Friday, July 31, 2009

met my new GP today (family practice doctor for the U.S. residents)

I had to have more blood drawn today and decided it was time to meet our new GP. The walk to his office was nice, cloudy, but a pleasant walk, and only 25 minutes from the house. His office manager is great and showed me to the waiting room. All was well until a little boy (approximately two), his mother, and tiny baby sister came into the room. There I sat with my fertility clinic paperwork on my lap. As my lip started to quiver, I heard the doctor call my name. I liked this guy immediately; he has great timing :)

We discussed what blood work I needed, he looked over the paper work, and we had a pleasant chat. While looking for a vein to use, he joked that by the time I have my blood test next week, I’ll be out of blood. Yes, it does seem that way sometimes. While he took the eight or so vials of blood, we discussed the health care situation around the world; always interesting to hear different perspectives. Of course we talked about the U.S. and Ireland, the Netherlands, Canada, and a few other countries came up. There just are no easy answers. EVERY system is flawed in one way or another. It might not seem that way to some people, but to those working on the front lines of health care, there really are pros and cons to every system. Anyway, it’s always fascinating to know how other people view the U.S. health care system and other systems, or lack of, around the world.

Unfortunately my doctor is going on vacation for the month of August, so for next week’s blood draw I’ll have to go the hospital, but he wrote me a referral so all is well. He wished me luck, I paid, and walked out to find rain, a lot of rain. Oh well, I still managed to enjoy the walk home and I’m so thankful for the wonderful healthcare providers I’ve dealt with here. Hopefully next week’s trip to the hospital will also be a positive experience.

::fingers crossed::

recipe 15: lime and cilantro chicken salad

Another great recipe from the “Nordstrom Entertaining At Home” cookbook.

lime and cilantro chicken salad

chipotle-lime vinaigrette

1/3 cup seasoned rice wine vinegar
¼ cup fresh lime juice
1 clove minced garlic
2 teaspoons pureed chipotle chiles in abodo sauce (couldn’t find it here, used a teaspoon of chili powder
2 tablespoons honey
¾ cup canola oil
1 cup chopped fresh cilantro, stems and leaves

3 ears corn, shucked and grilled or boiled
1 ¼ pounds boneless chicken breasts, seasoned with salt and pepper, cooked and julienned
1 ½ cups diced plum tomatoes
1 pound mixed baby greens (I used romaine)
2 cups grated Jack cheese (couldn’t find it here, used cheddar and mozzarella mix)
½ cup roasted red bell pepper
freshly ground black pepper
¾ cup toasted pumpkin seeds
fresh cilantro sprigs for garnish
lime wedges for serving

In a blender or food processor, combine the vinegar, lime juice, garlic, chili, and honey. Process until smooth, slowly add the oil. Add the cilantro and pulse to combine. Set aside.

Cut the corn kernels from the cobs, add the kernels to a large bowl. Add the chicken, tomatoes, greens, cheese, and bell pepper to the corn. Drizzle the vinaigrette over the salad and gently toss. Season with freshly ground black pepper. Transfer the salad to chilled serving bowls and sprinkle with pumpkin seeds. Garnish with cilantro sprigs and lime wedges. Serve immediately.

This was absolutely delicious. I usually cut recipes down since it’s just the two of us, but I took a chance and made extra dressing for my lunch salad the next day. It may have even been better the second day. I will definitely make this again. My husband liked it, too.


FYI- If you missed my previous spider post, I detest spiders. Actually I dislike and fear all unwelcome critters that show up in my house. This little story is from this morning, and of course happened AFTER my husband left for work.

There’s a dark basket in the living room in which I store the cat toys and brushes. This morning Guinness was pawing into the basket as if he were trying to pull a toy out. The cats are quite capable of getting most of the toys out themselves, but I decided to help him anyway. I pulled a few toys out and he was still pawing into the basket. I had finally pulled all of the toys out and he was still pawing into the basket. Hmm, maybe he wants to be brushed, unusual, but I thought I'd try. I took a brush out, had one swipe on his back and he walked away.

