Monday, October 19, 2015

Mondays suck.. the life out of me.

The last week has been exhausting. I found myself spending a significant portion of last week resting just because I didn't have the energy to get stuff done (even with loads of coffee involved). It didn't help matters that I had a migraine last week. And it didn't help matters that my psych issues were causing me problems. It was a taxing week.

This week is shaping up to be equally exhausting. Today, I took Cuddle Bear to the dentist. (If you're local to me and looking for a pediatric dentist, seriously look at Pittsford Pediatric Dentistry. They're really good.) That went fairly well. He actually seemed to enjoy the process. The boy was real excited to get a helium balloon when his appointment was done. We scheduled the follow up and then spent the rest of the day off running errands.

I made the mistake of taking him to Spirit Halloween. The costume that he decided was the best turned out to be nearly $40. It took a little trickery but I managed to distract him from it and convince him that putting something together at home would work best. He has finally decided that he wants to be a train engineer like the guys over at the Livonia, Avon, and Lakeville Railroad. So, we got him a neon colored jacket and I'm going to try to print of a copy of their logo to make a button with it so we can pin it on his jacket.

Tomorrow is going to be another busy day because it is Snuggle Bug's trip to the dentist. And I suspect we will have as much wandering around to get stuff done. I don't know if I'm going to be able to manage a quick trip to the laundromat to get a load of kid's clothes done or not. If I can accomplish it, it would be a good thing. And then Wednesday I have my appointment with my psych. So, that sucks up half the week with running around town doing stuff. Then comes Thursday and Friday, where I try to catch up on all the stuff that I haven't been able to finish over the preceding the days.

I feel like I'm doing a lot of whining here. Which, I guess is ok because it is my blog. But I'm not entirely happy with it. It's been a long day and after long days, I tend to see the bad side of everything. I mean, I'm looking at my plants and seeing the one that is unhealthy in stark contrast to the rest when earlier today I didn't even notice it. (I think I killed one of my six ivy plants. It's not even a big loss but I'm irritated with it. And the stupid mold came back despite my treating the soil with vinegar, which I think may have killed the plant.)

TL:DR - Mondays suck. And I think this week is going to as well.

Friday, October 16, 2015

Life Hack # 1 - Organized kitchen pans.

This week, I don't have a recipe for you but I do have something that still deals with the kitchen. If you're like me, you have a lot of pans and it is probably hard to sort through them all when you keep them in that drawer under the stove. (I think that there are stoves made now that still have this feature, but I know that there are shelves that get everything thrown on them too.) I was having problems with getting the right pan in quick order for cooking. Let me tell you, when it is a day where dinner's late, you don't want to hunt through a stack of pans to find the one you want. It makes everybody cranky.

There is, however, an option. If you have wall space free and it is a good sturdy one, placing some hooks to hang pans from is a fantastic idea. Some lucky folks have the money and the space to splurge on an over head pot rack. Those are pretty awesome for your light weight pots, but I don't trust 'em with my cast iron. Those I would still hang on the wall. Make sure that your hook is large enough to accommodate a little room for your lid to hang with the pot and you can keep your lids right with them.

Some of us are lucky enough to have deep cupboards where we can store more than just food. Here is where I use the free standing miniature shelves and paper sorters. I use the paper sorter to hold my light weight pans and my cast iron. It works well because it converts the space used from being the widest part of the pans to the narrowest. This means you can fit more pans in there. And you can keep the lids with the pans in another sorter right beside or below it. Or, if you don't have the shelf space, you can hang your lids.

Those command hooks from 3M are really amazing. I like the ones that you can remove eventually. This is because we are renting our home and someday we'll move. That means we'll have to get rid of the hooks. They hold a good deal of weight. I have two of them holding my kids backpacks next to the door. (I'll talk about how I made an entryway where there wasn't one next week.) There is usually enough distance between the door and the shelf itself that you can hang a pot lid in there with out any problems closing the door.

Those free standing shelves I mentioned I use for my sauce pots. I keep the lids on the pots and set them one over the other on the shelf. It effectively doubles your space. And, if your cupboard is wide enough, you have a little bit of space at either side where you can slide in another pan that fits. What you have left to worry about then is cookie sheets. And you can keep those piled up in that drawer under the stove with no big deal. Because you'll have the rest of your pans put away nice and tidy.

