Friday, December 27, 2013

Farewell to Legs

I'm constantly reinventing myself, which is why therapy is such a treat. The therapist asks me what kind of person I think I am, and I just sort of drool in response. I have no clue who I am. But that's neither here nor there--one day, several months ago, at anywhere between 2:00-4:00 AM (when I'm at my finest), I decided I was going to stop wearing skirts to church. So I got online and ordered four pairs of dress pants for a fairly reasonable price, considering.

Fast forward to yesterday morning when I planned to make a rare appearance at church (which, by the way, was cancelled, unbeknownst to me): I'm stumbling around in faint light, trying not to wake my husband (no success there either), and trying on said pants which have been languishing because I go to church so rarely. All four pairs didn't fit in diverse ways, and all were too stinking long for my stumpy legs. So now I'm fumbling around for a maxi skirt and making a bold decision:

NO MORE PANTS.

Fear not, the pants will go to a thrift store where they will find new life not fitting someone else. I'll also keep my pair of ill-fitting jeans around for when I finally get around to painting the living room. But in the meantime, it'll be skirts and dresses. I even sleep in maxi skirts. Maybe I should get some pajamas, huh?

I feel overly formal in skirts, but that's the result of a lifetime of tomboyishness. For Jones Family Christmas this weekend, I'll be sporting the popular combination of black leggings and a below-the-knee black skirt. That seems less formal in my mind. But I do love to wear skirts: When we stand to pray, I tend to sway slightly so I feel the sensation of the fabric hitting the fronts of my shins and then the backs. I also found a blob of beeswax on the skirt I'm wearing now--if that's not an Orthodox skirt, I don't know what is!

This isn't really a post about the importance of femininity: Far from it. Yesterday's post on veiling was much more interesting. Mostly it's a gripe about how hard it is to find a pair of pants that fit, especially when you're fat. And perhaps it's about how I love to punish myself by reinventing. I used to not take any steps without some philosophical reason behind what I was doing, but being a grown-up (and 30 instead of 20 or 15) means that you just sometimes have to make practical decisions. In this case, the practical decision is to deal with one thing (waist size) instead of a billion (waist size, hip size, inseam, pockets or no, leg fit ... the list goes on).

Plus, my mom will be happy that I won't be lounging in sweatpants all day anymore.

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Headcovering

Ah, an item of Orthodox intrigue!

I don't even know when I became an inquirer in the Orthodox Church, but I do know that I wore a headscarf for the first time on Christmas Day after landing in October. It was a scarf I'd had forever: A little white, plain kerchief with red rickrack. And that was the beginning of what has been a frustrating path for me.

I liked covering my hair in church so much that, when in Marfa, I really kicked it up. I discovered the headcovering techniques of Orthodox Jewish women and embraced covering all the time. It worked in Marfa, but when we went back to Denton, it just got weird.

Covering became a substitute for doing anything with my hair. Where I had once perceived this as holy (I don't do my hair, therefore I am not vain), it eventually turned into vanity (I don't want to do my hair, and this particular way of tying a scarf is cool-looking, therefore I am vain). I wore headscarves as a reminder that I should always be praying, but suddenly it took on the form of me feeling like I should pray with my head uncovered because wearing a scarf was now mundane. Like I said, it got weird. And bass-ackwards.

Recently I read with great interest the Catholic way of veiling. Veiling during Mass is seen as a sign of adoration towards the Blessed Sacrament. That, of course, is not how the Orthodox do things or even why they cover. The Orthodox believe that Communion is to be eaten, not venerated in special reliquaries (to quote a priest who put it quite bluntly--oh, I'm going to offend so many Catholics saying this--"We don't do cookie worship"). Headcovering has more to do with what St. Paul said about covering while praying (and prophesying, but I'm not doing much of that ... or any of that), but to me the Catholic reason added new depth.

I've constantly told myself, "Taking pride in yourself is bad! Vanity is bad!" but I'm starting to realize what's really bad. Staying in the house all day is bad. Wearing my pajamas all day and not even brushing my hair is bad. Letting my roots grow out so I have half-brown, half-black hair is bad. The laziness and lack of self-care that depression brings into my life is bad. Time to fight back. The wacky hours my body seems to naturally prefer makes being a normal person difficult (I am writing this at 4:30 in the morning, after all), but that's a small thing.

