Thursday, December 26, 2013

Christmas 2013 - a turkey-centric recap

Hulky and I had a nice Christmas, it was fairly low-key which is what I wanted. We picked up a frozen turkey and I thawed it in cold water (took over 6 hours, changing the water every 30 min in a bucket in the tub) on Christmas Eve. When I wanted to go to bed and the body was thawed enough to wrench the neck & gut-bag out, I rinsed it, dried with paper towels, and then rubbed it down with salt. I left it uncovered in the fridge overnight. In the morning, the salt had absorbed, so I just rubbed it down again and after letting it sit on the counter for a couple of hours, mixed some softened butter with herbs (black pepper, thyme, rosemary) to slather on and under the skin. In the cavity, I put half a lemon (squeezed in there), half an onion, some carrot, & celery. With the oven at 350°F, I don't think it took much more than 2 1/2 hrs to cook the 12 lb bird. Much less time than I was expecting! The little pop-up timer was up at what I thought was the two-hour mark (but I forgot to reset the timer at some point when I was checking it hourly, so that's why I think it was 2.5 total), I checked the temp in the breast & thigh and it was ready to go. I set it aside with some foil on top & Hulky heated up the green beans and made us some smashed taters. I did miss having rolls on the side, as my mom always used to make some and when I was a breadoholic, I ate a LOT of them.

Delicious. The bird was wonderfully moist. Hulky kept complimenting me on it and I felt really awkward, but very proud (compliments are still difficult for me to accept). I didn't have to baste it at all. We are using all of our tupperware right now to hold the leftovers! Tonight, I am putting the body on the stove with water & some ACV to make stock. I am going to have to dig around for some jars. I have the legs, wings, and random tendons and such in a bag in the freezer, which will make a smaller amount of stock at another time.

Earlier in the week, I made some gluten-free gingerbread cookies from a recipe that uses coconut flour & blanched almond flour. They're good enough for me. I gave some to my parents to try. Don't know if they've tried them yet. They're not as molasses-y as I'm used to, a little bland I think. I messed up my gut a bit by eating too many. Almonds are not friendly to my intestines. I am limiting myself to two a day now, with my lunches :). I don't think I'll bother with any royal icing at this point.

I didn't do a lot of gifting this year, mostly to Hulky (and he loves his bunny slippers and baking utensils). Parents & family got wedding photo books. I didn't get my siblings anything. It felt weird, but at least I got to see everybody. We hung out at the in-laws for a bit too  (which means seeing the niece & nephews) and I had some quiet time later in the day to unwind. Sadly, anxiety cropped up during that time, but looking back on it, I think it was the right choice to have some time alone while Hulky went back to his folks' house.

Ugh, and we watched the Doctor Who Christmas special. I didn't like it. Maybe I'll do a post on that at some point when I am feeling more articulate about it.

My January is going to be busy. I need to go back to get a tattoo touched up & do a consultation for my next piece. I have a couple of therapy sessions booked. The third weekend is the work holiday party. We need to get up to see Baba since she didn't make it down for Christmas, so I can deliver her gifts in person (photo book & digital photo frame). And someday, someday, we'll get the Mustang exhaust leak sorted so then the Civic can go in for its own maintenance (a mysterious rattle/leak that I think is the exhaust system, as well as some insurance-covered repairs).


Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Getting in my own way

Every time I come to a major realization about my brain, my life, or my habits, my next thought is, "Great, how do I fix it?!"

I think the biggest problem for me and probably most people that deal with depression is that I get in my own way. I create unnecessary obstacles for myself. Some of it I truly believe cannot be helped and sometimes medication (or supplementation, in my case) is required to lift the walls. I am trying hard to find a way to demolish some of the walls right now, but a lot of it just takes time. It is a frustrating process. I wish there were better ways to describe this experience to those that do not suffer from mental illness. It is highly unpleasant to be fooled by your own mind.

When it comes to wanting to stay active & fit, I know that this will help ease the depression. I know I will feel happier simply from the fact of being active, let alone all the physiological responses. I just don't know how to get going and not stop. I tried kick-boxing, but I don't know if I can say that I gave it a fair shot. I wanted to like it, but I guess I didn't like it enough. I guess that's okay. I want to try barre, which is kind of a ballet/pilates/yoga mix, and there's a weekly class being offered that starts in January. If I can't count on myself to stick to exercise routines at home, maybe a class (that I enjoy) will work better. There is still the fear of being awful and feeling embarrassed, but I feel more confident thinking of this potential endeavor than I did about a martial art.

Maybe I will get super flexible.
I still would like to know how to properly defend myself, but maybe that will just be a self-defense class that I take someday.

Maybe it's okay to try a little of everything. Maybe that can by "my thing". It's okay for martial arts to just be Hulky's thing. I like knowing he could physically protect me, even if the need will (hopefully) never arise. I think I might enjoy doing something like this with a girl friend. I did some yoga in college on weekends and my sister would sometimes come visit & go to the class with me. It was nice to have a feminine buddy (didn't feel like I had to impress anyone) even for such a solo activity (despite the group setting) and yoga was such a low-stress and not intimidating practice.

One of the legitimate walls between me and being fit over the winter is budgetary concerns. I am never quite sure how to prioritize these things. Maybe I won't need to continue therapy while I'm active, but I do need to buy my A+ certification exam vouchers. Then again, I haven't finished reading through the exam book even once yet and I wanted to be prepared for the exams by May. Anybody know how hard they are for someone with ~5 years relevant experience in the field (some college years & 3-4 professional)?

I think I will finally invest in one of those sun lamps this winter. I can pretend to be a lizard while I chill under the lamp in the mornings.

Friday, December 06, 2013

Permission to fail

I promise, this entry is more introspective than depressing. Well, I tried to make it that way, but maybe it's not. You be the judge.

I have never been good at anything. I have no medals or trophies to show for any achievements. My grades were okay, but not exceptional. I think I made the honor roll once in high school.

This is fairly easily explained. I didn't participate in many extracurricular activities throughout my entire public education, and if I did, I didn't stick with them. For whatever reason, I never felt like it was okay to fail or be bad at something, so eventually, if something seemed too hard, I would give up. I took ballet classes in elementary school because my sister did, but when she quit, I quit. I don’t think I was any good. My EFD got in the way of being able to memorize the dances and remember to both keep my toes pointed & make the same movements as everybody else. I feel like if I can’t manage that at a rather young and mold-able age, there’s no chance for me getting better at physical activities now.

I took piano lessons for four years from the end of elementary school through middle school, but quit abruptly. Four years is a good stretch, I’d say, but for whatever reason, I got sick of it. Everybody hates practicing, but I used that as my excuse and was allowed (after some begging & crying) to just do soccer. That, also, did not last past middle school. I was the “runt” on the team, never having played before. I think more individual attention might have helped me improve or feel less isolated. The whole “and the star player of this game is…” system was absolute bullshit. The same few people were always praised. I got praised once, for the one time I got a goal. It was complete luck and the game didn't end up counting because we got rained out. There was two years in high school of dance classes, but again, I was way behind everyone else. I was also at the height of a depressed period, so that was no help for my hopes for improvement.

