Friday, January 19, 2018

Fiction Friday: Random Scene - Insomnia

Sarah stared up at the ceiling. The projection display of her alarm clock said it was 0200 and 56 seconds. She was exhausted. This was the third night that she just couldn't sleep. Work wasn't much of a problem, aside from being painfully boring. Thus, staying awake was the problem. Somewhere in the apartment below, she heard the noise of the neighbors having an argument, or possibly sex. It was hard to tell. In the bathroom off across the hallway, the sink dripped into the basin at 3/4 time. It took Sarah about 6 seconds to realize it. She almost laughed, her music lessons way back in middle school were actually still there somehow inside her brain.

The heater kicked on with a rattling sound in the vent. As the warm air blew up, a bit of paper slapped and rustled against the vent itself. The sound was annoying. Sarah put her pillow over her head as she rolled onto her right side. She wondered if it was possible to smother yourself trying to block out the noise of other people and her irritating heating duct problem. Then she realized that she could hear the muted noise of the neighbors below through the mattress with some weird echo quality due to the springs. With a sigh, the tired woman rolled over to her back and thumped the pillow down on the side of the bed. Sarah stared at the clock's display. 0201 and 43 seconds.

Music listening to: The Last Bison Sleep off of their album VA
Time to write scene: 10 minutes approx.

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Tired but muddling along.

I'm feeling pretty worn out today. I caught what ever this cold is that the kids have. My solution is to make soup and drink tea. My chicken bone broth has been bubbling away for about two hours. The kitchen smells pretty great, to be honest. I have a fascinator that I'm making which is about 1/3 of the way done. I'm hoping I have enough yarn for it. I'm not sure if I have a second ball in that colorway. I have only just started spinning for this year. I'm working from the same fiber as last time. My hope is to get up to serious production level spinning next season and possibly stock my etsy store with yarn.

Right now, I'm going to take a short nap because I can barely type. I blame my medication for this exhaustion.

Thursday, January 11, 2018

Fiction Friday: The Friendzone

i have this vision of the guy chained in some kind of dark basement type place that was once a fun center for kids and has all of the dopey signs for 'FRIENDZONE' everywhere complete with some kind of cheezy/disturbing mascot wearing a fedora. (i may have to write a horror short featuring this concept now...)

Derek was pleased. Not only had he successfully managed to get the number for the hottest woman at the party, but she agreed to go on a date. His buddy Chad was mildly insulted but chose to sit and work on trying to make a girl that was almost as pretty cry with his backhanded comments as he drank his craft brew. Derek gave Chad a thumbs up as the blond woman he had his date arranged with came over to him and took him by the hand to lead him off elsewhere. Chad flipped him the bird with a smirk.

Sheila was pleased. Her mark was textbook perfect. He had the cheap tanning booth look, over priced sun glasses, and all the charm of the plastic doll he was desperately attempting to imitate with out knowing it. His hair was cut in the latest style and his clothes were top shelf brands. Derek, as he called himself, was an utter boor with a penchant for pick up lines. Sheila did her best to play coy until he decided to be persistent. Then she let him decide that she was interested and plan to go on a date.

She gave him the number for the last mark. He was excited, impulsive, and thinking entirely with his gonads. Now, usually, Sheila would have waited for the date. Derek, however, was repulsive enough that he decided agreement to a date was consent to spike her drink and do whatever he wished later when she was drugged. This annoyed Sheila, so she moved her time table up the same time she switched drinks with him when was distracted by someone calling his name.

They had gotten their coats and Derek was showing signs of the drug/alcohol combination taking effect. He tried to say that he was good to drive. Sheila changed his mind with a suggestive comment about a woman taking control as she steered him towards the sidewalk. She raised a hand and hailed a cab. Derek was stumbling as she helped him into the car. He was rambling about something but Sheila ignored him. The cab stopped at the shopping center. Sheila paid the fare and helped Derek out of the vehicle. They walked towards a shelter where she claimed an associate was going to meet them. The cab drove off thinking nothing of it.

Sheila let Derek rest for a minute as they sat in the shelter. He said something about lewd plans involving Sheila and her 'girlfriend' and she laughed. Feeling encouraged by her laughter, he spewed something more vulgar in a drunken slur. Sheila helped him up to his feet and they walked past the entrance into the main shopping area. With her hood up, Sheila's face was well hidden as they walked along.  Derek liked the idea of an adventure and tried to take the lead. When they reached the place she was planning to take him, Derek looked around.

Taking her key out of her pocket, Sheila opened the door and motioned Derek in. He peered in the gloom, trying to figure out what about the place seemed so wrong aside from the dark. Sheila laughed at his discomfort and said it was nothing to worry about. As she popped on her flash light and lead him through a maze of dust covered tables, Derek's sense that something was absolutely wrong with the scenario grew stronger. Sheila looked at him with a manic smile and told him "This is a happy, fun place. You'll love it here." Derek tried to lurch away from here but Sheila moved with him, backing him up against a pillar.