A minute later I noticed that both cats were REALLY interested in something on the floor. SPIDER! HUGE SPIDER! I plead with both of them to kill it, but they looked at me like I was nuts. While I stood there panicking, Guinness finally took a swipe at it and it curled up. I wish it would have been next to something so you could have compared the size, it was HUGE. The camera happened to be sitting on the bookshelf above the spider, so I managed to get a quick picture before running to the foyer to grab my husband’s shoe. The spider met its demise and left a HUGE mess for me to clean up. What a way to start the day.

The worst part about this is that the spider was likely what Guinness was pawing at in the basket, so my hand was next it, possibly touching it. ACK!!!

I either need a spider free house or braver cats!

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

update from the first appointment… really, really long

This will be TMI and boring for most of you, but I know some people are interested in all things infertility and IVF related, so read what you want, skip the rest, it’s up to you.

We had the big appointment yesterday and several hours later, walked out the door with smiles on our faces, bursting with confidence in our new team.

We were originally scheduled for a one-hour consultation with our new doctor, plus infectious disease screening (blood draw) for both of us (required in the EU). The one-hour appointment plus blood draws turned into several hours.

Our new doctor is fabulous. He had already looked over my chart and the medical records I sent in, so he had a lot of questions for me. I was really impressed with the questions he asked and some of the peculiar, medical aspects he picked up on. Of course the first and most obvious question was why in the world did they let me do back to back cycles (IVF and FET). I didn’t want to get into the entire story and tried to give him quick answers about needing to transfer the last two embryos because of the possibility of leaving without much notice. He seemed really interested in the Belarus situation, so he and my husband had a nice chat about “our life”.

Then it was back to business, he’s concerned about the autoimmune issues and it’s highly probable that the autoimmune issues caused the miscarriage of the triplets. He said that in addition to the aspirin and Medrol I was taking to suppress my immune system for the first IVF, that I would definitely be on daily heparin injections, another med, and probably intralipid therapy. Apparently IVIg is being phased out at most clinics, news to me.

In August I’m having a saline sonohysterogram, so he can look at my uterus. He wants to be sure there are no fibroids, polyps, or a septum. He said that while the quality isn’t great from the HSG films I had in Minsk, that he wasn’t going to repeat it. Depending on the saline sonohysterogram, he might do a pelvic MRI and/ or laparoscopy.

After meeting with him, we were introduced to his IVF nurse. She is just lovely. Her clinical skills are excellent and she has such a warm, bubbly personality, yet is also serious when she needs to be. She explained all of the blood tests the doctor ordered and started explaining the IVF process, then said, “Never mind, you’re already a pro”. Not something I want to be a pro at, but what can you do. She took blood from my husband, took several vials from one of my arms, taped me up and then realized she needed another vial for something else. She felt really bad, but it wasn’t a big deal, I'm quite used to blood draws and needle sticks by now. She even made a joke about how much blood she had taken, again, love her personality.

They are doing all of the usual blood work for a standard infertility workup, IVF preperation, AMH, infectious disease screening, and a full autoimmune panel that’s being sent to France. Depending on what the lab in France says, they will take more blood and ship it to a lab in Chicago, which is apparently one of only three labs in the world that does some particular type of test. There’s also something being sent to Belgium, but I can’t remember what it is. The same day in August that I’m having the saline test, my poor husband will do another SA, in addition they are doing a sperm DNA fragmentation test. My new doctor is quite the detective and wants all of the answers before we do IVF again. I really like his approach. I liked my RE in Minsk too, and I firmly believe that he took excellent care of me, given the limited equipment and medical infrastructure he had available. I don’t regret starting treatment with him and will be forever grateful for the time and care he provided me.

Back to the current situation, I’m having some additional blood work done at my GP's office this week and at the hospital next week, since it will be less expensive.
::shakes fist at insurance for lack of infertility coverage::
If all goes according to plan (not that it usually does in my life), I’ll start IVF meds in September. Speaking of which, for the first IVF I was on Diphereline injections for suppression, basically a European version of Lupron. Apparently there’s a nasal spray available. I was REALLY excited for about a minute, nasal spray versus shots, sign me up. Well, since my body seems to choose every way possible to fail me, I’m not a candidate for the nasal spray because of the amount and seriousness of my allergies, nice huh? Oh well, I was expecting the shots anyway, not a big deal.

