Archive for April, 2009

Published by PaintingChef on 27 Apr 2009


I may joke that the whole “Project Pregnancy” thing was just a sneaky way to try and get out of the Grand Canyon Nature and Outdoor Extravaganza that was looming ominously on my calendar at the end of July. And in that panicked car ride from my parents’ house back home on Christmas Day, I assure you that I was desperately clutching for ways to get out of the trip. And aside from alien abduction, arranging for my kidnapping and faking my own death, finding myself in a knocked up state was at the top of the list.

That was back in December (thank you captain obvious) and so much has happened since then. Most notably… the loss of my grandmother and the desire to have children that it suddenly made oh so pressing. Fast forward to Dr. Fabulous and her perfect bedside manner and uber-encouraging methods. (And for the record… I have no idea what effects the fertility drugs are having on me because I cannot feel ANYTHING OTHER THAN THE MUCUS!!! FUCK YOU MUCUS!!! Although I do know that my husband is still in one piece, bought me a bunch of plants this weekend and swears that he has not once feared for his life.)

But what I didn’t tell any of you (because it’s much more fun to dramatically moan and wail about the woes of being forced against my will to venture into nature and sleep on the ground and WHAT DO YOU MEAN I CAN’T WEAR A SUNDRESS!?!?) was that I had kind of made peace with the trip. Fine… I hadn’t yet signed the single most ambiguous waiver form that ever existed and actually contained the language “otherwise unknown or unnamed risks” and mailed it in but I was working up to it. And by the time July showed up I had figured that I probably would only cry at night while we were there as opposed to every second of every day. In my world? That is totally an improvement.

(I had also told my mother that if I got pregnant there was no way I was going and she had said that was fine. So let’s be honest… I was still hoping to use the pregnancy excuse…)

I would go. It would be fine. There would be Stories. And Experiences. And Adventures. And I would probably be Just Fine.

But then my dad had to be a Grown Up. He had to think about his company (which is also my company and Patrick’s company in that we work here too…) and he had to think about the people who work for him. He had to think about being around to make sure that there were projects for those people to work on. And long story longer short… he decided that the trip should be cancelled and that we would do something all together at a later time this year.

(And that it would be better if I chose not to start a conversation about this with my mother as she is PISSED OFF and kind of stabby right now.)

So… what? With all the hours and energy I devoted to complaining about this trip and being scared about this trip and scheming ways to avoid this trip and now it’s just… cancelled? Shouldn’t I be happier? I mean… I’m not crying. I’m not devastated. But I’m a little… bummed. I was feeling so optimistic that I would be pregnant and not end up going anyway and that was fine. But everyone else as REALLY excited and I kind of hate that they aren’t going now.

Is that a… mature reaction? Surely not…

Published by PaintingChef on 17 Apr 2009

In Search Of Adventure. (AND CAKE!!)

We have officially made it 12 whole days on the first leg of the new fertility plan with no appearances of flying poultry. Needless to say, this makes Patrick super happy.

Other things that make people happy? Cakes. Specifically this fabulous Mojito Cake that I made for Easter. Yes. I celebrate Easter with rum and mint. Is that a problem for you?

(Huge thank you to Erin, The Culinary Goddess of Erin Cooks and XOXO, Erin for answering my panicked emails sent from the grocery store about mint and potato starch.)

(And I beg forgiveness for the truly wretched picture that I snapped quickly with my Blackberry and not a proper camera)

Also? The last two pieces of this cake were all that made up dinner for the P’Chef household last night. Yes. I had grand plans of grilled salmon and roasted potatoes. Even a Caesar Salad but then I found the couch. And the couch found my energy and devoured it.

Sadly this is becoming something of a pattern… I actually had to tell someone on the phone yesterday “No, actually I have no interesting stories to tell. I have nothing interesting to share. Oh wait… I made a cake.”

I’m starting to think I may need an adventure… Refusing to put on pants and leave the house is not very blog-friendly. I considered taking suggestions for an adventure but I don’t know that I trust you all enough to not send me hiking or camping just for your own cheap thrill. It’s cool… I’d do the same thing to you…

Perhaps we should just all go to wine school together. All my best adventures involve wine. (And upon further reflection a disproportionate number of them also include my parents and I’m thinking my inner rockstar would probably have me shot for that… Oops.)

Published by PaintingChef on 08 Apr 2009

Introducing “The Plan.”

Just indulge me and imagine, if you will, that as you read this, the totally clichéd heavens are opening up and chorus of drunken and slightly misbehaved angels are singing the Hallelujah Chorus incredibly off-pitch.

