Sunday, August 30, 2009
Friday, August 28, 2009
Another poem on the Almanac today:
Tuesday, August 25, 2009
Fortune Cookie Wisdom
You are beautiful and wise, and wherever HOME is for you, it shall be rich and full of love!
Do not fear the unknown, but go in head first and face your biggest challenge. You will be rewarded with strength, insight and a deeper understanding of your self.
Wishing you happiness and love,
Monday, August 24, 2009
Lost and Found
Sometimes things are too fresh, too green. You can’t talk about them until they settle. That’s how I was feeling this weekend. I just couldn’t bring myself to put my insides to “words”. Perhaps if I were to “paint it out” things would have gushed forth like butterflies, like blood.
I spent the weekend vacillating between turbulence and limbo. That ether-state of decision-making. A band-aid to my soul.
Friday night. Starless sky. Lying in bed with my big Boston boy. “I’m so sad, “I said, “I thought I was over this, but I’m not.” He held me and said. “We’ll never get over this, sweetheart. We’ll get BEYOND IT, but not over it.”
I think of this Loss. My third Loss. I think of all that life-potential that could not hold on. I blame myself. The scars in my womb from fibroid surgery. My age. My weight. When does the blame stop? When can you look at yourself again and feel whole and beautiful?
I am usually a happy person. A conduit of good energy. I have friends I would do anything for. Friends who I won’t talk to right now because it’s just too hard.
Sunday morning. I woke my sleeping Bear and said, “Let’s think about adoption.” We can still keep trying with IVF, but we do want more than one child, so why not explore the options. Groggily, he agreed. We hugged and kissed and laughed with the languid ease of weekend morning love.
Sunday afternoon. I obsessed over cupcakes. I just found a lovely new book exclusively on CUPCAKES. The cover features a bit of vanilla heaven with a sugared violet on top. I’m not sure where this new obsession with cooking has come from but cupcakes are my secret passion. They remind me of childhood birthdays and modern weddings, and Martha Stewart perfection. Maybe if I start to practice now, by the time I am (fingers crossed) a mom, I can become the best cupcake maker on my block.
So I mixed my eggs and milk, and frosted with the back of a spoon, and in the end I had 24 lumps of cake. Really uninspiring looking. But hey, it was my first attempt! And even through they were ugly they tasted DELICIOUS!
A cupcake story:
Spring 2008. My Boy and I went down to visit friends in New York City. I was getting out of the shower when he surprised me with my engagement ring “I wanted to do this on the top of the empire state building,” he said, “but we ran out of time.” My engagement ring is my grandmother’s. It’s the ring I have always wanted to wear. My grandparents had a very happy marriage and although I never met them, I know my grandmother is looking down on us and sending lots of Wisdom and Love our way.
So this was a splendid weekend with my sweetheart, celebrating his birthday and his first trip to the Big Apple. We walked through central park and met my best friend for drinks by the pond as swans glistened past.
That night I lost my wallet at a dive bar in Hell’s Kitchen. Lost????? Not sure, but it was GONE. We had $14 left and two Amtrak tickets after we checked out of the hotel. We used most of our remaining cash to buy subway tokens to visit police stations and file reports. Uptown than downtown, and scurrying back again! We didn’t have enough for lunch or dinner, but walking down from Port Authority we passed the Cupcake Café. Although the location has changed, the Cupcake Café in NYC brings back the warmest memories for me. My time in grad school in the Big City. Working in Manhattan for some wonderful designers. Sitting with them for gazpacho and carrot cupcakes and musing over theatre, art and life.
We had a few bucks left, enough for a pair of cupcakes and two coffees. A welcome respite from the chaos of the city street. Sitting across from my Boy, gobbling a bit of lusciousness before we went back home. Basking in our newly engaged love. It was the perfect frosted dream to a weekend I will never forget.
These are the things I need to hold on to right now. Love, sweetness, the treasures in my life. No matter how complicated things get in our lives, it only takes a few simple things to bring us back to the heart of the matter. Back to the HEART.
Friday, August 21, 2009
I wanted to confess something….
