Archive for the ‘Food is Love’ Category

pork and (In)perfection

I’ve been thinking about this social club we have just started, and I am so excited by the positive response we have had thus far. We are less than two weeks old and have 20 new members in Massachusetts and Maine. I’ve gotten so many wonderful notes from readers who would love to join, but live too far. I wish we could do happy hours via skype so every woman who needed a network, could find herself in our big Boston Bear-Hug.

I first began this blog to break out of the bubble of isolation that this journey toward family can often create. You are either on the “inside” of the experience, or on the “outside”. As much as your friends and family love you, they are watching through a streaky window. What would it be like to be on the “inside” ….with sisters? The idea inspired me to form RubyFeather Social Club

I hope the group generates a lot of good energy, catharsis, and empowerment. It is so easy to lose your center on this journey. Maybe a few vagina jokes and some mocktails with the girls in RubyFeather  will help to brighten up this place!

And speaking of “not funny” moments (having little or nothing to do with my vagina) let me tell you about our domestic train wreck yesterday….

The Bear and I have been married a year. Last night was to mark the first dinner we have hosted at our house for both his parents and mine. I love my in-laws AND I love my parents, but the night was like a train that CRASHED, DE-RAILED, then got itself back on course and somehow arrived AHEAD OF TIME!

(Forgive me , if anyone in my family reads this. But blogging IS my therapy!)

Friday night, T minus 4 hours….My dad got a phone call at 2pm from a hospital in Florida. He had been trying to find his brother, whose phone was busy for several days. A man called to say he found my uncle passed out on the floor of his apartment a few days ago. He was now in intensive care and had not resumed conciousness. My parents are visiting Boston from California, and we immediately began making plans for my dad  to fly to florida, to be at my uncle’s bedside.

T minus 2 hours….My mother in law arrived two hours early . She had been trying to reach her son (my husband), who was swept away in the hubub of our family drama, and had missed her calls. I was still trying to arrange a flight and car for my dad and I hadn’t had a moment to dress pretty or finish setting up the house. (Obviously our priorities had changed). This day was a BIG DEAL to me. We’ve been planning it for weeks and I even bought our “married” silverware in preparation for the perfect table. This seemed so superfluous now.

Anyway, my head and heart were with my uncle, but the night was still moving forward. I hate not being prepared and I am a terrible stress ball (…control freak?) when things get derailed. (People who know me are probably smiling at this remark) The Bear was beyond grumpy,the appetizers still in plastic wrap, and I felt like someone who was caught in musky old clothes after a hapless walk of shame.

So train WRECK….then a slight DE-RAIL. When you are on this infertility journey, keeping face during special times can often seem like a dauntless task and a secret obsession. Once I realized that I needed to LET GO of the need to be appear perfect the night seemed to improve. Still it was not easy to give up this obsession!!!!! I lit a few candles and the floor didn’t seem as dirty (and neither did my hair : ) ). I had a few glasses of wine and “pouf”, BACK ON TRACK!

Somewhere between the stuffed mushrooms and the pork loin I was able to sneak away and get my dad a ticket to florida. My dear friend helped us out with a buddy pass on Jet Blue. (FLY JET BLUE!!!!!). I resumed my spot in the group and dad was relieved. Mom and M-I-L had rosy cheeks from a bit of wine and  girl-talk.

TAKE OFF. The Bear made a pork loin that was out of this world. Jews and pork- not always a good mix, but it was absolutely perfect!

T PLUS 2 HOURS- The pork was consumed, the apple cobbler devoured and my father in law was turning my parents on to another shot of lemoncello.

The night ended well. Daddy left on a 7am flight for Florida today. He says Uncle had a stroke and his condition is critical. I will keep them both in my prayers. The night made me realize that family is the most important thing… Nothing is ever perfect. But we need to cherish those moments that tug at our hearts. I am blessed to have so much love in this house….In 10 years, I’ll remember my mother’s bright eyes and tender heart last night, not my smelly pits or messy kitchen. That’s what I’ll take away from this….

