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What Infertility Can Feel Like

© Ntnt |  Stock Free Images

© Ntnt | Stock Free Images

We all know that having a baby is a blessing.  A miracle.  A gift.  It usually involves a nice warm bed, or not, a few minutes of fun, or longer, and there you have it a baby is conceived.  Now you’re on the highway, let’s even call it the HOV lane because you’re carrying a second person.  Next stop…the delivery room.

But what if you can’t get on the highway, what happens?  You’re stuck, at least for awhile, on the secondary roads.  You don’t even know if you’ll ever make it to your destination.  But still you remain optimistic.   What exactly does this detour entail?  No nice warm bed, that’s for sure.

Tests are run.  “You know your rate of depletion’s increasing,” the doctor says.  Can’t you stop it somehow?   I’m only 35, plenty of time.  That’s the rub.  Once they’re gone, they’re gone.   Kind of like the doorbusters on Black Friday, the eggs in your ovaries also sell out early.

“Maybe you just need a little help,” he says.   Let’s try AI—Artificial Insemination.  It feels good to be at the two letter acronym stage.  Beginning stages really.  We just need “a little help”.  You remain hopeful.  He tells us about the three letter acronym (IVF) stop down the road.  “But we’re not there yet,” he reassures us.

“Think of AI like a turkey baster,” he says.    Thousands of years of evolution towards modern medicine and doctors still use a turkey baster analogy.

“We also want to stimulate your ovaries,” he says.  Stimulate my ovaries. Is this some kind of weird euphemism straight of out of a cheesy porn movie?

“Pharmaceutical stimulation,” he clarifies.  Okay, that could still sound dirty.  But trust me, it’s not.

I visualize that nice warm bed the HOV people get and I’m a little bitter.  No warm bed for me.  It’s shots in the stomach, shots in the ass, shots, shots and more shots.  Up at the crack of dawn everyday to have more blood drawn than you think you have in your body.    “Let’s see if those levels are going up,” he says hopefully.  No, they’re going down.   “Stop the shots, we’ll try again in a few months.”

“It just didn’t work,” he says.  Could someone just say failed?   No F words here.  Things just don’t work.  It’s also no one’s fault – another F word.  Fault, you can tell me that but my new “friends” blame and guilt have already settled in for a nice long visit, and they’re not going anywhere.

Best not to drink caffeine.  Maybe half-caf is okay.

Try acupuncture.

Lose a few pounds.

No Drinking.

Only organic foods.  All those pesticides cause infertility, didn’t you know.  Everyone knows that!

Only bottled water

Watch out for MSG

Don’t use cleaning products too many chemicals.

You do it all.  Believe it all.  Your healthy skepticism is out the window, replaced by frantic desperation.

Onto the three letter acronym phase.  You think this three letter acronym is the answer.  Top of the line technology.  It’s not.   IVF can also stand for in vitro failure. “I got a Grade 3,”  I say excitedly.  “That sounds good.”  No, 3 is bad, 1 is good.  I’ve never got a bad grade in my life but I’ve got failing embryos.  We’ll try again in a few months.

Relax, you’re too tense.  If you just relax, it’ll happen.

“I’m sorry,”  the doctor says.  “It’s not going to happen.”  There is no explanation.  Unexplained infertility.   The road’s closed.  You may want to consider another option.  Another path.

We sign up to attend an informational meeting at an adoption agency.  Oh again, how I long for that warm bed.  Have you considered domestic?  Adoption, that is.   There are risks of course.  The birth mother has two days, no three days, a week, a month to change her mind.  It all depends.

No, we decide, too risky.  What about International?  Russia, China, Guatemala.    Ekatrinburg where’s that?  Siberia?  I think of that warm bed again.  Literally.

Okay, let’s do it.

Siberia in February.  A two hour drive with a fearless driver on bumpy potholed roads (trust me you don’t want to take this detour) finally brings us to our destination.  The end of all these winding secondary roads we have been on.   It’s not the delivery room  that the HOV people get but it’s our delivery room.  A 15 month old boy is waiting inside.  His life is going to change and our lives are going to change.  In that moment I realize that the detour I was “forced” to take was where I wanted to go from the beginning, I just didn’t know it at the time.  He’s beautiful, he’s healthy and look, I made him laugh.  He’s got the best smile.  Let’s call him Matthew.   A blessing.  A miracle.  A gift.

