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Annual Thankfulness

[Melissa clinks her glass to get everyone’s attention.  Clears throat.  Begins]

Welcome back everyone, I am so glad that you’re here at the second annual virtual ALI Thanksgiving meal – an online meal that is a yearly tradition before we scatter to our respective actual Thanksgiving tables.  Is it held during American Thanksgiving week instead of Canadian or another country’s thankfulness celebration?  Yes, and I apologize for that, but at least I didn’t hold it on American Thanksgiving so hopefully everyone will feel comfortable participating regardless of where you live.

[Polite laughter from the non-American contingency.]

The Thanksgiving myth is that people who had nothing more in common than simple humanness stopped looking at each other’s differences on this day in history and sat down at the table together for a meal.  It’s a meal about survival; about going into the winter knowing the odds are stacked against you and still pausing for a moment to think about the here and now.

And truly, what better myth to describe our own virtual Thanksgiving table, where donor gamete bloggers are sitting next to those living child-free after infertility, and the adoption bloggers are seated next to those starting their first IUI.  We have nothing more in common than our humanness and a desire to build our families.  Some have crossed the river and are standing on the opposite bank with the families they struggled to build.  Others are still wading in the water.  And some are left on the original bank, not able yet to move ahead or deciding to stay out of the water.  And yet, we place aside our differences – wait, not place aside: we learn from our differences, we utilize our differences – to create community.  We all have the means to support one another.  It is as simple as a word, a kind gesture.

I would like to start off the festivities by making a toast: to thankfulness.

I said this last year, and I’ll say it again: I will always be incredibly grateful to this online community, a community that has grown to almost 2600 people currently, not to mention those who have slipped away from our community over the years.  It is difficult to put into words how it feels to know that there are people around the world connected to you emotionally.  You are tied to their story and they are tied to yours and together, those threads intertwine to make a web strong enough to hold all of us who walk over it.  It’s not a spider web meant to ensnare; it’s more the netting below the trapeze, there to catch you and cushion your landing in case you fall.

I asked all of you to bring a dish to this multi-culti potluck meal – there is no need to stick to traditional Thanksgiving fare when you have such a diverse table spanning the entire globe.  Please share with everyone at the table what you brought and why.

I brought the same dish this year, mostly because I was strapped for time with the actual cooking and I have a good recipe for virtual matzo ball soup. I brought vegetarian matzo ball soup because the reality is that meat eaters can eat vegetarian but vegetarians cannot eat meat, therefore, I wanted my soup inclusive [someone at the table shouts out something about how I’m going to make everyone sing “Kumbaya”.  I pick up a roll and toss it in their general direction].  I’m Jewish, so I wanted to bring a dish that reflects my world, and I think that matzo ball soup is comforting.  If I do nothing else right in this world, let it be said that I give comfort well?  So, I brought vegetarian matzo ball soup.  What did you bring?

And please, start eating as everyone is introducing their dish.  We don’t want the food to get cold and there are so many of us at this table.  Thank you so much for coming, and I’m going to carry the warmth of this meal with me for the rest of this week.  In fact, I just might print out this post and the comments below and carry it with me in my pocket to my actual Thanksgiving meal to have all of you there and feel free to do the same if you need the fortification.


1 Autism Mom Rising { 11.23.10 at 7:40 am }

I have developed a such a fondness for this community through Icwl. I may not always know what to say, as I have not experienced infertility, just as people don’t always know what to say to me when my Autistic son is having a hard time if they don’t have that experience, but we do our best in showing we care.

I bringing gluten free cranberry bread.

2 Delenn { 11.23.10 at 8:29 am }

I will bring my Grammie’s stuffed celery. The stuffing is cream cheese, fresh bacon bits (sorry there, Mel) and walnuts. I am bringing it because this time of year I always think of her and while I miss her even more with each passing year, I am heartedly thankful that she was in my life and helped to shape the person I am.

