After dredging up painful history, there’s only one place to go: booze.
Whenever I go to Whole Foods, I end up spending far too much time perusing the alcohol section. Their prices are a bit high, but they have a selection of liquor and craft cocktail ingredients it’s hard to otherwise find locally. I always leave with something, whether it’s an expensive bottle of gin or a special bottle of bitters or my latest happy discovery: Royal Rose Simple Syrup. I normally balk at buying simple syrup because it’s so absurdly easy to make myself. Royal Rose Simple Syrup comes in a variety of unusual flavors like Tamarind and Saffron, though, and since I don’t have access – yet – to a decent supply of organic rose petals to make my own, I picked up a bottle of the rose syrup.
The next task was figuring out what to do with it. Gin seemed like the perfect fit – though I still plan to try it in an Old-Fashioned with orange bitters and see how that goes – so I started looking for gin cocktails. I’ve been meaning to make a classic martini for a while now, so this Rose Martini recipe from About.com seemed a good place to start. It was perfect. The only thing bad about this cocktail is that eventually my glass was empty.
2 oz. gin – (I used Greylock, because I like its light, airy flavor. I think Ethereal Gin would absolutely shine here.)
1 oz. dry vermouth
1 barspoon rose simple syrup – (Royal Rose or your own)
3 dashes orange bitters
Assemble the ingredients in an ice filled mixing glass. Stir very well. Strain into a chilled coupe or cocktail glass. Garnish with a lemon twist or rose petal.
When I moved my old archives to a separate part of the site, it was partly because I wanted to leave the wounded, infertile part of this blog in the past. It’s still a part of who I am, though, even if it’s not the part that defines me anymore. April 21-27, 2013 is National Infertility Awareness Week. Chances are very good you know someone dealing with infertility, whether you know they are or not. Maybe it’s you. For the last two days of NIAW, I’m re-posting two old posts of mine that are sharp and painful for me to read even now. I hope that reading some of my inner turmoil will help others dealing with this know they’re not alone, and also help non-infertiles understand how raw and hurt their infertile friends may be. That is, after all, why I started blogging 11 years ago.
Infertility takes all your hopes and wishes and dreams and dashes them to little bits upon the rocks of harsh reality. After enough of this abuse, hope doesn’t just wither; it’s crushed, smothered, and, finally, thoroughly extinguished.
It’s at that point that you either break under the pressure or become a jaded cynic who manages to avoid being hurt anymore by employing a vicious black humor tempered with a breezy pessimism. I chose the latter. I don’t break.
The thing about IVF is that it requires you to rekindle that hope, over and over and over and over again. And each time it doesn’t work, you’re tossed out into the storm once again and tumbled around till you’re battered and cut and bleeding and raw. Every time you start an IVF cycle, you have to be willing to let that happen to you again.
Sometimes, I wonder if it wouldn’t be easier, less painful, to just make a choice to live child-free than it is to have that tiny flame snuffed so many times. I know I’m not ready for that, and Scott seems horrified by the idea whenever I bring it up, but I wonder if it wouldn’t hurt less.
Last year there was a flower I loved in the foundation border. I didn’t really know what it was and it was so fleeting that I didn’t have time to study it, but I knew it was strange-looking and in my mind I dubbed it a hellebore. That’s what I’ve been calling it for nearly a year. Its foliage is back this year and I started noticing that it looks nothing like hellebore foliage.
The leaves are unfurling in such a delightful manner. They begin as tight little spirals that unfold as the leaves grow. I’ve been utterly smitten with them.
As delightful as it is, hellebore doesn’t do that, nor are the leaves shaped like that. I did a little research and discovered that this plant is a columbine. How thrilling! How fortuitous!
Last weekend Scott and I were at Lowe’s to pick up mulch and we both fell in love with all the columbine we saw. We ended up buying five of them, and a peony, and planted them on Sunday.
It’s possible I now have too much columbine, but really… is there such a thing? Can there be?
Every morning, the first thing I do is feed the ravening herd of beasts while boiling water for tea. While they’re eating and the tea is steeping, I go check to see what the garden is doing. Starting my day this way is such a novelty, one of which I think I’ll never tire.
Things are starting to really get into full swing now, though the cool weather we’ve had this spring has slowed everything down. The first planting of radishes should have been ready for harvest yesterday at the latest, but they still have at least another week to go. The second planting looks like they’re catching up and may be ready at the same time. If that happens, we’ll be eating a lot of radishes in a short time. I’m reading up on recipes for roasted and sauteed radishes to prepare for the abundance.