There's the first of my occasional life hack posts. I don't know how often I'll be sharing them, but I will be doing this instead of recipes when I have one of those days where I can't pick what to post. Have a beautiful day everyone.

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Fiber Update.

I don't have anything fiber related to post today. I do, however, have a picture to share. When I get stressed out, I will sometimes start drawing. Often, it is just something abstract. I misplaced my sketch book a little while back. But I just found it today. So I decided I'd share one of my abstract sketches. I did this with markers on watercolor paper.

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Long Day is Long.

I would have posted Monday but it was a very long, very busy day. Cuddle Bear and Snuggle Bug had the day off from school. We stayed in for much of the morning just because I didn't have the energy to go out and deal with people. This may or may not have been a good idea. They watched videos and fought, alot. By the time lunch time rolled around, I was ready for them to be back in school.

We went out to Vitale Park after lunch. Cuddle Bear spent a good deal of time on the swings. He really loves them. I think it is partly because he is a sensory seeking child and partly because what child doesn't love swings, right? Snuggle Bug tried to get some swing time in but he got upset because I wasn't going to stand there and push him the whole time. My telling him that he had to do it himself almost lead to a temper tantrum.

He got distracted by the other kids playing in the sandbox. They had brought a bunch of toys from home. They had this thing that was kinda like an excavator that the kids could sit on and dig with the bucket. Snuggle Bug asked if he could use it. Then he started to resist letting the kids who owned it using it. This lead to my engaging in a lot of redirection and reminders to respect the limits of playing with someone else's toys. At one point, he was pestering the other kids so badly that I had to take him away from the sandbox and give him something else to do.

This set the tone for a good portion of the afternoon. Snuggle Bug wanted what he wanted and would annoy someone until they let him do it. And when we were home, he whined in an effort to get what he wanted. I thought that perhaps today he would be less prone to whining. I was wrong. As soon as he got off the bus from school, he started whining and being demanding. The only time he wasn't being a whiney butt was when he was eating snack. It has been a frustrating afternoon.

Aside from the irritations of the kids being difficult over the last few days. I'm not entirely happy with how this evening is going for another reason. I was looking forward to having pot roast with mashed potatoes and cooked carrots. The only thing that came out right was the pot roast. And, I don't know if I would say it came out right. It was pretty tough. I think I should have made it in the crockpot. The carrots were disgusting.

A little while back, one of our neighbors gave us ten pounds of carrots. Beloved put half of that in the freezer. I didn't think anything of it until I took one of the two bags out and discovered everything was mushy. I was optimistic that they would still taste good cooked. So, I gave that a shot and it came out very poorly. So, I have about five pounds of carrots that I have to get rid of because they are absolutely disgusting and none of my little tricks works to salvage them. I am not happy but I can console myself with the fact that I will be acquiring more real estate in the freezer and I didn't lose money on this failed venture.

I am, however, upset about the food processor that I bought a little while back. I assembled it as per the directions that came with it. When I first attempted to use it, the post that the blade sits on didn't move. I didn't pay a lot of money for it. At the same time, however, I have very rarely had problems with that brand of products. (It was from Aldi's and the Kitchen Living line. I got it on clearance because it was the last one.) I am trying to figure out what is wrong with it. So far, however, I've come up with nothing. I can hear the motor working and there is a tension in the post, so I know that the thing which is supposed to turn it is attempting to turn. I'm trying to figure out if there is some kind of locking mechanism that I have failed to disengage.

Honestly, I'm half tempted to hand it to Beloved and let him try. Because he is a bit better at mechanical things than I am. (We evenly split the minor house repair stuff that we do. Some time next week, we're buying plastic to cover the windows and we'll be putting that up together. It'll be fun. /sarcasm) I don't want to go through the headache of calling customer support and sitting on hold for a half hour or something only to be told I have to take it back to the store. I have a bad feeling, however, that might be the case.

