Thursday, May 27, 2010

Great Moments in Smartitude

Receptionist: Kips Bay Baby Factory, may I help you?

Me: May I please speak with Andrology?

Receptionist: Regarding?

Me: [pause] Sperm?

I mean really. Do they get a lot of calls about anything else?

Monday, May 24, 2010

Bullet-y Roundup

Hey gang. There's been way too little about hoo-has on this blog lately, no? Sorry about that. We're in a period of hoo-ha dormancy at the moment, ending soon. To whit:

  • We've been on TTC break, but IVF commences in round about 2 weeks. (This protocol begins on CD2, and all signs point to my ovulating about now.) I'm excited and totally freaked out. I am trying not to take my lunacy out on Sugar, but dreaming of needles every night is getting old (and tiring).
  • Speaking of needles, I have been going to acupuncture every week for some time now. I really like the practice, Brooklyn Acupuncture Project. It's clean and nice and cheap. The practitioners are friendly and no one's tried to talk me into changing my diet. (I have a history of disordered eating and know from experience that even small, reasonable changes lead me directly to the place of hypercontrol, which leads directly to the place of not eating. Which can't be a good move, health-wise.) I'm not sure how much it's helping with my chief complaint, anxiety (see dreams above). It does chill me out on the day of the appointment, and I suppose I am moderately less crazy than I was in April, so that's something. What I don't like about acupuncture is how it wears me out for the whole day. Do others of you have this?
  • Have any of you done IVF at NYU? Know any bloggers who have? Since it looks like Nicole will have to wait a few months, I've lost my cycle buddy -- and I was selfishly hoping she'd go first and give me the lay of the land.
  • I've ordered the meds. Still need to sort out whether Dr. Baby Factory will stick to his statement that he'll let me try the progesterone coochie bullets, since the shots freak me out.
  • We need to order more sperm. This week, yo.
  • We found a church hall to have our wedding party in! Now we just need to get some food and invite people....
  • A veritable bevy of my aunts is in town. My mother, too. This has led me to blurting out things about my vaginae, cervices, and so on many times in the past few days. Since living in New York means living in public, said blurting has occurred in inappropriate places: the check-out line at the food coop, a busy sidewalk on 35th street.
  • My mother and her sisters are all deaf to varying degrees, so said inappropriate blurting has also been very loud. And repeated. Continuing to do my bit to keep city life interesting.
I owe you a number of posts, internet. Posts about why I feel guilty moving on to IVF so soon, and about why it is a good idea anyway. Posts about why I'm not taking Dr. Baby Factory's advice and letting him remove my vaginal septum, even though doing so is on balance the more logical decision. Posts about how I've become someone who screams about my vagina in midtown. I'm certain to feel more frantic in the coming weeks, so stay tuned.

And I'll get a new Come and Eat post up soon. Meanwhile, try playing this game. (Tip o' the nib to Geek and Lawyer.)

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Come and Eat: Oil Can What?

Okay, I've put this off long enough, eh? So please, Come and Eat.

Tonight, I'd like to introduce you to the collection:


(bigger here)

This isn't every can of olive oil we've ever purchased together, but it's close. Yes, that means we moved most of these halfway across the country. Because I am crazy. And because I had a vision of one day having a huge outdoor wedding party, with these as flower vases. (But mostly because I am crazy.)

The collection started when we lived in Chicago, on the far north side near the Indian neighborhood. We'd go to a certain discount grocery store out on Devon, where vegetables and spices and rice were cheap, and buy whatever oil they happened to have that time. Sometimes it was pretty good. Sometimes ...not so much. The worst was "El Toro" -- third from the right here -- but its can is one of my favorites, along with Alafia and La Regina. It makes me think of Ferdinand. Seriously terrible taste, though. Not recommended.

For years, I had no answer to the question everyone who sees the cans asks: which one was the best? You might have noticed that I like to think about (and talk about) food a great deal, so it was somewhat embarrassing to admit that, as long as the oil I eat every day in nearly every meal isn't El-Toro-wretched, apparently I pay it no mind. Regular con-a-sewer, right here.