You might be wondering why I called this blog “IVF and the Newlywed” when I haven’t really been spending a whole lotta’ time talking about my uterus or my sprightly egg count. It’s just that I can’t. I find the IVF process itself to be thoroughly exhausting and I have discovered it’s extremely helpful for me to focus my mind on more INSPIRING, EMPOWERING and TASTY topics. Right now, those ethereal things have been the juice that has kept me going. Perhaps it’s a smokescreen to the real “issues” of the fertility-challenged, but at least it keeps me laughing!
Now for today’s topic: The stuff you give up…..
When I got married, I traded in my sporty convertible for a lumbering black jeep. (This is not a metaphor!). My lease was up on my car and I was scared to drive it on slippery icy days. I also wondered how MILF-like I would look with a baby seat in the back and the ragtop down. How would you get a kid out of a 2-door sports car anyway?
So in the days between our wedding and reception, my husband and I picked up our new little SUV. We opted for a smaller, boxy kind that had a cleaner engine, 4-wheel drive, and really good gas mileage (relatively speaking). It was a stunning, aloof shade of black, with tinted windows and big sidewall tires. I knew I would feel safe in this car, and I liked the feeling of riding high in the saddle. In Boston, it’s all about being the top-man on the road, as you careen past bad drivers and shout nasty words from your car!!!!! (Often with your windows closed so as not to truly upset anyone!). I was a bad-@ss yuppie.
Lately I’ve been missing my convertible. I’ve also been missing the sofa we gave away to upgrade to “married furniture”. It’s been hard for my husband to understand. Sometimes, when I’m amped up on the baby-med hormone shots I’ll just sit across from the new sofa and glare at it. I even told it “I hate you!” once. (No response from the couch).
What my husband may or may not understand is that these were my “single” things. A sexy blue sport scar with buff leather seats that screamed “I’m successful and fantastic, and I don’t NEED your money!” And that sofa bed– one of the first big pieces of furniture that I purchased for myself, acknowledging at the time that I was a new homeowner and was going it alone. Through the years, this couch was my refuge for long nights of girl talk and even longer nights of crazy Fall s ex. It was soft, and velvety, and it was MINE.
(Oh the things you can do on a rolled arm couch………But I digress!)
I think I miss those things because they represented my former-life to me. The carefree, sassy girl with money to spare. Successful, self-protected, smug. Sometimes I feel like I have traded in an old life for a new one, and gotten rid of my “stuff” but I don’t know what’s going to replace it yet. Will it be sweet baby furniture, or a suburban garden filled with ripe tomatoes and love? Will it be an empty nest? What are the things He and I are “building together”?
Oftentimes, it is that limbo between single lass and newly married lady that makes you feel like you are floating. It’s hard to know what you will land on. Will it be a soft, cushy new sofa, or the floor of an empty nursery?
I talked to my Advisor about this. It came out like gunpowder, “I’m giving up all this stuff, and I don’t know what’s replacing it yet!!!!!” She told me that with every new thing you bring into your life, you have to give up something else. It just happens.
I don’t know what will come into our lives to mark the passage of our first year of marriage. I only know that when I wash the Jeep it SHINES, and when I cuddle on that couch with my Sweetie, there’s no place I’d rather be….
Wishing you many happy moments…
Thursday, August 20, 2009
Tuesday, August 18, 2009
Ironic, I must say, that our mothers and grandmothers spent decades trying to break OUT of the Kitchen, and OUT of the cycle of childbirth that was so expected of women in their day. (And Now I am trying the BREAK IN!!!)
Perhaps it is because it is my CHOICE that I love it. Mixing flavors and smells in my kitchen, often with the fire alarm trilling off (Really! It’s a small apartment!). Breaking Bread with someone I love….
I’d like to share some of the recipe’s I’m creating with YOU. Being a Newlywed, I’m always out to try to impress myself with my newfound domesticity. It’s an urban, rustic kind of domesticity, and in the end I usually have made a mess everywhere. But to me it’s like being three again and making mudpies at the beach, it’s like sculpture, or painting with color and flavor.
So enjoy. (I promise this will taste better than a mudpie!)
