Archive for February, 2011

February 24, 2011

the other blog

no, i haven’t forgotten to post.  no, i didn’t get busy.  i took it down.  i took it down because right now we are no longer bringing a little one home.  in a nutshell: we hit a snag a month ago and have had to indefinitely postpone our plans to adopt.  i had thought that perhaps i’d continue to write about our efforts to grow our family but the simple truth of the matter is that i don’t want to talk about it anymore.  our lot in life (at least in this area) seems to be riddled with twists and turns that eventually dead end.  while we do hope to continue on, i’m not sure anymore that i want to document all of it.   concise stories with a happy ending are more fun to write and make for much better reading.

there is however, something i really do want to talk about that is very near and dear to my heart.  i would like to share more about what it is like to be a woman and be infertile.  marco and i made the decision to try to adopt because of infertility –  something that affects one in six couples.  if you are reading this, chances are a woman you know is dealing with this.  chances are, in spite of how close to her you are, you may not know that she is dealing with this.  it is an issue that, unfortunately,  is little discussed or talked about.  i hope that someone will read my sporadic series of posts. not because i feel that i am so articulate and eloquent but because i feel that i have something to say.  i’m not the only one saying it; but considering the lack of local support available for women in my situation, it would appear that no one is listening.

as an infertile couple we found very little local support for an issue that has been one of the  most painful we’ve dealt with both as individuals and as a couple.  none of the churches we’ve attended in the past offered any kind of support group for couples who cannot have a child.  there are groups for divorcees, groups for widowers, groups for singles, and groups for just about every other chapter in life but the infertile couple.   unless you have been there, you have no idea what it feels like to grieve an empty nursery.  i have often thought that if perhaps other people (women especially) knew what it was like and knew how to empathize and reach out,  infertile women might then be spared the additional grief of having to suffer alone, suffering numerous insensitive comments and suggestions however well-intentioned they might be.    i think the majority of us have found a listening ear somewhat anonymously in the safe haven of a private chat room.  i don’t know what i would do without my small group of ladies online, few of whom i have actually met in person (i know they read here, ladies please stand so you can be recognized. thank you!  )  for the past six years or so they have stood with me and my husband (albeit virtually) as we’ve progressed on this journey that seems to have no end.

i had thought about logging all the posts in a separate blog but at this point i don’t know if i have enough material or the time to commit to writing about one subject on a regular basis. i had not wanted to have an “infertility” post category on the sidebar of my everyday blog.  i don’t like being identified as infertile.  much as i would like to ignore it though, it is a huge part of my life and the driving force behind much of what i do.  we moved to our beloved older home with a smaller yard when we realized that the home on a quarter acre, bought with lots of children in mind, was too large.  while we still plan for a family, a large family is no longer within realistic reach.  i became a gardener because planning and growing a garden was therapy in the midst of frustration over our inability to conceive.  our little doggies have provided the much needed opportunity to nurture something small and warm.   they occupy an otherwise empty lap.

while it sounds like i am painting a dismal picture, we have been able to be happy in spite of the fact that life at this point hasn’t turned out the way we had hoped.  we’ve traveled together. we live for friday nights where we uncork a bottle of wine, cook together, and listen to jazz. we love our lazy saturday mornings lingering over several pots of tea.  we are soul mates and have created a life together that is almost idyllic.  it is just that every so often, usually at the most unexpected times, we’re reminded of what we had hoped for and the reality of infertility hits us with a sudden jolt.  it is usually in small, ordinary ways that most other couples would not even notice.  a parent in the line ahead of me at the grocery store, buying the makings of a birthday party.  a poster at the mall advertising a photographer – a poster of mommy and daddy hands cradling tiny feet.  we look at things like that and wonder – “will we ever plan a party for our child?”  ” will there ever be tiny feet in our life?”  and if the answer to those questions is “no” then how will we come to terms with that?

do not look for any answers to the obvious questions, and please don’t ask.   i am not going to tell you why we are infertile.  i am not going to tell you why our plans to adopt were placed on hold.  i am not going to talk about where we plan to go from here or what sort of treatment we may or may not consider and why.  i am not going to go into whether or not i feel assisted reproductive technology is ethical or healthy.  i am not going to discuss my personal views on whether or not infertile couples should adopt, and if so, how.  i am not going to go into whether or not it is right to choose to remain childless.

