Tuesday, October 19, 2010

slightly larger items

While browsing the produce section for good prices on vegetables (in October), I determined that I needed to make some seasonal pasta sauce. Late last night I finished a big batch, for consumption tonight. My tasting thus far indicates success. Here I share my original, from-scratch recipe, no doubt unconsciously stolen from some more competent source:
  • Split one acorn squash in half (start with knife, drop repeatedly on counter). Scoop out seeds. Put face-down on tinfoil on cookie sheet and roast at 400 for 45 minutes.
  • Spend 25 minutes blogging or watching TV. (Or, if you must, doing laundry.)
  • Boil 1 lb. pasta in large pot. (I used penne.) Drain and put in large serving bowl.
  • Add 1/4 stick butter to now-empty pot, on medium heat. [or oil, or margarine]
  • Add pinch crushed red pepper flakes to melting butter. [optional]
  • Dice 1 medium onion small; add to pot.
  • Mince 1-4 cloves garlic; add to pot. [Optional: add 1/2 tsp ginger paste/minced ginger.]
  • Add ~6 oz. frozen chopped spinach. Stir pot periodically.
  • Shred a handful of fresh basil and add. [I used frozen basil that I grew. It wilted in the freezer, but kept its flavor.]
  • Remove squash from oven. Remove skins and discard. [Recommended but optional: puree squash flesh with blender or food processor.]
  • Add squash to pot and stir more.
  • Grate an ounce or so of parmesan into pot. [could use sharp cheddar]
  • Add 1 cup half-and-half, in thirds, until desired thickness. [or cream, or milk]
  • Add lemon juice and salt to taste.
  • Optional: top with semi-crisp chopped bacon and gorgonzola before serving.
  • Could serve meat-free (or as side with roast). I added diced-up leftover pork chops. I can see chicken or scallops working too.
  • And I didn't have any, but thought chopped walnuts might be nice too.

It's gluten-free! Um, except the pasta, but I understand gluten-free varieties are available. I don't know whether the dairy could be successfully edited out, though.

In news unrelated to food, I am realizing from my screwy temperatures that this cycle is probably anovulatory. It looked perfect heading TOWARD peak day. I think I ovulated last cycle, but I know the cycle before was anovulatory, too. It's really getting me down. Before surgery, I ovulated every cycle that I measured. Then after surgery, it took me months to get back to cycles that were even biphasic. And they're still defective. My FSH levels are higher post-surgery, too. This makes a complete run: every single IF treatment or even diagnostic procedure I have tried in the last nearly two years, each intended to effect some improvement that did not happen, has been immediately followed by a significant reduction in the integrity of some element of my reproductive health that previously was working correctly. All the evidence indicates that I am becoming more infertile with treatment, and clearly I wasn't in a good place to begin with.

I know that most any doctor would say that I need to go all in - there are so many things I haven't tried, and a lot stronger medicine available, and even with my lousy ovarian reserve, they can jack me up with more hormones and see what works. (I think the fact that my age still starts with a "2" causes doctors to make optimistic assessments that are totally unsupported by my medical history, but it will be 16 months before I can prove my theory.) But I am a risk-averse personality to start with, and the idea of throwing good money after bad, in any life situation, makes my skin crawl. What will follow the next innocuous treatment - menopause? Osteoporosis? Uterine cancer? No matter what it is, I know that the doctors will say what they always say: there is no possible way that this depressing outcome is connected to the treatment or test I recommended. It's medically impossible. Lawyers have a different analytical method for dealing with a unique stimulus followed (without discernible causation) by an unprecedented response - res ipsa loquitur. That's an automatic win for the plaintiff. Too bad I'm not suing anybody (really, I'm not. The only thing that could make this process more unpleasant is a legal battle. One of my lifetime goals is never to appear in the caption of a lawsuit).

Anyway, I am tired of treatment. But since I am convinced that I need the depo to address the cysts anyway (and I am pathologically putting off scheduling the appointment at which I will lobby for the depo), I am telling myself that when I get off it, the ovulation will either return spontaneously, or respond to some mild treatment. (There's even a medical basis for that little bit of rationalization, which is always nice.)