This is the first of a series of Recipes (Therapies) I shall offer you. I will always test my invention first, and I won’t share it if it’s too complex or WEIRD. The theme for today is “In Season”. Imagine a fruit dripping ripely on the vine. It’s the middle of August so Berries and Bok Choy are at their height of flavor in New England. (Why a delicate Chinese green loves to grow in hearty New England soil I’ll never know!)
My husband and I just became members of a farm-coop called Enterprise Farms (http://www.enterpriseproduce.com/) and they have joined forces with Metro Pedal Power to deliver the farm picked veggies fresh to your door –Via Tri-cycles (http://metropedalpower.com/about/csa-and-local-produce) Now lazy city folk like me can enjoy the abundance of the harvest via pick up ---or delivery! (They don't pay me to refer them or anything, I just think it's so cool to see the little trike scooting down the street, and to support something I believe in!)
Now I’m not a “crunchy” kinda career girl, but I have to tell you, when I first saw that succulent pint of blueberries, and those gorgeous greens I kinda broke out in a sweat.
I’ve appropriately named this Series “Vixen in the Kitchen” (That’s you babe, in your little apron!- And me too! wink wink)
This first dish is pretty quick and luscious, followed by an easy but decadent dessert ….
Vixen in the Kitchen
Skinny Skampi with Summer Veggies:
This can all be made in the same sautee pan for ease of use. The veggies first, then the scallops, then the shrimp. (PS- there's nothing skinny about it). The Bok Choy gives it a nice crunch and a unique summery taste.
The Goods :
1-2 cup water
1 tsp or cube veggie boullion
3 or 4 tbsp salted butter*
1 shallot, minced (a shallot is kinda like a fancy french onion with a light garlicy flavor- It's like the "labro-doodle" of the onion world)
2 garlic cloves, minced
1-3 cup white wine
1 med. or lg. Bok choy, chopped.
1-2 lb. Fresh scallops, uncooked, washed with the little muscle removed.
1-2 to 3-4 lb cooked med size shrimp. Can be previously frozen. Wash before use and pull of tails if you like.
Salt + pepper to taste.
* If you are going dairy free, you can substitute 3 or 4 tsp good olive oil for the butter. Hence, slightly "skinnier".
1. Heat the water to boiling in the microwave, about 90 seconds. Add vegetable boullion and stir until dissolved. Set aside.
2. Melt 1 big tbsp butter over med. heat in sautee pan. Add half of the minced shallots and a bit of garlic. Sautee until shallots start to break down and look transparent.
3. Add water-boullion mixture to sautee pan and blend flavors with a wooden spoon. Reduce slightly.
4. Add bok choy. Sautee veggies until they soften and leaves take on a rich green color. (If you like your veggies a little softer, add the stem pieces first and the leaves a leave a few minutes later.) Do not overcook. Bok choy tastes best a little crunchy.
5. Remove veggies from liquid using a slotted spoon or tongs. Divide on to 2 plates in a pleasing arrangement.
6. Let the liquid begin to get hot again, add the remaining butter, shallots and garlic. Now add the white wine and reduce slightly. Let flavors blend. Add scallops and cook about 5-7 minutes until scallops loose their transparency when sliced in half. (If using bay scallops- the small guys- cook for about 3-5 minutes until done.) They should look white opaque like a cheap pair of 80's pantyhose. Remove scallops with slotted spoon, leaving liquid in the saute pan. Place scallops on top of greens on the two plates.
7. The scallops have lended a pleasing seafood flavor to the broth. Now add the cooked shrimp to the sautee pan. (You can use raw shrimp if they are deveined. Just make sure they are thoroughly cooked and turn opaque pink and white). If shrimp are pre-cooked, simply sautee until they are warm and have taken on some of the flavor of the broth. Remove with a slotted spoon. Serve along side of the scallops on the plate.
If you are loving the broth mixture, the seafood can be served in small bowls with crostini or plain ole' crusty bread. Serve the Bok choy along side on a salad plate so you don't feel too guilty.