So, that’s what I was up to yesterday. I’ll update as things progress, until then there will probably be a lot of recipes, cat pictures, and randomness on the blog.

cats with a new toy

We purchased a new garbage can last weekend and the cats decided the packaging was a new toy for them.

Bella pulled some plastic out of the hole.

I spy with my little eye...

Guinness was too big to fit through the hole.

Bella enjoys walking on the lid and falling in. Silly cat.

The box *might* be in the living room now because it's just too entertaining to watch them play.

recipe 14: herb-roasted chicken

This recipe is from the “Limited Edition Better Homes & Gardens” cookbook.

herb-roasted chicken

1 3-3 ½ pound whole chicken
2 tablespoons butter, melted
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon dried basil
½ teaspoon ground sage
½ teaspoon dried thyme
¼ teaspoon lemon-pepper seasoning

Wash the chicken, dry with paper towels, and place on a rack in a roasting pan. Brush with butter, rub with garlic. Stir the spices together, rub onto chicken. Roast at 375F for 1 ¼-1 ½ hours or until internal temperature is 180F. Remove from oven, cover and let stand for 10 minutes before carving.

I usually roast poultry breast side down for the first 45 minutes to prevent it from getting dry.

This was very easy to prepare and my husband really liked it. Served with garlic mashed potatoes, corn on the cob, and green salads. (I should have taken a picture of the whole chicken, sorry)

Friday, July 24, 2009

cute youtube video (wedding party entrance)

I know this video is making it's way around the world via email, facebook, and message boards, so you've likely already seen it, but thought I would post it just in case. Personally I think it would be more appropriate for the wedding party entrance to the reception versus the church, but regardless it's adorable. I really like the song they chose; it's on my running play list.

Anyway, turn your volume up and ENJOY!

creative wedding party entrance

and it’s only noon

I came downstairs around 6am, Bella closely at my heels. I knew something was wrong when instead of following me into the kitchen she headed toward the foyer and started sniffing at my shoes. Sure enough, Guinness had an accident on two pairs of my New Balance running shoes (one pair brand new). Great. So I cleaned that up, threw away some shoes, and started the laundry.

I made some tea, did some paperwork and the phone rang. It was a lovely woman telling me that a man would be over in 15 minutes or so to install a new refrigerator and freezer. Wonderful, expect that I had 15 minutes to get everything out of the refrigerator and freezer and run it down to the basement fridge. So, as I’m running up and down the stairs I hear the Magic Jack (U.S. phone line) ringing. Since only our American relatives call that number and it was the middle of the night in the U.S., I decided it must be an emergency and raced upstairs to where the Magic Jack phone is located. Nope, it was my husband calling from work (a mile away) to tell me that the repairman would be at the house any minute, and oh by the way our house phone must be off the hook and why wasn’t I answering my cell. I ran downstairs to check the phone, nope it was on the hook, but didn’t have a dial tone. After 45 minutes of trading phones around, changing wires, etc.. I decided it must be in the line, the phone company was contacted and they promised to send a repairman.

Repairman 1 arrived and in the two plus hours it took to uninstall the old refrigerator and freezer and install the new, much smaller refrigerator/ freezer, the kitchen floor was turned into a disaster of work materials, sawdust, and knocked over cat dishes of food and water. He was really nice about helping me clean up, including brushing all of the wood chips and sawdust onto the plastic wrapping material that came with the new appliance. Of course as he was leaving, the wrapping material hit the wall in the foyer and it all spilled onto the floor; I didn’t say anything. He really was a nice guy and did a great job of installing the new appliances and reattaching the doors. I swept the foyer, then mopped the foyer, hallway, and kitchen for the second time today. Hopefully it will dry before the telephone repairman arrives.

And on and on it goes… it’s now 3pm, still no telephone repairman. The only service number I have for the company is four digits and has always worked in the past. I have dialed the number repeatedly and have received an “error in connection” message every time.

