The Daily News

LFCA Latest Issue: Friday, September 25, 2009.

Latest Post on BlogHer: Parenting after Infertility.

My Status: Fed Josh's almonds to the squirrels. They needed them very badly.

Friday, June 05, 2009

Friday Blog Roundup

So, earlier this week, we went to New York for 48 hours. At first, we thought we'd be there over the weekend, but we decided to shorten the trip just to the essentials, so this is what it looked like:

Train, train, train, annoying child sitting in front of us on the train, three hours of his internal dialogue exiting out through his mouth, train, train, I think I'm beginning to smell a bit like this train.

Get off the train, take the subway, and run in heels to the conference. Decide two blocks from the conference that I cannot walk another step in heels. Ask Josh to open the suitcase on a random street in New York City. Find a pair of ballet flats. Walk the final two blocks saying over and over again, "I totally needed to do that. This is so much better" as if these words justify opening our suitcase on the street. Change back into heels two blocks later.

Put on make-up in the bathroom. Go find my seat at the conference. Try to memorize my speech. Look up and see Lindsay running into the room with the baby strapped to her chest. Get a quick baby sniff for good luck. Am promised alcohol if I can get through the conference.

Present my book in two minutes. Freak the shit out of people with the statistics. Listen to the other presentations and write down a bunch of book titles I now want to read. Go down to the dinner. Realize I don't know what is vegetarian on the table and don't see anyone to ask. Decide to skip food and be on the safe side. Talk to other writers, talk to programmers, hint that they should bring me (more on this in a moment) for readings.

Leave conference and go outside to find Josh and Lindsay. Cross the street to a random bar/restaurant. Order dinner and a pina colada. See Judah Friedlander. Need to be told that it's Judah Friedlander because I've never seen 30 Rock. Get chatty with one pina colada. Get back on the subway and head out to my brother's new apartment with Josh. Tease brother incessantly until he decides to go to bed. Try to sleep but can't because people have decided the space under his window is the perfect place to hold their argument. Wake up just as tired as I was when I went to sleep.

And that was the first day. The second day will be in two posts because I met two more famous people and those stories deserve some space to spread out. I know, you're totally panting with anticipation.

This is that point where I casually tell you that if you'd like me to come to your city, you may want to put in a phone call to your local JCC, namely, the person who does literary events scheduling. How do you find your JCC? You can find your closest one by clicking here. Okay, so let's say you want me to come to Indianapolis. Click on the JCC there and go to the main phone number. Call it and ask to be put through to whoever does literary events programming. Or fine arts programming. Or works on their fall literary festival. And then tell them that you'd love to help with the planning of bringing an infertility book program to their JCC because you know that Melissa is in the Jewish Book Network with her book, Navigating the Land of If.

The Jewish Book Network is the conference I spoke at in NY. It was sort of like speed dating for books where programmers sat in the audience and we had two minutes to sell them on why they should bring us to their organization to do a book reading. Most literary festivals take place in the fall, so programmers have gone back to their home cities with their notes and our books (there were maybe 300 or so writers participating). And now they are making their decisions.

Like now. Today. They'll start sending in their requests for writers to the Jewish Book Network in the next few weeks and then the JBN will organize where we travel to give readings. It's not that there aren't other ways I may travel in the future to your city, but if you want to try to get a reading of Navigating the Land of If set up, now is the time to do it through your local Jewish organization. I know, sort of strange if you're not Jewish, but considering how many people I've dragged along to events at our local JCC who are not Jewish, I can tell you that they're completely welcoming.

Why am I focusing right now on reading at JCCs and the like? Because this book is especially of interest for the Jewish community. Jews have the highest diagnostic rate of infertility over every other group. One in three Jews have trouble conceiving. Isn't that a scary statistic? Whereas the general population sees a rate between one in twelve to one in eight.

So, for everyone who has asked if I'm coming to do a reading in your city, the answer is that it's right now in the programmers' hands and you can help things along by calling and voicing your desire to have a reading in your town. I'll post the list of places I'm reading as soon as I know if/where I'll be going.

The Weekly What If: What if you could have any celebrity chef come to your house and cook dinner for four (yes, if you want to invite your partner, they need to be counted in that four). You could invite the other three people and everyone would respond affirmatively to your invitation because you'd have this celebrity chef doing the cooking. Who would be doing the cooking? Who would the other three people be at your table? Would you go for people you know or random people you'd love to meet?

New Operation Heads Up write-ups are needed. Look to the left side bar if you don't know what I'm talking about. Those 50 or so links on everything from diagnostics to procedures to questions to ask your RE? That's Operation Heads Up. It's first-hand accounts of things you may encounter in the ALI experience. Most are written by other bloggers.

Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Pampers had the great idea this week to add a subsection on things you may encounter during a pregnancy after infertility. Cerclage (transabdominal or transvaginal), amniocentesis, CVS. People may want to write about VBAC or even explaining labour and delivery.