I have also done further meditating on the subject of my assorted angst related to IF blogging and the crossing-over process [BTW, apologies to JB for my endless comment on her post], and I have come to a conclusion. Though I didn't notice it at the time, very soon after becoming an IF blogger (going on two years!), I became very protective of other IF bloggers. (Of course, there are some with whom I vehemently disagree about various matters, and if the disagreement is wide-enough ranging, I don't follow the blogger, so as to avoid an actual dispute.) And I view all former-infertiles who have borne or adopted children as latent foxes in the henhouse. They can prove themselves not to be dangerous by their conduct, but my default presumption is that they are inadequately sensitive to the effect their sharing has on their former compatriots, and, whether they are adequately sensitive or not, that their sharing about their children is harmful to childless infertile bloggers, and harmful in a context in which those women are most vulnerable to that type of harm. En masse adoptions and BFPs obviously constitute a whole leash of foxes in the henhouse at once, and in that case you probably have to shoot to kill.

Obviously, this system requires me to transfer bloggers from my "defend this person ferociously" group to the "watch like a hawk" designation at some set point, which I think that I probably do, although that point seems to vary widely from person to person. Also, obviously, nobody has asked me to take up against mommy bloggers on her behalf, and very likely nobody needs me to do so. Probably, in fact, I'm simply a pain in the neck. (Well, this part I've never really doubted.)

Realizing this explicitly is, I think, of use to me in recognizing why I react in the way that I do to pregnancy announcements, and, in particular, the post-BFP or post-adoption posts of other bloggers. I think that realizing why exactly I'm so defensive (it goes beyond what I'm feeling at the time; it's a matter of principle, but a principle of which I was more or less unconscious) will help me in deciding whether I ought to act on my impulses and, if so, how. But it's probably important to note here that I don't think my impulses are factually wrong. They are simplistic, and need to be susceptible of thoughtful exception and reservation of judgment until all the facts are in. But I think my paternalistic approach is more or less the right one.

I recognize that, as people have pointed out to me, I do not get to set the terms on which the IFosphere exists. People blog in this realm for lots of reasons, and combinations of reasons. On the other hand, I refuse to take a purely relativistic approach to the IFosphere. Though communities (real and virtual) generally have a raison d'etre more complicated than that dictated in any law or mission statement, their existence grows to have some actual defining principle (even if never articulated), which one should be able to apprehend by observation. My observations of the IFosphere indicate that it is at least as much strained as supported by substantial discussion of babies and pregnancy. Others are free to make their own observations and form different conclusions, which I would be happy to entertain.

So...those are my thoughts for the day.


  1. Your pasta creations sounds yummy!

  2. I really appreciated your comment today Misfit (and I responded to it as well, if you want you're welcome to come back over and read it).

    I see that you've separated your blog roll to still IF and no longer IF. It's the easiest way to avoid having to read anything pg or baby-related (although for time, my "other side" was getting longer than my "still waiting" side [sigh]).

    That recipe of your sounds delish! I, of course, would use gf pasta (rice pasta is really tasty, but you must rinse it 'cos it gets awfully starchy if you don't). Squash is plentiful at our local farmer's market so I'm inspired. I would use rice milk or Rich's non-dairy creamer instead of the regular milk or cream. Thanks for the great food idea!

  3. Yum, yum, yum. I have three acorn squash on my counter right now - I definitely think I'll be trying this.

    As a "crossover in progress" - I can say that I feel I am walking a fine line between being exuberant and trying to let go of the pain of the years of waiting. I definitely will act on your comments on JB's post about providing a warning about pregnancy or baby references in posts. I have seen it in other posts and remember appreciating it (yes, I am clearly callous for not thinking about this). The one thing that I must say, not as a defense, but as a perspective, is that I joined the IFosphere with hopes that someday I would leave the IF behind. I even chose my blog name with hopes that it could be used if/when Snicks and I become parents. It is hard to move down this path with so many IF friends still waiting. (Oh, yes, poor me, poor pregnant girl... I know). Thanks for your honesty and remaining protective of the flock.

