February 11, 2014

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Time on Bike: 16 minutes, 2.75 miles

Time under lamp: 35 minutes

Mood: Happy. Much less sick.

Daily affirmation: I’m a really good friend. I take good care of the people I love.

What I’m thinking about:

Laundry. Specifically, the piles of it that magically keep appearing. It seems like no matter how many clothes, towels and linens I get rid of, more take their place. We have more laundry than a family of three should rightfully have. Also, Olympic men’s hockey starts tomorrow. **SQUEE**

Goals: Get all the laundry done. (Held over another day because good lord…)

Image of the day: I would love to have a laundry room with a window in it. Mine is like the laundry tomb…

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February 10, 2014

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Time on Bike: 15 minutes, 2.5 miles

Time under lamp: 35 minutes

Mood: Focused. Still sick, but dealing with it.

Daily affirmation: I am a rockin’ amazing cook. I love nurturing my family and friends with homemade food.

What I’m thinking about:

Michael Sam coming out as potentially the first openly gay NFL player. I’m amazed that there are people who think this shouldn’t be a big deal. Lots of comments like “he should keep it to himself,” or “I don’t understand why this is news.” I wish I could magically transform those people to live closeted for a day. Then they might understand what it means to hide your essential identity from the world. They might get why it’s important to be able to openly be who you are.

Goals: Get all the laundry done.

Image of the day: The beach. Doesn’t it look *warm*? We had another inch or two of snow last night. Brrrr.

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Affirmation list

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I got the assignment today from my therapist to make a list of positive affirmations about myself and my life. I’m going to do it, but not gonna lie…it makes me feel like Stuart Smalley.

I guess the best way to do this is just to start anywhere.

1. I have made enormous progress towards being a healthier person.

2. I am surrounded by loving, caring people and I am worthy of their love and care.

3. I am interesting and creative. People like to spend time with me.

4. I am lovely, inside and out.

5. I am gentle, peaceful, and I want the best for everyone around me.

That’s all I have for now. I’ll add more as they come to me. The part where I have to recite this into the bathroom mirror is going to be harder. I don’t know how I’m going to keep a straight face.

New format

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I’ve gotten slack with writing, as with many other things. I’m going to try out a new format to impose some discipline in various areas. Be warned, it may not be the most thrilling stuff to read. Here it is:

January 30, 2014

Time on Bike: 10 minutes, 1.75 miles (yeah, yeah, yeah, just getting started, OK?)

Time under lamp: 35 minutes

Mood: Sickly but more focused than yesterday.

Daily affirmation: I’m generous. Generous with my time, resources, money, and love. Giving to others makes me feel good about myself.

What I’m thinking about:

This has been image modification week. I got my nails done and I’m joking that they’re my “bass boat” nails because I got a clear glitter finish over the French tips. I also got highlights and a haircut. Also, new jeans with what my friend Cat calls “sparkly butt.” My ass looks pretty damned fine in them, if I do say so. I’m also thinking about the new treatment I’m starting next week for my allergies and asthma. It’s called Xolair and apparently, it’s a game changer for people like me. It will, however, require me to get two shots every month, carry an epi-pen at all times and wear a medic alert bracelet. Yeah…it’s hardcore. But if it works, it will be well worth it.

Goals: Bike for 15 minutes tomorrow. Figure out the right seat adjustment.

Image of the day: Seashell with garnets. That’s my birthstone and I love both seashells and garnets. So there.

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You may ask yourself, “How did I get here?”

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Look at me, all blogging two days in a row!

I decided it was time for a State of the Diva post. Things have changed so dramatically in the last six months that I don’t even know exactly how I got here. A year ago, I was quite literally sitting in the basement, moaning about my aches and pains, and waiting for…I’m not exactly sure what. To die? For my life to start? For someone to make things magically better? For a new pill? I don’t know. But it was no way to live. I had more value that that. I just didn’t know how to get at it and let it shine.

Today? I’m so much better I can’t even explain it. I’m doing stuff. I have hobbies. I’m happy. Really, truly happy. I still have lots of challenges and I always live in fear that the bottom will drop out and depression will consume me again. But for now? I’m grabbing life by the nuts and enjoying the hell out of it. BANZAI!!