Look, I’m not trying to throw a pity party here. What I’m trying to say is that a small part of me is starting to understand that this isn't my fault. I was raised with the expectation of finding a niche, finding something I am exceptional at. I felt like everyone around me had that. One friend stuck with viola and ended up continuing to play it throughout college (went to a music focused school). My sister excelled at artistic endeavors and studied those things in college too. I befriended people who took on charity work or played on various sports teams in high school. That work may not have continued after school, but it was something impressive to put on the college applications. I felt like a liar putting my participation in drama productions on those. I only helped with plays for a couple of productions until the stress was too much for me. I was too scared to go back, too scared to fail.

This is not how I look at kick-boxing.
So is finding a skill absurd? Is it okay to live my life feeling inadequate? I’d like to think not, but I don’t know where the middle ground is. Is it okay for me to just take six weeks of the kickboxing class, then move on to barre or something else? Am I really a failure if I don’t stick to something, or can I permit myself to be finished? I don’t know if now is the best time for me to be trying to stick to the kick-boxing classes. I feel so hopeless at it and it’s hard to explain to Hulky. Being bad at it (but he is better than me) doesn't bother him at all. He’s won awards and things, but he doesn't keep them, it never mattered to him. We have such interesting contrasts at times. He did offer to be my trophy husband, however.


My therapist says that I focus too much on fixing things. Understanding things can go a long way. Sometimes, I see that. Seeing why I am the way that I am, beyond the depression, can be helpful, but it’s hard to see past the fog most of the time.

Monday, November 25, 2013

Old journals & visual learning

When people describe themselves as a "visual person", I am never sure quite what that means. Having something demonstrated for me tends to cement how to do it, rather than having it just explained, but written instructions work well for me too. Sometimes I think that not fitting quite in the box of these learning types is part of my Executive Functioning Disorder, and maybe it is, but it's also just a fact of life that definitions tend not to be one-size-fits-all-in-the-group. Sometimes I forget that I have EFD because I learned to work around it fairly well, since I was not diagnosed until 16 or 17 years old. The thing I hate about it now is that being aware of it doesn't make it any easier when I can't handle tasks like most people around me do.

I used to photograph almost obsessively. I have hundreds or thousands of photos spanning from 2002 to 2013, from my first digital camera till now. That is not including all of the physical prints or negatives that resulted from my handiwork with the family camera and my own point-and-shoot. There are boxes at my parents house filled with unsorted photos, many of which I took. After my brother was born, nobody else had time to take them and for whatever reason, I was interested. I remember having to pay for my own prints at Walgreens and Cameras Inc. (local camera/electronics store down the hill from home & across the street from the high school) and seeing the price raise over the years.

What do I do with them now? Prints can be put together in albums. Digital photos just get stored. I can compile them, use them for identification purposes, share them as art, but they mostly sit un-clicked. I like to review them sometimes, I like the nostalgia, and its good for my awful memory.

I have boxes full of old handwritten journals too. I'm not sure exactly how far back those span, but I know there are at least two from middle school, black pages written on with colorful gel pens. I had friends write notes for me on the covers. Some of the journals were gifts, probably from my godfather (who has excellent taste) and some I bought myself. I kept a lot in high school and would replace them when they were either full or I hit a milestone. Sometimes it was a birthday, other times it was the new year or start of a new school year. At some point, I made a promise to myself that I have mostly kept: once written, I cannot go back and read the journal. I made exceptions from time to time, such as when I needed to go back and reference a specific date or event,

For a long time, writing in my journal was a daily habit. I had online journals as well, though many of those have been deleted. My blog is not really a journal for me. There is a lot here that I don't write about. It's too public, which is funny considering some of the things that I do write about here.

What do I do with these journals now? Sometimes I want to revisit them and see where I've come from. It might be helpful to destroy the mental image I've built of myself over the years. People like me tend to glamorize negative events and depressive states. After I was on medication for depression & anxiety, I felt uncreative. I felt like I'd lost my muse. Depression is a terrible muse and I'd almost like to know that I was not as prolific as I thought I was. It seems much harder to be creative now, when I mostly okay most of the time, but I don't understand why.

Journals feel a bit useless over time. I could go back and , but the words evoke a much stronger emotional response than pictures do. It is painful, most of the time, to read about how angry I was in high school. It is also incredibly sad because I know how out of control my emotions were. It is something that I only partially forgive myself for, if I'm being completely honest, even though I know that I was ill and suffering from depression. That is really the horror of mental illness, that it is so deceptive that it can convince you that nothing is wrong. Or that you are wrong.

Mostly, I want my work, even my personal work of photo-taking and journal-writing, to be productive. I just don't know what to do with the materials now.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

50-acre Woods

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Hulky and I went up to Maine this past weekend to spend some time with my Baba. We had perfect fall weather and went for a hike in the woods. My grandmother owns some fifty acres of forest up there.

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This is The Park. The trees are all fairly slim. Years ago, my dad, sister and I would walk around here, clearing dead trees & low branches. It just needs a little cleaning up now. The trees have kind of taken care of themselves over the years.

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The path that used to cut from the pond back through the property across the pond is fairly overgrown now. I wonder what it would take to clear it.

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The water level at the swamp is either different than I remember at this time of year or it has just changed over time. That grassy area used to have more water.

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I remember struggling to climb up this rock as a kid.

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The sounds in here were so familiar to me. We took a few moments to just listen to the quiet. My tinnitus didn’t seem nearly as loud. The rustling in the distance made me think of the highway you can always hear at home, but it was all trees and wind. I forgot what it was like to crunch through those woods. We wondered what it would be like to camp out in the woods sometime, though unfortunately, the ideal season for that (minimal bugs) is also the most dangerous (hunters).

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Back at the house, the view from the porch of Baba’s driveway and the pond.

Friday, November 08, 2013

A boring post: cleaning my dressers

This post is just a brain-dump, so I can try to sort out what I want to do with my clothing situation.

Last night, I emptied out both of our dressers. We have a 6-drawer Ikea MALM (horizontal) in our bedroom and a 6-drawer vertical, white dresser in the guest bedroom. The MALM we bought together when we were still living at Hulky's parents' house, to replace two tiny dressers that Hulky had since he was a little kid in California (before 10 yrs old). The white dresser I bought off Craigslist while I was in college, to replace the steamer trunk I'd been using for my clothes for several years. The steamer trunk was my mom's when she was in college or living on her own for the first time and it's now our coffee table (I'd love to install some wheels on it).