What's this got to do with headcovering?

I have decided to embrace Catholic veiling. This means thin, wispy, lacy veils instead of the sturdy headscarves I've grown accustomed to. But that means actually fussing with my hair in the morning and, in the end, not having it smooshed down and in bad need of repair. It also means bobby pins so I can bow and prostrate without losing my veil. I have several on order (one is positively magnificent) and a few in my possession already (eternity veils--they stay on good). And I won't cover my hair all the time--just during prayer and services. I applaud those who can wear headcoverings all the time, but I'm not one of those people.

This is probably more about the fight against mental illness than about the spiritual struggle, but considering how often mental illness gets in the way of my churchgoing, it seems worth it.

By the way, does anyone know how to turn the autocorrect off on a Mac? It keeps wanting to make "headcoverings" two words instead of one, and I'm ready to punch my computer.

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

The 2013 Humbug Rant

I'm ready now.

Salvation Army Bell Ringer Attacked by 'Christian' for Saying 'Happy Holidays'

This is why I hate this time of year.

But this is why I love it:


Are we really thinking about God becoming man for our sake when we're punching Salvation Army bell ringers for saying the wrong thing. I'm going to go out on a limb here and say that we've probably lost some serious focus. But don't worry, this will make you happy again. (And notice the piano has the very Christmas-oriented greeting of "Hello".)

If I had the bravery, I'd say, "Blessed Nativity." But then again, I tend not to leave the house, so it doesn't really matter. Sometimes I wish I were an Old Calendarist so I could celebrate the Nativity in January and pretty much ignore the heaving masses ... and the punch-throwing few. Still, it's the Nativity to me now and has been for some time. Maybe I can't, but I desperately want to separate myself from the people who get touchy about greetings (Christian and non-Christian alike), from the Black Friday mobs, and especially from the Lexus commercials.

Blessed Nativity, everyone.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

My Anti-Religious Experience

I almost became an atheist last night. Almost. I was reading the Mental Floss article on John Green, noted YA author and star of innumerable Mental Floss videos, and it started with a bang. Green said that he doesn't accept that things happen for a reason, and it occurred to me that there's comfort in randomness. He had experience: He'd worked briefly as a student chaplain in a children's hospital and watched children die after being in pain their whole lives. That's why Chris didn't want to work in pediatrics--you have to be willing to accept that children die all the time. It is, to put it mildly, messy business.

But now I'm awake and thinking, But if suffering has no meaning, doesn't life have no meaning? I have depression and anxiety that are often debilitating--does that have no meaning? Yet there is comfort in randomness ... the comfort of not having to figure out why terrible things happen. Why do terrible things happen? I have no fucking clue. I can't even pretend to have an answer anymore, and the answers that usually get trotted out seem trite. God has a wonderful plan for your life. (Tell that to martyrs having molten lead poured into their eyes. You think I made that up? The Ottomans were particularly clever at devising tortures.) We don't want God in our lives. (Tell that to the Christian family desperately praying for healing for their child with cancer.) We kicked God out of our schools/government/whatever. (Yeah, this is really relevant when I want to go to sleep and not wake up.)

Why do bad things happen?

I DON'T FUCKING KNOW!!!

This sucks.

There are times when I don't want to believe in God or at the very least not be Orthodox. That's when the things I'm thoroughly convinced of shine through: the lives of the saints, the goodness of the Theotokos, the words of Jesus. For some reason, I can't let go of those things. I can be unconvinced of God's existence while being fully convinced that the same miracles that occurred in Acts are occurring among the living saints of Mount Athos. Sometimes that's all I have to go with, so I go with it. I learned in my John Milton class that he thought faith untested was heretical. I disagree with Milton's definition of heresy, but there's something to the sentiment. Maybe I'll come out of this okay--or better.

My apologies for the profanity.

Monday, December 2, 2013

It's Coming ...

... The annual "I Hate Christmas" rant.

At least, I think it's coming.


