Monday, December 31, 2007
Here is a pic of the birthday festivities too...
I hope that everybody has a wonderful new year!
Saturday, December 29, 2007
I watched Julia for a while earlier today. I really do enjoy having her over, but at the same time it makes me nervous about becoming a parent myself someday. I mean when she is here I feel like I can't do anything but watch her at all times. Now she doesn't have much in the way of toys while she is here and my house is not Julia-proof. But how do parents get things done anyhow? I don't know what I'm trying to say exactly, except that I realize that it is a huge lifestyle change. I definitely want it, and we're as ready for it as we're ever going to be. But I'd be a liar if I said that I don't find these thoughts overwhelming sometimes. I wonder whether I'm to selfish to be a mom. Whether I'm going to be a bad mom, because I'm not good at playing with children. I wonder if all feels different when its your own children. I'm rambling but if there are any parents out there reading this, can you tell me if any of these feelings are normal?
Anyhow, I'll leave you with a pic of Julia and Cujo that I took today. She really loves cuddling up with him, and he seems to tolerate it at least.
Friday, December 28, 2007
Clomid was about 1cm in diameter, which was just big enough to cause me problems. Plus it had a texture that caused it to get stuck on the back of my tongue coupled with a horrible after taste that made me gag if I couldn't get it swallowed quickly. But that was of little consequence considering that I did not experience the the typical side effects. Except for that low-grade, annoying headache that lasted for a week after the last pill. Oh and those lovely ovarian cysts. Hmmm...
Anyhow, my last cycle began Christmas Eve (apparently good ol' Aunt Flo prefers visiting on major holidays considering the last one started on Thanksgiving). So I've now finished my second dose of Letrozole, and I have to say that besides the lower cost (thanks to insurance) I'm loving the size of these pills, which is on the order of birth control pills. I can even swallow them with out liquids, and the after taste is minimal. And so far no side effects! Of course the clomid side effects didn't show until after I finished the pills so I'm not holding my breath.
So the protocol this month is Letrozole on cycle days 3 - 7 and then a follie check on January 4th. If my response is similar to my clomid cycles, we'll probably be doing the IUI around my 30th birthday (the 7th). So please keep everything crossed and I'd appreciate loads of anti-cyst vibes!
Wednesday, December 26, 2007
First Cujo and Ellie received their presents.
That made them tired so then they slept.
Then we got together with family, where of course Julia was the center of attention. She has finally decided that she likes her Uncle Jeramy.
Back at home Jeramy played with his new remote control helicopter. Too bad it got stuck in my hair. Luckily both the helicopter and the hair survived. Today we went out to The Rock pizza with Jeramy's mom, stepdad, and Julia. Miss Julia thought the food was good...
Afterwards we went back home where she played with the dogs. Between Julia, the camera, and the dogs, I had my hands full.
Oh and my dad taught me something quite important this Christmas. "The clap" is slang for Gonorrhea and not Chlamydia as I stated in a previous post. However, I'd like to clear the air here...I have not had either of these lovely STDs. I find that the holidays are a prime time for life's little lessons, don't you?
Sunday, December 23, 2007
Oh and besides watching the dogs alternate between playing and sleeping, I've also been baking up a storm (sugar cookies, ginger snaps, marbled fudge, chocolate chip cookies and bourbon balls) and knitting. I even finished the scarf below just in time for Christmas.
Wednesday, December 19, 2007
Tuesday, December 18, 2007
Cujo in his normal state, holiday or no holiday.
Monday, December 17, 2007
Now I have to say that I'm a pretty crappy wife when it comes to the nursing component of the job. Maybe I don't have a whole lot of nurture in me, but Jeramy's whining grates on me. But remembering what a baby I become at the slightest hint of a cold, I tried to block all that out and take care of him. I picked up cough drops and tomato soup at the grocery store. I helped him build an absurdly hot fire to combat his chills. I loaned him my body basal thermometer to take his temperature (how accurate is that anyhow???). I tried not to think of the dollars he'll fail to earn if he stays home sick tomorrow. Oh and I let him repeat himself over and over, which was apparently caused by his cold induced drunken-like state. I didn't flee the house in an attempt to save myself from his presumably highly-contagious germs, which I'm sure will take hold of me just as I start my long weekend on Friday. You know, I think that his being sick is almost worse than me being sick.