Finito! Serve with the rest of the White wine (in glasses, not bowls!) until every morsel is consumed.
After you are thoroughly stuffed on seafood and wine. Make a break for the fridge to score some extra credit points with this easy (and very luscious) summer dessert.
2 large wine goblets or margarita glasses (or clear glass tumblers).
1 pint haagen dazs vanilla ice cream*
1-2 pint of your favorite summer berry- such as fresh blueberry, blackberry, strawberry or a mixture of the 3.
2 pieces of "store bought" pound cake cut into 1" cubes.
Whip cream (optional).
*Berry or mango sorbet may be substituted for the ice cream if going lactose free. However, then you'll also need to nix the pound cake and the whip cream. Ho hum!
And if you are feeling particularly "yuppy", you can substitute fresh figs, cut in half and poached in a little red wine or port instead of the berries.(The poaching can be done well in advance) .
1. Start by layering a scoop of ice cream on bottom of each glass.
2. Add a few tablespoons of fruit.
3. Add the pound cake cubes.
4. Layer in some more berries or fruit.
5. Now more ice cream.
6. Top with remaining berries or fruit and if you are feeling groovy, a dollop of whip cream.
What you do with the remaining whip cream is entirely up to you.
From our kitchen to yours!
Monday, August 17, 2009
Talk about LOVE…
This weekend I learned (again, for the third time) that you CAN be a “little bit pregnant”. Unfortunately our Mothers were misinformed when they gave us our sex ed talk.
Being a “little bit pregnant” is like being a little bit lost in a dark wood. You might be close to the road, but if you are lost you will feel miles away from it.
Sometimes it’s important to go into those places that scare you.
When you are forced to go to that dark place, you learn who stands beside you, and who runs for cover. You learn who’s hand you can hold, who you can cry to and who you can form a survival plan with. When you get lost, you discover who is there for you, who is missing you, and who will do their damnedest to save you.
My husband held me for FOUR hours while I struggled through this dark place. I felt like all my blood was leaving me (and in some ways it was) but I’ve never felt so safe in all of my life.
This is LOVE.
This is a man who would travel to that scary, cold place and come find me there. This is a man who has taught me to TRUST, to open up to another, and to recognize my power …and humor in the darkest of moments.
I think of all the little things he has done, and all the big things, in our first year of marriage…
My Catholic husband has walked up the hill in a snowstorm to surprise me with candles for my menorah at Hanukkah. While this seems trivial, it was his way of recognizing that our faiths could blend together in this union.
My big bear of a boy has brought “offerings” to our neighbors’ Buddha. Our neighbor has a great faith in Buddha and has erected a small sanctuary in her dry cleaning shop. She said that if you bring Buddha some small bananas, then He will be pleased by your offering, and thus grant your wish. One day this summer, her daughter was running her shop, and in walks my husband and puts some bananas on the top shelf of Buddha’s shrine. No one told our friend they were there. I guess Buddha doesn’t actually EAT them, because in about three weeks the shop wreaked of rotten fruit and there were flies everywhere! They have never forgotten our openness,(or our naivete) and I am charmed by this story every time I think of it. My Man is born and bred Boston. He’s faith lies with his mother, the women in his life, the Red Sox and his G-d. However, for me, he would bring tiny bananas to a golden Buddha statue in a neighbor’s dry cleaning shop. He would do this to honor our wish for a child, because it is my HOPE that someone is listening….
I think of these things and they take me out of that dark place, and into the arms of the man I was meant to be with. A newlywed, at 41. Somehow it’s not that scary anymore.
Wishing you joy and good fortune and LOVE.
Sunday, August 16, 2009
I dreamed that Angelina Jolie was my egg donor.
It's a reoccurring dream I have been having lately. I am sitting on the couch eating pizza and Angie appears in a cloud of lemon meringue. At first I think she's an angel. "I have a gift for you" she says demurely with a flash of her pearly bonded teeth. I notice the little satin pillow she as in her hand. It's the cheezy kind you find on wedding websites for your ring-bearer. But there's no ring. Just two tiny little fireflies buzzing above it.
