My mother's favorite verse in the Bible is John 21:12. It's after the resurrection, and the disciples are fishing. A man on the shore calls out to them, hears that they are not catching much, and gives them some advice -- Try putting the nets on the other side of the boat. The nets fill up, the disciples realize the man is Jesus, and they begin to shout and carry on. Peter jumps into the water to swim to him. And Jesus says to them, "Come and eat breakfast."
Don't worry, my non-Bible-thumping ones. I'm not going to start sermonizing regularly. (For one thing, Sugar would have a fit. For another, I'm an Episcopalian, and we know our limits. Ours is not to preach but to polish old wood pews, to wring our hands over "tradition", and to try not to spill our martinis on the needlepoint pillows....) Take comfort: the Bible-thumpers are clucking their tongues over my lowercase "him" above -- I like Jesus better as a son of man than as a son of God, sometimes. I am an equal-opportunity offender.
Come to it, that verse might be my favorite, too. It gets to the heart of my beliefs about human connection: that the best way to show (and to build) our love for each other is to break bread. This idea is hardly unique to Christianity, I realize, nor to religion.
So, please: come and eat with me.
I'd like to invite you to last Sunday's dinner. It was a quiet affair, at home in our cluttered apartment. I'd rather cook and drink wine and talk to you than wipe down the backsplash; I hope you don't mind. I started cooking a little later than I meant to, so we'll all have to sit around and talk while the food finishes. Sugar made a pie, whose crust she almost wouldn't let me take pictures of, because the weather is damp and the dough was testy and she was afraid you'd disapprove. But I know you'll see that pie as more perfect because of the fingerprints left from her mending the dough. (And I assure you, it tastes just fine.) The pie is made of rhubarb -- which always makes me think of Sugar's grandmother, who grows stalks taller than she is -- and strawberries for the coming of summer and peaches from the freezer, a last-minute improvisation when the strawberries and rhubarb didn't fill the shell.
You'll meet my most long-standing friend, who sat on my mother's pregnant belly as a baby and started crying when I kicked her. She's still threatening to get me back for that, but I say it was fairly dealt: she SAT on me, after all. Our mothers were close during their pregnancies and her mother watched us both as babies, so we are built of some of the same food. (These days, I take some comfort in the knowledge that none of that would have happened if my mother had been able to get pregnant when she'd first wanted to. No Bug in my life? Impossible.) I can't believe that after being separated as young children, we've ended up living three blocks from each other, hundreds of miles from our various early homes. Womb Buddy's talking about moving away, and we're trying to talk her out of it but mostly trying to feed her well while she's here, make sure the bonds of shared food stay strong.
Israeli couscous with broccoli rabe -- I don't know how this is supposed to be cooked, but this is how I cook it.
And now, if you'd like, it's your turn. I've read some beautiful posts about food and eating together on your blogs recently (to say nothing of my ongoing delight in starhillgirl's requests to log my lunch) which inspired this attempted meme. Add your name and blog to the Mr. Linky list, and write a post about a meal this week. The ways food bonds us are multifarious, so your post can be pictures of a meal you made, a favorite or new recipe, a shared croissant with an old friend at a coffee shop. It can be wordy or just a picture.
I'll write one of these every week and invite you to do the same, like an edible version of Mel's (late, lamented) Show and Tell. Visit each other's posts, please, and write comments to let folks know you've come to the table. If you're writing about kids or babies -- and I hope you will, because I believe feeding children is about much, much more than just making sure they don't starve to death -- put a * after your name, in case ALI (adoption/loss/infertility) folks aren't in a good place for that. (Tip o' the cursor to Calliope's excellent suggestion at her Photo Friday project.)
(This is my first time using Mr. Linky, so maybe leave a comment, too, in case I didn't do it right.)
Hey there buckaroos and buckerettes. Hope you're having a nice weekend. We sure are. Here's what we've been up to (post-sitting-around-in-towels):
We started off at the community garden, composting, planting in the tree well, and generally, erm, soaking it all in. Not pictured: the squirrel Sugar found in one of the cisterns, soaking it all in for the last time.
The spirea is blooming. I like to call it bridal wreath.
And the columbines are starting.
From there, the train to Chinatown (Manhattan version), for lunch, art supplies, and textile madness.
I'm back from the conference, which was mainly a test of conversational endurance with my boss. This morning Baby and I went to buy a new scanner at B&H, my old one having died a premature death. Later we wandered around the botanic garden looking at blooming things. And then Baby cooked awesomely crunchy and salty/sweet faux chinese food. Here she is at the stove:
I woke intermittently this morning, beeped awake by my dying cellphone, but not awake enough to want to go put it out of its misery. (Confidential to Motorola: What is it with you and the insistent beepery? One death-beep would be enough of a courtesy announcement for my taste. And your insistence on beeping every minute for eternity after a missed call? Friend, it borders on the pathetically needy. This is the kind of behavior that pushes people away. I missed that call because I am busy, not because I don't esteem you highly. I'll check the message when I am next at liberty to pick up the phone, okay?) From this, you can tell that Sugar is not home, as she thinks clearly enough even in the morning to know the phone won't stop on its own. She would have tracked it down, turned it off, and returned to bed after the first beep.