Sunday, December 16, 2007
Friday, December 14, 2007
1. I grew up with horribly crooked teeth, which I was horribly self conscience about for years. After 5 years of braces and 2 jaw surgeries starting at age 23, I finally got what I wanted. And let me tell you, I have no problem in remembering to wear my retainer after forking out all that $$$.
2. Jeramy and I first met in marching band when he was in 8th grade and I was in 9th. He was playing the bass drum and I was on cymbals (since oboes don't march). And my first impression of him was not particularly favorable. If somebody would have told me that we'd be married 6 years later, I'd probably would have probably had them admitted to an insane asylum.
3. Jeramy and I started dating after we had health class together when he was in 10th grade and I was in 11th. So I can honestly say that we began our relationship by taking sex ed. Obviously I must have been distracted by new-found love, because I apparently learned nothing about how to make a baby.
4. I authored psychology reports for 4 pipefitters during their apprenticeship. I made $100 apiece except for Jeramy's which I did for free. My favorite one was on voyeurism.
5. I'm obsessed with Jane Austen. I've read all the books and seen all the moves. Many times. If she were alive, I'd probably be some creepy stalker.
6. I majored in chemistry, but I'm a complete klutz in the lab (or anywhere for that matter). Since sulfuric acid and I don't get along, I decided to move on to an office job.
7. I'll cry over just about anything. Take last night for example. I cried during the news because an Oregon couple finally got to adopt their 2 year old son. Then I cried during Charlie Gibson's interview of Senator Biden, and his story about losing his 29 year old wife and 18 month old son in a car wreck years and years ago. I never did this when I was younger. But as an adult, anything can trigger tears.
I can't possibly think of 7 more people to tag, seeing as everybody else has already done this. So I'm tagging my Aunt Cheryl and Uncle Barry, because yes, I have family members that are cool enough to blog.
Thursday, December 13, 2007
My RE came in, we did the ultrasound, and it seems that the cyst has resolved. Then I dressed and we had the consultation. He confirmed that my uterine cavity and left tube appear normal based on the left HSG. The question is really why the dye did not go through the left tube. He said that this is usually due to one of two things: (1) a spasm during the HSG procedure or (2) a blocked tube. He suspects that it is #1, because the most common cause of tube blockage is a chlamydia infection, and I've never had the clap. He said that endometriosis can cause blocked tubes, but that it is very rare and laproscopy is the only way to diagnose it. So since infertility treatments are really an odds game, we're going to bet that the cause is #1, spasm, and continue to focus on getting me to ovulate without forming cysts. He mentioned that I could do another HSG, but we didn't really feel that it would be money well spent at this point in time.
As I'm expecting my next cycle to start around Christmas, it sounds like Santa will be bringing me a letrozole/IUI cycle. What fun!
Wednesday, December 12, 2007
Look what I just got at work! Jeramy's stepmom, Vickie, sent them to me for taking her to pick out a new boxer puppy a couple weekends ago. Isn't that thoughtful? And they're getting me in the holiday spirit with the Christmas tree smell now filling my office. Sorry that the pic is a little fuzzy. Cell phone cameras leave a little to be desired.
Also, Jeramy "elfed" our family. Take a look: http://www.elfyourself.com/?id=1317278859
Tuesday, December 11, 2007
Anyhow the crash caused the camera's zooming capabilities to fail as the lense was getting caught up on some internal part. Luckily, Jeramy (the amazing camera repair man that he is...a true renaissance man of do-it-yourself) was able to fix it by hitting it several times until the zoom lens went in and out somewhat smoothly. But then a couple days later I discovered that the flash no longer worked given the dark, blurry images being produced. So Sunday Jeramy tried fixing that. He tells me that he was successful in that endeavor, except that something else broke. So our response was to break down and buy a new camera. Our new one has 8.1 megapixels, 12x optical zoom, and should arrive by tomorrow. And more of my lovely photos will soon be coming to a blog near you (and by that, I mean this blog).
I'm also thinking of buying a smaller camera to put in my purse, because the cell phone camera just doesn't cut it.