i am going to talk about what it is like to attend a friend’s baby shower when you’ve waited  years to have one of your own.  i am going to talk about what it is like to wonder if you will ever frost a cake for a first birthday, or if that corner in the kitchen will ever host a highchair.  i do want to discuss why it hurts so bad to receive a pregnancy announcement when you’ve just learned that this was not your month.   i do want to discuss what it feels like to be in a group of women sharing birth stories when you have nothing to say.  i want to talk about what it is like to wait month after month, year after year, and nothing seems to change.  your prayers seem to go unanswered.  your biological time clock continues to tick.  friends move on with life as parents while you feel life has passed you by.

i would hope that if anyone reads this  they would then be mindful of those in their circle who are most likely suffering too.  if you have no idea who your infertile friend is then just take a look around you.  the next time you are in a room full of women talking about their children, a baby shower perhaps, she will most likely be the silent one, metaphorically sitting alone.  she might be sitting right next to you, but the event and conversation have isolated her the same as if she was in a corner by  herself.  talk to her.   don’t ask her if she has any children.  don’t ask her why she doesn’t have any.  don’t suggest she relax and let nature take its course.  don’t ask her why she doesn’t “just” adopt.  ask her how she is doing; take her hand, ask her how she is really doing, and then just listen.

February 14, 2011

happy valentine’s day!

unfortunately my valentine has to travel today.  the good thing though is that his flight doesn’t leave until late this afternoon so we have most of the day together and we started it off with homemade eggs benedict and raspberries.  no sooner had we sat down to eat when fed-ex arrived with my surprise: a box of chocolate covered strawberries.  marco had intended for it to arrive while he was gone and i was supposedly home alone but the change in plans couldn’t have worked out more perfectly. a yellow teapot morning indeed!

today marks eight sweetheart days that we have spent together.  the first was celebrated as a newly engaged couple when marco came to visit me in honduras.  we had a candlelight dinner under the mango tree overlooking the pool in our back yard.  i fixed pork chops with apricots, something i saw in martha stewart’s living.  years later, i learned that marco doesn’t care for “fruity meat” but he graciously ate it that night.  we’re planning a belated “french bistro” dinner on saturday after he gets back in town.

after i drop him off at the airport, i will go on to my folks house for a dinner with them; which, i assume, will conclude with my mom’s heart shaped red velvet cake.  she has made one every year that i can remember – long before red velvet made a come back.

in honor of valentine’s day i decided to break out my brand new decorating tips and pastry bags that i got for christmas and make some decorated sugar cookies.    i don’t necessarily see myself becoming a full fledged pastry chef, but i would like to get to the place that when a recipe recommends piping a shell border with a #21 tip, i don’t flee in a state of panic.  ever since i was a kid, i have plunged into new projects requiring new skills with the expectation that i’ll have it mastered within an hour, the results suitable for a coffee table book photo shoot.  i thought that i had outgrown that long ago, but my sugar cookie project proved me wrong.  within an hour i was frustrated and declaring i should just leave it to merritt’s.  marco encouraged me to stick with it though and  in the end, i learned that the instruction book was right when they said that most problems accounted for the frosting consistency.  by the time i got it thinned out just right, the results were a little more what i had hoped for.  maybe not suitable yet for a photo shoot, but good enough for us to celebrate with. next endeavor: saint paddy’s day postcard cookies.  vintage postcard of course.

 

hope ya’ll have a wonderful day with you and yours.

 

February 9, 2011

today is a yellow teapot day

part of our morning ritual is a pot of tea over breakfast.  usually that one pot will extend to two or sometimes even three: pg tips steeped for about three minutes and served in our his and hers teacups which are so special they are deserving of a post all to themselves.

i have two teapots for our morning ritual – brown betty knock-offs that are stored over the stove on a scalloped shelf next to a vintage repro tea tin.  the  brown one has an endearing chipped lid.  i bought it years before i was married on a trip to canada.

recently though we added a yellow version to the collection.  i found this one at a tea room down the street,  just after we started the infamous kitchen remodel.  it was cute. it was round. it was yellow.  i had to have it.

on average ordinary days we use the brown pot.  every once in a while though we will designate a day as “yellow teapot day”.  it can be in honor of a special occasion such as a day off, a pick-me-up, or just because.

or, as in today’s case, dreary weather.

this morning i woke up to another swirling 6 inches of wet snow.

today is a yellow teapot day.