In the main dresser, I just emptied out my side. I re-folded things that were messy and made some piles on the bed for sorting. Here's a rough breakdown of what I have:

  • many (at least 5, but less than 10) graphic t-shirts, most of which are black. At least three are band t-shirts that I am wearing to threads and will seriously mourn when they are too gross or threadbare to wear anymore. Those needs re-dyeing.
  • ~4-5 plain long-sleeve shirts. One is a thin, thermal shirt with camo-print on it that I've had since early high school. It barely fits now, but I can't bring myself to part with it unless I find a reasonable replacement. Maybe I just need more green shirts.
  • ~3-4 plain t-shirts (two of which are black polos, the others are collar-less). I hate most of these.
  • a multitude of tank-tops (~4 have built-in bras, plus at least two ribbed ones and three spaghetti strap tanks).
  • plentiful socks (split about evenly between ankle socks & black athletic socks, which I bought in college to wear with my boots). I threw out some ankle socks that always fell off my heels and still have a good amount left.
  • sufficient number of bras, considering I don't wear them very often since this summer. I think I'll get rid of a few of the underwire ones, but want to keep some that fit. I put a couple that are too large into the donate pile.
  • plenty of underwear, in fact I could downsize, but I like them all and they all fit.
  • ~3 pairs of pants that are not jeans, plus ~7 pairs of jeans, not including a pair that is too large, which I bought over the summer while I was cycling (so they have been put aside, with my shorts [3 pairs], for next summer). Uh. So I guess I don't need any pants, unless I want some dress pants since I have none.
  • a bunch of men's small t-shirts, for sleeping in. I was able to pick out a couple to donate, but most have some kind of sentimental value. I put a few aside for storage.
  • 3 pairs of pajama pants: one fleece, two cotton.


So... I'm not really lacking in casual clothes. I can't bring myself to part with any of my graphic t-shirts. There are ones that I rarely wear (but sentimental value because of who gave them to me keeps me from getting rid of them) and I [I]could[/I] get away with much fewer articles of clothing, but I don't really need to. The trouble lies in that I don't get to wear my tank-tops very often (I wore them under button-up shirts to work sometimes this summer, but I'll have to make another post for when I go through my closet), or my graphic t-shirts. I can't wear them to work, except if they're under a sweater/hidden. I want to get more basics so I can mix and match because I don't like my small selection of long-sleeve shirts or plain t-shirts very much. But I don't really need them so I'm having a hard time figuring out if I should buy anything. I've been getting by just fine with what I have, and everything fits.

After re-sorting my clothes, I had much more space in the dresser. Of course, we have a full laundry basket, so these assessments were made without completely full drawers.

I moved to the other room and found some shorts I don't wear (donate pile), some pants I had forgotten about (moved to main dresser, because they fit again, though one pair needs a button & to be re-dyed black so that's on my sewing table), and some sentimental value items. I shifted a few things from the main dresser to here, like some off-season items, though there wasn't room for the tank-tops yet. I was able to pick out a few things to throw out or donate, however, so even though the dresser is still very full, it's not as packed.

In the white dresser, there are a few drawers that don't have regular clothes in them. The top drawer has some paperwork & odds and ends, like my rarely used make-up bag and my hair-dye bottles. One drawer has our bathing suits (Hulky's two pairs of trunks and my collection of bikini pieces, plus our rash guards). Another drawer has two floofy skirts that take up the whole thing. One skirt, I am definitely keeping. When I am leaner, it still fits fine around my waist and it's too cool to discard (broomstick style skirt with angled pinstripes). Another was a sewing project that I haven't worn since college (made from a former ballet costume, it's pink) and probably will not again, but I want to keep the materials. Until I organize my sewing space, it stays where it is.

All of this was just done so I could try to figure out what I need or what I could justify buying with a gift certificate I have for a clothing store in Bath, Maine. The Co/Op has a ton of items for around $20 each and it's all pretty good quality. We're going up to Maine this weekend and I want to swing into the store to browse for a little. Most likely, I won't find anything, but it's looking like I can really just splurge and spend that $50 gift certificate on anything I want because I don't really need to fill any gaps in my wardrobe.

If I have time tonight, I'll do a quick sort through my closet before we head up to Maine and maybe do a post on "closet shopping", aka. re-finding things in my closet. I have too many shoes that I don't wear, but can't bring myself to pare down on the selection.

Tuesday, November 05, 2013

Links & reflections on body image


Something I have been coming to realize on my own - My baby family (as in, my new family unit in all its youth) is a lot more work than I expected. It's odd because I don't really feel different than before. What has changed is more than just signing some papers and having a party, and not just in a taxable sense. Hulky and I are both more aware of each other and how we relate to each other. It's scary, but it's exciting and I feel very strongly that we can build a strong family unit together.

Marriage is for this guy.
Marriage Isn't For You - My sister-in-law shared this on Facebook the other day. It came at a good time for me. The title of the article isn't what you think. It's not that you don't get married for yourself, but that marriage is stronger (probably, what do I know at only four months into mine?) when you treat it like it is all about the other person who has entered into it with you. If they do the same, you are both cared for. I have a habit of getting too wrapped up in my own needs and fears. I end up neglecting the other person in the relationship. I want to be a supportive wife and the only way to do that is to just be it. So I am trying. Choosing to get married was about trusting that I could do my part and make this work. We can't really know what's going to happen down the line, we can only try. Maybe this is stuff I should have thought about before we got married, but thinking about it at any point is probably good.

Growing Eden, Twenty-something and pregnant in New York City (affiliate link) - I read Kate's blog, Eat the Damn Cake, and so I thought I'd buy her book. I'm not too far into it yet, seeing as it just came out today, but it's great. I don't know what kind of person I'd recommend this book to, but it's definitely a book for me. Kids are definitely a few years down the line for me, but I've had Kate's blog makes me consider my conceptions of beauty a lot and how they're imposed on me by others. Her book is making me consider how diet plays into that as well. I see so many people trade the term "diet" for "way of eating" with no real difference in how that effects their self-image or self-worth. I don't think there's anything wrong with wanting to lose some body fat, to an extent, but there is such an overwhelming voice in our society that you are either THIN and successful or FAT and a waste. It's awful. I feel guilty for trying to discuss it, having always been thin.
This rhetoric of "get your body back" is so frustrating. Women are always being told to seek out some mythic, perfected version of our own bodies. The true body. The one you can finally be proud of and simultaneously stop thinking about. Wouldn't that be amazing? To find your way to your perfect body and then just stop? (From Growing Eden)
I guess what it comes down to is this: in order to be happy with your body, you have to learn to be happy with it at any size or shape. Waiting "to be thin" or "to be fit"... you might never realize when you are there.

I just started a kickboxing class last night. Getting over how self-conscious I am of making odd noises and moving my body in unfamiliar ways is hard. It will be a process. I hope I can stick with this and start to have fun. I'd say it's enjoyable, but not really fun yet. I am trying not to be too hard on myself about not being good at something unfamiliar, but it's a long-ingrained habit.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

What bicycling did for me

Like many women before me, I suppose, I have learned to hate my body. I remember comparing the size of my thighs to my friends' even at the age of 10 or so, sitting on the side of the pool.

How foolish is this? Thighs squish, it's just what they do, but you certainly don't see that in movies or TV shows. It's all about maximizing a slimming effect whenever possible. So me and my un-toned squishy-when-sitting thighs were unhappy. When I started bicycling to work earlier this year, I started to notice a composition change. My thighs felt firmer underneath the squish. Over time, there was less squish. I know now know that muscle and not fat is really key to changing composition.