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Best Dessert Drink: Key Lime Pie Martini

© Flavia85 |  Stock Free Images

© Flavia85 | Stock Free Images

Now that summer is officially here and no, I don’t care what the calendar says about the official start of summer, summer starts Memorial Day weekend.   So, time to start thinking about those refreshing summer cocktails.  One of my favorite indulgences in the summer (okay, maybe year round) are dessert cocktails.  It’s dessert, its a cocktail what’s not to love?  One of my favorite finds was this recipe for a Key Lime Pie martini.  Other recipes call for half and half or heavy cream but I think the cream of coconut is what makes this deelish.  I hope you enjoy and may all your summer days be filled with fun, laughter and truly great martinis!

 

 

Key Lime Pie Martini

Ingredients:

2 shots vanilla vodka 
1/2 to 1 shot key lime juice (available with lime juice in juice aisle of most coco lopezgrocery stores)
2 T cream of coconut (coco lopez lite available in the drink mix section of most grocery stores)
1 shot pineapple juice
graham cracker crumbs (available in baking aisle)

Run lime around rim of cocktail glass and dip in crumbs.

Add rest of ingredients to martini shaker, add ice and shake. Pour into graham cracker rimmed glasses and you have dessert perfection in a glass.

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Breaking my addiction to YouTube

© Bonairina |  Stock Free Images

© Bonairina | Stock Free Images

I’ll admit it.  I have to right?  It’s the first step in any 12 step program.   So, in the spirit of seeking fully recovery, I ADMIT that I am powerless over YouTube and because of YouTube my life has become unmanageable.   How to start a blog…check YouTube.  What self tanner to try…YouTube.  What is Twitter anyway…YouTube.  Need to improve my golf swing, you guessed it, YouTube.

It started out simple, innocent really.  Isn’t that what everyone says?  Watch out for those simple things, they SUCK YOU IN.   My son wanted to see a music video, a Star Wars parody of Moves Like Jagger called Moves Like Jabba (It’s quite funny.  You should check it out).  No wait, don’t watch it.  I don’t want your addiction on my conscience.   Once bitten, my kids and I were on the YouTube equivalent of the slip and slide.  There was no stopping us.  We then had to see what this Gangnam Style thing was all about.  Which then led to the Call Me Maybe covers.  You DO NOT want to know how many of those I watched.

I’m now determined to quit.  Cold turkey.  Goodbye news anchor fails and bloopers, I’ll miss you 🙁  So long videos of funny things kids, dogs and cats do (in that order).  Farewell music videos I watched when my kids weren’t around like Macklemore’s Thrift Shop–it had far too many expletives anyway.

I’m ready to leave that all in the past.  Wait.  I just remembered I haven’t seen the skits from the SNL season finale.  Maybe I’ll quit…next week.

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Why We All Need a Good Fake Cry

light between the oceans 2Why do I love finding a book that makes me cry?  It’s probably the same reason that I cry over the Biggest Loser.  There is something strangely cathartic to crying over a stranger’s life story or a fictional story.  I suspect that it’s because these are not tears of sorrow or pain–not “real” tears for lack of a better word.  Maybe these “fake” tears are something I need to do once in awhile.

Like a good laugh, a good “fake” cry could be  just as important to maintaining a healthy mental attitude.  We all know that nothing good can come from bottling up our emotions.   The following story is fictional and does not depict any actual person or event:  There may have been a Mom who once turned into a raging lunatic and screamed at her kids for chewing their food too loudly eliciting “are you crazy” looks from both husband and kids.  So, doctors orders, you need to take your “medicine” and indulge in a good fake cry.  So, I prescribe and heartily recommend Light Between the Oceans by M.L. Stedman.  A great book about enduring love, moral dilemmas, and an ending that will, hopefully, have you sobbing.


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Finding the Elusive “IN”

© artshare.ru

© artshare.ru

You and your friends are at a bar or party. You look around the room.  There are plenty of guys to talk to.   But, there’s one big problem.  You need an In.  What’s so important about an In you ask?  The In is the dating equivalent to the golden ticket to Willie Wonka’s candy factory.  Yes, it’s that important. A successful In will lead to a longer conversation and longer conversations lead to….someplace you want to be.