As of yesterday, everything is sprouting except for the newly planted seeds from last weekend. The second planting carrot sprouts don’t look much smaller than those of the first planting, so carrot overload may also be in my near future. I think we’ll have peas in June, but I hope that we’ll be eating pea shoots in a few weeks. My biggest delight now is watching the summer squashes unfurl their thick, rubbery leaves from inside their seed casings. The golden squash is thinned down to four plants while the zucchini has three sprouting so far. They grow so fast that I suddenly understand how people become overloaded with summer squash. I can’t wait for this. I can’t wait to eat zucchini in salad and bread and grilled and baked and roasted and fried… to eat it until I’m sick of it and still have loads of it to freeze and pickle.
Soon it will be time to plant the pole beans and midget watermelon. My pepper, eggplant, and tomato plants will arrive in about two weeks to fill the holes in the beds where radishes and turnips are harvested. For now, though, this is a practice in patience for me, a lesson I am glad to be learning.
Like a drooping thing of sorrow.
Sad to-day, more sad to-morrow;
Like a widow dark weeds wearing,
Anguish in her bosom bearing;
Like a nun in raiment sable.
Like a melancholy fairy.
Art thou, Meadow-Fritillary!
Like the head of snake enchanted.
Where whilom the life hath panted,
All its purple checquerings scaly
Growing cold and dim and paly;
Like a dragon’s head half moulded.
Scaly jaws together folded,
Is the bud so dusk and airy
Of the wild Field-Fritillary !
Like a joy my memory knoweth —
In my native fields it groweth ;
Like tlie voice of one long parted,
Calling to the faithful-hearted ;
Like an unexpected pleasure
That hath neither stint nor measure ;
Like a bountiful good fairy,
Do I hail thee, Fritillary !
For a while, Scott and I were very seriously looking into international adoption. We decided not to pursue it further for a number of reasons, but most of those reasons boiled down to widespread corruption in the system. We couldn’t be sure, 100% positive, that any child we adopted from overseas was truly free for adoption. Even in China, where there are so many abandoned baby girls, there were scandals about kidnapped babies and corrupt orphanage directors lining their pockets. In other countries, parents may not fully understand what’s happening when they relinquish their children for adoption. They believe their kids will be cared for until the parents are able to take them back, only to discover later that their children have been sent out of country with strangers. In other cases, babies are purchased from young mothers who are pressured into giving up their children. The stories go on and on and the more we learned, the more we realized this wasn’t a system we wanted to be involved in.
We gave up our international adoption quest several years ago, but even then I could see that it was beginning to be filled with a lot of fundamentalist Christians. Message boards I read had growing numbers of prospective adopters who discussed their pending adoptions the same way they would talk about missionary work. They were in this less to provide children with parents and more to create new little soldiers for their god. So it was without surprise that I read this article in Mother Jones about the growing Evangelical adoption obsession.
“The ultimate purpose of human adoption by Christians,” author Dan Cruver wrote in his 2011 book, Reclaiming Adoption, “is not to give orphans parents, as important as that is. It is to place them in a Christian home that they might be positioned to receive the gospel.” At an adoption summit hosted by the Christian Alliance for Orphans at Southern California’s Saddleback Church, pastor Rick Warren told followers, “What God does to us spiritually, he expects us to do to orphans physically: be born again and adopted.”
The current adoption boom seems to be from African countries, where children traumatized by war and atrocity flood into orphanages. The worst part about all of this is that the agencies involved in placing children in questionable adoptions from these countries, where there is little oversight regarding out of country adoptions, aren’t properly preparing parents for dealing with kids who have such deep emotional trauma. People are showing up in country saying, “I have this much money, how many can you give me?” and end up coming back to the US with three or four or more deeply scarred children all at once. These agencies and facilitators push the “love is enough” principle, telling parents all they need to do is love these kids and that will be enough to overcome the horror they’ve seen in their short little lives. It’s never that easy and these adoptions end up failing. That’s when we hear stories about adopted kids dying from bizarre punishments or being sent back to their home countries with a hundred bucks in their pockets and the clothes on their backs.
It’s a bad situation that appears to be getting worse. The US is a Hague Adoption Convention country and I think the state department needs to pay closer attention to all incoming adoptions to ensure the safety of all involved.
One of the most tragic things I know about human nature is that all of us tend to put off living. We are all dreaming of some magical rose garden over the horizon instead of enjoying the roses that are blooming outside our windows today.
Here’s hoping for a lovely week.
This gallery contains 6 photos.
Just a few photos of the wonderfulness growing in the garden.