Monday, December 10, 2007
First a little background. I am a very picky eater. My selection of favorite foods is similar to that of a 3 year old: pizza, macaroni and cheese, grilled cheese sandwiches and tacos. I have been known to go into a restaurant, order a beer, and ask for a kids menu. I have an aversion to nearly all green foods. My mother kindly indulged me a child, and my husband has apparently adapted to my stubborn refusal to try anything new. And while I wouldn't necessarily say that I'm proud of this behavior, I also feel like I am entitled to eat as I please.
So last night when I heard we were having Italian for dinner, I was pleasantly surprised. I love a nice plain fettuccine alfredo with garlic breadsticks. However upon entering the establishment, I could tell this was no Olive Garden. All signs indicated this place was far too upscale for me: one-sided menus in a foreign language, waiters severely lacking in "flair" and candle-lit dining. It was not a situation unfamiliar to me. I often work with internationally renowned scientific researchers, well-to-do board members and executives who are let's face it, a class or two or three above me. And those sorts of people do not tend to think of the Olive Garden as a great place for a business lunch or dinner.
So after my first glance over the menu, I felt a wave of panic wash over me. There was nothing that looked even remotely like noodles in a cream sauce, and there was even something with the words "little ears" in it. Outwardly I tried to maintain some composure as my eyes raced up and down the menu looking for something...anything...that I might be able to eat at least a little of. So when the waitress arrived 45 minutes later (long waits, another sign of fine dining) I asked her if they had anything remotely like a fettuccine alfredo. In response I received raised eyebrows and a condescending look. Taking that que, I went with plan B of ordering these least repulsive item on the menu. If I recall it was a vegetarian dish of something ending in "ella" with ragu sauce and goat cheese.
Then I sat back, chatted, drank some wine and waited another hour or so for the food. I also enjoyed the scenery and nearly burst out laughing when I saw a guy who looked like the Emporer from Star Wars sitting at a table nearby. Finally the food arrived. I was glad to see it was a small portion (another sign) and luckily edible enough for my standards. Later I rewarded myself by choosing the Tiramisu from the dessert menu. Yum! All in all, dinner took nearly 3 hours.
In summary, while I cannot say that I enjoy fancy restaurants, I can get through such occasions without embarrassing myself too much. But the pathetic truth of it all is that I'll take a place
with loud country music and Bud Light on tap over snooty five star dining any day. I just can't get away from those white trash roots, I guess.
Friday, December 7, 2007
Wednesday, December 5, 2007
The story behind this is that we left to go Sockeye fishing on Lake Washington at about midnight the night before this pic was taken. I do realize that this lake is only 10 miles away from our house, but Sockeye fisheries are a very rare and popular event around here and you've got to get in line at the boat launch in the middle of the night in order to be fishing by sunrise. Anyhow, on our way we got a flat tire, but that was no problem because we had a spare. So soon enough we were out on the water and catching plenty of fish. Unfortunately on the way home, about a mile away from our house, the second tire blew out. And of course we didn't have a second spare tire. After mulling over our very limited options, Jeramy went and got the car trailer, which led to the scene above. It was a pretty crazy sight to behold driving down the road.
Tuesday, December 4, 2007
Last night I finished blocking my latest scarf project, "My So-Called Scarf". I think it turned out very nicely...quite bohemian and funky. I'm definitely keeping this one for myself although maybe I'll make it again in the future for gifts. Also, I added a crochet slip stitch border around the edge to make them look more finished, as I had seen somebody else do this Ravelry.com (have I mentioned how much I love that website???). Here are the pics:
Monday, December 3, 2007
The effects have certainly been felt at my house. There is now a lake between the garage and where our jeep is stored. We have a leak coming out at the door frame to my office. On the way to work this morning I wasn't sure if I was in a vanpool or a hydroplane-pool. It's 8:30am right now and it looks more like 6pm out my window.
Yuck. I hope this stops soon.
Friday, November 30, 2007
Frequently while sitting in the RE's office, often while my legs are in stirrups or I'm enjoying the pleasures of the ultrasound wand, I find my self thinking about the irony that I'm paying to do all this. But it was not until I experienced the joys of an HSG that I truly understood the truth of these thoughts. So let me share with those unfamiliar with the joys of an HSG what exactly $750 bought me on Wednesday afternoon.