  4. That sauce sounds delicious :).

    Hmmm, I definitely think some bloggers do a better job of "crossing over", but I know at some point they are all going to sound just like happy mothers (which they are) and not like infertile bloggers. Until they start trying for #2, that is. Some bloggers, I've found, "cross over" like they never were infertile in the first place - it's strange to me. Like one day, they'll be crying over a negative cycle, then the next one is a bfp and life goes on like normal. Picking out maternity bras, nursery colors, etc. If you read their posts from bfp onward, there's not even a reference to their infertile past. It's weird.
    I think some months it's impossible for me to read any pregnancy/mothering-type blogs. Other months, I can read them without it putting me in that bad, depressing place.
    There is no formal membership in the IF blogging community, so there's no way to "pull the card" of those who move on to pregnancy & motherhood and don't follow the proper rules of etiquette or sensitivity toward those of us who are still in the trenches. All we can do is stop reading their blogs, I guess...

  5. Yummy recipe - looks fabulous!

    I have a different take on pregnant after IF blogs than most, I think. I really like reading them, and still commenting on them. They give me hope. Granted, if I'm in the middle of a super IF funk, I can't muster up happiness enough to comment on some happy, look at me, I'm a mother, kind of post. But I like knowing that even after all they've been through, that happiness from being a mother, or being pregnant, can still exist. I want that for me - I hope that once I'm pregnant again, I can have that all-consuming kind of joy. I'm afraid I won't be able to do that for fear of losing another child, and I love to see that people do move on, in some respects.

    Now I'm not about to start following someone new that is pregnant. But if I've followed them during their IF time, it's very easy for me to continue following them, giving them support, and accepting support from them.

    But everyone's different, and that's the great thing about this community - it's easy to manage our own path in this world. And you have to do whatever feels right for you!

  6. First, let me say that I am so sorry if my blog is among those that have brought you or anyone else any stress. Of course, that was never my intention. I think (and I have seen others discuss this before, so I’m stealing their thoughts here!) that we tend to act in ways we would have wanted others to act towards us, and so it never even occurred to me that I would need to edit my blog for others because, when I was dealing with infertility, I never wanted that of anyone else. I just completely avoided pregnancy/mommy blogs and I guess I just assumed people would now avoid mine. I know some continue to read it and I even receive many emails from those currently dealing with infertility thanking me for giving them hope and encouraging me to continue to post about adoption and pregnancy (believe me, I couldn't have imagined reading my blog when I was in their shoes, let alone thanking someone for it).

    I hope this doesn’t sound defensive (I know things can come off different than you intend when typed online), but I just wanted to give some insight into why I blog the way I blog. I have always thought of my blog as simply a reflection of my life. I started it before there even was a Catholic infertility blog community, and always expected my blog would change to reflect where I was at any particular time. I started it, like most people do, to find someone else going through what I was, and today, it serves much the same purpose. As for what I post about my daughter, well that's just a natural extension of my life. Plus, my extended family and friends many states away read my blog (yes, I was oddly open with them about my struggle) and they now look forward to news and pictures.

    I also know my blog was incredibly dark for a long time. So now that my life has completely changed (changes of which I am not deserving and give all the glory to God), I have just felt like I owe it to God to be joyful and to share my joy. I can definitely see why that may not be welcome by all. But please know that it came from a good place and not in an attempt to brag.

    As for the post disclaimers, I never used them because I didn’t appreciate them back when I was infertile which, I suppose, was just a personal preference (I just figured if I had clicked over to their blog, I knew what I was getting into). Also, in my case, since it’s all I talk about, the warnings would become constant (not to mention my very non-creative titles often give away post content as well). As for the blog roll, when someone on mine conceived over the past couple years, I would simply remove them completely.. so I guess I was a little harsher in my approach! I don't expect any one at all to read my blog, especially any one for whom it would be too difficult. It would never cross my mind to think less of another blogger who stopped commenting. I actually would expect them to.