I learned to love my legs this year. I used to think they were my favorite feature, but only when standing. The only reason is because they mirrored the legs I saw on the screen, with low muscle tone. My thighs got bigger with cycling and I felt proud of them for what they could do, powering me to work five days out of the week whenever the weather allowed. I miss that now, enough to consider trying to cycle in this rapidly cooling season. I've got the lights, I've got some of the warm gear, it's just a matter of finding time. My thighs have shrunk back to "normal" and my jeans are fitting looser again. I feel a sense of loss! I can tell I've grown weaker, and that would make cycling to work now even more difficult since I don't have time to "train" before starting to cycle to work, like I did this past May. I cycled in the evenings after work for a few weeks before I ever tried commuting by bike.

Cycling to work requires that I have enough time in the morning by getting up earlier, have everything ready to go, and leave the house earlier than I would if I was driving. These are all difficult things for me to accomplish even when daylight is not coming so late in the morning. I think I can do it, but I'm hesitant to make a promise or goal for myself in case I don't. I guess it's really just up to me, the only person I'd be letting down is myself. The relief in gas money would be nice though, especially since some kind of gas composition change or the weather really seems to destroy gas mileage once it gets cold out.

The only downside to bicycling is that it really doesn't engage the upper body. To try to make up for that, I am practicing wall crawls at home so I can hopefully work my way up to handstands.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Link love

Happy October! Uh, not that we're already halfway through or anything.

How excellent is this tiny home? - I always thought a little cottage would make an excellent retreat somewhere in the woods of my grandmother's property. Water facilities wouldn't really be an option, but an outhouse-type waste unit could probably be set up. I don't know how you'd figure out power, as there probably aren't too many spaces that could easily get sunlight for solar power. Now is the perfect time of year to go exploring in those woods, as the bugs have mostly died off. I'm hoping to go up for a weekend trip next month before Thanksgiving, which will unfortunately mean that I miss out on prime Maine foliage.

A pancake recipe that I tried - It was okay. Not pumpkin-y enough somehow. I think a tablespoon of coconut flour would have helped the texture, which was very soft. Of course, with maple syrup, just about anything is delicious. Next time, I'll pay more attention to how much allspice and salt I'm using, as they were a little too salty. I may also use a blender to make sure all the ingredients have incorporated well. I'm a terrible whisker.

There were more. I ate them.

Kind of my dream faux-fur coat - I still really want to make one from the blue faux-fur (darker than photographed) that my godfather gave me (years ago, it's been waiting for a project), but I am so scared of screwing it up.. Time to start experimenting with patterns! Unfortunately, that means I need to buy some fabric!

We are going to London for our honeymoon! - It'll be in March, so we're keeping an eye on flight prices & good hotel deals to book ASAP. Anybody been? Suggestions on things to see? Day-trip worthy locations?

Sunday, September 29, 2013

A game of shelves

New apartment photos – furnished.


Scroll down for photos of the apartment furnished. The couch needs some batting removed from the back cushions as they're too full, and I need to wash those cases and the rest of the couch (w/ upholstery cleaner to get the smoke smell out), but the bottom cushion covers have been washed.

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I think the poster over the couch needs to be bolder. We need something new for that. That poster might be better suited for the bedroom. I think an ornate mirror would look great, but not sure if that's weird. I know there isn't really a color scheme in the living room. It bothers me a little, but I'm not good at matching stuff & I'm not about to replace furniture because it doesn't match! It's functional, it's comfortable, and it was all free. The only furniture we have bought: the beds & the dressers (bought before we moved in together, not for the apartment). Please disregard the ghetto curtain, it was my husband's idea and a great one.

I want to find something to put by Hulky's computer (on a wall you can't see in these photos). He's really indifferent to artwork, but I’m sure I can find something he’ll like. I put my favorite poster next to my desk.

The front bedroom (with the bed frame) needs some personality. Some shelves for the sewing supplies will help with the clutter and a hat rack is sorely needed. I don’t even wear hats often, but I love them and have managed to accumulate a lot over the years. Please buy me more, but don’t, because they will just collect dust and look pretty.

Moving in was easy (and moving was not that bad, albeit stressful) since I already knew where everything was going. The old apartment’s layout was pretty much the same. This place is slightly larger and the sunroom is awesome. I’m really happy to have the computers separated from everything else. If only the french doors were soundproof.

Since mostly everything is put away (except the box of Christmas decorations, which you can really see in the photo of the front bedroom), I’m focusing on cleaning now. I wiped down the blinds in the sunroom today…that was disgusting. Time for some more cleaning supplies.

And dear lord, we REALLY need some shelves in the hall closet.

I think shelving is kind of the theme of this place. It is desperately needed. We don’t really have more books to place, but I think it would look great. It’s a lot easier for me to envision changes here than it was in the other place, not sure why.

And a bookcase would look really sexy in the back bedroom, right where I put the cat poster.

Monday, September 23, 2013

My awesometastic chicken soup


So, like all good bloggers, this is really just someone else's recipe accompanied with my own quips. The name clearly needs work. I thought "Blitzed Chicken Soup" sounded good, but we're talking about blending, not bombing, so maybe not. It just sounded right. Suggestions are welcome.

The why:
I'm currently following a kind of elimination diet called the Specific Carbohydrate Diet (read about it here). This recipe is one of the very first recipes you are supposed to be eating, EXCLUSIVELY. Okay, meat is fine, but the point is to be very specific with your vegetables. Well, initially, you cook it all with the celery & onions, but then remove those & blend the carrots solo (then mix it back with the broth & chicken). The reason is that it's highly digestible for anyone with gut disorders. Carrots are magical, let me tell you, and PUREED carrots are a godsend. You add the other veggies back in, one at a time, over a week or a few days, to try them out and see how your body reacts. I'm lazy and still not sure about onions, but eating them anyway. So brilliant.

The what:

  • a whole chicken (I go with the 4-5 lb range, trying to pick the air-chilled free-range chix at Whole Foods, but anything is good, really)
  • 1 lb of carrots (I tend to get Trader Joe's organic)
  • 1 bag (probably a lb) of celery hearts (again, TJ's organic)
  • 1 medium-large onion (I usually get yellow)
  • Salt & pepper to taste
  • Garlic would probably be good, but I haven't added it myself
  • A splash of vinegar (apple cider vinegar is awesome and you should use it if you have it)
  • A good stock pot that will fit everything, plus tongs, some large mixing bowls, and probably a slotted spoon
  • Water to cover chicken & veg once they're in the pot
The how:
  1. Prep your veggies. You can peel your carrots if you like, but in the end, they should be chopped up (don't obsess, appearance is not a factor here) and in the stock pot. I buy the organic veggies so I don't have to bother with rinsing, though I probably still should.
  2. Unpack your chicken & get it in the pot. If there's a giblet bag in the chicken, you could totally put the innards into a little baggy made of cheesecloth & twine to get the nutrients from the offal (guts), but it's not required. I chop up the liver, heart, and kidneys (or whatever else is in there) and feed it to my cat. 'Cause she's my fat little predator. I can't get her to nibble on the neck bones, though that would be very good for her teeth.
  3. Add water, add salt, add pepper, splash your vinegar into the pot. This is really easy. You can do it. I believe in you. Just get enough water to cover everything. If your chicken floats (I am cursed by this as well, or is it very common?), just push it down so you know the water WOULD cover it and then leave it. I totally eyeball the spice amounts. If I get a kind of light layer over the whole surface of the water w/ the pepper, I figure that's good. I just pour the salt, really no idea how much I add. If you get it wrong, it's really right, so don't worry about it. I love salt.
  4. Bring to a boil and then lower heat to let it simmer for 4 hours. If you're swift, unlike me, you can get this going when you get home from work and probably finish it before bedtime. I go to bed relatively early because I'm old people, so I either do this on a weekend or stay up a little later to get this all done. The thing about simmering is it may take a bit of tweaking & hearing your stovetop hiss and you running in to rescue your soup a few times to get the temperature/heat/flame/whatever right. When I first started cooking, I had a hard time with this. Do I turn it up to 11*? On my awful, awful ceramic stovetop, I can turn the burner down to 3 or 4 after it heats up and that might even be too high for the total cooking period. I had it on "low", which is not even a number, by the last hour the last time I made this soup.
  5. Okay, I told you this was easy, but I partially lied. Now you need to segregate your soup parts. You can use bowls, and colanders, or tongs or whatever works for you to get the chicken separated from the veggies. If you're not using all the veggies, the unused ones go straight in the trash. If you are, get them moving into your blender or food processor with the broth. It might take a few batches to blend it all. After blending, move that to your final containers for storage (or a bit in a bowl for eating now, whatever you are doing). You can use a food processor for the veggies and leave out the broth, but my Ninja blender works really well w/ the liquid & veggies so I do that. Be careful, it's hot.
  6. The chicken is also a pain, but since it's been cooked so thoroughly, it's super easy to disassemble. Peel off the skin & make a game out of trying to get really big pieces, but throw it out. Yes, we're throwing the skin out. I find that it makes the soup too fatty, and while I love animal fat like it's my job and don't think it's bad for you, it just doesn't work in soup for me. The bones also get discarded, and that takes a bit in my experience because there are too many tiny bones. The vinegar breaks down the bones a bit to get lots of nutrients out of them and into the soup, so if you do run into some bone while eating, you shouldn't acquire any damage unless your teeth are very, very soft. I found a vertebra in my soup for lunch today and contemplating chewing & eating it. With the chicken meat, use your tongs or forks or whatever and shred it. Like it's your job. (There are a lot of jobs in this recipe.) Distribute the shredded chicken meat into your blended broth & veggies. Voila, it's done, it's perfect, it's thick, and DELICIOUS. Eat up!
If you are an obsessive keeper-of-glass-jars like I am, you can freeze this soup for future use. Just make sure to leave some room at the top for the liquid to expand once frozen (less than an inch, if we're talking 16 oz jars from almond butter or coconut oil, but probably more than 1/2 an inch).

This makes a very large bowl of soup. I don't know how big my mixing bowls are, but you'll have to trust me. I eat a bit for lunch basically every day and it lasts about a week, I think. But then I had my husband taste it, so it'll probably last for a few days now.

*My stovetop does not go up to 11. Does yours? Badass.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Link love

  • A delicious, delicious link – Goat’s milk sits better with me, so I’ll probably just make it with that. I will lessen the amounts of everything to make it a single serving and try it tonight! I’ve been sleeping poorly lately, so maybe this will help.
  • A comic by a deaf guy – Before you think I’m insensitive, look at the name of the webcomic. It’s pretty funny (and informative).
  • MMA is cool and you can totally do it paleo – Uh, I mean the food stuff. I don’t know what caveman wrestling would look like. I love paleo athletes, they come across as so chill to me.
  • Movies & TV have a lot of power – As an avid movie goer and viewer, this is something I need to keep in mind more often. I don’t think it’s always the movies themselves, but more how the movies are presented to us (the hype, the propaganda, the trailers). Analyze those trailers. Watch the news. There’s a lot of similarities in what they give us to digest. I’m still kind of on media blackout since the marathon bombings in April because I can’t stand seeing all that manipulative drivel.

But I totally gathered up supplies to be like Harriet the Spy after the movie came out. Turns out my neighborhood is pretty boring and I don’t want to break into people’s houses.

And jury duty showed me that real trials are not like TV shows. It’s a lot scarier when you’re knowingly sharing the room with a convicted rapist of a child.

Monday, September 09, 2013

Summer’s end

My summer has been crazy busy and yet awesome and I felt it was worthy of a recap.

I just looked up that word. Ah, “to recapitulate”. I thought that might be the root word, but I couldn’t remember for a moment. What a weird looking term. I feel like more than one use of the word “word” in a paragraph looks INCREDIBLY awkward. Don’t read it aloud.

May:
May totally counts for my purposes. I started cycling to work. I don’t think I got to do very much initially because of the PERSISTANT RAIN. Seriously, that was an incredibly rainy late-Spring around here. Is it usually like that? I never remember seasons from year to year. Except winter. That’s easy. Did it snow a lot? Y/N.

June:

So many reasons to love June! #1 would be that my husband (then-fiancĂ©) threw me a SURPRISE BIRTHDAY PARTY. I have never been part of a surprise party before nor had one thrown for me, so this was an awesome experience! He took me to the zoo that morning under the pretense of “lecturing about biology”, but I think he was so nervous about getting everyone at the apartment before we got back that he didn’t have much to say. I had a good time anyway. Did you know that flamingos smell awful? Anyway, the party was excellent and I totally cried when I saw my grandmother & friend from CT hiding in the hallway. It really hit me deeply that they travelled to celebrate my birthday with me. We served breakfast to the friends that stayed overnight, which is my favorite way to end a party.

July:

I got freaking married, guys. I surprised EVERYONE (except my godfather, Hulky’s brother, and Hulky’s dad, who figured it out a few days prior when he overheard us talking about vows on the phone) and got married at my engagement party. His mom cried. My sister said, “What the hell?!” My grandmother just smiled. I think my dad went into shock. Hulky recently recalled to a friend, “We got drunk and went swimming at our wedding reception.” That was our wedding reception. It was perfect. We got to see some of the photos recently that we had our friend take with his nice camera and they are excellent. I can’t wait to get some printed for family & to put together a book. I should probably edit some of the phone camera photos I have from everyone else.

August:
Sneak peek of the new place.
My new husband departed for a 3-week course for marine biology in Very Northern Maine. He got eaten alive by mosquitoes while I finalized us moving, got the apartment packed up, and tried to be an extrovert. It was tiring, it was difficult, and I accomplished everything I intended to do. I also implemented some new diet tweaks to help my slow, stupid gut and they helped quite a lot. I am now not the one stinking up the room, thank you, you can look elsewhere for the culprit.

And so begins September, aka. it’s already fall, you’re just in denial. Everybody is talking about the weather lately. I love talking about the weather, honestly, it’s my favorite small talk. I get nostalgic for the start of school around this time of year. I remember walking to school, picking what to wear/bring for the cold mornings and warm afternoons. I remember what my university campus looks like covered in orange leaves. And now I have a new home to enjoy with my favorite season.