3 NotTheMama { 11.23.10 at 8:50 am }

I’m bringing my mom’s mac and cheese, made with a block of velveeta cheese. And Death by Chocolate. Because I can’t think of a better group to share comfort foods with 🙂

4 Gail K { 11.23.10 at 8:53 am }

I’m thankful for discovering this community in the last year. You all have gotten me through some rough times and I have also enjoyed seeing the occasional success story which has given me hope for myself someday, somehow to become a mommy.

I am bringing homemade yeast rolls. The dough is currently rising, so I might be a little late, but they will be there before the big meal!

5 Tara { 11.23.10 at 8:57 am }

This is my 1st Virtual Thanksgiving Dinner & am so pleased to be here! I brought Pumpkin Pie…I know it’s cliche but I LOVE PUMPKIN PIE!!!

6 Meredith { 11.23.10 at 9:06 am }

Thank you to Mel and all who gather around the table! I’m bringing breakfast for everyone…challah french toast, pumpkin waffles, grilled muffins, and carafes of fresh squeezed juice.

7 April { 11.23.10 at 9:11 am }

This year I brought some bottles of Risling and my grandma’s noodles. Thank you to everyone who has been here for me over this last year. It’s been the beginning of our struggle with RE appointments and the first stage of medical help to have a child and it’s been difficult in so many ways. I don’t know what I’d of done without the ALI community to come to with questions and for a shoulder to cry on when things were rough and no one I knew, not even my husband, could understand what was going on in my head. Thank you all, and please help me kill this wine!

8 Michelle { 11.23.10 at 9:18 am }

I’m bringing pulled pork and corn bread muffins.
I am thankful for my husband and best friend. They have pulled me through these last 2 years.

9 Elizabeth { 11.23.10 at 9:25 am }

Everything sounds so delicious! Thanks, Mel, for hosting this thanksgiving feast 🙂

I’m bringing a big bowl of ripe, fresh, ready-to-eat pomegranates since they are symbolic of our collective family-building struggles, and also because they are very plentiful where I live now.

10 Jessica Harris { 11.23.10 at 9:29 am }

I am so thankful for finding this community. Nobody I know in real life has had to struggle with infertility. So I found myself really feeling like an outsider. I started to think I was crazy for all the emotions I was going through. But then I found this community and I realized its ok to be sad or angry or whatever I need to feel. I am not alone!!! So thanks again!

I’m bringing squash casserole which is made with squash, butter and cream cheese. It’s heaven! And as long as you eat dairy, good for the vegetarians too! 🙂

11 A.M.S. { 11.23.10 at 9:37 am }

I’ve been less-than-participatory these past few months as I deal with all the changes in our little world, but I am eternally thankful for this community who supported us on our journey and who celebrate with us now. I know I don’t “say” it as often as I should (I can read quickly, but commenting usually takes more time than I have), but I hold everyone’s hope in my heart and I abide with you all through the good and the bad.

Since potlucks are notoriously short on side dishes, I’m bringing my brussel sprouts. No, stop groaning. I mean it, these are good. Sauteed in good olive oil with fennel seeds and sea salt until they are beautifully caramelized, then finished with a bit of butter and white wine. Sweet and bitter, tender but still crunchy, with the richness of the butter tempered by the acid of the wine. It’s one of my favorite dishes and it just about perfectly describes my year.

12 Shelli { 11.23.10 at 9:47 am }

I’m bringing my famous rice pudding. My family’s most requested dessert and a TOP secret recipe. Even my own mother doesn’t have my recipe.

I am thankful to be in an online community that doesn’t care that I flunked every subject in the school of Infertility. And I am thankful that my Dad is making the turkey this year so I can focus on the side dishes and cleaning my house today.

Oh, I LOVE brussels sprouts, lay some on me A.M.S.

13 Eve { 11.23.10 at 9:54 am }

So fully grateful to you, Mel, and to this loving community who prayed for me, cheered for me, and wept with me this past year of babyloss and babygain. I’ll bring a twist on the ol’ green been casserole: fresh green beans, fresh button mushrooms, heavy cream, garlic, rosemary and OF COURSE the delictable french fried onions!!!!!