Friday, October 09, 2015

Public Notice Re: Comments

Hi everybody,

I just wanted to make something crystal clear. You are welcome to comment on my posts. I moderate them to make sure that everything is respectful and above board. I would appreciate if people kept their comments on topic with what the post covers. That said, I recognize that sometimes it is hard to tell if a comment matches the topic. So, I try to keep that in mind with respect to what comments get posted up here.

That said, I do not take kindly to people using this platform to harass, belittle, or otherwise be a dick to people. It is one thing if you have something funny to say. Sometimes, vulgar humor is pretty funny. But, if it strikes me as offensive regardless of how well intentioned something is, I'm not giving you air time on my blog.

Additionally, if any sort of products, services, or other related material goes up on here, it is because I am posting it. If you want to recommend something to me or request a review of something, email me. I have an account that is set up to take messages just from my blogs. I check it every few days. (I'm actually going to do that right after I hit publish on this post.) I am not going to permit people to use the comments on my blog to bandy about some product or service. You don't get free advertising.

If you want to advertise, contact me. We can work out an arrangement. I'll even make sure that there is a Twitter post to the blog entry, provided you compensate me for it. You have any questions or comments about this, email me.

This is MY blog. My blog is a benevolent dictatorship. My word here is law. If you don't like it, don't post in the comments. In fact, I invite you to take my blog off of your reading list. Because if you can't respect me and my rules, I'm pretty sure you're not going to like what I post.

Mom's Carrot Salad

Today's recipe is a family favorite. My husband enjoys it so much that he asks that I make it every Monday. (Monday's are burger night and this always goes really well.) It takes a bit of work to make it but it is well worth the results. The quantities that I'm going to give will make enough for five people with some left over. It keeps relatively well when it is in a covered container in the fridge. If you manage not to eat it all the day you make it, it keeps for about five days in the fridge.

Take 5 lbs of carrots. Wash them, peel, and grate fine. In a medium bowl, place the grated carrots, a 1/4 cup of raisins, 1/4 cup of peanut butter, and 1/2 cup of whipped dressing. Mix together until all parts are coated with the peanut butter-whipped topping mixture. Chill in the refrigerator for 10 to 15 minutes and serve cool.

You can use chunky or smooth peanut butter. I haven't tried it but I know this would work with a different kind of nut butter or sunflower butter.

Wednesday, October 07, 2015

It's not a competition.

I have a hard time reminding myself that what I am doing is enough. It is more than enough. When I see other people running businesses and looking like they've got everything so put together, I get struck by this feeling of inferiority. It is really awful, to be honest. I am trying not to get sucked into that train of thought, but it is pretty hard.

My therapist says I shouldn't compare my days to someone else's highlight reel. Freyr tells me that it is not a competition. That I'm not in a race with anyone but myself. It is hard to keep that in mind. I look around the apartment and I find myself feeling like I don't do enough. I have bags of laundry sitting in the living room, one from last week, that are waiting to be folded up and put away. Most days, my kitchen is a mess until about four o'clock. Then I clean everything up, make dinner, and it stays a mess until about that time the next day.

I think about how rough things are with the boys and their behavioral issues. I find myself short tempered and waspish. Then I feel guilty because my boys are just being themselves. And a significant amount of their behavioral issues is a function of their brains working differently from mine. And I ask myself why can't I manage to be more patient with them, why can't I just let it roll off my back. I look back to my life before bipolar and see how I wasn't so hair trigger with my temper. I feel like there is some failing on my part that I am like this.

I have a whole heap of evidence (medical studies and the like) that tells me that my issues with my temper are due, in part, because of the bipolar. I have legitimate reasons for my problems having enough mental fortitude to do stuff. I have a ton of things that I'm trying to stay on top of, which puts me in the position of having some stuff fall through the cracks. All of these sane, rational arguments that my difficulties are not due to a lack of diligence on my part.

And still, that voice in the back of my head tells me that I'm a terrible housewife because my home isn't showroom clean all the time; that I'm a bad mother because I get short tempered with the kids and they don't behave all the time; that my problems doing stuff is because I'm lazy, not my illness; and that my illnesses are just a ploy for attention. It tells me that my lack of immediate financial success with my writing is a function of how 'bad' I am at it and that I'm a fraud. It tells me that my lack of success in running two businesses by myself (online) was because I didn't try hard enough.