February 7, 2011

day 7

and counting….apparently we are to get more snow this week.  this afternoon we are going to make another run to the store for some necessities: red wine vinegar (gotta have it), and sugar: powdered and granulated.  i plan to make some cut out valentine cookies in the event we are snowed in again this week.  actually i plan to make them either way.  for christmas i got a set of decorating tubes as i want to teach myself how to decorate cookies, among other things.

marco and i enjoyed the superbowl last night with my parents at their place.  i don’t really watch football.  i cross stitch during the game and then watch the commercials.  favorite spot: the little darth vader.  i love little people.  i love little boys (assuming this was a little boy under all that garb).  i would love to have a little darth pottering about our place.  i’d give my right arm for that (really, i would).  in order to pull me through this last dead end, marco has been reading through the story of hannah with me and we’ve been discussing the way she prayed, etc.  so this morning i caught myself “Lord if you will give me a son……i will…….i will…….i will buy him a darth vader suit!!!”  i………don’t think that is what He had in mind, but whatever.

today is monday so that means that it is soup and  laundry day.  my washer is humming along and the bone broth is in the fridge waiting to be degreased and transformed into beefy french onion soup. recipe from a vintage cookbook i found at a used bookstore.  delegating monday as a slow day for laundry and cooking makes me feel all housewifey and i have found that i actually enjoy the day instead of dreading it.

other mundane items on my monday agenda:

~email the small town paper with the plans for the garden club meeting.  i am publicity person this year.

~turn in subscription for la cucina italiana.  date night material.  it will be fun and yummy i am sure.  if we turn in our paid subscription today we get (da-da-da):  a free wine carrier with the la cucina logo.  it’s for picnics.  we never go on picnics, but it is free so i am ordering it anyway.

~ordering a heating mat for my seed starting to commence when the snow melts.  the tomato seeds need to be started in a few weeks.

~attend a meeting at the extension office about how we can reach home-school students using the demo garden as a teaching tool.  being a product of home-schooling i have a special interest in this possibility.  i also want to get out of the house for a bit.

so wishing there was some way to get out in this and go for a much needed run…

February 2, 2011

snow!

we are currently snowed in under a blanket 14″ deep (or 12.2 according to some sources). while that may not be that amazing for some, for here it sets a new record for the most amount to fall in a 24 hour period.  or something like that.  i’m not one to watch the weather, but my husband is, and that is what i have gathered from his recent reports here and there.

normally, i go stir crazy when we have a storm.  i still can’t really figure this one out because i am a home body by nature.  i think it is just the thought that if i really wanted to get out, i couldn’t.  so i have been staying busy for the most part.  this afternoon i emptied my tiny wall cabinet of these and thoroughly washed them.

this is my prize collection of miniature cups and saucers.  my husband bought them for me on a whim one saturday afternoon when we  were admiring them online.  my mother bought me four miniature tea pots for my birthday one year.   among these is also a slightly larger set of a cup and saucer, teapot, cream, and sugar in miniature reproduction of queen victoria’s china pattern (one of many i am sure).  we found this one when we were honeymooning in the cotswolds.

yesterday afternoon i allowed myself the luxury of knocking off  cleaning/special projects about 3 so i could do some needlework in front of downton abbey on masterpiece theater.  anyone else watching it? anyone else struggle with the word “downton”?   awkward to say…

i’m loving it, wishing i had a staff for my house and enjoying hugh bonneville.  i suppose most would remember him in daniel deronda (which i did not care for) but i liked him best as the spineless fop in mansfield park (that was him wasn’t it?).  today i plan to do the same, moving on to episode 2.

it feels good to have time to stitch.  have reluctantly put aside the peter rabbit scene i was working on ::sniff:: and dragged the marilyn leavett-imblum piece back out.  sorta sad.  must buck up though as i finished the last of the two-bite cupcakes today.