14 Sami { 11.23.10 at 10:05 am }

So thankful for this community… words cannot express how thankful I am. I have brought pumpkin squares. I first made these when I was 10 or 11 with my dad. He taught me how to bake and this came from one of those church cookbooks they did for fundraisers. I did my own thing with the pumpkin part of it as it’s pumpkin pie filling made on your own and over the years I’ve tweaked it and it’s now my own. I will always remember my dad and Thanksgiving… good food, good friends, good times..

15 loribeth { 11.23.10 at 10:08 am }

Yes, we celebrated Thanksgiving last month, but being half American, I got to celebrate twice when I was growing up — & I will never pass up the chance to eat turkey, gravy & stuffing. ; ) Especially my mom’s, which is what I will bring — includes sauteed celery & onions with apples & raisins. My mouth is watering just thinking about it.

I also will never pass up the opportunity to say thank you, Mel, for creating this safe place for all of us to gather, vent, drink virtually (lol), cry & (yes) laugh together. I am grateful for all of you, every day.

16 It is what it is { 11.23.10 at 10:18 am }

I first want to extend my heartfelt thanks to Mel for all that you do to keep us informed and enlightened and bound together as the sometimes frayed and harried, yet inspirational and thoughtful community that we are.

I am bringing caponata, made the day before so that all of the flavors (roasted eggplant, bell pepper, sugar, vinegar, golden raisins) can marry.

And, because nothing says ‘celebrate’ quite like champagne, I’ve popped a bottle of my favorite Veuve Clicquot to share with you all (and, don’t worry latecomers, I have plenty 🙂

17 myinfertilitywoes { 11.23.10 at 10:18 am }

I am so, so grateful to this community and for amazing friendships I’ve developed. I don’t know what I’d do without my IF blogging friends, one of whom I’ve had the pleasure of meeting!!

I’m bringing an apple crisp because we all deserve treat our bodies well and be healthy – and it’s a little something sweet!

18 jill { 11.23.10 at 10:34 am }

I’m bringing my grandmother’s beloved zucchini pizza. Thanksgiving dinner for me was just the standard turkey, stuffing, potatoes, veggies, *can*berry sauce, etc. but dinner with my grandparents always involved something italian (like a big pot of ziti and homemade sauce). Zucchini pizza it kind of like a biscuit/quiche with thin slices of zucchini throughout. Yum.

I don’t have the words but I’m so very thankful for this community. Having people out there who can relate to what I’m going through is priceless.

19 a { 11.23.10 at 10:44 am }

I will carry on with family tradition and bring the Holiday Highball. (It’s good for all occasions!). If only I knew how to make them…I think it’s whiskey, 7-Up, and ice.

20 Mina { 11.23.10 at 10:53 am }

Hear, hear!
Well, I am not American and I do not celebrate Thanksgiving because it is not part of the East European culture I grew up in.
BUT I am truly grateful for all of you. You helped me in my hour of need and I hope I did and will do the same for you, although my greatest, impossible wish is for no one to ever go through IF or baby loss and that we all have as many and healthy children as we want. I know it is impossible, but my heart cannot help itself still wishing this.
So thank you, my friends. You are great and I am thankful to have met you.

Mel, bless you and your wonderful, amazing heart and mind! We are all forever in your debt.

I bring a white bean purée topped with sautéed onions, pickled green tomatoes, turkey plum roulade and baked potatoes with sesame seeds (I hate how vegetarians are always ignored too ;-)). And for all to share my super special fondant au chocolat with crème anglaise.

(picking up the Veuve Clicquot offered by It is what it is)
To you, my friends!

21 Tigger { 11.23.10 at 11:05 am }

I have much to be thankful for this year, not the least of which is being 5 1/2 months pregnant after 6 years of trying. This community as a whole has helped me through some very rough spots, and there are some specific bloggers that have helped in various ways. I am blessed to know all of you.