Wishing you joyful moments of imperfection…

IVF and the Newlywed: Vaginasaurus

I’ve gotten about 50 hits on the blog this month by people searching the keyword “pterodactyl”. (See the posting: Fill Your Cup). Innocently, I recommended that anyone going through the baby-making process develop an “alter ego” to give voice to the new hyper-you that seems to come out during the meds and the stressful trials of trying to conceive. I refer to MY alter ego as Tarra, she’s a graceful pterodactyl. I could not go through this without Tarra. I can attribute (or blame her) for any mood swings or questionable tears that surface during the process. She’s also a great source of humor for both me and my husband, as we can just say “Tarra did it!” when anything particularly nasty comes out of my mouth.

Tarra sits on my right shoulder. She’s strong and powerful, but angers easily. Like me, she knows that even when it’s bad, it’s worth it. She’s not sure if this journey will bring us a baby through IVF, egg donation or adoption, but she assures me that there’s more than one way to make a family.

Tarra loves all women going on this journey, because no matter how beautiful, how successful, or how self-actualized we are, we are still humbled by the process. Her little reptile heart beats for each of us.

I bring this up for two reasons:

1. I think everyone should have an alter ego.

2. There are a handful of schoolchildren out there, looking for information on Dinosaurs, and finding a Vaginasaurus instead….



toma verde

toma verde

Originally uploaded by pretty life photography

I’m having a love affair with a new veggie I’ve found.

The mighty tomatillo. Check out my new postings on:

IVF and the Newlywed: The Secret Garden

I just wrote a love letter to a Farmer in Mass.

He’s the grower at the Farm-share that we recently joined. When you live in a big city and have no “dirt” of your own, it’s inspiring to still reap the benefits of freshly grown food. Maybe it’s more meaningful to me right now, as my mind is very focused on sowing a bountiful harvest, both inside and outside of my person!


sowing seeds

sowing seeds



Yesterday was a rainy fall prelude, nestled between ripe sunny days. Secretly, I LOVE drizzly, sunless mornings (provided they don’t come too often). I light candles and bake; cooking hearty stews I pull from my old recipes. Rainy weekends force me to SLOW DOWN. There’s something about the womblike silence of a foggy day that brings me back to center.

I keep listening to the Energy that surrounds me, again telling me to BREATHE, and that everything will be clear in due time. The rain yesterday brought me a little time to think. My husband and I sat in the warm glow of dusk, and feasted on our bounty from the farm. We talked of hopes and plans. I realized that what’s been tormenting me, even more than our recent loss, is the uncertainty of what to do next.

Before we spoke, adoption, egg donation, and IVF all offered equal possibilities and equal anxiety. But once we broke each possibility down, the fog seemed to lift a little.

I need a break from these meds and this IVF rollercoaster. I’m afraid to loose another one, but I’m open to doing it one more time and then re-accessing. There is of course, a clause in all of this. I will have the rest of this month, and possibly next, to bask in my own power and take a BREAK. That means no doctors, no blood tests, no ultrasounds, no shots, etc etc!!! I can enjoy acupuncture and bikini waxes without worrying about the next person checking out my “candyland”. We can have sex based on passion and our own hope for procreation, and when he has to (or chooses to) blow his horn, he won’t be doing so because a nurse has called to advise us that it’s “time”. We can “come” and “go” freely for four to six weeks! I’ve forgotten what that feels like!

Then , after my holiday of primal bliss, I will thereafter succumb to a cycle of medically assisted reproduction.  I will be a happy patient, probably a little more grounded because I’ve given myself a chance to rest. We will supplement with acupuncture and Chinese herbs, and try to find time to enjoy our second year of marriage.

