. By sharing this is taking action and that is such a big step in the process of healing. Much love to you sister:)
- K

Oh, Cyd. I'm so sorry you had to face this difficult life lesson. It's totally unfair and disappointing and sad. This was a very personal and heart felt email. I certainly appreciate your hope to spare these girls the same disappointment from lost opportunity or ignorance. I promise I will keep this message in mind as I watch my girls grow up & wrestle with love and family choices down the line. I hope you find other opportunities for your own future as a woman and mother. You'd make a fantastic mom, Cyd, however that may work out. I'm glad you have that hope. & perseverance. Xoxo. I love you, friend. -Suzanne

I love you and Thank you! - Meg


Thank you so much for sharing this.  I think it is a very important point.  You are an amazing person to take this news and turn it around to try and help another's situation.  I will certainly remember this 15yrs from now. :)
Hope your summer is winding down nicely.  Sunsets and the golden hour are getting earlier and earlier. Talk to you soon.

Hi Cyd,
Thank you. 
I read this yesterday, cried and have been thinking of you and what I wanted to say since then.  I am so sorry you are going through this, life really sucks and is not fair sometimes.  I cannot imagine how disappointing and difficult what you are going through is.  I applaud and appreciate your honesty and willingness to share such a personal difficult matter. Your email was wonderfully stated and as a mother of a girl I really really cannot thank you enough for being willing to put your situation out there.  Kids do not come with an instruction manual and you just hope to do your best raising them.  They say it “takes a village” right? Having friends who help you fill in the pieces on what your children need to know and things you should tell them is critical and we are all lucky to have you provide us with this important information. 

Honesty, caring, ability to share, being willing to open yourself up…you will be an amazing mother one day. 

Sunday, August 24, 2014


Considering where I am right now, this video makes me smile and cry at ones. Such cuties. Vivian's on the left, Sylvia's on the right. They will be two in a few weeks.

The twins ask for a tickle! 8/20/14 from C.M. Scott on Vimeo.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Great Barrington

I'm visiting Meg and her family in Great Barrington for a few days. Stella is now six, Miles is four and the twins Sylvia and Vivian are two next month.

I thought it might be tough to be around kids, but it's been really great.  Lots of hugs to go around.
Getting ready for bed, I remembered this conversation from years ago. Too funny.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

All We Can Do Now...

"All we can do now is face what's coming next"

It's a line from A.R.T's Finding Neverland which I went to see tonight with Amanda thanks to the urging of Mom who saw it a few weeks ago.  It was phenomenal. So exciting too, to find that Mia Michaels did the choreography. Michaels was a choreographer for So You Think You Can Dance and I love her work. Tonight it was really great, and Amanda pointed out how different the moves were. Contemporary. I'd be shocked if she wasn't nominated for something for her work.
Also in the show was Melanie, who was the winner of SYTYCD a few seasons ago.

"All we can do now is face what's coming next"

Isn't that the truth. Today, I went back to the fertility doctor. After the news I got a few months ago about my crap odds of success with egg freezing, I wanted to meet with him to make sure I understood the numbers, and discussed exactly what they meant and if there was anywhere to go from here.

There is absolutely nowhere to go from here. Today what I learned in person was worse than what I thought when I heard a few numbers read to me over the phone a while back. My AMH number is .29, "troubling" according to the doctor.  The number should be above 2, and below 1 is a sign of low fertility. FSH is 15.5 which shows "significant decline in fertility".

So, breaking it down, he told me that even for a 38 year old, my numbers are bleak. If I went through with the procedure, I would maybe get three or four eggs, each of which has about a 3% chance of "taking". Meaning, a 3% of even becoming an embryo when given the chance.

I would need to go through the egg harvesting procedure (ten days of hormones, a medical procedure to extract the eggs, uncomfortable recovery and $8000 bill each time) three times for a 25% chance of success.

Diet does nothing to change these numbers, acupuncture does nothing to change this. It's all genetics. How many eggs you have and how long they last is genetic. At the moment I am tired and thinking about my nice evening out with my friend and the wonderful show we just watched, but still, my heart hurts a bit, I admit. I knew my odds were not good, but to think of all those years of cycles. All those annoying cramps. Useless.

To think I thought that being diabetic was my fair shake. OK, I'll take that. A genetic predisposition is required to become a diabetic, so it's in there somewhere. Genetics have struck again with regard to this, and it seems like more than my share really.

Every friend needs to have another friend who can't have kids. That person they are thankful they aren't as they tuck their kid in at night. I guess that's me.

To think, if I'd known to freeze my eggs five years ago, I wouldn't be in this situation. Four or five measly years. Maybe even three.

The other day I went sailing with Ben. As we waited to have access to the boat, we sat in a park and chatted. A woman in the parking was breast feeding her baby, and Ben asked, sort of in awe,  "Do you find it strange that your body is capable of making a human?"
Without thinking, I responded, "No I just find it strange that I won't get a chance to try it."