Thanksgiving dinner for us was always traditional, but my husbands family always adds ham w/pineapple rings. I can’t have the pineapple, so my MIL always wraps some in heavy layers of tin foil just for me. So that’s what I’ll bring – the ham, both ways…and I’m also bringing mashed potatoes, because everyone admits that mine rock. 🙂 I don’t know that I do anything different with them, but they always turn out really creamy.

22 TheIdleMindOfBeth { 11.23.10 at 11:08 am }

First off, I’m thankful for the bumps and bruises on the long journey to where I am today – and for the knowledge that even tho the journey holds more bumps and bruises, I will survive them just fine.

I’m sharing the BEST BROWNIES EVER (or at least, the best from a boxed mix), and a pureed squash soup, because they’re warm and comforting and perfect for this time of year.

23 Shana { 11.23.10 at 11:14 am }

I am bringing stuffed acorn squash. The stuffing is a brown and wild rice blend with dried apricots and cranberries. All the vegetarian, vegan, and gluten-free guests deserve a delicious and beautiful entree too!

24 Kir { 11.23.10 at 11:18 am }

HI Everyone (waves in everyone’s general direction)
I am so thankful for all of you, for helping, supporting, teasing and standing by me. When I think of this community all I feel is a warmth that is like my favorite fleece blankets, a safety in numbers and support.

I brought a beautiful centerpiece (that I bought ..of course) for the table , a big plate of TURDUCKEN (cause it’s soooo good) and pumpkin cheesecake…because it’s two of the things I love most this time of year (pumpkin flavored anything and CHEESECAKE)


25 Emby { 11.23.10 at 11:22 am }

Everything sounds so delicious! I too am so thankful for you for organizing this wonderful group of people who support each other. I will bring the deviled eggs. It’s not a covered dish meal in the South without them!

26 Michelle { 11.23.10 at 12:29 pm }

I will be bringing my famous (to my family, at least) macaroni-and-cheese casserole.

This cheesy blend of goodness is a mixture of my two grandparent’s recipes. They both were standing in the kitchen one day when I asked them to show me how to make mac-n-cheese.

So, as they were both helping me, when one turned around the other would tell me something from her recipe. Each of them wanted me to learn HER recipe.

What came out of it was a mixture of the two, and to this day I will not give up my recipe. Others have tried to copy it, but I hold the secret. No one else who tries can come close. Even if I tell them exactly what to do. It just doesn’t work for them.

Now I will have to post my recipe (it is so simple) on my blog.


27 nh { 11.23.10 at 12:59 pm }

So much to be thankful for, but most of all this amazing community, with whom I’ve travelled so far, with so much understanding.

We don’t celebrate Thanksgiving…but I will bring Apple Pie – because there is nothing better on a cold night than Apple Pie and Custard (although you can always have ice cream if you’d rather).


28 Nelly { 11.23.10 at 12:59 pm }

Nobody gets it but you guys do. I wasn’t planning on being part of the group – I don’t think any of us were. But here we are and I’m thankful that in all this crap I found people who are going through the same thing and are ENCOURAGING!

I brought pumpkin pie – because you can never ever have enough pumpkin pie! And I made a huge mess out of my kitchen cooking the pumpkin down and making it from scratch – not out of a can!

29 HereWeGoAJen { 11.23.10 at 1:49 pm }

I’m thankful for so much. Today I will be thankful for my lovely blog community because I love you guys.

I will bring gravy, for gravy is awesome. And for you, Mel, I will also bring vegetarian gravy. Mushrooms might be good in vegetarian gravy, right?

30 Sushigirl { 11.23.10 at 2:02 pm }

I’m bringing haggis pakora with chilli sauce. As a symbol of things from different backgrounds can be combined into one plate of awesomeness. Also, there are lots of ‘free from’ foods so I think we need something a bit more badass.

And also, seeing as it’s a virtual haggis pakora, it won’t kill my diet.

31 brid { 11.23.10 at 2:08 pm }

Hi everyone… nice to have a second Thanksgiving… not as much pressure as the first, on account of it not being in real time! I am so thankful for this group. You help in so many ways.