Also, many of the other categories are thin. Anyone who has used iVIG should do a write up, there are plenty of diagnostics not covered, adoption has plenty of other topics that need covering.

All the write-ups follow the same format and you can find that format here. I like posting the write-up on Stirrup Queens and back dating it so that all the write ups are together and people can read down the list (I need to make a Heads Up label). I also like to link to the author's blog in the credit so that people can find you if they have questions. Others often leave comments covering their own experience in the comment section below.

If you'd like to cover any of these topics and would be willing to write one, please let me know via email. I'll keep track of the ones that are being written and the ones that still need covering. If you do volunteer to write one, please try to do it within a week or so after you volunteer. Oh--and one other thing: it needs to be original thoughts with all quoted material attributed with a link back to the site and quotation marks. Sometimes you need to look up facts, but overall, it should be your experience.

Any takers?

And now, the blogs...

The Sassy Infertile Lady had a post called "Broken." The paragraph that made my heart stop began: "When I was growing up, my Dad taught me that if something is broke, to fix it myself. I can't fix this problem though. There is nothing I can do. I can pay $13,500 for something to pump me full of every hormone ever in order to burst of little eggies, but I can't do it myself." It is a sad post, but one that many will relate to.

Punch Drunk
had a great post looking back at the commenters on an old post; what has happened since or where they are now. Some I knew and still read, others I had no idea about their ALI beginnings, some I also missed, and a few I didn't know. It made me want to dig up a post from 2006 and see who is still around, who has moved on from blogging, who still comments here. And all of this ties into what I said last night about transitions.

Slaying, Blogging, Whatever has an incredible post that begs to be read and discussed. How can you miss a post that contains: "My family is happy. My family is sad, but not broken or beaten. I find myself happy for the small moments and recoiling from the large overwhelmingness of the rest. I long for distance from this time. But don't want to let it go either." It is brilliant and honest and raw and ties in meditations on different literary passages that have crossed her path this week. It is about not wanting to be in a space and crying over the thought of ever leaving it too. Please go over and give it its due.

One fewer post this week since I blew my wad on Serenity's post last night.

The roundup to the Roundup: the first 20 hours of my trip to NY. How to get me to come to your city so I can meet you. The Weekly What If. A call for Operation Heads Up write ups. And lots of great blogs to read. See you Saturday for the Show and Tell where you get the story of famous person #2.


Jill said...

This week's What If is easy for me! I'd have Rachel Ray cook for me, my husband, my sister and her husband. They are all HUGE fans :)

loribeth said...

I should probably ask my dh, as he is the Food Network addict. ; ) I may be dating myself here, but I would love to have Graham Kerr (The Galloping Gourmet) cook for me, my mom, dh. I remember my mom watching him in the afternoons when I was in grade school (i.e., late 1960s).

Or, Jamie Oliver (The Naked Chef). I haven't watched a lot of his shows, but I've read about what he's been doing to try to get people in the U.K. to cook more at home & eat more healthily, & I think it would make for some fascinating conversation. We could talk about infertility too, since his kids are IVF babies. ; )

Oh, & Mel, re: your status line: "We're clearly soldiers in petticoats." My high school did "Mary Poppins" as a musical when I was in Grade 12. Our music teacher got the score from Disney & wrote the script herself (which I find amazing, considering how tight-fisted Disney is over its copyrights these days). I was Mrs. Banks & got to sing that song in the play's opening number. : )

SS said...

What if? I'd have Thomas Keller- my best ever meal was at his restaurant Per Se. Three invitees? My husband, friend Ashley and her new boyfirend. And a special request? That it NOT take palce in my 850 sf apartment. I am a few blocks from Per Se so maybe a private dining experience there? Thansk for asking!

LJ said...

Wait, you got another after our orange footwearing find???

Ellen K. said...

Fun question. I think I would have Anthony Bourdain over, because he is rather attractive in that jerky Dr. House way, and I would not invite DH but instead have girlfriends over. ; )

We have a good JCC book festival every fall; I'm making a note to contact them. : )

Jendeis said...

Am totally shocked about that statistic!!!

Wonder how that shakes out in the blog world? In my experience, it seems like Jewish IFers/IF Jews (whichever you prefer), don't "advertise" (that's not the right word, but is the closest to what I'm trying to say) their faith in the same way that some Christian bloggers do, so you may read more Jewish bloggers than you might know. (Or not).

In any event, I assume that you're squared away for the JCCs in the area, but let me know if you want me to call at all. What about area shuls? What about having Alison at Jew in the City promote it? (Also, she's Blossom's Torah study partner! How cool!)

Weekly What-If: My Mahtha, me, my mom, my gramie and BFF.