Monday, August 26, 2013

My apartment is starting to echo again

I feel like I was more active this weekend than I have ever been in my life so far.

It felt GREAT.

But I am worn out. And pretty sore. I wish I had a foam roller for my calves.

Friday night, I put more things together to be moved over to the new apartment. Official move-in day is not until the 31st, but since the new place is vacated, I’m moving things over in batches so the last day is not a whirlwind of craziness. Hulky gets back from his 3-week class in Maine late on the 31st and I should have the apartment mostly unpacked by then!

Saturday morning, we packed more things and started moving it all over. My parents and my in-laws helped. We took at least 3 car loads over, plus a few items that were carried. After lunch, a friend (our new landlord’s son & a long-time friend of Hulky’s) helped move over some larger items in his VW bus, like the living room chairs, our dresser, and the queen-sized bed. It’s starting to look a little lived-in over there, which is reassuring, but I feel like there’s so much left.

Then there’s the couch.

Uh.

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Well, we don’t have a couch anymore! I really hope the trash people will take the pieces… The bed frame part was taken by somebody who probably wanted it for scrap metal.

It had to come out in pieces. Who knows how they got it into the apartment 2 years ago; I wasn’t there. This time, Hulky gets to come home to the new apartment, all moved in. It feels good to get to take over that role, at least once. I’d rather we get to move together next time though! I felt very out of my comfort zone trying to orchestrate things on Saturday, but I’m proud that I did it without having a melt-down, even if I did shut down a few times. I was glad to have a day to myself yesterday. I made turkey meatballs & ate nearly the whole pound with some organic marinara sauce from Trader Joe’s & at least half a roasted spaghetti squash. I guess I needed to restore some of that spent energy!

So what’s left that I can do before the last day?

  • Clean out the basement (there’s not that much) & move those things over to the new place
  • Clean the floors in the old apartment & new (what’s still accessible anyway)
    • Back bedroom in old apartment = done
  • Clean wall in back bedroom of both apartments
    • Old apartment has marks from dark sheets
    • New apartment has a stain that looks like someone splashed tea on the wall, may ask if I can just paint that wall if he still has the paint
  • Vacuum the remaining rugs in old apartment & move them
  • Hulky’s computer chair

This Saturday, I’ll pack up everything that is still here, which is

  • Computers & accessories
  • Computer desks
  • My remaining clothes
  • Pots & pans, and the dishes I used
  • Whatever is left in the fridge/pantry (some spices)
  • the full-size bed I’ve been sleeping on
  • air-conditioner
  • the cat, her litter box, her “furniture”
  • TV
  • Wall art

It looks like a lot to me, but I guess it’s not that much. Maybe two car loads, not totally packed, and we can walk over the bed pieces. It’s just a block!

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Odd thoughts

We’re halfway through the three weeks without Hulky. He’s away at a research station in very northern coastal Maine for a class. The day he gets back, he’ll be coming home to a new apartment. I’m working on moving the little stuff now and hoping to move some larger items this weekend, so it’s not a huge rush on Saturday. I am a little stressed to be dealing with changing my name, changing bank accounts, and updating my address all at the same time, but it’s all things that I can take at my own pace. I feel very accomplished. The stress does not seem insurmountable. I am exercising, I just started running, and I am eating well.

But I sure do miss my husband a lot. I can’t wait to be doing all of these things with him here. I am sure having so much alone time is good for me in some ways, but it’s been a week and a half and I still come home sometimes, see the car in the driveway, and think for a split second, “He’s home!”

I recently had an awesome girly weekend with a friend. We went thrift shopping, which I have not done in a while, and I got some excellent pieces that would be suitable for work or weekends. I can’t wait for it to get cooler so I can start wearing my sweaters more often, including and especially the new ones. Sorting through clothes and even visiting Hubba Hubba, the sex shop in Central Square, kind of renewed the fashionista in me. Now, I’m not a fashionable person. I opt for comfort over style, but I think that does translate to some kind of style for me. I was a lot more adventurous with my clothes during college (and during high school) and I think I’ve imposed some rules on myself about how I “should look” because of work since then. I’m happy that I can keep my piercings and change my hair now. I think it’s time to re-address my wardrobe though.

Spending so much time with a “girl” also made me think about girl relationships in my life (other than with family). When I was very young, there was a girl in the neighborhood between my sister’s and my age and she very clearly liked my sister better than me. I wanted to be liked by her and I seem to remember more unhappy times with her than happy. In elementary school, I had two close friends that I spent a lot of time with. I often felt excluded or picked on by them. In middle school, I had a couple of close girl friends. I think we got along pretty well. In high school, at first, I had two close girl friends. We spent a lot of time together. Sometimes, I felt a bit left out by them, but I think it was just my perception & fears from that early three-way friendship. Ultimately, we had a falling out with one around the time of my overdose and then it was just the two of us. We were like sisters.

After we fell out of touch and haven’t seen each other more than a couple of times since high school ended, I’ve become very wary of having girl friendships. I think some of it is just my mental disorders. I’m inclined to worry about things and have probably built up my own insecurities over the years, even when things have gone well.

I guess I’m afraid that things will go wrong. It’s not like I haven’t had successful girl relationships in the past, but I tend to think I’m the one that’s going to mess it up. I know that the failed relationships weren’t my fault, especially in the ones where I was being picked on or used, but I still struggle with the blame. All I can do is try to be a supportive friend & have fun.

Monday, August 05, 2013

“She walks on gold.”

After we surprised Baba (and everyone else) by getting married at our engagement party last month, she let us know in no uncertain terms that a certain ceremony would need to take place. Soon. More then ever, Baba is constantly reminding us of her mortality. It’s awkward, sad, but I can’t help find it a little amusing too.

First stop of the weekend was breakfast at Percy’s, at Popham Beach. One of my favorite places. We played the old game of reading the provided Trial Pursuit cards to each other. They are rather outdated. I couldn’t tell you what I learned anymore. I think I used to know the answers to the Silverscreen cards a lot better as a kid. After breakfast, we headed into town for provisions (re: clothes) and then to Baba’s.

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I haven’t gotten the full story yet, but there’s some family tradition surrounding putting a gold coin in the left shoe of the bride before she leaves the house for the temple or church on the morning of her wedding. I couldn’t find any information about this online, but she insists it’s a Russian tradition, not just family. No one else seemed to know it except from her.

So, we gathered.

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It was gorgeous out. We rode bikes around the property. We nibbled some wild gooseberries (very tasty).

My dad put the coin in the shoe. I walked to the front door, back, and then we drank some mead that my grandfather had bottled in the mid-‘90s. It was a little bitter.

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Baba was pleased, that’s all that matters. I’m not doing my weekend justice. It was really amazing. We went to dinner, drank more, got interviewed by a family friend on her camcorder (it’ll be amusing to see my drunken responses at some point), got home, read, drank more, and went to bed. The second bottle of booze (not sure what it was) was much better, very sweet, bottled in 1983.

The next day, my husband (!!!) and I slept in, had breakfast, and read some more until it was time to go. We checked out an Irish bar in town, which looks like it’d be a fun place for food and drinks if we could stay in town sometime. It would not be wise to make the 8 mile drive over the river and through the woods to Baba’s, in the dark, with any alcohol in the system!