How the heck did I get here? I wish I could tell you but it’s just not that simple. There were medication and diet changes, challenges that pushed me to the limit and taught me that I’m far from helpless, new routines, and a slew of other things. I can’t really point to one single thing that put me where I am right now.

However, there are two things that do stand out as more significant than the rest.

The first is simply that I started getting up and staying up at a reasonable hour of the morning instead of sleeping all day. I didn’t even adjust my bedtime first. I just got up one morning and decided not to go back to bed. The first couple of weeks were rough. I sat around in my PJs a lot. I played computer games. I wrote. I ranted on the Internet quite a bit. But I stayed up. Eventually, I got tired. Staying up until 1:00am or later just isn’t sustainable when you’re getting up at 7:30. So quite naturally, I started going to bed earlier.

And lo, I discovered that life happens during the day. That’s when stuff is open. That’s when people are around. That’s when you can get business done. That’s when the sun shines and the farmers’ market is open and people are active and busy. It’s infectious, I tell you.

So getting up early was key. And so was the love and concern of one good friend. You know, sometimes I think that’s all you need in this life. One good friend. Don’t get me wrong, I have lots of friends and I value them all. But sometimes you need that one person who loves you too much to let you wallow in self-pity. You need that one friend who is incredibly annoying in the moment, but who tells you truths about yourself that eventually, you accept. You need that one friend who sticks with you and refuses to buy into the bullshit excuses you make for why you can’t live the life you want;. You need that one friend who just cares too much to enable your destructive habits. You need that one friend who tells you not what you want to hear, but what you need to hear.

That friend came into my life in January, although he’d been around for years (yes, he’s a he…there’s a whole separate post to be written about the nature of cross-gender friendship), and it’s hard to deny that his presence and support sparked a lot of the changes that have been happening. I’m not going to give him all the credit, though. If I hadn’t been ready to make some major changes nothing he said or did would have budged me out of that basement and into the light. But when I was ready, he was there with all the love, encouragement, and support that I needed.

I might have found this path without him, but it would have been infinitely harder. And it’s been rocky at times. I am not an easy person to be friends with and I can be a real pain in the ass. So believe me when I tell you that I am very lucky and grateful that he’s still here, walking right beside me because this journey is far from over.

peace…

The cost of whole foods…it’s not what you think.

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A while back I promised to write about the myth that eating a whole food diet is more expensive than buying packaged, pre-processed foods. Today is that day.

I went to the farmers’ market on Saturday and the grocery store today. My total grocery bill, including breakfast and lunch for QuirkyKid and myself, and dinners for the whole family for seven days was $87. I know people who spend 50% more than that, or even twice as much, in a week.

How did I do it?

Well, it’s a combination of making different choices and spending some time to get organized.

When you commit to eating a whole food diet and sticking to a budget you learn pretty quickly that grocery shopping and meal planning becomes a series of choices. Yes, if you continue to eat the typical American diet and simply switch to buying organic processed food, farm-raised meats, etc. in the same quantities you purchased before, that shit’s going to get expensive.

BUT…

If you spend some time upfront creating meal plans that are mostly plant-based, you can use the money you would have spent on meat to buy organic produce. You can send leftovers for lunches instead of giving your kid money to buy school lunches. You can make your own baked goods from scratch rather than purchasing mixes, And on and on.

So, in order to come in at the figure I quoted above (which is exactly my budgeted amount for one week…yay me!) I had to spend about two hours meal planning and making my shopping list. I spent about an hour at the farmers’ market (but that was fun!). I will likely spent about an hour each evening prepping dinner and making QuirkyKid’s lunch. I will also likely spend the majority of a day (about six hours) making pizza dough, yogurt, and muffins (maybe not that much, I’m not sure yet).

I anticipate that as I do this longer term, those times will go way down since I will have a repertoire of recipes and techniques. I’m still learning and as we all know, learning new things takes time.

I also (quite accidentally) made a meal plan where all the dinners are completely lacto-ovo vegetarian. Cutting meat out at dinnertime allowed me to spend that money on other things like organic grapes, organic granola, and so forth. It was eye-opening, I assure you. And let me tell you, we’re not eating sad poverty food. We’re having roasted vegetables and pasta, homemade cream of broccoli soup, pizza with mushrooms and caramelized onions…you get the picture.