Have anything written for ejaculatory inhibition or anejaculation? Me and Liddy from The Unfair Struggle should team up on that.

areyoukiddingme said...

I would have the Italian lady from PBS (I think her name is Lydia?) with the thinning hair, and I would invite my husband, my best friend and her husband. My husband, because he drools every time we come across her show, and my best friend and her husband because they always feed me sooo well!

ak_sapphire said...

What If? My pick for celebrity chef would have to be Hosea from Top Chef's season 5. Joining DH and I would have to be my Granny and good friend Nikki, great company who really appreciate fine foods.

callmemama said...

I'd have Jamie Oliver cook! He's so funny, seems like a nice, easygoing guy to be around, and cooks healthy food that's not too fussy. I became quite addicted to his show Naked Chef while living overseas, and was sad that they weren't on when we moved back to the U.S.

And I'd invite my hubby, my youngest sister and our good friend J. :)

Kristin said...

Hey Mel...I think maybe we should add a category under diagnosis. There are a lot of losses caused by Thrombophilia (either MTHFR mutations or some other issue, in my case it was a shortened PTT time)...I know N over at Two Hot Mamas has the MTHFR mutations and my shortened ptt time contributed to my losses. Oh hell, I should have just emailed this to you.

Hmmmm...I think I'd like to have Gordon Ramsey cook for me, my hubby, my friend Christa and her husband.

calliope said...

mmmmmm. Chef Collichio.
And no one else.
just us.

Billy said...

No idea what chef (oh, I can be so ignorant on things like that) and not exactly sure who I would choose (probably some family member/s) except that it would be someone I would want to honor with such a treat. I think I would also take into consideration what kind of meal, for example, no point of inviting a carnivorous to an all dairy meal, they obviously won't see that as a treat..

And one in three Jews have trouble conceiving? Wow!

Kim said...

Great What If. Ok, so either the Splendid Table Ladies or Ina Garten. But then I cook their recipes, maybe I'd want someone who cooks more complicated stuff that I'm too lazy to try... Rick Bayless or Mario Batali. Jamie Oliver might be able to tell me what to do with my CSA share. I'd invite the dh, and 2 foodie friends.
Man, I wish that would happen.

Jen said...

Okay, it is too late at night for me to remember that thing about getting you here, but I'd better get back to it later.

Queenie. . . said...

If my DH got to pick the chef, he would definitely pick that hot Giadia chick, but I would go with Jamie Oliver, because he seems like he'd be fun to drink with. And if I could invite anyone and they'd definitely come, I'd invite the Obamas. I am endlessly fascinated by them, and particularly by her.

I swear that you are sometimes completely psychic. I was JUST TODAY wishing that there was a section on genetic testing and most particularly CVS (just posted on my blog asking for input if you've had experience with it), and I click over here, and LOOK!

Lollipop Goldstein said...


But here's my weirdness. Last night, I had a dream about Michelle Obama. We were going swimming with her (in addition to her daughters, she also had baby identical twin girls who looked like Shiloh Pitt). She also had a smokin' hot bathing suit. I'm not sure where Barack was, but I was pissed at Josh because he had left our wet bathing suits under my computer and now I was going to have to wear an old, ugly one. And I was embarrassed to have Michelle see me in a raggedy old swimsuit.

I would either want Jamie Oliver because he does seem fun and all of his recipes have been great. Or I'd want Alton Brown because I think his meal would be simple and straightforward and interesting.

And I'd invite Josh and my siblings (though I feel really badly leaving out my BIL but I know my brother would really like the meal).

Cassandra said...

I would be so interested to hear more about Jewish IF rates in a future post (unless it's in your book and I'm just not finding it?). I've seen data on observant Jewish women having lower rates of STD-caused PID, but nothing on why men and/or women would have higher rates of IF.

Jacques Torres counts as a celebrity chef, even if he only does sweets.

I'd invite DH, and two friends who would actually appreciate the cooking (and the invite).

IF Optimist, then... said...

This was a great "What If" topic! I mentioned it to MrBeep and he immediately picked Alton Brown, but then he paced around in circles for 20 minutes trying to decide who to invite that he wouldn't normally have access to. He finally liked the idea of Paul Allen (Microsoft co-founder) and Jeff Bezos (founder

I had more problems picking the chef. They would have to let me help out in the kitchen as sous chef/lackey so I could watch. I finally decided I would love Tom Douglas (a Seattle celeb chef). I'd pick two of my favorite and fun foodie friends along with MrBeep.

Mel-Any plans on coming to Seattle?

Coffeegrl said...

Okay- I totally contacted the JCC in my city and I'm waiting to hear back from them!

Argh. tough question. I'd probably go with the Jaime Oliver or Lynn Rosetto Kasper. I love listening to them both and just think they'd be fun to chat with and their food sounds so delicious to me! Although I confess Paula Deen seems like a hoot!!