Then I found Fortuna. I bought it at DiPalo's, on Grand Street in Little Italy, and it you live in New York and don't know what I'm talking about, it's high time you got off the computer and found out. (Be sure to stop by Alleva Dairy for some cheese while you're there. I bought the can on the far right there, just after we came to the city. I signed my credit card slip on top of a huge wheel of cheese.) I wanted to buy the cooler looking can -- red and blue and very 70's -- but the woman at the counter was having none of it. She all but forced me to buy the Fortuna, and was she ever right. It's a truly lovely oil, light and flowery. A little of that drizzled on some chickpeas and all's right with the world. Heavenly days.

So now I have a problem. Do I continue my tradition of buying a different can every time? It's getting harder. I have to go farther and farther afield to find ones I haven't bought before -- astute observers will note one brand appears twice, mostly out of desperation. Or do I recognize that I have found the perfect oil and settle in for a long and delicious run of monotonous appearances?

And what the heck flowers am I going to find tall enough to put in these cans anyway?

So, what are you up to this week? Paste the address of a post about a food or meal into Mr. Linky. Please paste the address of a particular post, not just your whole blog, so folks know where to comment. (And as always, please put a * by your name if your post features babies/pregnancy.)

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

About that new post...

...did I say last night? I meant tomorrow morning.

Sorry about that. My mother and four of my aunts are visiting this weekend, and my arms are worn out from scrubbing.

xo and hope you're eating well.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Choose Glory

Y'all, reunion was more than I could have dreamed. I feel loved and reinvigorated, and I wish I could give you all the gift of feeling the way I have felt for the past several days.

What I can do is urge you to find time to listen to this commencement speech, the best I have ever heard. At a time in my life when so many things aren't going as I would like, when I often feel that I am not living up to the potential of my mind (or body) because I am not surrounded by the accolades and riches (and babies) I envy, this was just the reminder I needed that striving counts more than winning.

Even if you're not a Rachel Maddow fan, even if your politics and mine are only distantly related, I believe this speech will make your heart glad.

Oh, stop reading my ramblings and listen:

(A new Come and Eat post will go up tonight.)

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Mostly Wordless Wednesday

End of semester grading is more fun with a friend.

(Not this year, sadly. Several Christmases ago, with my parents' super-duper cat, Spots.)

But! When I get done I get to go to my college reunion! White dresses! Traditions! Gaudeamus! Igitur!

Not bringing my computer, so I'll have to catch up with y'all when we get back.

Meanwhile, don't forget to Come and Eat.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Come And Eat: Beignets and Goat Tacos on Mothers' Day

Hello, internets. Did you make it through Mothers' Day? I hope so. I've read several thought-provoking posts on the subject in the last few days -- check out this or this or this. I've also been feeling grateful that Mothers' Day isn't a big deal in my family -- my mother had forgotten it was Mothers' Day until I called -- which I think makes it a less fraught day for me this year than it might be. (Or maybe it's just that I'm hopeful that next year will be different, thanks to the approaching IVF. I feel lucky to have that hope.)

In reading others' posts on the subject, though, I began to wonder if part of the reason Mothers' and Fathers' Days aren't big in my family is because my parents are IFers, too. Maybe they, too, got sick and tired of the holidays in the years they were trying to conceive. Maybe they chose to withdraw from them to protect themselves. Maybe the whole experience made them too aware that there's nothing fair about who does and doesn't get to celebrate those days.

When I was a child and my mother would refer to how it took her a long time to get pregnant, I shrugged it off -- obviously it didn't work quickly because the perfect combination of sperm and egg to make Wondrous Me doesn't just happen every day. I didn't think about how the wait might have made them frustrated or sad, because obviously it all worked out, right? It's only now, as I face some set-backs of my own (and so far for not nearly as long as my mother faced them, and with more medical help than she had available -- though she took what she could get: Clomid baby right here), that I begin to understand my mother a little better.

Which is, after all, a good thing to do on Mothers' Day.

Now. Please Come and Eat:

We started the morning with the kind of breakfast that you have to plan the night before: homemade beignets. We used this recipe, from a New Orleans cooking blog that hasn't lead me astray yet, and this week we learned from the tough mistakes of last week (yes, we will be big as houses soon, but HAPPY houses) and went easy on the kneading. I mixed up the dough on Saturday night, Sugar kneaded it just enough, and it sat in the refrigerator overnight. In the morning, Sugar rolled it out and cut the beignets, and after they rose again, I fried them in sunflower oil.