(What? Your angel chorus doesn’t sound like that? You may want to have that checked out…)

I have hope. I have encouragement. I have optimism. I have A Plan. Yes friends… I have a new doctor. (And perhaps a bit of a girl crush if we’re being honest… but I think that’s just the overwhelming wave of gratitude talking.)

The degree to which I psyched myself out for this appointment was asinine. By the time I showed up at her office I was physically shaking and the receptionist had to sign my name for me. Then she did the most calming thing…she petted my hand. She told me that everyone was nervous their first visit. She gave me drink of water and let me use the bathroom because she promised me I wouldn’t have to pee in the cup.

(I can’t pee in the cup. I have to prepare for peeing in the cup for an entire day. I’ve lost hours and hours of my life sitting on a toilet holding one of those asshole cups. I’d held it all morning and my appointment was at 3. And still? Had there been a cup? There would have been no pee.)

I sat in a chair in the exam room and Dr. Gumdrops and Unicorns pulled her chair right up beside me and pulled out a pad of paper. She drew me diagrams explaining just what was broken and how we were going to fix it. She looked me in the eye and told me my symptoms before I ever told them to her. She knew what I’d been through and she told me how sorry she was that nobody in the past had “gotten it.”

And then? She started telling me The Plan. And explaining how The Plan was going to get me pregnant. She gave me an ultrasound and turned the screen towards me explaining everything that she was looking at, why it was that way and how we were going to fix it. Together.

This may come as a shock to other people who have dealt with infertility but NOBODY has ever done this for me. Nobody has ever sat down and said “You have PCOS. You have too much testosterone. And your ovaries and your brain aren’t on speaking terms. Your uterine lining is far thinner than it should be and your ovaries are so giant that they are blocking out the sun. You want to lose weight but you live your life in such a constant state of physical exhaustion that it would take an act of god to get you off that couch and to the gym. But even if that weren’t the case it wouldn’t matter how hard you worked, the weight would still be there. Why don’t we see about fixing all that?”

No. What I’ve always been told in the past was “You have PCOS. It is all your fault and there is nothing you can do but just lost weight. I can’t help you. Thank you and good day.”

I don’t know how or why this happened to my body but at some point it did and I spent a lot of time being angry at The Universe about it. And that’s fine, whatever, I needed to do that. But I’m not angry about it anymore because finally someone GETS IT. And Ladies and Gentlemen? We have A Plan. And I feel really good about The Plan.

Published by PaintingChef on 03 Apr 2009

The Stuff.

When someone dies, they have the easy job. (I mean, obviously sickness and suffering and aging is NOT easy. I’m not trying to gloss over any of the horrible parts of… oh hell, nevermind… look let’s just get a move on, shall we?)

Ahem… take two…

After someone dies, their lives are still around. Their home, their clothing, their dishes. You know… their STUFF. And as we get older, we collect stuff. And those people? Who are old? Did you know that they save EVERYTHING?

It has been a long and difficult process, the going through of The Stuff. And making decisions about what of The Stuff stayed, what went, what was junk and what wasn’t, that’s a really hard job. Because it all makes us remember her.

Those brown glasses? I drank sweet tea out of those every Sunday afternoon for a zillion years. I would like to continue drinking sweet tea out of those and smile a little and think of my grandmother when I do that.

Oh look. Four thousand cookie cutters. I loves baking cookies with her. I think I’d like to have those and then one day when I’m baking cookies with MY children or grandchildren I can know how she felt.

Well rinse and repeat this a few times over the course of a few weeks and suddenly I have a wall of shelves in my garage packed to the brim with things that no, maybe I don’t want them but I think SOMEONE should have this part of The Stuff to remember her by.

And then we came across the cookbooks. The pages of which were stuffed to the gills with handwritten recipes, recipes clipped out of newspapers and magazines. Recipes passed down through generations or from friend to friend. Recipes carefully recorded by a quiet observer in the corner of the kitchen perched on a stool trying to both catch everything and go unnoticed at the same time.

And I realized that she was right there. THIS was my grandmother. This was her passion. She poured everything in her heart into every cake and cookie and brownie. This was what I wanted to carry with me more than anything.

Yes, I will drink my sweet tea from that wonderful old brown goblet. But I will do so while baking her apple stack cake or perfecting the pie crust or the Betty Rolls that she could make in her sleep. I will feel her close to me when I make my own children and grandchildren a birthday cake using the recipes passed down to them by a woman they will never know but who will be part of their lives nonetheless.

Because now that I have become overwhelmed with The Stuff, it seems less important. Instead I have her three kinds of apple pie that I can make anytime I’m missing her.

And you know what? I’ll think I’ll share them with you. Because she would like that.

Neena’s Three Apple Pie Recipes (click here for the full-size picture)