As we breezed around in the boat, I kept looking at my feet and my toes. My toes curl like my Mom's, I've always loved my hands and my feet because they are carbon copies of my Mom's. I thought I'd get a chance to see if I could pass it on. I just can't wrap my brain around the fact that I won't get to see who I could make. Who I could have brought into the world. How strange to sort of mourn someone I've never met and will never meet. I think they would have been a cool kid.

Today was sort of like being punched in the stomach a second time. I will find myself wondering where I turned left when I should have turned right. My heart hurts. I will adjust to this new reality like I did before. And it will be fine.
I am alive, and I here, It's just that at the moment I'm no fan of Mother Nature.

All I can do now is face what's coming next.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Robin Williams

While I prefer to think of all the great things a person did with their life and not their actual death, recording events is part of what I do. It’s also part of how I deal with emotions, sad and happy. So, today I took an early lunch break and went down to the Boston Common to photograph the outpouring of Boston love and appreciation for the brilliant Robin Williams.

Last night, someone came along and started this makeshift memorial on the bench where a scene from Good Will Hunting was shot. Even during the short period of time I was there, many people came and added their favorite quotes to the sidewalk and left flowers on the bench.

My camera often acts as an emotional wall and it can help me cut-off from the situation I’m witnessing. Sometimes.  A lump formed in my throat as I arrived (and grew at the sight of a young woman writing with a little boy “I Yam what I Yam, I’m Popeye the Sailer man!”), and it was a struggle to keep it together until I decided to leave my own quote from Dead Poet’s Society, “I sound my barbaric YAWP over the rooftops”. Focusing on chalk writing apparently helps curb public outbursts of tears. Who knew?

Robin Williams was a genius. I think few would argue with that. Many who met him and knew him said he was kind and warm-hearted (from what I’m seeing through interviews). Those who only saw him on the screen know he was heart-breaking and hilarious, often while playing the same role. When the chalk washes away, I know that’s what I’ll remember, and I will be grateful to have Dead Poet’s and Good Will and Vietnam and many more to continue to enjoy his genius through. But for today, I document.
This one started the lump in my throat. A quote from Popeye.

I added this one.

Monday, August 11, 2014

Oh Captain My Captain

I must have been in need of a good cry. Bottling up stresses and disappointments because of a lack of way to release them, I lost my control when Amanda texted me "Robin Williams is dead".

I truly don't remember the last time I felt my gut drop, but it did tonight. News sources say he committed suicide after a recent bout with depression. Ironically, I have been bad about taking my own meds recently (simply from distraction) and I am now wondering if it's part of the reason why this hit me so hard. The death of a stranger.

I cried. And then I cried some more, all the while thinking how weird it was that I was crying for someone I'd never met. Then Facebook blew up with thoughts and condolences "I don't believe it"s and reposting of news stories about it.

Then the pictures started and I'd remember one other way he'd contributed to his field;

Genie hugging Aladdin.


A Vietnamese baby reaching out and touching Williams' face during the filming of Good Morning Vietnam.


A clip of Williams doing various impressions.


I feel fine, and then I look at FB again and I am reminded.

Williams standing on school desks "Oh Captain, My Captain". How ironic that the boy his character so desperately wanted to protect killed himself.

Life imitating art.

Amanda texts me that we have to have a GWH (Good Will Hunting) viewing soon. Yes, we do.

Depression. I have mixed feelings about suicide, in truth. Williams was married and had a 25 year old daughter. He left them anyway. He had been clean and sober since the '80s. He left anyway. Who knows what demons get to a person. I just can't fathom life getting so bad that you can't stop yourself from thinking there's no other way. Some other way. Any other way than the one you're about to choose.

And then other times, when I am feeling at my lowest, I get it, despite the fact that I know it is something I would never ever do. Ever.

I think about Susan and how she fought and fought to the end. And I am annoyed that another person, healthy, would voluntarily go. Someone who has family to think about. Someone who has contributed to the world and who could still do so.

Right now the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge is taking over the social networking sites. Someone with ALS has little choice but to watch their body fall apart while their brain remains the same. But, suicide is a choice.

And then I remember, that even though I have my bouts with sadness, some people have deep, sad holes that they fall into with no way of getting out. To them, it appears there is no way out. Even though I struggle to believe it myself (which is amazingly odd), depression is a disease that needs treatment just as I need my insulin.

We humans are some complicated things aren't we?

I will leave you with someone far less complicated. Someone who finds joy in the end of a carrot!

Ends if carrots are the funnest! 8/9/14 from C.M. Scott on Vimeo.

Boston Bucket List; The Summer Installment 4

Star Wars at Chris Columbus Park !

We learned a few things from our Shakespeare experience; This time, I packed some of my own chairs along with cushions and a sweatshirt (I was cold the other night at Shakespeare on the Common).

When I picked Ben up, we thought together about what to get to eat. We were a little short on time and needed to get going to Wellington Station where we planned to park my car and take the T into the city since the parking near CC Park is expensive.

A stroke of genius! We'll stop at Kelly's Roast Beef on the way to the station. I've never been and it's very famous int he area for being good.