"Oh hush," she cooed, "You were the one looking for a little adventure." As she rubbed her body against him, Derek groaned a little. That was his last clear memory.

Eight hours later, he woke up. A giant donkey wearing a fedora cocked jauntily on its head was sitting before him. Derek screamed. The donkey didn't move. That was when he realized that it was Dick the Donkey, mascot of the failed chain of arcade and entertainment restaurants known as the Friendzone. There were a few other mascots, like Willy the Worm and Mr. Happy the Smiling Snake. Derek came to the Friendzone for a few birthday parties when he was in his single digits. The donkey disturbed him greatly, he had nightmares.

"Ok, this isn't funny," he said to the person wearing the plush costume. There was no answer. There was no noise at all. For a moment, the old fear that the smiling Dick the Donkey was going to hack him to death with a machete came to mind. As he began to think more clearly, Derek realized his left ankle felt like there was something on it. He looked down and discovered he had one end of a pair of pink fuzzy handcuffs strapped around his ankle. The other was fixed to what was once a tie down for a faux tent in that 'party' section. Derek reached down to try to pull the cuff off. That was when he realized there was good old fashioned American made steel underneath that neon pink fluff.

Derek looked up. Dick the Donkey didn't move. Derek looked around and saw a hacksaw sitting on the table beside him, just in reach. He picked it up. He leaned down to saw at the chain between the cuffs and realized he couldn't get the right angle. His only way out was mutilation. And Dick the Donkey didn't move. Derek looked around again, realizing that he couldn't see the front of the building. He couldn't hear the sounds of traffic or anyone in the other buildings. He forgot that the Friendzone was built like an impenetrable bunker so that none could hear kiddies screaming with glee. Derek looked at Dick the Donkey.

"You don't have the key, do you, Dick?" The donkey's head drooped forward. "Hey, asshole!" Derek screamed, "Do you have the key to get me out of this?" There was no response. With his free leg, Derek kicked out and managed to catch the costumed figure in the knee. The plush over sized head tumbled off. A dessicated male corpse stared emptily ahead. Derek screamed. He slapped his pockets as he awkwardly found his feet. No phone, no keys, nothing. He flopped back into the chair, wrenching his ankle, and sobbed. He was trapped.

Dessert? Bah.

So, I've come to the conclusion I clearly must not be normal. I've gone from being someone who enjoys ice cream to someone who eats a roast beef sandwich or mashed potatoes as their last 'meal' of the day. If I am looking for something sweet, I eat fruit now. But, usually, I'm looking for something savory and with a bit of meat to it.

For a while, I cut just about all carbs out of my diet. I reduced my daily intake down to around 4 portions. As a result, I had a sharp uptick in severe headaches and more stomach issues. So, I'm eating more carbs now. But the preference for unsweetened things seems to have stuck around. My only exceptions are iced tea and coffee. Still, I have been using less sweetener in those too. I don't appear to have lost more weight yet.

My goal, however, is not to lose weight. As someone who was borderline anorexic in high school for various reasons, I am working not to focus on weight. Instead, I'm trying to keep my focus on what makes me feel healthy. And keep my focus on things like building muscle strength and flexibility. I'm trying to get my endurance up higher for physical activity. I want to be healthier and part of getting there is obviously going to mean losing some weight, more exercise, and eating better food.

In the first quarter of the year, my goal is to get my diet straightened out. I kinda have a start on that by eating multiple small meals through out the day to keep my blood sugar stable. Focusing more on unprocessed food has been pretty easy because most of the processed food is outside of our budget. The processed foods that are inside our budget are just not very good. So, instead of eating things like boxed macaroni and cheese, I'm making spaghetti with homemade tomato sauce. And I'm not having that too often either.

Dessert food and snack food have been slowly phasing their way out of my diet. It is still very much a part of the diets of the guys. But that's ok. Beloved does so in moderation, so I'm not worried about it being a health hazard for him. And the kids need to eat more to bulk up their weight right now. For my part, I'll just try to stick with my fruit as a snack food. Though, I've been leaning more towards vegetables for snacks of late.

Next month, I start keeping a food journal to see what exactly I am eating. This month, I am spending time learning about what manner of diet is healthiest for someone like me. I'm beginning to think I should talk to some nutritionists in training or something. I want to have a healthy diet. What I have now isn't too bad. But I want to do better and have more variety in it. I have been seriously thinking about going back to what I was doing a few years ago where I save my 'normal' meal for dinner time and eat a vegetarian diet for the rest of the day.