It discredits all the legitimate reasons why I can't do things. It tells me that every rational rebuttal is a lie. It is really awful and I wish I could just rip that part out of my head and throw it away. I know that I'm working on this through therapy. I know that using my coping skills will make it easier to handle this. But right now, I feel horrible. I had an ok day. I got a bunch of stuff done.

But at this moment, I feel like everything I've done was worthless, done poorly, and that I'm not good enough.

I hate when this happens.

Fiber stuff.

I haven't gotten as much spinning time in this week as I wanted. I am just about half way through that mass of fiber on my distaff. I was spinning some this morning as we were waiting for the school bus and realized I have to readjust how I have my fiber fixed to the distaff. I am starting to get a small enough amount that it slides around a bit on the distaff with how it is tied right now.

Knitting projects are stalled right now. I have been having a hard time finding the energy to work on the sweater or the shawl. I wish I could find away to feel more excited about this process but it really strikes me as soul crushingly boring. Maybe I will rip out that sweater and just do one up with crochet. I think I need to save knitting for small things. Perhaps when I do something with more complexity to it I will enjoy the process more. I don't know.

Monday, October 05, 2015

Shoveling from a sitting position.

It has been a week of a lot of writing. I am on one hand pleased with all the progress I have made. At the same time, I keep catching myself worrying that I am going to run out of things to say. I am doing my best to just put those worries into my little 'box' and set it aside for the gods to deal with. There is getting to be a bit of a pile of proverbial boxes. It makes me glad that they're not physical things because I would have a stack a few feet high by now.

The other thing I keep putting into my boxes is the negative self talk. It has been pretty hard. I didn't realize how much I did that until I started actively monitoring what I was saying to myself. I discovered that when I am depressed, I am truly horrible to myself. I felt guilty for it when I realized it. Then it was explained to me that it was how I was taught to treat myself. It helped some to hear that. I am trying not to let myself get caught up in guilt over it. So, the guilt is going into a box as well.

I have a big pile of laundry waiting to be dealt with. I haven't folded a thing yet today. I just didn't feel up to it. I am going to try to get some done this evening after dinner, provided that Cuddle Bear doesn't have homework tonight. I am trying to steel myself for how tiring this weekend is going to be. My freezer is so full, I can't prep a meal and keep it in there to pop in the oven later. It is not a bad problem to have, but it is a little exasperating.

I am hoping that the weather will be decent over the weekend. The boys have a four day weekend this weekend. I am going to try to get them down to their friends's house. It has been a little while since we have visited them. With the cold weather coming, visiting gets a bit tricky because the one sidewalk in town doesn't get cleared off. And yet the paths at the park are shoveled? I don't understand that but I'm not going to try to make sense of what the local government is up to.

I'm making progress on losing weight. I just realized I hadn't said anything about this in a few months. I'm down 20 pounds. I have dropped two pants sizes and I can fit into a lot of my clothes from before I got pregnant. I am about fifteen pounds away from my goal weight. I think I might just manage to meet my goal of being 150lbs by the end of the year.

Friday, October 02, 2015

Grandma K.'s Recipe for Apple Crisp

As a kid, I asked for apple crisp for my birthday just about every year. I still love the stuff as an adult. While there are a lot of really great recipes for it out there, I have to say that the best one I've ever had was Grandma K.'s version. I don't remember if this is something that was handed down from Great-grandma but I know this is not one of those 'secret family recipes' that I'm not exactly supposed to share. You can use just about any variety of apple in this. I like to use Granny Smith apples but I have also used Pink Lady and Red Delicious. Serve this warm with a generous scoop of vanilla ice cream on top and you get the experience I had as a kid at Grandma's house.

Barb's Apple Crisp

  • 5 cups peeled, cored, and sliced apples
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 3/4 cup flour
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 cup water

1.  Preheat your oven to 350o.

2. Grease a 1 1/2 quart casserole dish. Place apples in it and sprinkle with water.

3. Cut remaining ingredients into butter until coarse crumbs. Spread evenly over apples.

4. Bake for 30 minutes or until the top is brown.

Serves 8 -10 people.