Baba told me, “She walks on gold.” I wrote it down on a scrap of paper so I wouldn’t forget it. I can hear it in her accent in my head.

Monday, July 22, 2013

Missing Popham Beach

I keep expecting each cool breeze to carry salt and sting, but there’s no scent.

I can’t see the storm gathering, miles away, over the open bay; there are too many houses here.

My shins are lacking bug bites from humid walks in woods. There are no old forts here to explore, with new graffiti and less structure every year.

There is too much water-pressure in the shower, not enough sand around the drain.

I haven’t tried to run in sand recently, felt vertigo from moving shorelines, or waded through the pulling tide. I haven’t read the memorial stone of the man who drowned near this small island in years.

I don’t smell like sun screen and sweat.

My hair isn’t stiff from sea air.

I’m not a kid anymore.

This isn’t vacation.

 

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Link love

Love & marriage are probably going to be a bit of a theme around here for a little while. Not sorry. It’s on my mind :).

  • 15 ways to stay married 15 years – I immediately loved these points with #1. Trying to resolve an argument before going to sleep (especially with the argument was late at night) has NEVER BEEN A GOOD IDEA (for me). I always feel better about a situation, or at least less volatile, after I’ve gotten some rest. Some of the points were less obvious to me, but are things I hope to take to heart.
  • I want this shirt – ONeill Womens Skins Long Sleeve Crew Black White – Medium (affiliate link, but no I’m not asking you to buy it for me). It’s funny that I never thoguht of this before. I want more tattoos and I worry a lot about fading my owl & eagle tattoo with sunlight while swimming or on my infrequent beach trips. I don’t like dealing with cover-ups, but this shirt would allow me to swim and sun freely without worry. Less sunscreen = less hassle. Plus, these kinds of shirts are great for anyone who doesn’t feel confident shirtless, but wants to swim without getting their regular clothes all wet. Swimming in t-shirts is a bit silly, in my opinion.
  • I don’t have celiac disease, but I am definitely gluten sensitive. I got a bit lazy about my usual gluten-free diet for the past few months. Part of it was just to keep myself from stressing out about anything unnecessarily as we approached the surprise wedding. It can be a hassle to find food/make meals that are interesting & filling that don’t cause me discomfort, sometimes. Ordering dinner out is my biggest challenge, as there aren’t a lot of gluten-free options and when I’m feeling lazy enough to order out, I’ll often just say screw it and get something with wheat. I started experiencing some intense joint pain all over my body a few weeks ago and started back on a strictly gluten-free diet 6 days ago. It only took a few days for the joint pain to go away. Staying grain-free with minimal starches keeps bloat away too. My gut is all kinds of screwy.
  • A recipe! OMG is right, this looks really good. Look at it.

Monday, July 15, 2013

Initial reflections: weddings, love, shock

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The outpouring of love that comes with a wedding is an incredible thing to be a part of. Now, I’m lucky enough to be on the receiving end.

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I’m married now. Can you believe it? I barely can. It took me long enough to adjust to the idea of having a fiancĂ©. My boyfriend was suddenly packaged with this promise of something even more. There’s so much promise for the future. He’s my husband. Getting married was exactly what I wanted it to be. I’ve tried many times to capture the whole concept in words, but it’s just too complex. It’s too wrapped up in who we are as people, our values, and who we are as a couple.

Now, it’s even LEGALLY BINDING.

Holy whatever. I’m psyched to file taxes next year.

The photos are trickling in, mostly from one person so far, but the wedding-haze that surrounds my memories is lifted a little even from this brief glimpse into what it looked like on the other side of the pool.

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The look on everyone’s face when we told them what was about to happen was priceless. I hope there are pictures of that. People left their jaws hanging for quite a while, and there were a few tears. Not from Baba, though. I was expecting her to freak out, but I think that was mostly from my anxiety. She took it very well and was completely ecstatic. I’m just so damn happy that she could make it. I’m just so damn happy. I choked up a bit when my mother-in-law (!!!!! I have one now!!!!) and my mom teared up. I think my dad went into shock. He may still be in shock. He reminded me that he and my mother got married maybe 50 feet from where we stood, in the dining room of the first house I lived in. Have I ever mentioned that we literally moved right around the corner? I remember getting caught sitting in my parents’ bedroom window, legs dangling outside, watching our former neighbors swim in what is now our pool.

Some folks couldn’t make it to the engagement-party-turned-surprise-wedding and I do feel bad that we couldn’t risk telling them about our big secret! I hope we can have another huge party, maybe a little more formal, definitely with some dancing, later down the line, and that everyone we want there can be there. We’ll see what life brings.

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The past few months have been stressful for many reasons, including to an extent, the keeping of the greatest secret I have had yet. It is such a relief to know that our journey has started and our friends and family have our backs.

(photos courtesy of Anders O and Sam P)

Friday, July 12, 2013

Thanks for unusual little things

A few nights ago, Hulky and I took a late-night grocery run. A new Stop & Shop just opened up very close to us, so we were enjoying that convenience while picking up some treats & groceries. We often use the self check-out line and we got in behind someone who had a relatively empty basket. The young man, who appeared to be around our age, was talking on his iPhone while scanning his items and seemed to be having trouble checking out. He got his vegetables scanned in just fine, using the search function on the touch screen, but he kept flipping over the bag of lettuce, searching for the bar code and trying to scan the front of the bag, unsuccessfully.

Eventually (it had been several minutes on that bag, he seemed very confused and only slightly distracted by the phone call), I leaned over, instructed him to flip it over, and pointed out the bar code to scan. He thanked me, continued scanning, but asked if I knew how to scan his Stop & Shop card at the end of the order. I demonstrated the motion of waving the card over the scanner, while telling him just to pass it over the scanner, and he scanned it successfully. He thanked me again, bagged his groceries, and left.

It was a very weird experience.

Was he stoned out of his mind, or did was he unfamiliar with how to buy groceries?

Since he had a card, but didn’t know how to use it, I think maybe he borrowed someone else’s and does not usually buy his own groceries. It doesn’t really matter though. Best of luck to him.

It made me feel very grateful for knowing how to do something that seemed so basic to me. Thanks, Mama, for bringing us grocery shopping with you when we were little. I never thought that this was a skill someone might have to learn, so I guess I learned something from that.

Wednesday, July 03, 2013

I love bicycling to work

 

  • because even if I am dragging in the morning, the ride in perks me up.
  • because a bad mood gets swept away with sweat, adrenaline, and the focus on burning muscles.
  • because my thighs are amazing.
  • because I am given the opportunity to be impressed with my resolve and my body.
  • because it gives me something more tangible to be proud of.
  • because it saves money on gas/insurance/registration for another vehicle (yes, I know we have a second car, but it’s not being used right now anyway…).
  • because it makes me feel self-sufficient.
  • because a bike is so easy to maintain.
  • because it makes me feel a bit badass.

Monday, June 24, 2013

*creak* Hello?

I've got thoughts! There are things happening in my head!

