Chili and Wax Party

Last Friday, we hosted a chili-eating and ski-waxing party at our house.  We watched ski porn and the 90s classic Aspen Extreme, chowed on chili AND Skyline chili dip, and waxed skis and snowboards to get ready for the season.  [“Skiing’s the easy part.”–TJ Burke.]  I figured out that I was in middle school when Aspen Extreme was released.  Another party guest said she was two.  Sometimes you feel old when you least expect it!  But overall, a very good time.

People commented on the chili, which we finished off tonight for dinner.  I don’t use a recipe for chili.  Meat, veggies (fresh and canned), beans, tomato sauce, diced tomatoes, cumin, chili powder…that about does it.  But I tossed in a new liquid ingredient this time in order to make sure we had enough to go around, plus it gave the chili that extra kick.  Half a bottle of Blood Mary mix from the fridge from Lord knows when.  I’ll be doing that again!

Bloody Mary Chili
Bloody Mary Chili

Welcome Back

Welcome (Back) to Hollewood!  Now for the moment you’ve been waiting for (or perhaps never, ever thought about)…is this a baby blog?  The short answer is yes, someday, it will be.  The long answer is actually pretty long.

Eric and I started trying to have a baby after I finished graduate school (the 2nd time) in May 2012.  We had no reason to believe anything was amiss, and proceeded in the usual way.  In January 2013, we found out we were pregnant!  Unfortunately, our joy only lasted about three days before I realized I was miscarrying.  Miscarriages are actually quite common (ask around) and we didn’t think much of it.  I was only 6 weeks.

In May I thought I might be pregnant again, but wasn’t.  I went to the doctor, she ran some tests, and determined I was hypothyroid and put me on Levothyroxine.  Some miscarriages stem from issues with the mother’s thyroid, so this was a step in the right direction.  We decided to just live our life and see what happens.  I visited a physical therapist for Mayan Abdominal Massage and set up acupuncture appointments (thank you, livingsocial).  Also, we chose to run another marathon (#8 for me and #3 for Eric!) in the meantime.

Eric bravely manned up and went and got his sperm tested over the summer at the urging of some of our friends who have also gone down this road.  His soldiers are mostly fine, but some of them aren’t swimmin’ too good.  Still, he’s not shooting blanks.  That’s not the problem.

In August I was certain I was pregnant again, but tests showed that I wasn’t.  I’m not much of a hypochondriac, worrier, or overly emotional person, but I began to think something was wrong.  We are so healthy.  Why was it taking us more than a year to conceive?  Our marathon was September 14th, and we scheduled an appointment at the fertility clinic for shortly after.  Incidentally, running a marathon has nothing to do with anything, for me.  I’ve been running for 11 years and I run slowly and injury-free.

We entered the fertility clinic consultation appointment as fairly typical clients:  young 30s, active, healthy.  Our doctor recommended a usual course of treatment:  “super-sperm” vitamins for Eric, blood work and ultrasounds for me.  But something I said about my cycle (I don’t need to be too graphic here) intrigued the doctor and he immediately ordered me to have a hysteroscopy (NOT a hysterectomy!  No removals) and a detailed ultrasound with saline.  He was sure I had fibroids.  I don’t.  Oh, and those saline procedures…painful.  Very.  I cried.

Blood work revealed I tested positive for MTHFR, a fairly common genetic disorder that has to do with folic acid (which we all know is responsible for promoting baby brain growth).  But not a sole culprit of infertility.  Another medicine:  Folgard.

November.  Back to the fertility clinic to meet with the doctor and discuss our options.  He also gave us some news that was nice to hear in person rather than over the phone from a nurse.  As it turns out, my eggs are old.  32 years old!  Beard of Zeus!  Yet, it’s true.  And my eggs, they’re not as plentiful as they once were.  The doctor tells us our best bet will be…IVF.   [IVF=In Vitro Fertilization; sperm meets egg in a petri dish, fertilized eggs get implanted in the uterus.]  We can try IUI, but it won’t give us our best chance.  [IUI=Intrauterine Insemination; basically a glorified turkey baster.]  Or we can keep trying at home, but if I do get pregnant, what if something happens again and we don’t know about the pregnancy right from the very beginning?  The odds are pretty slim we can create a viable baby on our own.

The cost difference between IUI and IVF is about $20,000.  Yep.  Twenty. Thousand. Dollars.  So, we’re probably going to go with the economy package first.  I mean, I don’t throw away wrinkly five-cent jalapenos.  Of course we’ll go the discount route when trying to have a baby.  So that’s the story of why this still isn’t a baby blog, but kind of is.  I’ll update when there’s updates.  Otherwise, Eric and I are just fine.  It seems that we know a statistically impossible number of couples dealing with fertility issues, so we don’t feel alone.  We’re very hopeful.

Welcome to Hollewood

Welcome to Hollewood!  I’ve been meaning to start a blog for awhile now.  In my mind, our blog would serve two purposes.  The first is documenting my culinary adventures of Refrigerator Surprise.  The second is a baby blog…except we don’t have a baby.  Yet.  More on that later.

Refrigerator Surprise started on Valentine’s Day 2013.  I hadn’t been to the grocery store in ages, but it was a holiday so I wanted to make something better than Annie’s Mac & Cheese for Eric.  I threw together quite a random array of ingredients from the pantry and the fridge.  Pasta, chicken stock, fat free cream cheese, kielbasa from a few nights prior, and some jalapenos that were awfully wrinkly.  There were probably some other interesting surprises in there too.  The crazy thing was, Eric LOVED it.

Before we were married, I wasn’t much of a cook.  I was busy, broke, and not usually home for dinner.  After we tied the knot, I started using recipes.  I remembered them and would cook from memory.  If I was missing an ingredient, I could substitute and the dish would still turn out OK (or sometimes better).  Somewhere along the line, I stopped using recipes for weeknight dinners.  It seemed that anything I threw together tasted pretty good.

Oh yeah.  I also have an obsession with not throwing food away.  I love recycling leftovers, sometimes two or three times.  Pork tenderloin on the grill night one becomes spicy pork quesadillas night two becomes spicy pork on a salad for lunch day three.  People tell me that fruits and vegetables go bad.  I prefer the phrase, “less fresh,” and guess what?  The aforementioned wrinkly jalapenos still taste like jalapenos.  When you cook fruits and veggies they get limp anyway, so does it really matter if they’re snap-fresh when you toss them in the pan?

So that’s the backstory on Refrigerator Surprise.  I solemnly swear that nothing I’ve made has ever made me or Eric sick.  When I post photos of food, I’ll let you know what’s in it and how I made it.  Stay tuned for the next post on why this is also a baby blog…sort of.