In the event that the next round of IVF is not successful, we will re-access and decide if we should give it another go, or form a new plan. I think we will explore receiving a donor egg, if we need to. I think any child born or received into love is one which is treasured and holy. I do not think I need to be the genetic mother of this baby to be its mother.

We talked of adoption, but when I asked him what was truly in his heart, he said that he wanted to go on the journey of experiencing a birth together. He said he wanted to be there for Dr. visits and feel the baby kick in my belly. It made me feel very close to him.

I think we would like to adopt eventually, but it might be wonderful to go on that journey of love and have a child together. Any child, no matter it’s age, race or origin, would truly be our beloved. I know this as truth, so it’s really about finding the best way to make this happen.

We spend our whole lives trying to find the “way” don’t we ? As rebellious teenagers…. as young women landing our first job and finding our selves…. As lovers and mothers and daughters and friends. Can we find the time to reap our “truth” and make our life all we hope it to be?

I’ve talked to my acupuncturist about this harvesting of truth. I told her that I wish to think of my body as a sacred landscape. If I think about my whole Self, receiving the treatment, and if I nourish my whole self and not just my womb, I am harvesting my sacred landscape. It sounds a little ethereal, but it helps to validate and reinforce the Self. That way , no time is wasted time on this journey. It’s not just two lines on a pregnancy test or the bounty of the final outcome that’s important. It’s the sowing of the seeds, the harvesting and the loving moments we take to nourish the Self, which will fortify us through this challenging time. 

I wish you all wisdom, peace and a good harvest.


Vixen in The Kitchen. A Recipe for YOU….

When I’m not working, blogging, or pondering the vast openness of  the Universe, I am COOKING. Cooking seems to have replaced painting for me. It’s my therapy.

Ironic, I must say, that our mothers and grandmothers spent decades trying to break OUT of the Kitchen, and OUT of the cycle of childbirth that was so expected of women in their day. (And Now I am trying the BREAK IN!!!) 

 Perhaps it is because it is my CHOICE that I love it. Mixing flavors and smells in my kitchen, often with the fire alarm trilling off (Really! It’s a small apartment!). Breaking Bread with someone I love….

 I’d like to share some of the recipe’s I’m creating with YOU.  Being a Newlywed, I’m always out to try to impress myself with my newfound domesticity. It’s an urban, rustic kind of domesticity, and in the end I usually have made a mess everywhere. But to me it’s like being three again and making mudpies at the beach, it’s like sculpture, or painting with color and flavor.

 So enjoy. (I promise this will taste better than a mudpie!)

 This is the first of a series of Recipes (Therapies) I shall offer you. I will always test my invention first, and I won’t share it if it’s too complex or WEIRD. The theme for today is “In Season”. Imagine a fruit dripping ripely on the vine. It’s the middle of August so Berries and Bok Choy are at their height of flavor in New England. (Why a delicate Chinese green loves to grow in hearty New England soil I’ll never know!)

My husband and I just became members of a farm-coop called Enterprise Farms ( and they have joined forces with Metro Pedal Power to deliver the farm picked veggies fresh to your door –Via Tri-cycles (  Now lazy city folk like me can enjoy the abundance of the harvest via pick up —or delivery! (They don’t pay me to refer them or anything, I just think it’s so cool to see the little trike scooting down the street, and to support something I believe in!)

 Now I’m not a “crunchy” kinda career girl, but I have to tell you, when I first saw that succulent pint of blueberries, and those gorgeous greens I kinda broke out in a sweat.

 I’ve appropriately named this Series “Vixen in the Kitchen” (That’s you babe, in your little apron!- And me too! wink wink)

 This first dish is pretty quick and luscious, followed by an easy but decadent dessert ….


Vixen in the Kitchen

Recipe #1

Skinny Skampi with Summer Veggies:
This can all be made  in the same sautee pan for ease of use. The veggies first, then the scallops, then the shrimp. (PS- there’s nothing skinny about it). The Bok Choy gives it a nice crunch and a unique summery taste.