But none of it is ready to get to text form yet. I'm working on it. Mostly, I'm missing some pieces and time is the only answer.

I guess I'm not writing as well as I'd hoped I would be. Well-constructed language seems foreign to me right now. I'm sick, leave me alone. Have some links!


  • FOR THE LOVE OF FRIENDS - how to make friends as an adult! I love this article more than I can really articulate. Seriously. Please read it and evaluate how you are approaching friendships in your own life because I CAN'T JUST DO THIS ON MY OWN. I am so, so appreciative of how loved I have been feeling lately, just from a text message here and there from friends that I don't speak to as often as I'd like. Most of that is my fault, to be honest.
  • Be supportive through your language. Yeap, more Offbeat links. I love these sites. I'm not an activist. I'm not a protester. But there are people that I want to support and changes that I think need to happen in our legislature here in the States. I have been making a conscious effort to use more inclusive language when discussing relationships and identities. I hope it helps make at least one person feel more comfortable because at least one is enough. Helping other people to be happy makes me happy.
  • Tobuscus keeps cracking me up - plus Hulky and I keep getting the ends of his videos stuck in our heads ("do do do do do do do subSCRIBE").

June has been an awesome month for me so far. Thanks for reading!

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Coming up on 9 years post-OD

Every year that June 1st rolls around, it hits me in different ways. The first alive-aversary was a bit shocking. I think I have some old handwritten journals I could flip through to find my real feelings from that time (and I still think maybe I'll go back through them). I think by the third anniversary, I had forgotten about it. I felt bad for forgetting, when I realized it a few days later. Sometimes the day passes without incident, sometimes I look at the clock a lot. At least once, I have stayed up until the early hours of the morning, remembering, how x years ago, I was getting carted away in the ambulance, throwing up in a small bowl, falling asleep naked on a gurney, struggling to stay awake while the nurse asked me questions. Ask me later, why are you asking me now?

I'll still be here in the morning, though that wasn't really the intent when I fought to wash down 18 pills, one at a time, with water filled over and over in a Dixie cup. It wasn't until a few years ago that I really accepted the overdose as a suicide attempt. I wonder if that seems silly to other people, but there probably aren't a lot of people out there that will admit, if they even see, the humor in these kinds of situations.

It's hard to see it that way when most of what you remember is thinking, "I just want to wake up and have everything be better."

What I hate most about the overdose is that I don't remember a lot. It's not selective memory. It's just my memory. It sucks. It always has. With executive functioning disorder, I have trouble holding onto details, and I think it's also common for depressed folks to have poor memories. There's a lot of things going on in your head when your depressed and even big events get blurry, especially with the passage of time. I tried to document the events over and over after I got out of the hospital and I still have some of those records, but there's a lot lost. Maybe it's disassociation.

What I love about what happened is that it's my story to tell on my own terms. Nobody asks me about it. I can talk about it when I want, stop when I'm done. Thanks, stigma-on-depression-and-suicide-attempts. You are playing in my favor.

To be honest, I can't dwell at all on how my family might think about it. Maybe they remember June 1st with sadness (too). I can't talk to them about it (if you read this, I'm sorry, but I really can't).

I think, this year, I'll take a long walk with Hulky. Maybe I'll wear something pretty. Perhaps I'll cook us up some steaks.

(I've written about my history and overdose before.)

This entry is a little early this year. I like the idea of posting on my actual alive-aversary on June 1st, but these are the feelings with me today.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Part of my bicycling commute–near work


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When it gets really rainy, the swamp-area beside the parking lots by my office get really full. Geese and ducks hang out here. My co-workers and I watched them peck at ice during the cold months.

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By the athletic facility, there are a few radio towers of some type. I don’t know what they area, but they look cool while also being intrusive to the view.

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When I first went walking in the parking lot to investigate my route (during a lunch break), I wasn’t sure where I’d be coming out from the park. Had I looked a little to the right that day, I would’ve seen the path.

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Ze path
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Lots of puppies run around here now that it's warm out.
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There’s a lovely bit of stream or brook here. This is part of my path through the park.

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Quack
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I could hear loud music here on the day I took these photos. I thought it was a congregation at first, but some of the music was Sinatra-esque. Somebody was having a good time, anyway. I don’t think it was being sung live.
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I found out that day that orange peels float. Just so you know.

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Hello, I'm alive. Have a post.

I've started hiding my trashcan at work behind an empty desktop computer, under my desk. I had to hide it because I kept forgetting and putting things in it. This is my minimal one-woman effort to reduce waste. If I carry the very little waste that I produce every day (geez, we're taking fruit peels and tea bags, get your head out of the toilet) to the trashcan in the kitchen every day, the bag will not have to be replaced on mine. There is only a paper teabag sleeve in it right now, from yesterday. I am hoping the maintenance people will leave it so I can see how long I can keep it empty.

There's a grand post about my bicycling to work coming up. I don't know when. I think it needs more pictures first. I've got some photos that I took near work on my "test ride" before I actually ever did the ride as a commute, but I think I want some from the whole route. That will have to be arranged for a weekend. My legs are tired, have been for the past week or more, and I'm hoping it's just from non-stop activity (squats when I'm not cycling), and that I will recuperate eventually. I have only gotten to cycle to work once this week due to poor forecasted weather. That is, the weather forecasted was poor, and the forecasting was poor because it DIDN'T RAIN DURING MY COMMUTE YESTERDAY. Disappointing, but too much of a hassle to risk cycling and getting stuck. I have only one flashy light for my person/backpack and my bag isn't THAT waterproof.

Brunch in town.
It's been just under two weeks since Hulky helped buzz my head. The little floof in the front cracks me up. It's slightly longer than the rest of my hair, but I'm okay with that. I think that bit of "personality" helped me transition to the whole "where the crap did my hair go" bit. I do miss having more hair at times, but this is a fun project. I think I'm getting more used to my face every day. I wear make-up only a few times a year, at most, and I don't feel any more inclined to now. It's just not practical and I generally like my features unadorned. My hair is long enough to show bedhead, which is usually something I love, but requires some wetting and brushing to try and control at this length. I don't really mind the poofy head look. I don't really mind any of it, but I'm still looking forward to getting a bit more length before our engagement party so I can bleach and dye it. If it's not the length I want, I'll just buzz it again, now that I know I love it.

Because I do love it. I feel like I can say that now. I honestly recommend this to anyone. It's an excellent challenge in self-confidence. I feel like I focus on my posture a lot more now, which is a good thing all around.

Bicycling seems to help with that too. I remind myself to keep my shoulders back and down, and I feel like they don't seem to be as pulled forward when I admire my body's profile in the mirror.

I am so proud of my legs, I don't think I can even explain it.

Friday, May 10, 2013

Buzz-cut up in hyah

I didn’t even think of doing a “before” picture. For shame!

Well, this is what I looked like last week?

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A screencap from the video you won’t get to see of the process:

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This is the face I made when the buzzer got stuck in my hair:

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At one point, my hair looked like this (it was kind of greasy):

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But in the end, I think I look pretty adorable.

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Maybe, someday, someone will capture a photo of me smiling, full-dimple. It looks great.