Alas, she rose even before the beeping began, graciously only half-waking me for a kiss, and rode off to a conference in a near-enough city that she'll be home late tonight, her department sparing the cost of a hotel and sparing me the wakefulness of a night alone.
I would make a terrible single person. On Sugar's longer trips (She is sent to Africa from time to time, which is very glamorous in principle and sometimes in fact.), I start out well enough. I decide that living alone is no reason not to live well. I keep the house clean. I assemble fresh food and make a first dinner worthy of serving to guests, just for me. This state lasts for one day, maybe two. After that, it's Annie's Mac and Cheese, late night cereal, books and computer strewn across the bed. I always sleep on her side to pretend she's here and I'm gone.
A Saturday alone is not much better, it seems. Already I've burnt the toast and my fingers. I should be vigorously striding home from the farmers' market or pottering about our community garden bed or at least beginning my Great American Novel, but instead I am in slippers, my braid still rough from sleep.
I love her, that's all, and I'm not myself without her.
Love 'em. Meant no offense to any of y'all with my previous post. Rock on with your twin-havin'/wantin' selves.
Fear 'em, though. Two things:
1. From a financial (let alone emotional) standpoint, having a baby at all right now is a pretty big leap of faith. If the universe wants to split an embyro in two and we end up with twins, that's one thing, but it seems more than a little foolhardy to try for a two-fer on purpose.
2. Sugar and I are both only children. In many ways, we like the idea of siblings, but it's foreign to us both. We may well end up wanting more than one child, and our conversations about future plans include that idea. But for right now we're thinking: one at a time.
I thought it might help to sort out what about IVF I am and am not scared of. Something's gotta help soon, because I'm sick of waking up at 4:30. (Good news: I found a sliding-scale acupuncture clinic! Gonna call next week, for reals. We'll deal with what about acupuncture I am and am not afraid of another day....)
What I am scared of:
- Big needles. Dr. Baby Factory prefers to use progesterone in oil, but he said he’s okay with coochie bullets. So I don’t need to worry about that one (except for the part of me that’s like “but shouldn’t I use THE VERY BEST THING? WHY DON’T I WANT A BABY???”)
What I am not scared of:
- Small needles. I’m a tiny bit weirded out by the thought of the follistim injections, but not in an unmanagable way. I used to watch my dad give himself allergy shots. I think this is one of those times that being a doctors' kid helps — I don’t have the feeling that medical care is something that doesn’t happen at home, and I’m basically into science experiments. And if it gets that bad, I have a friend with a medical degree who’s already offered to give me the shots. (And if that doesn’t work out, I can always have her 2.5 year old daughter do it. That kid gives me “medicine” with my bbt thermometer every time she’s over, which is often. She has a great bedside manner — comforting but very firm.)
- That follistim and friends will make my ovaries hurt unbearably, given that Cysty Lefty hurts an awful lot of the time as it is. Oh well. I suppose childbearing is a weird goal if I’m interested in avoiding discomfort, huh?
- Two-week follicular phase. That sounds like a big improvement over my usual twenty-odd days. I can do anything for two weeks, right?
- Egg retrieval. That’s normal, right? How could I not be scared of giant needles in my vagina, right? And how the hell are they going to get around my big-ass cysts? (According to my dream life, I am also afraid of crazy infections that enlarge the lining surrounding my heart. Awake, I am afraid that the Terrible Metaphor part of my mind is taking over. IVF leads to heartache? Real original, brain. MFA in Writing = money well spent.)
- IVs. Dr. Baby Factory said he’d want to do my ER with anesthesia — and he thought I’d object! Ha! I’m a big wimp and am all for being knocked out. So I’m telling myself that all I will have to do on ER day is show up and get an IV. Everything that comes afterward…well, I’ll be down for the count. (I hope. Last time I had twilight anesthesia — when I had my wisdom teeth out — I woke up in the middle. On the bright side, I was still too blissed out to be bothered. I remember lying there thinking, “Oh, that crunching sound must mean they’re having to break my tooth to get it out. La la la!”)
- Not having any eggs/embryos. Dr. Baby Factory doesn’t think the no-egg thing is likely (since I had a bunch of follicles on the last scan), but really, I suppose there’s only one way to find out.
- Single Embryo Transfer. Dr. BF thinks this is a great idea for me, given my age and all the rest (like my fear of twins). He thinks it lowers my odds only a little bit, and since my insurance is paying…. But then again, my insurance company wouldn’t be the ones climbing back into the stirrups, not to mention dealing with the emotional fallout not getting pregnant. Okay, it turns out I am a little afraid of this. But I am more afraid of twins in our New York apartment and our loosey-goosey financial situation.
- Believing this is a sure thing; losing my mind if it doesn’t work, even if only on the first try.
- Never having a child. Always being the-adult-kids-love, with none of my own to sometimes love and sometimes loathe me. Again, only one way to find out.