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.