The purpose of the HSG is to determine whether I have any uterine abnormalities or blocked fallopian tubes. Basically it involves injecting a dye into my uterus and tubes that can be seen by an x-ray. For many reasons, I would not quite describe this procedure as pleasurable:
1. The stirrups: these are not your run of the mill stirrups. Rather these are the HSG extra special stirrups. In sum you have to try to rest the back of your knees on them without having them fall off as your RE sticks a wide variety of apparatuses better fit for interrogation than the practice of medicine in your vee-jay.
2. The speculum: not only do they stick the enemy of every woman in me once, but twice. And yes the aforementioned torture devices were involved both times.
3. The gynecological equivalent of an obstacle course: once they've inserted the aforementioned torture devices, they ask you to find a way to propel yourself backwards on the exam table. Then when dye flow is not satisfactory they ask you to twist your body in crazy directions. And finally when the whole thing is done you have to propel yourself back to you original position. Of course all of this must be done without dislodging the torture devices.
4. Sharp instruments and the cervix: frankly these two items don't mix. I mean this sounds like the basis for some video entitled "Pap Smears Gone Wild". Definitely a horror flick.
5. A "little" bit of cramping: do RE's receive specific training in this lie they feed women during their fellowships? What I experienced could not be characterized by the term "little". I mean talk about the understatement of the century. How about an overwhelming, shooting pain in my lower pelvic region especially on the right side? Mine may have been worse due to some possible blockage but couldn't they at least give a girl some forewarning about that???
So the result of all this, as you may have ascertained from #3 and #5 above, is that no dye went through the right fallopian tube. The RE who did the HSG (not my regular RE) was very non-committal about the results and said this could be due to (1) a blocked right fallopian tube or (2) the left fallopian tube is just super open and the dye goes through the path of least resistance or (3) the HSG is wrong. Obviously I am quite upset about option #1 as this means my left ovary is my only option ruling out at least 50% of my cycles...maybe more as my left appears to be much lazier than my right. Also I'd want to know what caused the blockage. I'm quite worried about the possibility of endometriosis especially because I've had low grade pain on the right side of my pelvic region for 3 or 4 years now that my regular doctor was unable to diagnose even after an ultrasound. It's not like I need endo on top of an undiagnosed ovulatory dysfunction. I mean hell, let's just throw some crazy uterine abnormality in there for good measure, and then my reproductive organs can serve as some personal, self-contained contraceptive device. Option #2 certainly sounds better but does that mean that sperm also takes the path of least resistance? Then option #3 sounds the best on one hand but does this mean I need to do another HSG?
I won't know the answers to any of these questions until I meet with my regular RE on December 13th. In the meantime, I'm taking the stance that if the world was fair, any woman who under went an HSG would automatically get pregnant. I mean it absolutely kills me knowing the things that so many women must go through to have a baby when others have kids with no problems and have absolutely no comprehension of just how lucky they are.
Thursday, November 29, 2007
So now I've made it through 4 days without having an emotional eating attack, but only for 1 reason. Yarn. Yesterday after I had a bad doctor's appointment (more on that later) I almost went to the Starbucks drive through for a Gingerbread latte and cookie. But instead I realized that I was (1) not hungry and (2) that stopping at the Yarn Stash in Burien (which I'd never visited) on my way home would be just as soothing and much more healthy than food. I just love to touch all those yarns with there various textures and colors while dreaming about future knitting or crocheting projects. I purchased a couple of my favorites and greenish blues were apparently my color of choice yesterday. I haven't decided exactly what to do with them yet, but I'm thinking the multi-colored yarn (Butteryfly yellow/green/blue 2nd pic) might be good for the Danica scarf. The other (Cascade 220 superwash teal 2nd pic) I might use to knit a cardigan for the baby my stepbrother and his wife are expecting. It's not really a traditional baby style of yarn. But it is soft, and I think it would make for a funky sort of look that would suit them well.
So the yarn obsession will help with the dieting. It's just a little more expensive. Oh well!
Wednesday, November 28, 2007
I was what you might call as high-energy and demanding child that tended to get into everything. It seems that I used up all that energy as a child but that's off the point. I was almost one by my first Christmas and apparently greatly enjoyed Christmas trees. I think this picture was taken at my grandparents house. (And seriously check out those happening pants I'm wearing! Can you say 1978?)
At home my parents came up with a more creative solution. Tree in a playpen of course! Oh and don't you love the yellow end table and orange carpet in the background. I'm not quite sure what interior decorators of that era were thinking.