The In is not just for women or singles for that matter.  Any situation where you are around people you don’t know, you need an In to start a conversation.   However, the importance of the In when trying to meet people to date should not be underestimated. It’s a seize the day moment—kill or be killed (okay, maybe that’s a bit strong).

So, how does one find this whole grail of conversation starters?  I wish I could say I had a formula for success as in x+y=In.  When it comes to meeting people to date, nothing is easy or formulaic.  To make matters even more complicated, the In has to sound natural not forced, so each person will have their own unique In.  Also, the best Ins will leave the most room for follow up questions/comments.  Here are a few tips and things to think about when searching for an In.

When at a bar scan the room for something to comment on:

  • If a sports game is on television, a simple In would be asking “Who’s winning” or “Who are the [insert local team name] playing tonight?”

A word of advice, it can never hurt to scan the sports page before going out. Knowledge equals power or, in this case, a great In.

  • A better In would be to ask whether a particular player is “pitching” or if a player is “still out” with an injury.  This kind of In will generate further questions/comments and voilà a longer conversation ensues.

At a party:

  • a simple In may be “so how do you know [insert host/hostess name]?”
  • A better In would be to ask a guy near the drinks to help you “come up with a fun drink” to make.  It’s all about laying the groundwork for the follow up.  The better the groundwork, the easier it will be.

As with anything else, practice makes perfect. With practice, you will soon discover your Ins hits and misses. Try them out on random people, refine them when necessary, and lastly, never give up trying to find a great In.

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Ode to the Object of my Obsession

© Mirjanabanjac | Stock Free Images

© Mirjanabanjac | Stock Free Images

I saw you today.  In a window.  Taunting me with your tantalizing flavors.   The luscious greens, blues and reds.  Oh… to want something so badly.  “Maybe I can just try,” I think. “Maybe this time will be different.”

I peek in the store.   “If only…,”  I think longingly.  “Maybe if I go to the gym…”

I watch as others select you.   Someone picks your turquoise, another your white.  Then, to my horror, a woman takes all five of you in her hands.  I envy her unbridled gluttony.  I shake my head.  No need to prolong the torment.    As I walk out, I turn around to gaze one last time at you.  I do a mock salute.  Until we meet again, skinny jeans, until we meet again.

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Finding your Me Track

 

yoga womanIf you are anything like me, you are busy following the latest music craze by that strange Korean Psy called the Lean In.  Okay, that’s only in my dreams.  I wish it was a dance craze.  It would be much more interesting and arguably, more relevant to women.   I am, of course, talking about the directive to working women by Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg in her book.   Now admittedly, I’m not currently in the workforce and do not, as a general rule, object to advice given to women in the workforce.  What I do object to is the constant labeling of women based on the choices they make at home or at work.   Do this, don’t do that, put your left foot in, put your left foot out and do the hokey pokey and turn yourself about…that’s what it’s all about.  STOP THE  MUSIC.

Where’s the directive to get on the Me Track?  The Me Track is where women get to take time to pursue their individual passions and needs and NOT FEEL GUILTY for doing it.  According to society (a.k.a. the media), the labels that apply to women are clear, you’re either:

  • A career woman (choosing career over husband and/or kids)
  • On the Mommy Track
  • “Leaning In”
  • A Tiger Mom,
  • A SAHM (Stay at Home Mom).  By the way, the worst four letter acronym EVER. Somebody come up with a better one please!
  • An “On Ramper” – trying to get back to the workforce after being a SAHM.
  • OR an unmarried woman (not previously identified as a career woman) who escapes labeling because they are often inaccurately maligned by employers and the media as lacking in career goals.

Can’t we just be women?  I choose that.   If they have to give us a  title then I choose competent Juggler of home and work life (FYI:  if you can’t tell, I made this one up).  Perfection is not the goal.  Mere competence should be enough because you need to be able to make room for your Me track–the track that devotes significant time to your own needs and interests.  Society be on notice–there is a Me track and I’m choosing it!

 

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A “Deelish” CranApple Martini

 © Cartoon |  Stock Free Images

© Cartoon | Stock Free Images

Embracing your single state of mind means making time to do the things you love with friends and family.  I personally love to play mixologist and use my friends as martini guinea pigs.   I’ve had some hits and some misses but I always have my favorite CranApple martini as a back up.