And now it’s 4pm. I finally got through and spoke with two different people. Now they are saying 2-3 working days. GRRRR!

I am ready for today to be over.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Monday is the big day!

Remember my post last week about switching doctors which meant that we wouldn’t be meeting with the new reproductive endocrinologist until September? Well, I’ve spent the past week getting used to the idea of being on hold again for another six weeks, and I was okay with that. I mean really, we were on a forced break for over a year, six weeks is nothing.

Imagine my surprise when I received a call today asking if we could come in on Monday. MONDAY? THIS MONDAY?!?! So yes, the big appointment is in five days. Yay!!!

Gourmet Burger Company

We decided to check out the restaurant, “Gourmet Burger Company” based on the recommendation of a friend. One of the specialties on the menu is a Kobe beef burger. While I’m a huge fan of Kobe beef, €39.95 ($56 USD) for a hamburger on a weeknight seems a bit high, so we opted for food from the regular menu. The staff are very friendly, our order was prepared as requested, and the food was very flavorful. The beef is 100% organic and all hamburgers are served with fresh, crisp lettuce, a beef tomato slice, and a large dill pickle. The hamburgers are huge so a side dish such as onion rings or French fries can definitely be shared. The bill for two hamburgers, one order of fries, and drinks was around €30. Overall a great experience. Stop by "Gourmet Burger Company" if you are in town. Yum!

97 Ranelagh Road
Dublin 6

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

milk for cats

My husband likes to eat Swiss muesli with milk for breakfast. Bella thinks this is wonderful because once in a while he doesn’t take the dish to the kitchen immediately after finishing, so she licks the bowl (if nobody is watching). For several months we’ve been passing by the Whiskas Cat Milk at the grocery store. This weekend we decided to give it a try, well, let the cats give it a try. Surprisingly, Bella wasn’t impressed. She drank a little, walked off, leaving a bit for Guinness when he was finished with his dish. We thought that was odd because Guinness is always the first to abandon his dish of wet food, leaving leftovers for Bella. Plus Bella is the cat most interested in leftover milk from cereal. Oh well, it was worth a shot and always fun to let them try something new.

wine in a can

This might be old news for some of you, but it’s new to me, wine in a can. Tesco has recently started to carry some less expensive wine (by Dublin standards), more boxed wine, and now, canned wine. I decided to buy both red and white. Each can sold for €2.81 which is equivalent to €8.43 for a standard size bottle (750ml), or about $12 USD.

Both cans were 11.5% volume, produced in France, and to be quite honest, not that bad. Of course it wasn’t the best wine I’ve ever had. My husband’s response sums it up best, “I’ve had worse from a bottle." I doubt we’ll buy it again, but it was fun to try.

PS- No, we didn't drink the wine from the cans; we used glasses.

recipe 13: lemon dressing for greens

A quick, light dressing from “German Cooking Today”.

We don’t eat very much red meat, but a few weeks ago my husband decided to grill some fillets. He prefers to have baked potatoes with red meat, though I like to have something lighter. The chosen side dishes for the fillets were baked potatoes, grilled vegetables (onions, peppers, and zucchini) and simple greens with a light dressing.

lemon sauce for greens

4 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
pinch of sugar
freshly ground pepper
pinch grated lemon zest
2 tablespoons olive oil

Mix the lemon juice, sugar, pepper, and lemon zest. Whisk in the oil.

I will definitely make this again. It was very light, really easy to throw together, and had a great flavor.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Dear Tesco Grocery, I think I'm in love.

We had a lovely experience in your store today. Either someone from your company is reading my blog, or this is quite a happy coincidence. In my previous post I mentioned lime juice, sorbet, laundry detergent, and milk. Imagine my surprise when I found lime juice today. You haven’t carried lime juice since August. As I was walking through the frozen food section, the word jumped out at me, SORBET. You’ve never had sorbet before. I was delighted to see both lemon AND raspberry. My husband was pleasantly surprised to see that the milk he likes has once again appeared on your store shelves. Equally impressive is that you no longer find it necessary to refrigerate items such as crackers and cleaning supplies.