I have to get more vitriol flowing before I can properly do this, but it's in the works. 

So stay tuned if you enjoy this kind of thing. 

Friday, November 29, 2013

Those Pesky Numbers

Remember when I said, "Screw veg"? Well, it's back on. Chris got a call from my doctor, and since I've given them permission to reveal test results to him, they told him my cholesterol's too high. Wonderful! Just pile it on!

(I don't know why they call Chris instead of me. Apparently I filled out the paperwork wonkily.)

Here's the thing: Chris has been known to have cholesterol levels in the 200's, but when his blood work came back, they said nothing about it. He's been taking red rice yeast (red yeast rice? yeast rice red? I dunno) and 500 mg of niacin for some time now, and it may have actually worked! Who'da thunk? So I may just adopt his protocol as mine and see how it turns out--seems better than adding another pharmaceutical to the list of five meds for depression and a thyroid pill.

That's all the news that's fit to print. Hope everyone had a good Thanksgiving, which is an absolutely splendid holiday. We had tempeh and dressing and sweet potatoes and some really poorly-made gravy (I don't recommend tapioca starch as a thickener, but what is one to do when one can't have regular flour?), and it was all cooked up in a 1.5 quart crockpot in layers. Kitchen technology is amazing. Anyway, we had Thanksgiving for breakfast since Chris had to work from 1:00 to 7:00 that evening. Kinda fun. :)

Happy holiday shopping season, gentle readers.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

So I Have a Five Year Plan ... and I'm Thirty

First thing's first: AAAAAAAAAAH!!!!

Screw veg! I just want to eat like a normal person! Of course, that's out the window thanks to Chris's health issues. I know I just need to cook more: When I do cook, I always use whole grains and fresh veggies. I have Mark Bittman cookbooks such as so and this one waiting in the wings till it's released, so it's not like we can't eat well. It's just ... I get these ideas in my head about what's best, and eventually I catch an adherent saying something crazy like, "I don't eat honey/beans/grains," and I think, "I've joined the culinary looney bin." I will eat, and eventually I will die because no diet has yet to grant immortality. Heaven help me.

Anyway, the five year plan.

I'm tired of sitting on my useless duff, writing stories (which I haven't done in, like, a month) and knitting, so I have some goals.

  • Get healthy (vague expression, I know, but there's nothing more concise)
  • Learn to manage my depression so that when it's at its height I'm not a complete basketcase
  • When I'm 35, reassess how I feel and how I'm doing, and if the lights are all green, become a CNA
I get frustrated when I don't improve by leaps and bounds immediately, and, let's face it, these are things which won't improve immediately. So it'll be back to gentle yoga and small walks until I'm up for more. And there's a chance that at 35 I will still be sick, in which case I will resign myself to a life of knitting and cleaning up. But if that's not the case, I want to be out of the house, shaking my little fist at all my fears and anxieties, and working a somewhat meaningful job. 

When I was up north in the old country (Missouri), my mom sat beside me in bed while I laid there feeling like dying and said that after her surgery, she had to get up and do things or she never would be strong again. And she wondered if I needed to get up and do things for that same reason. Naturally, I'm inclined to say that I have unfixable problems and just need to rest, but that's probably not true. So tomorrow (well, actually, today--it's 3:30 AM), I'm getting up and cleaning up a little and getting on the exercise bike and going to therapy--all the good stuff. And then Chris will get home at 7:00, and we'll eat dinner and probably watch Doctor Who and then go to bed. And I won't feel guilty because I think I wasted a day. 

So what think you?

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Lament

Wow ... the last time I blogged was to put up my Christmas list? Sorry about that.

So it's 4:30 in the morning, I'm drinking a fruity tea (Comfort & Joy, the Christmas tea) that was not made to be mixed with coconut milk or maple syrup (both in there), I'm reading the Oh She Glows blog, and I'm navel gazing. I'm fat--don't care. I'm unhealthy--do care. And I'm not the only one: Chris is pre-diabetic. What's the point in getting good insurance and a good doctor if you're only going to get bad news?!

(They think I have diverticulitis, btw.)