    So those are my thoughts (sorry it's so long!) and I hope they don't bring you or anyone else any additional stress. And (and I hope it doesn't get old when I and others say this) I really am praying for you and all those still dealing with the pain of infertility.

  7. I know I have discussed my feelings with you about this before, but I just think you sometimes have to step away from certain blogs. There isn’t any sense in torturing yourself by visiting a blog that causes you pain or annoys you.

    As for the disclaimers, I’ve never appreciated them. I figure a pregnant lady is going to post about pregnancy in much the same way as an infertile lady is going to discuss infertility and a RPL gal is going to discuss miscarriages. A new mom . . . never seen one who didn’t post a zillion pictures. To me, it is expected so the disclaimers were mere aggravations to me and frankly, stated the obvious. But therein lies THE point. You cannot please everyone so you have to blog what is comfortable for you. Whereas you would appreciate disclaimers, they tend to annoy me. You might not like pictures, but I know Barbie loved pictures even before she had Alana. How’s a blogger supposed to please those opposing views? She simply can’t.

    With that said, I do feel some former IFers handle the transition better than others. There did not seem to be a need to be “sensitive” this time around because so many crossed over at the same time. I gather there was this sense that “everybody is moving forward” when the reality was some of us were still left behind. I do wish that during posts about pregnancy or mommy pains, there would be a mention of “offering it up” or praying for those who are still waiting. Maybe that’s being idealistic. I don’t know. That kind of stuff means a lot to me so I guess I like to see it on occasion.

    So, while I do advocate stepping away from pregnancy/mommy blogs, I think ALL of us can agree that it is sometimes more complicated than that. When you have met and/or talked to someone IRL, you do not always feel like you can just stop reading their blog. I think that has happened with a few of us as friendships developed outside the blog parameters. It’s tricky, I know.

    Also, I’m in no way diminishing what you are saying. I do get it. The blogs have been extremely painful for me lately. Hence the reason I haven’t been on them or posting much. (I secretly want to shut mine down all.the.time.) Sometimes I just need a break ;)

  8. I ran across this song on youtube and spewed tea out of my nose I laughed so hard. The whole time, I was thinking of you and all your rants which make me want to just hug you and listen.

    Pregnant women are smug. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tJRzBpFjJS8&feature=player_embedded It's all about how annoying women become when expecting.

    I keep praying that you get to be one of them some day.

  9. Thank you for posting this. I went back and read the comments and appreciate you drawing my attn to this. My thoughts, for what it is worth...
    I have to say, I really like how Ann said it, she articulated it much better than I ever could. If there was a consensus I would follow it, but there isn't and you can't please everyone, so it is best to just do what is comfortable for you. I tend to overthink and get neurotic and please no one including myself (in other areas). I haven't done that here intentionally. I sincerely hope I haven't gone so far the other way that I don't think of others at all...of course, never my intent.
    I consider myself IF because of my experiences; others may say formerly IF or whatever, and it does seem to depend on who you talk to. I tend to think if you think you are IF then you are b/c it is about the person’s perspective about themself that matters. In my case, I feel this is so ingrained in me (in some ways) and who I am. And who I have a special place in my heart for and would go to great lengths to help in any way I could. Also, I consider myself IF because I know I will never get preg without the magic combo of drugs and I would never stay pregnant without them either. I know that the combo can change at anytime, so that when we ttc #3 (yes, I never thought I would be able to say/type that and it is insanely surreal) there are zero guarantees and I will have fear and anxiety and have to really trust God again. Maybe that is a different topic alltogether, but it relates...
    I do talk about things IFers can relate to (I think) include needle sticks, insane appreciation for being/staying pregnant, etc. And, as someone mentioned, it provides hope (I hope!) And I suppose IFers that are preg need blogs to read about others in similar situations or further in the process because there is a perspective and kinship there too that the avg preg lady just doesn’t get. And that is what most of us are surrounded by in real life. I still have my own view based on where I have been and where I am going. That is what I try to stick to on my blog. What you get is me. Always genuine. Sometimes clueless. Never intentionally hurtful. :) Just my thoughts