The store is full of new products, so many wonderful new things to try. Everything is very well organized, labeled, and easy to find. Keep up the good work!

a very happy and loyal customer

PS- I would be thrilled if you would sell tofu, I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter, and dried cranberries. Thanks!

recipe 12: eggplant with tomatoes, ricotta, and parmigiano

Another fabulous, vegetarian recipe from the “Williams Sonoma Essentials for Healthful Cooking”.

eggplant with tomatoes, ricotta, and parmigiano

1 eggplant (aubergine)
Kosher salt
4 teaspoons olive oil
2 tablespoons chopped yellow onion
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1 can diced tomatoes with liquid
1/4 cup fresh basil leaves, torn
freshly ground pepper
1/2 cup part-skim ricotta cheese
2 tablespoons grated parmesan cheese
2 tablespoons shredded mozzarella cheese

Cut ends off of eggplant and slice into 8 slices; lengthwise. Chop the outer slices (mostly skin) and reserve. On a baking sheet, lightly sprinkle both sides of eggplant slices with salt and let sit for 1 hour. Rinse the slices and dry with paper towels. Brush with 2 teaspoons of olive oil and bake at 400 degrees for about 15 minutes. Remove

In the meantime, heat the remaining olive oil in a large, nonstick pan. Add the onion and reserved chopped eggplant. Saute, stirring until tender, about 15 minutes. Add garlic and saute for another minute. Add tomatoes, their juice, and half of the basil. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, simmer, stirring until sauce thickens, about 10 minutes. Add pepper.

In a small bowl, combine ricotta and parmesan cheese with a grind of pepper.

In a shallow baking dish (1.5qt), place a single layer of eggplant, followed by the ricotta mixture. Spoon half the tomato mixture on top of the ricotta, followed by a final layer of eggplant. Top with remaining tomato mixture, sprinkle with mozzarella. Cover with aluminum foil and bake for 25 minutes, until sauce is bubbly. Remove from oven and sprinkle with remaining basil.

This recipe was listed under side dishes, but seemed hearty enough as a main dish, so that’s how I prepared it, served with whole wheat pasta, and a green salad. It fell apart coming out of the baking pan, so it doesn’t look good, but my husband requested that I make it again.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

switching doses, switching doctors

Every time we move (2-3 years, or 8 months in the Belarus fiasco) I have to find new doctors. A new GP or internist, new OB/GYN, new RE, new allergist, new endocrinologist and new, whoever else they want me to see. Every time I meet with a new doctor I have to explain previous medical history and meds. They are always surprised that I alternate the dose of thyroid medication every other day; the dose I need isn't available. I’ve had thyroid issues for over a decade and switching the meds seem to keep it the most stable. I’ve had numerous consults with endocrinologists in several countries, thyroid ultrasounds, and more blood work than I care to remember. The last scan showed that my thyroid is 67% of the normal size and shrinking, thus leading the endocrinologist to tell me it was autoimmune. She suggested I have my thyroid tested every 3 months, thyroid scan every 12 months. Fair enough. I had kind of suspected it was autoimmune because I have an extensive family history of autoimmune and thyroid disorders. She also recommended that my RE order a blood test for AT-TPO (anti thyroid peroxidase), which he had already done.

normal range 0-34 IU/mL me 550.80 IU/mL (definitely autoimmune)

As of yesterday, I was all set to start treatment (another IVF) with the RE we wanted to use. After reviewing the thyroid and autoimmune issues with the experts, it was decided I should see someone else. The thyroid and autoimmune issues complicate IVF success rates and last time I was only on baby aspirin and Medrol to prevent my body from rejecting the embryos. Due to some other complications, my last RE wasn’t comfortable with me doing daily heparin injections until I had experienced three losses (not happy about that). I’m hoping the new doctor will put me on heparin right away, or possibly there is something even better now. We shall see.

So, as of today we are on hold for a little bit longer. I just have to trust that this is the right decision and if things go according to plan, we will have a live baby with the next IVF. September can’t get here fast enough!

