The third day is always my downfall. I can be gung-ho about a diet the first day and stick to leafy vegetables and tofu. I can tally up my calories and go to bed thinking about how I did a great job. The second day is always a throwaway day that is neither here nor there. But the third day is the "just one cookie" day that sends me backsliding towards my old habits. And usually, by day 4, the diet is over.
I could provide many more examples of my inherent weakness, but instead, I will tell you how I am approaching CD3 of the Planner Protocol--the one where many fuck-its have been prescribed as well as a few get-some-balls-Melissa injections.
I made 29 bagels to restock the freezer.
I know that it's difficult to see how bagels relate to the planner, but it's all part of the whole package of letting things go into disarray. I had good intentions to restock the freezer, but the task kept getting away from me because I never organized myself well. Therefore, in between transferring hundreds of post-its into the new planner, I shaped and boiled and baked the bagels. And since this recipe is certainly of the fuck-it variety (see recipe below), I've included it in this post in case anyone else wants to restock their freezer with bagels.
Yesterday, I met someone new at the library and not only did I call her in the evening to make plans but I transferred her phone number from the little scrap of paper she gave me into my planner. Which means that I will be able to find it tomorrow. Unlike my neighbour P's phone number which still hasn't surfaced as I clean my desk of the scrappage.
But, probably most important, and a thought that I think is directly tied to my new sense of having made it instead of still faking it: when I took my temperature this morning on CD8 of my actual cycle and it was 98.2 (whereas the day before it was 97.7 and the day before that it was 97.4 and I predict that tomorrow it will be either 97.5 or 97.6 and if anyone is the betting kind, I'm taking numbers right now), I didn't set down the thermometer lightly and stare at it for a long time and think about how since I started trying to time this damn progesterone test I have had three abnormal charts. Instead, I rolled back over and tried to go back to sleep, reminding myself that I've decided it's out of my hands. I'm not going to get pregnant on my own. I'm going to rely on doctors. And if it gets me what I want in the end, then fuck it.
On the Fuck-It front, Stephen Colbert had an interesting guest last night. You can see Daniel Gilbert's interview online for the time being (just click on the one for Daniel Gilbert). He wrote the book Stumbling on Happiness--the main premise being that "people can't predict what will make them happy." The author points out that people are terrible at figuring out what will make them happy and how long that happiness will last. Stephen Colbert points out that there are some givens that make people happy--like cash--to which the author answered that cash is meaningful to people who literally have no cash because it transforms their life. But once one is ensconced in the middle class, getting more money doesn't really bring more extended happiness.
I'd like to beg to differ that if someone came up and said they were going to fund my non-covered IVF cycles that I would be eternally happy and eternally grateful.
The two points I found most interesting was (1) the idea of illusion of memory and (2) his thoughts on children. But let's focus on the first one because I currently have the clip paused and I'm watching it again. Gilbert states that, "it turns out, of course, that there are illusions of memory so people do remember that they're happier than they used to be, but they're often misremembring how happy they once were."
In other words, once you're out of the emotion, you remember that you were sad or happy, but you can't remember the shade of sadness or happiness. Therefore, you may be saying that you were in utter despair when you really weren't. Or you may say that it didn't bother you that much when it actually bothered you quite a bit in the moment. I would think for present-sake, you would optimally remember your past as more unpleasant that your present. Because it would make your present seem so much better.
But, of course, I watched this interview and thought about the whole thing in terms of infertility and having children and remembering how I felt before vs. how I feel now. And also, the fact that journaling or writing a blog can bring you back into that moment or back into those feelings. Unless Gilbert states that you can never recapture the true essence of the moment even if you reread your thoughts on it. I should probably read his whole book rather than basing my assumptions on a three minute interview.
His other interesting statement was about children. He claimed that the top two things that consistently make people happy are marriage and religion. When Stephen Colbert points out that children make people happy (damn straight or why the hell am I putting myself through this?), Gilbert states that "we do love our kids...but it turns out that kids have a very small effect of people's happiness and the effect tends to be negative...People with children tend to be a little less happy than people without them and the more children they have, the less happy they turn out to be."
And, of course, I'm viewing this statement through the lens of infertility. I've got to say that I predicted that children would make my happy therefore it was worth jabbing myself in the stomach to have them. I am happier now so I'm glad my prediction was correct. BUT I do also have a friend who went through IVF and conceived her daughter and found out that she wasn't happier. And I guess this is my question for those who are currently parenting after IF/loss: did the wait and the thinking about the process (vs. easily getting pregnant without assistance) and having to make the hard decisions give you the edge to predict your own happiness and were you correct in that assessment (are you happier now)? For those who are putting yourself through hell and back to become parents: what did you think of this statement? Is it just rubbish spoken by an author who became a parent easily (I'm making a lot of assumptions about his sperm quality with this statement) or does he have a case that we can't predict what will make us happy? And therefore, should we just say "fuck it" and take happiness as it comes instead of trying to create it. Can we create happiness?
I must get back to my bagels. Which I predicted would make me feel more on-top-of-things and therefore happier. And by fuck, it did.
Maybe I just have the gift of the third-eye. Or whatever one needs to be able to predict the future.
As promised even though it is making this post waaaaaaay too long:
This recipe is my "fuck it" response to the fussiness of traditional bagel recipes. It is very easy and you will not be able to tell that the bagels didn't come from a New York bakery.
4 cups bread flour (King Arthur’s)
4 tsp vital wheat gluten
2 tsp sea salt
1 tbsp barley malt syrup
1 ½ tsp instant yeast
1 ¼ cup of water at 80 degrees (if you’re using water from a Brita in your refrigerator, you need to warm the water in the microwave for 50 seconds)
When the dough comes together, divide into 8 pieces and roll into small balls. Leave them on a mat to rest with a damp towel over them. After 10 minutes, shape the bagels by pressing your thumb through the center of the ball and then smoothing out the circle to create the classic “bagel” shape.
Place these bagels on a cookie sheet sprinkled with cornmeal. Cover with plastic wrap. Leave in the refrigerator for 12—18 hours. This step is important. It is part of the rising process and cannot be skipped. I usually make the bagels at 8 a.m. and then bake them at 8 p.m. Or I make the dough in the evening and finish the bagels in the morning.
After 12 hours or so, remove the bagels from the refrigerator and set a timer for 20 minutes. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Fill a large pot with water and bring to a boil. Once the bagels have warmed (the 20 minutes out of the refrigerator), drop them a few at a time into the water and boil for around 30 seconds total, flipping them over halfway through. Remove and allow them to drain on a rack. At this point, you can add toppings such as dried chopped onions, dried chopped garlic, sesame seeds, poppy seeds, salt, etc. (there is a different recipe for making raisin bagels and other sweet bagels. Write me directly if you want the additional email@example.com).
Once you have boiled all of your bagels, transfer them to a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper. They will bake in the oven for 14 minutes, but begin checking on them by 12. You want them nicely browned.
Cool and eat.