Monthly Archives: March 2011

Wherein, I Write the Annoying Post Infertiles Should Never Write

My adorable, spirited twins are reaching An Age. An Age that is challenging me immensely. So far, they’ve chased away several young, able-bodied babysitters. The last one they ran off said, “I don’t know how you do this. All respect.”

I am in the midst of composing an ad for a sitter.

“Do you have the patience of the Dalai Lama? Do you enjoy a challenge on par with the building of the Golden Gate Bridge? Are you a short order cook? A fashion consultant who enjoys wardrobe changes every 15 minutes? A sanitary worker who does not mind cleaning little potties every hour on the hour?”

Babyhood was a fun whirlwind of exhaustion. Early toddlerhood was an immune system strengthening test of how well I baby proofed the house. The terrible twos? Not so terrible. But aged three?

Probably the best way to explain this age is to tell you that I did a Skype teleconference with my parents and the kids. It lasted 20 minutes. After it ended my mother had to go take a nap. It lasted twelve hours.

I never feel like I should vent about being a mom. I’m so happy to be one. I went through so much to be one.

Is it OK to complain about how hard motherhood can be when you’re an infertility vet? Does anyone know any Nanny McPhees that live in the Bay Area?

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Cooking the Classics: Recreating My Grandparents’ Fried Chicken

Perfect Moment Monday is about noticing a perfect moment rather than creating one. Perfect moments can be momentous or ordinary or somewhere in between.

Bookstore (Eugene, Oregon)

Photo credit: By Visitor7 (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons

We try to eat pretty healthy around here. (Corned beef not withstanding.)  But yesterday I had a hankering for my grandma’s fried chicken.

My grandparents were genetic marvels.  My grandfather smoked two packs of cigarettes a day.  Their daily meal plan began with bacon and fried eggs, and ended, often, with fried chicken, mashed potatoes and gravy, and corn on the cob.  They both lived well into their late eighties.

My grandparents lived above the bookstore they owned and operated, so my grandfather would flip the open sign closed, and head upstairs for his lunch and dinner.  Their days were completely run by routine, with no level of spontaneity.  My grandmother, a glamorous kind woman, would dress in her everyday attire (usually a beautifully printed dress, with a cocktail pin and earrings, and always, a pretty apron) with full makeup and begin beautifying her lovely home at about 7 AM.  She was the tidiest woman I have ever known, and she mopped her floors everyday and washed the windows three times a week.  She was constantly dusting, polishing and scrubbing.  She made all of her delicious, (if cholesterol-ridden) food from scratch.  She also always made a batch of iced tea every morning.  She would go downstairs with a pitcher, occasionally, to refill Grandpa’s supply.

I’ve made fried chicken before, but I don’t have my grandmother’s recipe, which totally bums me out.  I’m finding as I get older that I am getting more sentimental about food.  Proustian, even.

The next best thing I have is The Carefree Cook’s “Fried Chicken with Blue Cheese Dressing”.  Darcy is a HUGE aficionado of wings, so the dressing is a big hit with him.  I think the title “The Carefree Cook” is somewhat of a misnomer, though.  While not Martha-esque, the prep work in most of the recipes makes me feel a bit careworn.  However, the food usually tastes fantastic, so there’s that.

I’m not very good at pounding down the chicken breasts with the mallet.  If anyone has any tips on how to do that better, that would be great.  Is it purely a time issue?  Maybe I get impatient and leave them too fat.

My favorite part is dredging the chicken in the buttermilk/tabasco mixture, then the flour/salt.  Really messy but satisfying.

Next, the oil prep.  Rick Rogers, the Carefree Cook himself, suggests that you heat the vegetable oil hot, and wait for it to shimmer.  The shimmer looks a bit like the haze on the asphalt of a desert road in August.  Then, he suggests you fry the chicken for 5 minutes on each side.

Yeah, that didn’t work for me, because I suspect the chicken wasn’t flat enough.  I ended up cooking them about 10 minutes on each side, then cut into the biggest piece, to make sure there was no pinkness/salmonella.  Drained on paper towels, the end product looked like this:

The blue cheese dressing was easily made, the weird thing was that you had to keep it at room temperature while you fried the chicken.  It consisted of mayonnaise, Danish blue cheese, garlic and celery seeds so I was a little wary that it would go bad, but it didn’t.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I made mashed potatoes with buttermilk (Joy of Cooking recipe), and a salad with mixed springs greens, pink lady apples, more Danish blue cheese and my mother’s famous vinagrette.  If I shared that recipe, my mother would disown me.

I’m terribly sad that my children will never meet these wonderful folk, their great-grandparents.  (And that’s what they’d want to be called, folk.)  My Grandpa wore bolo ties and western belts, and read Louis L’Amour as well as Hemingway, Faulkner and Bellow.  He used to reserve some ginger ales from the soda bottling company down the street when he knew I was coming for a visit, and he called it “pop”.  I wasn’t allowed to have soda as a girl, so this was a rare treat.  My grandmother was a beautiful person, kind, with an edge of style and reserve: she shyly shared her soap operas with me, and allowed me to sip her iced tea.  Such wonderful memories, these are.  I hope I am passing the whiff, the osmosis of that experience to my children.  Like many things, the scent of old books, the crisp, sweet taste of ginger ale “pop”, the beautiful pearl broach I pinned to my wedding bouquet, these sensory and material experiences bring them back to life, if just for a few transient moments.  I felt their presence as I smelled the kitchen air, redolent with frying.  It was a perfect moment, filled with the the sweet past. And the promise of future moments where family long gone can return to us, if only fleetingly.