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

my cats like heat

always in the window if the sun is out

Guinness has decided that the stove is a perfect place to relax after dinner is made

They’ve recently discovered that there is a hot water pipe running under the floor in the master bedroom.

Guinness tucked himself into bed last night.

recipe 11: roasted vegetables

This recipe is from “German Cooking Today”, a book I bought shortly before leaving Berlin. There’s really nothing special about the recipe; in fact I’ve made side dishes similar to this in the past, but it’s tasty, so I will post it.

2¼ lb medium potatoes
freshly ground pepper
5 tablespoons olive oil
14 oz red peppers
7 oz yellow peppers
14 oz courgettes (zucchini)
2 sprigs rosemary
4 cloves garlic

Heat the oven to 350F. Wash the potatoes and cut into quarters, lengthwise. Place the potatoes in a roasting pan, sprinkle with pepper and two tablespoons of oil. Cook for about 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, wash peppers, remove seeds and membranes. Cut into small pieces. Wash zucchini, cut off ends, cut into small pieces. Season vegetables with pepper, mix with remaining oil.

Rinse and dry the rosemary. Peel the garlic, add to the vegetables and rosemary. Add the vegetable mixture to the precooked potatoes, mix. Roast for another 20-25 minutes.

I cut the recipe in half and it was still way too much for two people. I served this with roasted rosemary salmon and a green salad.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Volvo Regatta: Sunday and welcome home Green Dragon

We went back to the regatta yesterday to welcome home the Green Dragon, Ireland's entry into the Volvo Ocean Race. They came in fifth place! Given the competition, that's phenomenal. They are also one of only four teams to finish all legs of the race. Congratulations to the Green Dragon!

On the way to the pier, I tried to talk my husband into an early birthday present.

no luck :(

There were several entertainers on the pier.

Then the Green Dragon arrived!

It was a carnival like atmosphere.

A great day to be on the water.

A very fun afternoon and the weather was absolutely perfect!

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Volvo Regatta: Saturday and Weirs Pub

Unfortunately we arrived a bit late and everyone was already out on the water :( The sky was dark the entire day, but the rain held off until around 4pm.

boats off in the distance

more boats

National Yacht Club

We walked around for a few hours, listened to some traditional Irish music, walked to the end of the East Pier and decided it was time to go.

Sensing my disappointment, my husband suggested we get a glass of wine before jumping back on the DART to go home. We walked around Dun Laoghaire and stumbled upon "Weirs Pub". It is a really great pub, fabulous atmosphere, nice drink selection and lovely staff. We already had dinner plans, but decided to look at the menu while we were there. Brie with cranberry sauce, need I say more? We will definitely be back for dinner! If you are looking for a great place to grab a drink, or possibly some food, try "Weirs Pub" in Dun Laoghaire.

As for the regatta, today is the big day, so I'm heading back down in a few minutes. The sun is out, a slight breeze, and the air is full of anticipation of a great day! Pictures and a recap tomorrow.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Volvo Regatta 2009 starts today!!!!

I’m ridiculously excited about this! The Volvo Regatta is Ireland’s largest regatta and it’s happening in my back yard. Well, not really in my back yard, but close enough. Though who am I kidding, I would have gone to the other side of the country to participate in this.

The regatta starts today in Dun Laoghaire and runs through Sunday. If you don’t have a boat, but love to sail, I've heard that getting out on the water shouldn’t be a problem, particularly today and tomorrow. The teams are often looking for an extra crew person.

All four yacht clubs will be open with promises of great food and entertainment. There will be art and live music. Of course, no regatta is complete without regatta village. The usual Don Laoghaire farmer’s market will be open Sunday, as well as the formal welcoming home of the “Green Dragon”, Ireland’s entry in the Volvo Ocean Race.

If you love sailing as much as I do, this regatta should not be missed!

For more information, please visit the official website.

a favor, please

When using facebook, myspace, or any other online networking type account, please be mindful of what picture you choose for your profile. If it’s a group photo, get permission from all parties prior to posting. Whether it’s a professional or personal reason, some people do not want their picture online. Please include us in the "no photos" group.