The blessed thing about beignets is that the recipe makes far more than we can eat ourselves. They allow us to enjoy the blessings of generosity. Last week and this, we packed up a bag of them for the Plant Whisperer, who spends this time of year raising operating funds for our community garden by luring everyone who walks within 6 blocks of the place in the gates and convincing them, in a mesmerizing display of virtuosity and salesmanship, to buy armloads of vegetable starts and blooming perennials and whatever else we've dug out of our beds for her to sell. The Plant Whisperer is no glutton, so it is especially gratifying to watch her devour food we've made.


We also carried a bag to the friend who lent us his car to look for a place to have our wedding party. We traded the newspaper-wrapped pile of powered sugar and dough for his keys, and drove out to the ocean at Fort Tilden, where we saw feral roses, a tiny crab, and the homey and welcoming Studio 7 of the Rockaway Artists' Alliance. It was very cold and the wind was fierce and exhausting. We did not find picnic shelters or anything else convincing in the way of a party-venue (though Studio 7 would be a great spot), but we did find a beach we'd like to return to in summer. And so ended the planned part of our day and our eating.

Since the friend of Automotive Generosity assured us he didn't need the car before midnight, we decided to bite the bullet and go buy the IKEA dining room chairs we'd been considering, despite the fact that the best color had been discontinued. Our current dining room chairs, found in Chicago alley several years ago, are vintage charmers, with turquoise vinyl upholstery and elegant chrome legs. Under the vinyl, the wooden seats are giving out, such that a slight shift in body weight can cause the legs to suddenly give way, tossing the erstwhile-seated guest floorward. The back legs extend too far back for our small apartment, and I've never felt the same about them since breaking my toe on one. We were hungry, but IKEA has cheap and acceptable food.

IKEA Brooklyn is in the remote neighborhood called Red Hook, known for its giant grocery store, its semi-decrepit shipping works, and for the best Central American food in the city, cooked by the vendors who come to the soccer fields there every summer weekend, selling elotes and pupusas and agua fresca to the Latin American families who come to play and watch the soccer games, and to people like us, who just like to eat well. We make the walk -- except for the shuttle buses and water taxis IKEA now runs, public transit to the area is dismal -- through the heat, over the stinking Gowanus canal, and under the rumbling Brooklyn-Queens Expressway in the summer time, but as it's several unpleasant miles from our neighborhood, we don't go as often as I'd be happy to eat the tacos and huaraches and ceviche sold there. I'm embarrassed to admit that we may not have gone at all last year, but I thought as I drove through the gnarls of traffic under the BQE that I'd have to do better this year, despite the sweaty, gritty walk, make a point of coming once the vendors arrived in June.

red hook
In the old days, before the city made them replace the tarps with trucks

at the huarache stand
At the huarache stand.

And then, like a dream, they were there: despite the cold and the wind, the vendors' trucks were lined up at the park, dispensing quesadillas and horchata and my favorite of all: goat tacos.


And the goat was sweet and tender, Sugar's tacos al pastor complex in their spices, and the watermelon agua fresca divine. A meal of grace: something you can't possibly plan for or make happen or even deserve, that you get to have anyway.


So...what are you eating this week? Paste the address of your food-related post in here, and we'll all come over to eat! (Please place a * after your name if your post is about pregnancy or children, for the sake of any in the ALI community who are presently in The Bad Place.)

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Come and Eat Update

Hi gang,

Seeing as how several people have signed up recently on last week's Come and Eat list, how about we just have that one run for two weeks. I'll post a new sign up on Sunday or Monday.

Meanwhile, if you want to play (please play!) write a post about a meal, and put a link to that post (better than to just your blog's main page) on the Come And Eat list here.

Starting next week, it'll be weekly. For reals.


Sunday, May 2, 2010

IVF Orientation in Pictures

There were six straight couples, one woman on her own, and us. We felt out of place. As soon as the presentation started, however, the room was united in one thought:


We sat there for a while, the slides zipping by.


The nurse giving the presentation threw out facts seemingly at random.


There was a lot of talk about 'product' i.e. sperm from your partner. This made me feel weird.


I started to feel like we were in a movie about the future.


Then came an enlivening surge of adrenaline when a photograph of the moronic therapist we were forced to see flashed up on the screen.


Then a little interlude with billing . . .

Then the truly surreal:

A plastic torso wearing real underwear comes out of the closet.


And is revealed to have a huge hole in its butt!


Don't stab yourself in the sciatic nerve! Ok, have a nice day everyone.