It's a good thing I have an almost unholy love of oatmeal and I know how to make overnight oats in the fridge for hot weather. (Just have to say, if you want a savory oatmeal fix, add some onion chutney and a crisply fried egg to it. And if you want your overnight oats to be sweet and fruity, use fruit flavored yogurt in place of regular yogurt or add some chopped up frozen fruit.)

Tuesday, January 09, 2018


I'm struggling to get my butt back into gear, y'all. I did my usual daily routine yesterday like I would if it were any other time of year. It was exhausting and I was ready for a nap in the middle of the day. I feel kinda badly about it. I realize that I am recovering from being sick for around two months. I realize that I'm in the middle of my Seasonal Affective Disorder and the bad season for my PTSD.

Being reasonable, I completely comprehend that I need to ease back into my daily routine. I am not happy about it, though. I want to just get back to doing the things that I had been before I got sick. I want to get back to walking a half mile at least three days a week. I want to get back to doing yoga and my back exercises every morning (even adding in some yoga in the evening too, because it really helps with the arthritis). I want to get back to my prodigious writing output and finish a couple of manuscripts.

But, here I am struggling to get a few blog posts and household chores done. I know the problem is depression. I know that arthritis makes it painful for me to exercise, especially out in the cold weather. But even the 15 minute indoor exercise routine I have was too much for me. I feel extra achey and stiff today. I am trying to stay on top of it all, but I'm not doing that great. I'm very frustrated because I feel like I should be doing more. Heck, the fact that I'm not completely over the repeated colds and I have persistent back aches because my bed kinda sucks is working against me too.

And yet, I keep finding myself saying "My arms and legs work. I should be doing more. I'm not so sick that I'm laid up in bed. I should have the apartment clean. I should have dinner on the table every evening at the same time, to keep the kids and I on a healthy eating schedule." The list goes on. I get so tired. Just trying to ignore this repeating loop in my head that says I should be doing more because my limbs are functional. I feel so guilty that I don't have the emotional reserves or the mental capacity to go out and do more. I have such a problem with my anxiety that I'm on multiple medications for it. And I meditate, drink green tea, and do all that other self care stuff. But I still can't manage being out for the day doing stuff.

Going to spinning group is exhausting and I found out the hard way recently that going shopping immediately after sets off a panic attack. Going to have fun with some friends (which does not involve 100+ people like spinning guild), I need the next day to recover because I have pretty severe mood drop afterwards. Never mind all the anxiety about going. Somewhere in the process, I cross a threshold and I either am present and enjoy myself or I am half dissociated. Spinning guild usually has me half dissociated. But most people can't tell when I'm not fully there because I go from anxious introvert to cheerful extrovert. It's a coping mechanism I developed to hide when I dissociate. Because in the past, dissociating in public was dangerous and I had to mask it.

My past was pretty bad. Life completely turned around when Beloved took me out on our first date. It didn't really show how much it changed until years down the road. But suddenly, I had somewhere truly safe. I had someone who loved me unconditionally and I didn't ever question if it was some kind of warped game. None of the conditioning applied there. With him, I am free. At one point, I had some arm chair psychiatrist try to tell me that I was in a co-dependent relationship and that it was unhealthy for me. I laughed in their face and told them that they had no idea what they were talking about.

Monday, January 01, 2018

Monday Menu

The plan this week is to use up leftovers and make comfort food. The easy cassoulette recipe came from Better Homes and Gardens' Casserole Recipes cookbook from the 70s. It has a bunch of recipes that I still will use, despite growing up eating some of the less awesome ones. The only alteration I made to that recipe was I used bacon instead of ham in it and my sausage used was bulk, hot italian sausage. I didn't put any wine in because I didn't have any to use. Beloved really enjoyed it. The kids were suspicious because it wasn't pizza.

Date Breakfast Lunch Dinner
Sun eggs, hash
& toast
Sandwiches Easy cassoulette
greens & corn
Mon Scrambled
eggs &
leftovers roast chicken,
cheesy potatoes
Tues cereal w/
milk & fruit
Kids - School
Beloved - indian leftovers
with naan
Me - Salad & soup
w/ fixings
carrot salad
Wed waffles w/
milk & fruit
Kids - School
Beloved - egg salad sand.
chips & trail mix
Me: chicken salad w/ lettuce
scalloped potato
& ham bake w/
Thurs Cereal w/
milk & fruit
Kids - School
Beloved - ham salad
sandwich & chips
me - leftovers
chili, corn bread
& carrot sticks
Fri Eggs /
Kids - School
Beloved - leftovers
Me - leftovers
pork jalfrezi
w/ rice
cucumber, celery
& carrot salad
Sat Eggs &
Leftovers /
baked potatoes
mixed veggies