Oh, I can hear your excuses now.

“I have to have meat for dinner!”

“I don’t like [fill in the name of a cheap staple food here…beans…rice…blah, blah,..blah)!”

“I don’t like to cook!”

“I don’t have time!”

I could write a book dismantling all those excuses, but far be it from me to tell anyone else how to live. We all have our crosses to bear and our own lives to lead.

HOWEVER…

Do not use those excuses to tell me that eating whole foods is more expensive. Because that’s one excuse that’s just flat-out not true.

Things change

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The last two months have been fantastically hard.

Mr. Quirky discovered that he had what he thought was a minor medical problem earlier this year. Well, it wasn’t minor and it required major abdominal surgery. He’s doing fine, recovering from that, but it’s been a hairy couple of weeks and we still have a couple weeks of healing to go.

As for me, I’ve been suffering from severe allergies and asthma since about April. It’s totally derailed the various projects I’d been doing, I haven’t been cooking, writing, doing projects around the house, etc. I haven’t been a very good friend (or maybe I have…more on that in a moment). I haven’t been a very good mom or wife. I’ve been completely wrapped up in my own wellness, or lack thereof. I’ve been sick and tired for so long I don’t remember what normal feels like anymore.

Then the roof started leaking.

Then the car died.

And so it’s been going…and going…and going…

At times like these, you really want to lean on the people who love and care for you. I’m so lucky to have had my mother helping me out (until she went on much-needed vacation…**waves at mom in Colorado**). One or two other people have stepped forward in both small and large ways as well, which has been much appreciated. (Also, I have received a ton of emotional support from friends and family all over the country through Facebook and it has meant the world to me.)

That said? There are people who I thought would be there for me when the chips were down who have just…checked out. If I’m not doing something for them, calling them, trying to remember to reach out to them in the midst of all this crap…well, I might as well not even exist. Very few people, in what I thought was a large and close circle of friends, have actually reached out to me and even then, it’s to ask how Mr. Quirky is doing, not how I’m coping. A few other completely clueless people have actually had the chutzpah to call me, when they usually ignore me, and ask me for favors in the midst of all this chaos.

So I’ve had the whole spectrum of responses, mostly appropriate considering the nature of the relationships, but some shockingly…not what I expected at all.

Maybe I didn’t communicate well enough that I almost died from an asthma attack? Or maybe I did and people thought I was exaggerating? Maybe I need so much emotional support on a day-to-day basis that people are burned out? Or maybe people think I’m strong enough to handle all this on my own. Maybe people are wrapped up in their own drama right now and have no time for mine? Maybe expectations really are future disappointments and my mistake was expecting anything from anyone at all?

Any one of those theories is better than thinking that the people I thought were my friends are actually only friendly acquaintances who are there only when it’s easy for them to be. As long as I don’t make them go out of their way, they’re there for me. I try not to think those thoughts. I try to give people the benefit of the doubt.

Because you would think that as people stand by and witness the crap heap that is my life piling higher and higher and higher that they would step in and help. But really? All I’ve been left feeling is that I’m an annoying burden whom people tolerate because they can’t figure out a socially acceptable way not to have me around anymore.

And I *could* blame this on bipolar, social anxiety, insecurity, or what have you. But I’m hesitant to do that because I really don’t think this is completely my fault, except insofar as I may have misjudged the relationships to begin with. And that being said, unfortunately, I think what’s required here is a clear-eyed examination and re-evaluation of relationships I thought I understood, but apparently do not.

I don’t want to do it. I don’t have time for it. I don’t have patience for it. I needed…I really, really needed to feel like people had my back. Instead I feel completely alone, flying without a net, with no one to catch me if I screw up and fall. That’s an effing sobering realization.

But for my own peace of mind, I need to know who to trust and who to hold at arm’s length.

So, we’ll see what happens but I won’t be surprised if some major changes are afoot in the coming months.

peace…

p.s. Before you ask, yes, I did ask people for specific types of assistance. But I stopped asking because no one was responding. And you know what? That’s OK. Because now I know…