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Apologies to My Blogspot Friends, ICLWers

I haven’t been ignoring y’all.  I feel so awful for not commenting on all of your blogs over the last week – especially as it’s ICLW, and there were many blogs, old and new, which I want to comment upon.  There is some sort of problem with my OpenID verification, and WordPress can’t fix it and each time I try to contact Blogger an error message occurs. (I don’t have a Blogger account.)

I want to tell My Dusty Uterus congratulations!  And my OB banned her patients from reading “What to Expect” because it made them anxious.  Also, because she thought it was dumb.

I want to tell Invisible Mother that I know EXACTLY how she feels dealing with isolation.  My type of infertility was different than most people’s too (premature ovarian failure).  I felt alone.  Hugs.

Cooked Heads, I was deeply moved by your post about finding grace.  You are right, about everything.

I want to tell Justine that her lavender shortbread is making me drool.  Yum!

I want to tell Lut C that I am thrilled that her transfer took place!  Wishing you all the best.

I want to tell Rachael that abiding with fear is one of the hardest things in the world to do.  Hugs.

This is just the tip of the Iceberg.  I am so sorry I’m letting you down, my Blogger buddies. You are all awesome.

On a completely selfish note, does anyone know how to resolve this problem?

This guy would be able to solve the problem.

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Miscarriage: Can We Please Get Rid of The Taboo?

This is the most delicate blog post I’ve ever written.  You see, last night during a routine phone conversation, an enormous bombshell was dropped.  A mind-blowing, perception-changing ball of knowledge that was upsetting, maddening but mostly just sad.

One year ago, almost exactly, I was grappling mostly with the medical repercussions of my miscarriage.  I had a lot of hemorrhaging, and I had to go to the ER twice.  I was ordered on bed rest for a few days, and needed help watching the kids while I recovered.  Some nearest and dearest to me helped out, pitched in.  Those who were assisting me seemed utterly clueless about what I was going through physically and emotionally.  The usual platitudes that we’ve all heard were uttered: “For the best”, “Better off”, etc, etc.

I was reeling from what in the world had just happened, so I got on the old laptop and did some internet searches, mostly looking for medical explanations.  But it turned out that I had experienced a remarkably similar pregnancy to Julie, and I found and read about her experience (the Google is Strong with Julie, and that is a wonderful thing).  Her humor, honest depiction and searing pain shone through that post, and made me stop feeling like a freak because I wasn’t as accepting of the situation as all those around me wanted.  It was a remarkable breakthrough for me.  Soon after, I found Stirrup Queens.

A few days later, I started my very own blog, and three posts after that, Mel included me in her Friday round-up, and I discovered the whole, wide, wonderful world of y’all.  The End.

Except, not.  I discovered yesterday that at least one of the “clueless” people around me at the time of my miscarriage had suffered multiple miscarriages of her own.  She’s most likely not alone, among those closest to me.  Yet, they chose to remain silent about their own experiences while I was bleeding from my body and my heart.

WHY?  Is it a generational thing?  Do they themselves feel like they should not have felt pain after their own losses?  Are miscarriages so demoralizing that you don’t even want to admit that they happened to you?

I’d really like to change this.  I understand that you don’t want to talk about your miscarriages during casual dinner conversations, or even most of the time, but when those around you are suffering from one, what is the harm in speaking about your own experience?  Am I missing something?

The statistics say that 1 in almost 3 people suffer from a miscarriage at one point in their life.  That’s a LOT of people.  It would be helpful if we all could support each other when the shoe falls.  Feeling less alone helps the healing process immensely.

Can you take the pledge to help others (in real life and in bloggy life) to know that they are not alone?  That miscarriages are emotional and physical hell? That the platitudes make us feel like this?

I will.  And I will carry this pledge with me as I age.  May the next generation not have to suffer in silence.

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Welcome ICLWers!

Welcome everyone from ICLW!

ICLW is hosted by Mel at Stirrup Queens, and it’s a meet and greet of sorts for bloggers who write about all kinds of things, although the larger focus is on infertility.

I love ICLW.  It’s like a schmoozefest at a really comfortable lounge where everyone is nice, kind and friendly.  In my mind, mini-donuts and salmon puffs would be served, organic cream sodas would flow and everyone would be dressed to the nines.  (In reality, I’m sitting at my computer while The Princess and The Frog plays in the background, and I am wearing Uggs and jeans.  Same difference.)

The focus of my blog is trying to live every day this year joyfully.  For my kids, for my family and for myself.  Read more here.

So please pull up your most comfortable velvet chaise lounge, dig into the donuts and puffs, and stay a while!

Feel free to follow me on Twitter, too 😉

That photo is from my overachieving MIL’s garden.  She makes Martha Stewart look lazy.

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