Monday, November 26, 2007
If you knit definitely join. It takes a few weeks to get your invite but its totally worth it.
Saturday, November 24, 2007
Also Thanksgiving marked the start of a new cycle for me, and I got my baseline ultrasound this morning. The bad news is that the cyst is still there, but the good news is that its much smaller at 2cm and appears to be deflating. However, since there is still a cyst, they want me to go unmedicated this cycle. I am definitely sad about that, but there is no way I'd risk having the meds stimulate the cyst. It's just not worth it. But of course this cycle won't be RE visit free as I need to schedule that lovely HSG. Ugh...I've got to stop dragging my feet on that!
Wednesday, November 21, 2007
We look crazy young here, especially Jeramy. This was grub tolo, which is a dance where girl asks guy with casual dress and matching outfits. This is senior year, I think. However this caused an extensive discussion between Jeramy and I last night about whether this was junior or senior year last night. Jeramy thought we did the Abbey Road T-shirts in senior year, but I disagreed based on other pictures of this dance. It's a good thing that forgetting the mundane details of cheesy high school dances is not a sign of early dementia.
Tuesday, November 20, 2007
Thursday, November 15, 2007
As such, I would very much appreciate it if you would refrain from making the following utterances for the next couple of months...
"Just keep it fun!"
Now this is a novel suggestion indeed! Sex...fun...who would have thought? However, spend a few months letting your favorite physician handle the "dirty work" of procreation for you and you'll see how the baby-making purpose of sex quickly loses its luster. Furthermore, it is especially important that all family members refrain from making this statement, as (1) I don't want to know their definition of fun and (2) I prefer to retain my ignorant belief that all familial births were the result of immaculate conception.
"Just relax and it will happen"
So perhaps I'm a bit of an obsessive/compulsive, crazed, type A planner. But in all seriousness folks, it is medically impossible that a reduction in my stress level will cause my cycle length to shrink from 65 days to 28. In fact, this whole comment though frequently used is quite insulting. After all, are you trying to tell me that this whole thing is my fault? Just ask my husband how I feel about being blamed for things beyond my control (or blamed for anything for that matter). He'll tell you, it's not very pretty.
"Aren't you afraid of multiples?"
The medications I'm currently on have a very low risk of multiples (5-8%) and practically all of those are twins. So at this point, I'm not worried. But regardless, do you have any better ideas for how to get me pregnant?
"Just get really drunk. It worked for us!"
Number one, I've tried that. Didn't work. However, I am seriously considering both crack cocaine and going on welfare.
"Oh, I was hoping that you'd tell me you were pregnant for my present" (said in a dejected voice)
Ummm...if you are upset about my lack of news, don't you think I am?
"Have you tried (insert crazy-ass activity here)? My sister in law's cousin's best friend's daughter did that and got pregnant."
Unless you personally have experienced success in getting pregnant after infertility via a particular method, keep such advice to yourself.
I'm not posting this to personally complain...rather everybody has been very kind regarding the obstacles we face on the baby-making front. Rather, view this as my attempt to maintain a harmonious and festive holiday season while laughingly venting about a few of the excruciatingly insensitive comments that normally well-meaning albeit clueless individuals sometimes let slip.
Wednesday, November 14, 2007
Thursday, November 8, 2007
When you are struggling to get pregnant, sometimes it feels like you can never catch a break. I've definitely been feeling that way lately given that my last 2 clomid cycles cysts rather than positive pregnancy tests. But yesterday at the pharmacy, I finally felt like I had a little luck on my side. My insurance actually covered my letrozole prescription saving me $106. But shhh...they probably only covered it because its FDA approved for breast cancer and IF is an off-label use.
Wednesday, November 7, 2007
As I mentioned the other week, my second cycle of clomid resulted in yet another ovarian cyst. Because cysts aren't very conducive to our baby-making efforts, we are making a small change in course. Basically this involves doing 2 things:
- Changing from clomid to letrozole. For those blog-readers not as familiar with infertility(IF) treatments, letrozole is similar to clomid in that it is an oral medication and relatively inexpensive with a lower risk of multiples than injectible medications. Letrozole is actually FDA approved as a breast cancer treatment, but doctors have been using it off-label to treat ovulation disorders for several years now. My RE says that Letrozole carries a lower risk of cysts, so hopefully it will agree better with my ovaries.