This is my go-to cocktail.  Not too sweet and not too tart.  The KEY is using apple vodka.  It really brings this cocktail to the next level.  Plus, you don’t have to go for the expensive flavored vodkas.   The cheaper versions are just as good.

 

1 oz apple vodka

1/2 to 1 oz sour apple pucker schnapps (depends on your desired level of pucker)

1 oz cranberry juice

Add vodka, sour apple pucker, and cranberry juice to an ice filled martini shaker.  Shake and strain into a cocktail glass and serve

Note:  I’m a big believer in playing with proportions.   A tish more of this, a dash more of that…perfecto!   When it comes to cocktails there is no limit to the amount of experimentation you can do!

 

 

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Host a Theme Dinner Party instead of “Potluck”

dinner partyHello Spring, you’re finally here!  I think many of us tend to hibernate  a little during the winter and friendships have a way of getting put on the back burner.  It’s time to forget about that dreaded cleaning (who thought of that idea anyway?) and celebrate the friends in our life by hosting a dinner party.   I’m a recent convert to the theme dinner party idea but I’ve already embraced it wholeheartedly.   My prior dinner parties were of the potluck variety.  Someone would offer to bring a salad, someone else a dessert or an appetizer or two.  Thus, a meal was made.  An easy meal, a fine meal, and always a delicious meal but not a very cohesive meal.  So, I decided to try the notion of a theme dinner party.

Step One:  Choose your Theme

You can choose any theme but I was drawn to the idea of picking a celebrity chef and having each guest execute on one of that chef’s dishes.  I chose  Curtis Stone.   You know, that HOT Aussie host from Top Chef Masters.  Yes, I’m aware that being genetically good looking does not equate with being a great chef but what can I say, I liked his vibe (which is not a euphemism for something else by the way).  And, it turns out I was right because his food was amazing!

Step Two:  Compile and Distribute Recipes

I decided that, as  host, I would provide the main entree.  I compiled a list of  recipes from various websites.  I chose some easy to execute recipes along with more challenging ones for the adventurous wannabe chefs. I let each  guest choose a recipe making sure I evenly balanced the number of appetizers, salads/sides and desserts.

Step Three:  Cocktail Selection

Arguably, the most important step.  Choose a signature cocktail for the evening.  Maybe tie it into the theme itself or the time of year.  Either way, it will make the meal feel cohesive.  My favorite website for cocktail inspiration and recipes is Sandra Lee’s Semi Homemade Cooking website at  http://www.semihomemade.com/cocktail

Step Four:  Welcome Your Guest to a Dining Experience

Distribute the finalized menu ahead of time–style it like a three course prix fixe menu at a nice restaurant.  The theme dinner party becomes a dining experience rather than just a dinner party.  It has a beginning, middle and an end.

There were definitely some stand out recipes at my Curtis Stone party.  I’ve included one of my favorites below:

Grilled Flank Steak with Chipotle Chili Paprika Rub and Chimichurri
Recipe by Curtis Stone
Servings: Serves 4
Ingredients
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 1/4 cup flat leaf parsley
  • 1/4 cup cilantro
  • 1 Tbsp. crushed red chili
  • Zest of 2 lemons
  • 2 Tbsp. red wine vinegar
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 dried chipotle chili , stem and seeds removed
  • 1 Tbsp. smoked paprika
  • 1 tsp. dried oregano
  • 1 tsp. sugar
  • 4 (6- to 8-ounce) flank steaks
  • Olive oil for grill
Directions
Preheat a grill or grill pan on medium-high heat. Using a sharp knife, chop the chipotle chili as fine as possible, trying to break up any large pieces.In a medium mixing bowl, combine the chipotle with the paprika, oregano and sugar and mix thoroughly. Lay the steaks out on a plate and season with salt and black pepper on both sides. Season generously with the spice rub as well on both sides. Brush the grates of the grill with a bit of oil, and grill steaks for 4 to 5 minutes on each side or until medium rare (135° internal temperature with a thermometer).While the steaks are grilling, combine the garlic and herbs in a mortar and pestle or food processor and grind into a paste. Add the crushed red chili, lemon zest and vinegar and mix well. Slowly drizzle in the oil while mixing and season to taste with salt and pepper. Reserve for serving.Remove steaks from the grill to a plate or rack and allow to rest for 3 to 4 minutes. Serve steaks with the chimichurri sauce.

 

 

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