Dear Tesco Grocery, did you not recieve the first letter?

Dear Tesco Grocery,

Apparently you didn’t receive my previous letter because things are getting even more bizarre in your store. While it appears that the constant rearranging has slowed down, for now, I’m just baffled by the latest items in the refrigerated area. The last time I checked, ice cream cones and cleaning supplies do not need to be chilled. In fact, I think glass cleaner works just fine at room temperature. I also noticed that the ice cream is on both sides of the aisle now. That’s fine, except that it’s mixed in with breaded, frozen fish. Ew!

On a positive note, thank you for the recently added pet products. We are quite pleased that you now carry Iams cat food. The cats are even more pleased that you have added Whiska’s Dentabits treats. Next to Pounce from the U.S., Dentabits are a favorite of both kitties.

While on the subject of adding new products, here are a few suggestions. Lime juice, sorbet, and laundry detergent for sensitive skin.

Still a loyal customer

PS- As I mentioned in the previous letter, you keep moving the milk my husband likes. As of Saturday, it’s completely gone. Please bring the milk back. Thanks!

recipe 9 and 10: tomato, onion, and goat cheese sandwiches and vinaigrette

The sandwiches are from the “Williams-Sonoma Essentials of Healthful Cooking” book. Another winner! These were very good, easy to make, and vegetarian.

tomato, onion, and goat cheese sandwiches

4 large, Roma tomatoes, halved and seeds removed
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 ½ lb yellow onions
½ teaspoon dried thyme
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
2 teaspoons red wine vinegar
4 thick slices of multigrain bread, toasted
¼ lb goat cheese

Preheat the oven to 325F. Arrange tomatoes in a baking pan, drizzle with olive oil. Roast the tomatoes for 1 hour, until wrinkled. Remove from the oven, cover with foil, cool.

Cut each onion into thin half circles. Heat a large, nonstick pan over medium heat. Add the onions and 2 tablespoons of water. Cover and cook, stirring once or twice for about 10 minutes. Add more water if necessary to prevent scorching. Uncover and cook, stirring often, until the onions are golden brown, about 15 minutes. Add the thyme, salt, and pepper. Stir for 1 minute, then stir in the vinegar. Remove from the heat.

Place a slice of toasted bread on each plate. Spread each slice with goat cheese, dividing evenly. Top with onions and tomatoes. Serve!

I served the sandwiches with a green salad, topped with homemade vinaigrette from the “Flavors of Olive Oil” cookbook.

basic vinaigrette

1 clove garlic, minced
1 heaping teaspoon grainy mustard
¼ teaspoon sea salt
freshly ground pepper
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
3 tablespoons olive oil

Add ingredients to a glass jar with lid, shake, pour

The dressing was very good. It was a little bit too garlicky, IMO, but my husband thought it was perfect.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Millers Pizza Kitchen

After attending a going away party last Thursday, we went to Millers Pizza Kitchen for dinner. We'd been there several times before, but not since I started the blog, so here is a quick review.

We arrived well after 10pm, but didn't feel rushed at all. In fact we received the same level of superior service we always have. The staff are friendly and quick to notice an empty glass or finished plate.

The food is also consistently good. My husband had the Cajun chicken pizza. I ordered the same thing I always do at Millers, the chicken Caesar salad. It's probably the best Caesar salad in the city.

If you are visiting Dublin or live in the area, Millers Pizza Kitchen should not be missed!

Cajun chicken pizza

chicken Caesar salad

Millers Pizza Kitchen
50 Upper Baggot Street, Ballsbridge

Thursday, July 2, 2009

infertility comments 101 (things you shouldn’t say, or even think)

Warning: this is not well thought out or well written, it just is.

For several months, I’ve thought about posting the things people say to infertile couples, the insensitive, hurtful things. Having recently been “hit” again, I mentioned posting on the blog to another infertile friend who told me to do it. That same week a fertile friend (who has never made any of these comments) asked me if I would post some helpful hints/ things you shouldn’t say on the blog.

So here you go, a list of the comments we’ve received. These are the comments that cause all infertile women to roll their eyes, then jump on their message boards to rant to their infertile friends, who’ve all been there, heard that, many, many times.