- Getting a Hysterosalpingogram. Can't spit that word out? Me neither. We'll just call it an HSG. Anyhow, this does not really relate to my cysts but is simply something that we need to get done before going much further with treatment. Again for the IF-naive, this is an x-ray procedure to determine whether my fallopian tubes are open and my uterine cavity normal. This involves injecting dye into the uterus and tubes, and the word on the street is that this is not a particularly pleasant experience. Oh and not cheap either, but I've gotten used to that.
We'll do these things starting with my next cycle, provided the cyst is gone. I can't quite say when that will be as good 'ol Aunt Flo appears to be nowhere in sight. So in the meantime I'm just sitting tight, waiting, and doing just about anything to keep my mind busy elsewhere.
So if you can, take a moment to pray for her family and remember just how precious and fragile life can be.
Later Jeramy told me that he has heard a frog's croaking coming from the grape vine. We know from past experience that Cujo does not like frogs (that one often involved barking at croaking coming from the fence line around midnight). And as lazy as Cujo is, he can be quite determined when it comes to frogs. So I wasn't surprised this morning when the whole frog in the grape vine routine played out again at 5am. My take is either a frog is going to die, get smart and figure out this particular grape vine is not the safest of homes or my neighbors are going to have my dog taken away for disturbance of peace.
Monday, November 5, 2007
On other fronts, I made some progress on knitting my first sock yesterday. I worked on learning to turn the heal during the Seahawks game. And let me tell you I'm not sure what was more frustrating, the game we lost in OT 33 to 30 or the heel that I now realize I messed up at a key juncture and must redo. I really want to learn to knit socks because they seem like a fun, quick and portable project if I can just figure out how to do the first one! Jeramy of course thinks I'm crazy to spend all this time knitting something that I could buy at the store for $1. Whatever. I never claimed to be logical...just determined!
Friday, November 2, 2007
First, Jeramy decorated the house. He put up danger tape, carved 2 pumpkins, and pumpkin lights. We got the pumpkins for free, because our neighbors plant them in their garden and the vines come through our fence. Whatever grows on our side we get to keep. Now that's how I really like to garden!
Then Jeramy's sister stopped by with Julia. It is her second Halloween, and she was dressed up as a duck:
Check out Julia's pig tails...seriously cute!
Finally it got dark enough for Trick-or-Treaters. We got about 10 this year, which is pretty typical for us. Our favorites, of course, were Krystel (Tigger) and Emma (the chicken) from next door.
Thursday, November 1, 2007
A couple weeks ago there was a "big" windstorm in Seattle involving winds with gusts up to 40 or 50 mph. At my work, crews have been building a large sculpture with steel tubing and glass representing an artist's rendition of a double helix. They had finished it just days before the windstorm arrived. Well somehow the structure failed and this was the result:
Wednesday, October 31, 2007
Monday, October 29, 2007
They drew blood at the doctor's office and will call me tomorrow with a game plan. It will likely involve waiting and more ultrasounds to make sure the cyst shrinks. While I'm not thrilled with today's conclusion at least it is a conclusion. Otherwise the combination of no period, negative pregnancy tests and low basal temps would have driven me over the edge. And on the bright side I'm now free to enjoy a beer or glass of wine and all ultrasounds will be covered by insurance until that friendly growth in lefty is gone.
I had drinks with a couple former co-workers on Friday night at Ivar's Salmon House (great happy hour!); Jeramy and I cleared out tons of blackberry bushes from our backyard, mowed the lawn and made a dump run Saturday morning; I ran a bunch of errands and had Direct TV installed Saturday afternoon; we went to a Halloween party Saturday night; I cleaned the house Sunday morning; and we went to my father-in-law's for dinner Sunday afternoon/evening.
Please wait just a second while I catch my breath...
I managed to squeeze out a little time to work on projects. I made a lot of progress on the scarf I've been knitting (check out the pic), and I worked on the Christmas stocking I'm cross-stitching for myself.
Oh and here is a picture from last week of how Jeramy helps with yard work. In this instance, he is pulling out an old rose bush that keeps growing back in mutated forms (because nothing is simple in gardening with me as we now all know). Also note the previously mentioned dead patch of grass from the infamous pot of boiling crabs incident in lower left quadrant of the picture near the camper. Oh and as an FYI, my wheelie sermons appear to be ineffective.