Sandwiches in hand we rode over to Wellington Station and parked my car. We gathered up our over-sized bag of seat cushions, food and my sweatshirt, and awkwardly carried the lawn chairs into the station, up the stairs, to the entrance to's closed. Shit. I'd forgotten Wellington is closed.

Not wanting to make things more complicated, I decided "Screw it let's just drive in".

We reloaded up the car and headed in to Haymarket. Once there, I went for the bag in the back seat to find my water bottle (with a flip-open top) had opened up and poured it's contents all over my sweatshirt. Shit.

With a grumble and a harrumph I left my soggy sweatshirt behind and braced myself for a chilly, no-water-to-drink evening in my tank top. At CC Park we were pleased to see it wasn't packed. We found a very nice spot, and Ben then wandered off to get drinks, including a new water for me, and chocolate chip cookies from the Boston Chipyard. So goooood!

While I was chilly all night, watching Star Wars in this way was so much fun. Everyone laughed at the cheesy lines, and since it has been at least a decade since I've seen it, I really enjoyed it.

And everyone cheered when the Deathstar was blown up, so that in itself was worth the trek of an experience.

Saturday, August 9, 2014

Boston Bucket List; The Summer Installment 3

Shakespeare On The Common!

After picking up some killer italian subs in The North End, Ben and I headed over to The Boston Common to claim our small scrap of lawn. The place was packed and finding a spot with a view of the stage was tricky, but we persevered.

The show was good, but I was a bit distracted, I'll admit. I think this is because sitting near the ground on a low, rented sand chair is not comfortable at all. After an hour and a half or so, Ben admitted he felt antsy too.

I informed him that it is because we are old.

We didn't quite make it to the end of the show, but it was a fun experience. I really enjoy being part of a crowd event like that. It leaves me with a really nice feeling of community. Hey! Look at me, I got out and DID something tonight! And other people were here with me!

Thursday, August 7, 2014

PT Cruisin'

Chatting with coworkers during the annual summer lunch at Tia's I joked with Scott, head of design, that he is failing me as a match-maker by only hiring gay male designers. Or married ones. Or gay ones who are married. They need to be straight and available, I tell him, adding "And taller than 5'10...and someone who enjoys a challenge!" I joke, giving a little swing of my fist."and a fixer-upper!" he adds with a 'I'm just joking!' look. didn't like what you just said.

On my drive home along the Rte 28, my eyes gravitate towards something familiar to me and I instantly see her; my puppy riding a long, ears flopping and fur blowing in the breeze with her head out the window of my dog walker's PT Cruiser. I tried to get a picture with my phone but no luck.

I got home just behind the two of them and when I got out of my car and looked up at my porch Harlow looked down on me, dog-smiling, with her paws on the ledge of the porch, clearly standing on her hind legs for a better view. "Who's that?!" Bonnie the dog walker says in a sing-song voice.  I can see in the wiggle of her upper body that Harlow is now wagging. It reminded me of kids' reactions to the sight of me when I used to babysit.

A kid running at you yelling your name with their arms outstretched is equaled by nothing.

And then I wonder if I'll get to see that sometime.

In the evening, Lauren and her son Owen and I were planning on going to Revere Beach to watch an outdoor showing of Night At The Museum, but the rain started to fall and we even got hail!

Hail! from C.M. Scott on Vimeo.

So, I invited them over to watch Cloak and Dagger instead. We thought it was age appropriate for Owen who is 8, and with exception to the scene in which Henry Thomas gets cornered by an armed thug who threatens to blow both his kneecaps off, we were pretty on-target. Owen later said "That was really mean! I think that part is probably better for nine or ten year olds".


Meanwhile, Lauren and I marvelled at the parenting moments. Of which there were none. Kimmie, Davie's neighbor simply says "I'll be alright, I've got a key" when the police bring the children back to their own neighborhood in the middle of the night. Um, where's your mom? Workin' the late shift?

Towards the end of the movie, when the children are using their bus passes to get to the San Antonio Airport just before midnight, another show of exceptional parenting arises when Davie's dad comes over to Kimmie's house looking for Davie. "I thought she was at your house!" says the mother, "She left this note though!"

I've gone to the airport, call the police.

Really, Crappy Mom? You thought Kimmie was right next door? If she was in fact next door, why was she still there at midnight?


Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Trio Dinner

At least every two months, preferably every month, my friends Amanda, Donna and Christina come over for dinner, or we go out somewhere.

Last night we were without Donna thanks to stupidy-dupid work. It was breakfast for dinner night!

We had chicken and waffles, which I tried for the first time when I visited Libby some time last year, cream cheese with pecans and a bit of syrup, inspired by San Juan's Waffle-Era Tea room, the classic home made whipped cream with strawberries and the trendy nutella and banana.

The ladies were understandably skeptical at first about the chicken, but one of them, after taking a bite and thinking for a moment said "Oh, I get it!"

They liked it.  Good dinner all around.

Evening Snuggle and a Burp too

8/06/14 evening snuggle complete with a burp in my face from C.M. Scott on Vimeo.