As soon as we told friends and family that we were having a problem starting our family, the comments began. Fortunately I’ve only received a handful of ignorant comments. I attribute this to both trying to educate people, and avoiding certain people and events. I choose to believe the comments were made out of ignorance, not because anyone was trying to hurt me.

“Just relax”

This is by far the most common comment we’ve received. Would you tell a cancer patient to “just relax”? What about a diabetic? Infertility is disease, just like cancer, just like diabetes. No amount of relaxing will cure it. Stress doesn’t cause infertility. Infertility causes stress.

“Just go on vacation”

Ah yes, another favorite, right up there with “just relax” on the level of obnoxiousness. All I need is a week under the sun? Huh, and to think that I've wasted so much of our “vacation” money on doctors’ appointments, tests, medications, and IVF.

“Just adopt, then you will get pregnant”

First of all, there is no such thing as “just” adopting. It is a complicated, expensive process, more so if you are a U.S. citizen living overseas. Second, the reason you hear this phrase thrown around so often is because it rarely happens and people like to talk about uncommon events. It’s very unusual for a couple to adopt, then suddenly find themselves pregnant, typically having been through years of infertility treatment. The other thing that really bothers me about this statement is that it implies that adopted children are somehow second best, that the goal is a biological child. Nothing could be further from the truth.

“I know exactly how you feel. I had to take Clomid for six months to get pregnant”.

Having never been on Clomid I don’t know how the side effects compare to those of the medications used for IVF, but comparing a pill to daily injections, blood draws, ultrasounds, surgery, and worrying about embryos growing in a lab? Really? And we won’t even go down the road of the difference in price.

“Just don’t think about it, then you will get pregnant”

Considering that we’ve been on a forced break from doing another IVF for over a year, I’ve definitely not been “thinking” about it. SURPRISE! Still not pregnant.

“When you get your life right with God, it will happen”

Do drug dealers and women who abuse their children have their lives “right with God”? If not, then how dare you accuse me of being “out of synch” with God? Besides, atheists, Buddhists, and many other women who don’t even believe in God get pregnant very easily.

“You are young, you can have as many children as you want”

Mid 30s is young?? I can have as many children as I want? I never gave much thought as to how many children I wanted, but considering the difficulty and expense with just trying for one, no, I can’t have as many as I want.

Thank you for your support, please think before you speak, and overall, if you’re not sure what to say, “I’m here for you. I’m willing to listen” works every time. Offers of distracting your infertile friend with shopping, girls day to the spa, and a visit to the local wine bar are also appreciated :)

Whether you have friends going through infertility or you are personally dealing with it, I hope you found this helpful.

recipe 8: olive oil and rosemary mashed potatoes

My husband has a book called “The Flavors of Olive Oil”; which he's owned since before we were married. To my knowledge, the book has never been used, but it continues to travel the world with us. In order to justify hauling it around, I decided to start making some recipes from it. The first being, olive oil and rosemary mashed potatoes.

We were not impressed, at all. While I do like the idea of using rosemary with mashed potatoes, neither of us liked the consistency of the potatoes. This book is not off to a good start; hopefully the next recipe will be better.

Served with baked salmon and steamed green beans

recipe 7: pasta with tomatoes, arugula, and goat cheese

Another great recipe from "Williams-Sonoma Essentials of Healthy Eating"

3/4 lb cavatappi, fusilli, or ziti
2 cups arugula
1 tbsp olive oil
2 cups grape or cherry tomatoes
1 clove minced garlic
1/4 cup goat cheese
freshly ground black pepper

Cook and drain pasta, reserving about 1/4 cup of the cooking water. Place the pasta in a large bowl, mix in the arugula, and keep warm.

Just before the pasta is ready, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the tomatoes and roll them around in the pan. Sprinkle on the garlic. Keep the tomatoes moving until their skins crack. Add tomatoes to the pasta. Add the goat cheese, mix. Season with pepper and add the saved pasta water for more moisture if needed.

I served it with a green salad and crusty bread. I will definitely make this again!