I’m certainly bringing wine. I also want to bring some Jim Dandies for later… (dark rum, kahlua, and coffee). For food, I’m bringing lobster and butternut squash ravioli, and perogies. And for Mel, who probably doesn’t like the whiteness or goopiness (or animal-ness or cheese-ness) of such dishes, I bring my famous honey and roasted garlic bread.

I am thankful that while I can’t be pregnant, I can be drunk!

32 Lori Lavender Luz { 11.23.10 at 2:41 pm }

Hello, everyone. So nice to dine with you all again!

I’m passing around ice cream: salt caramel (fleur de sel) and truffle ice cream. Not Thanksgiving -y, but still divine.

Wishing everyone a thankful heart, open to receiving and to giving.

33 Michelle { 11.23.10 at 2:44 pm }

Ah ha! I am so thrilled to be bringing my famous dish…Candied Yams! And no, not the marshmallow kind, the kind with brown sugar, cinnamon and pecans on top. Delish. I love them and you will too, I just know it. And for sipping pleasure, several bottles of Shiraz. Yum, yum.

And to you Mel, and all of the other women, I am forever grateful for connections made and stories shared. I’ve had a tough time with my mom this past week ‘accepting’ that I am ‘airing my dirty laundry’ on my blog. Grrrr. She does not understand. To help other women and be helped by women who ‘get it’ is simply awesome. I think I may write a book and really piss her off! Ha, ha.

And I second the comment above! Hallelujah to being drunk sister!!! 5 pregnancies is enough for me!!!!

Love you gals!

34 Maddy { 11.23.10 at 3:05 pm }

What a lovely idea. I don’t really bring anything as such because we have thanksgiving here, so I’m more or less head cook and bottle washer.

For some bizarre reason, lost in the mists of time, we always serve 13 vegetables along with the turkey. A bit excessive in view of the high head count of vegetable haters around our table but it does make for some fantastic vats of soup for the freezer.

35 Lacie { 11.23.10 at 3:07 pm }

Thanks for having us, Mel! What a great group of people to share a meal with. (I smiled when I read “donor gamete bloggers” in your post. That would be me.)

I am bringing enough prosecco for everyone because it is bubbly and refreshing and I like to start with a glass or two while I am cooking, so you’ll need to catch up.

I am also bringing my bacon and cornbread stuffing (sorry Mel, but this stuff is divine. Perhaps I’ll throw together a veggie version for our vegetarians. I’ll still use the cornbread but I’ll fry the onions in butter and then replace the chicken stock with veggie stock. That should to the trick). I have chosen this dish because it is the best stuffing you will ever eat and I had to be open to stuffing from the folks down south to try it. I was trying to be open, accepting and diverse with my stuffing choice. Is this pushing it a little? Clearly I brought it because it’s so stinkin’ good.

Here is the recipe:

36 Blanche { 11.23.10 at 3:30 pm }

I’m bringing a chocolate meringue pie since that seems to be the most requested item by the sweet eating members of my husband’s family. As I’m trying to duplicate the flavor of a pie I’ve never tasted and which exists in my husband’s family memory, every pie is a little different, but also hopefully a step closer towards the remembered flavor.

This fits in with where I’ve been recently…today I bought a thank you card to send to my RE and his nurses since they were all so wonderful over the past years. It just seems like the right time of year to acknowledge their part in our final success. A success I am wishing for for everyone still out there.

37 Princessjo { 11.23.10 at 3:54 pm }

I am bringing Vegemite! lol. Aussie here. And roasted pumpkin – nom nom!!! And my chocolate mousse cheesecake!

I am thankful for the support of this amazing community. You guys are amazing! 🙂


38 coffeegrl { 11.23.10 at 4:00 pm }

I love this time of year. Celebrating the harvest, celebrating friendships….I am thankful for this amazing community of incredibly different women (and men) who have kept me company on many a sad day. Sometimes I was down about all this IF, but sometimes it was just the life stuff that we all face. It’s wonderful to know that this community of compassionate people is always around.