The Goods :
1-2  cup water
1 tsp or cube veggie boullion
3 or 4 tbsp salted butter*
1 shallot, minced (a shallot is kinda like a fancy french onion with a light garlicy flavor- It’s like the “labro-doodle” of the onion world)
2 garlic cloves, minced
1-3 cup white wine 

1 med. or lg. Bok choy, chopped.
1-2 lb. Fresh scallops, uncooked, washed with the little muscle removed.
1-2 to 3-4 lb  cooked med size shrimp.  Can be previously frozen. Wash before use and pull of tails if you like.

Salt + pepper to taste.

* If you are going dairy free, you can substitute 3 or 4 tsp good olive oil for the butter. Hence, slightly “skinnier”.


The Way:
1. Heat the water to boiling in the microwave, about 90 seconds. Add vegetable boullion and stir until dissolved. Set aside.

2. Melt 1 big tbsp butter over med. heat in sautee pan. Add half of the minced shallots and a bit of garlic. Sautee until shallots start to break down and look transparent.

3. Add water-boullion mixture to sautee pan and blend flavors with a wooden spoon. Reduce slightly.

4. Add bok choy.  Sautee veggies until they soften and leaves take on a rich green color. (If you like your veggies a little softer, add the stem pieces first and the leaves a leave a few minutes later.) Do not overcook. Bok choy tastes best a little crunchy.

5. Remove veggies from liquid using a slotted spoon or tongs. Divide  on to 2 plates in a pleasing arrangement.

6.  Let the liquid begin to get hot again, add the remaining butter, shallots and garlic. Now add the white wine and reduce slightly.  Let flavors blend. Add scallops and cook about 5-7 minutes until scallops loose their transparency when sliced in half. (If using bay scallops- the small guys- cook for about 3-5 minutes until done.) They should look white opaque like a cheap pair of 80’s pantyhose. Remove scallops  with slotted spoon, leaving liquid in the saute pan. Place scallops on top of greens on the two plates.

7. The scallops have lended a pleasing seafood flavor to the broth. Now add the cooked shrimp to the sautee pan. (You can use raw shrimp if they are deveined. Just make sure they are thoroughly cooked and turn opaque pink and white). If shrimp are pre-cooked, simply sautee until they are warm and have taken on some of the flavor of the broth. Remove with a slotted spoon. Serve along side of the scallops on the plate.

If you are loving the broth mixture, the seafood can be served in small bowls with crostini or plain ole’ crusty bread. Serve the Bok choy along side on a salad plate so you  don’t feel too guilty.

Finito! Serve with the rest of the White wine (in glasses, not bowls!) until every morsel is consumed.

Serves 2.

After you are thoroughly stuffed on seafood and wine. Make a break for the fridge to score some extra credit points with this easy (and very luscious) summer dessert.

Berry Fantasy!

The Goods:
2 large wine goblets or margarita glasses (or clear glass tumblers).
1 pint haagen dazs vanilla ice cream*
1-2 pint of your favorite summer berry- such as fresh blueberry, blackberry, strawberry or a mixture of the 3.
2 pieces of “store bought” pound cake cut into 1″ cubes.
Whip cream (optional).

*Berry or mango sorbet may be substituted for the ice cream if going lactose free. However, then you’ll also need to nix the pound cake and the whip cream. Ho hum! 

And if you are feeling particularly “yuppy”, you can substitute fresh figs, cut in half and poached in a little red wine or port instead of the berries.(The poaching can be done well in advance) .
The Way:
1. Start by layering a scoop of ice cream on bottom of each glass.
2. Add a few tablespoons of fruit.
3. Add the pound cake cubes.
4. Layer in some more berries or fruit.
5. Now more ice cream.
6. Top with remaining berries or fruit and if you are feeling groovy, a dollop of whip cream.

Serve immediately.

What you do with the remaining whip cream is entirely up to you.


From  our kitchen to yours!