"Here..." she says, placing the pillow into my greasy pepperoni fingers. "For a mere $7,000,000 co-pay these can be yours. We can drop them into your womb and you would have a 61 % success rate at conceiving.(another smile). Isn't that better than your measly 22% at your age and (ahem) size?"
I notice that her collarbone lifts gently from the bodice of her gown . Her arms are white and veiny. As she hands me the pillow I think. "Gee, she IS pretty! We would have beautiful children. But would I feel they are truly MINE? I mean, I would be nurturing them in my body, and I'd love them as much as if they came from my own DNA. We COULD mortgage the condo, maybe get a few more jobs. I think we could drum up some extra cash, but not the $7mm required for this transaction!
My husband comes in to the room holding a beer. He's speechless at the arrival of our new visitor. I can sense he is leaving some room for ME to make this decision. He loves me and would support my wishes and dreams (and who can refute the astounding cuteness of our future offspring, if this were to pass).
I look at Angelina in her stunning gown and baubles. I think of all the adventure and excitement I have had in my life. I HAVE been truly blessed in that way. But these experiences have prolonged my settling down, my time of finding the right partner. Now I'm 41 and newlywed, and ANGELINA JOLIE is offering me her eggs!
"Limited time offer" she says. Head cocked to one side as she glances at me through those crazy lashes.
I look at the "fireflies" buzzing gently in my hands. So delicate and beautiful. I look at my husband. I know he will be the best father in the world. He's already the best husband. I consider the chemical pregnancies we have had and the misscarriage I seem to be having this weekend...."A 61% success rate" I think. That would end the hurt and the pain of these losses.
She glows like a cloud of frosting. I would eat her if I could.
"No thank you, Angelina." I reply. (I dare not call her Angie.)" As kind and thoughtful as the offer is, we will have to decline." My husband utters a surprising sigh of relief. "We'll try naturally for a few months and then we'll do IVF again. There's still time..." I reply, a little teary eyed.
"OK." She whispers."But if you change your mind, or need me in the future, I'll be out on Long Island wrapping up my latest film. The offers good until your insurance runs out."
She flashes another brilliant smile and turns to leave. "Ummm?" She stalls, with a guilty, beseeching look that almost makes me grin "Can I have a slice of that pizza?" She asks. "I haven't eaten in months."
Saturday, August 15, 2009
I’m putting this out there to see if anyone has any sound advice for a frisky lass like me.
In Boston, the jockey boys seem to be very superstitious. There seems to be some belief that whatever you are doing while good luck abounds, you must KEEP doing it, so as not to jinx your good fortune. There was one year that the Red Sox were winning the pennant, and men just stopped shaving through the winning streak, so as not to “cool” the team. They said it was to “reverse the curse” against the Yankees, and soon began looking more like billy goats than the handsome strapping men they once were. EEEK!
Would a woman resign from shaving her legs while her favorite American Idol was on a winning streak? Would this abundance of leg hair actually seal his or her success?
I mean who would DO THAT????
I bring this up because my husband (g-d love him) is one of these superstitious jocks. He’s been very sweet and cuddly lately but our recent nights have been very G-rated! I mean, we’ve been married less than a year and he’s pulling out old Disney DVD’s to watch instead of trying to “take me” on the carpet. Where’s all the lust and romance I once knew (oh so briefly) in our months pre-IVF?
Finally, I asked him “What's up”?
“I don’t want to be a cooler” he says, alluding to a person who brings bad luck to someone (or a person that might shave during a the Sox’s next winning streak and thus jeopardize their success).”I don’t want to jinx US?”
I realized, once I translated his lingo into something I could understand, that he decided that he won’t shag me until we get a positive pregnancy test. See, we’re on the dreaded two week wait. That seemingly endless time between IVF and the first pregnancy test. Our luck has not been good in the past, leading up to this milestone.
I do hope we get a positive test, but when will he let wood be wood again? Will we make it to home base or will I strike out again?? We all know the first trimester is the hardest. Will this go on for the first three months? The full term? What do I do?
Has this ever happened to anyone else? I wish I could just ask him to forgo chocolate or something, but not sex!!!!