I’m bringing brussels sprouts. I think I brought them last year….I think they’re highly under-rated. But if you roast them (and add a tasty gremolata if you like) with any other root vegetables that you like – wow!

39 Lut C. { 11.23.10 at 4:09 pm }

I’m bringing Quiche Lorraine, because a band I like wrote a fabulously absurd song about it.

40 Katie { 11.23.10 at 4:31 pm }

I’m bringing my signature apple pie.

I’m thankful for a lot this year: my health, my family, my husband, and this community – especially you, Mel. You bring us all together at your table, you share your stories, and you encourage us to share ours. Thank you for sitting at the head of the table and leading such a wonderful “dinner” of great friends and great conversation. You are an inspiration to us all.

41 Misfit { 11.23.10 at 4:57 pm }

I would like to offer up some curried pumpkin soup with sour cream and ginger. It’s the Mr.’s family tradition and a worthy start to a meal that ends in celebratory pie!

I’ve enjoyed meeting these ladies at the table so far. I hate that we all have this bond, but damn, you are all such good company. I’m thankful for good friends and turkey, and for good friends that aren’t turkeys.

42 Vee { 11.23.10 at 5:17 pm }

I am bringing a Pavlova for dessert, a true Aussie cake (although the New Zealanders may argue that) We don’t celebrate Thanksgiving here but I am very thankful for getting to know so many wonderful people from all around the globe and to share a table with you all would just be magic. Australia doesn’t seem so far away, knowing you are all around me. Thank you and Thank you Mel.

43 Anat { 11.23.10 at 5:24 pm }

I’m bringing my Brussel Sprout/raisin/red wine vinegar/sauteed onion dish. Last year I made six pounds of sprouts and was eating them until January, but with all these online folksies, maybe eight pounds this year?

44 Sushigirl { 11.23.10 at 5:43 pm }

Oh, and (on relfection and feeling bad now because, honestly, I’m usually quite good at inclusive food IRL) some vegetarian haggis pakora. I will deep fry it separately and everything…

45 VA Blondie { 11.23.10 at 6:29 pm }

I am thankful for this community. Even though I finally have a little one, I still feel more a part of ALI bloggers than mommy bloggers.

I am bringing my made from scratch buttermilk biscuits. Maybe I will throw some fresh rosemary in there, just to make it special for a special group of bloggers!

46 Mrs. D { 11.23.10 at 6:47 pm }

This is my first time at this meal; thanks for the invite! It is an honor to be here with such wonderful, supportive, inspiring people.

I am bringing my famous garlic mashed potatoes… definitely not low-fat or low-cal, but definitely addicting.

47 Kristin (kekis) { 11.23.10 at 7:15 pm }

I delight in our annual Thankfulness Dinner! Everything is always so delicious and the company exceptional. There seriously isn’t a better virtual dinner around full of understanding women who have been there.

Since the turkey we originally bought will be too small for our dinner this year I had to buy another, I will bring turkey. After making up the Thanksgiving bird a few years ago, DH and I are now in charge of the bird each year. I’ll post the prep in my blog (http://fertileramblings.blogspot.com) Guess I’ll bring lots of wine to share since I’m in an IVF cycle and can’t drink right now. 🙁 Thankful I’ll still have the food!

48 Rachel { 11.23.10 at 8:13 pm }

I truly appreciate and am grateful for this community. I somehow missed this dinner last year, so this year I will bring two dishes: homemade french bread and my famous homemade peanut butter chocolate mousse pie.

I hope everyone finds at least one good things to be thankful for this week!

49 Rachel { 11.23.10 at 8:27 pm }

I am so incredibly grateful for your support this year as I dealt with the fallout of choice vs. circumstance. I continue to read because your voice moves me, no matter what the subject matter.

And here is some mashed rutabaga, something always on my family’s Thanksgiving table.

50 Annie { 11.23.10 at 8:39 pm }

This community has been supportive in ways that none of my family or friends ever could. Thank you!

I am bringing mashed potatoes and incredible gravy made with KFC’s secret blend of spices, which I am lucky enough to have in my pantry. Shhh.. don’t tell!

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