The mastermind behind the Oh She Glows blog (which is a wonderful name for a blog, I might add) struggled with eating disorders for a long time. This resulted in period problems, which I too have,  thanks to PCOS. So I can't help but feel a little kinship. Right now, I'm perusing her gluten free recipes and pinning them to Pinterest as I see fit.

After failing at veganism and lambasting that little experiment, I've decided to do it again. Except I call it "veg". Veg means I'm not going to hate myself if, when I'm going out to eat, I'm forced to eat gluten-free bread that contains eggs--I mean, I can make gluten-free bread with chia eggs at home, but gluten-free bread without some kind of binder is near impossible. And in a non-veg world, that means the most easily accessible thing: eggs.

Oh, how I miss the days of going out hiking and, even though I was the fat girl, being able to hoof it just fine. Now I'm a mess. I need to get back into eating right and doing yoga and traipsing across the plains of North Texas. The dream of making it to Guadalupe Peak still exists. Meanwhile, this is ideal weather for hiking. Well, almost--I can bundle up for the cold temps, but the rain needs to stop for a while. And looking at the weather ... well, good luck with that. (Snow on Sunday and Monday, apparently.)

Anyway, I need to go finish cleaning some raspberries (because it's raspberry season, you know) for breakfast cookies that I'm making. Navel gazing over. Chandler--OUT!

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Christmas is Here

I know it's mid-October, but I got confirmation in the mail two days ago. A massive envelope arrived from World Vision with goodies to fill out for my sponsored children: three Christmas themed, one lighthouse themed (because she is, presumably, Hindu, and mentioning Christ would endanger their work there). I also got warning that Christmas was here when my mother began clamoring for my wish list. So here it is:

  • Gift certificates to Modest Needs - This website is my new obsession. Believe me when I say it's a good thing--a very good thing. It's like micro-finance for Americans who are in stuck situations and need one-time help. :)
  • Money in my name to the Suicide Prevention Lifeline - I've heard of too many suicides lately, and you know this is near and dear to my heart on account of my frequent suicidal ideations. A depressing present to be sure, but I'll happy-cry if you give. 
  • A Knitter's Basket from Heifer International - Or a share of one--the price is pretty hefty. 
  • Speaking of knitting, YARN! - Next year's hats for the homeless aren't going to knit themselves! I need bulky weight, acrylic yarn in dark, solid colors for my purposes--at least 2 balls and preferably in even increments. I like Webs and KnitPicks. I also take gift certificates. 
  • This book - For those who want to get me something tangible. 
  • 24 cans of lychees - Okay, I'm being facetious with this one, but I wouldn't hate you if you actually did get this for me!
  • Cardigans - My ideal wardrobe right now is a magical one that leads to Narnia, but barring that I'd like t-shirts to wear all summer and cardigans to wear over them in the colder months. Simplify, simplify. I wear a 2X. Yeah, I'm fat. Sue me. 
For those who think they've found a real nice treat, DO NOT GET US THE COMPLETE CALVIN AND HOBBES! Chris already sprung for that. 

There I go again, selfishly asking for gifts. But it's the question everyone wants answered, so you can think I'm rude if you want. Oh, and Chris has an Amazon wish list with about 45 things on it, so ask him about that if you want to know what he wants. 

Toodle-loo, comrades. 

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Wisdom from Pinterest

Yeah, I know. This is the same website where people are giddily repinning the DIY 8-foot long stuffed squid tutorial I found. But it's not all cupcakes and thinspo (and squid). I found this little nugget today:
"Fifty years later, a new discovery of poverty is long overdue. This time, we’ll have to take account not only of stereotypical Skid Row residents and Appalachians, but of foreclosed-upon suburbanites, laid-off tech workers, and America’s ever-growing army of the “working poor.” And if we look closely enough, we’ll have to conclude that poverty is not, after all, a cultural aberration or a character flaw. Poverty is a shortage of money."
Shock-horror.

I'll be the first to admit that anxiety keeps me from talking warmly to strangers, but it's worth it to go out of your way to be nice to the homeless--if you think about this quote, it might be you one day. For ideas and depressing pictures, see my homeless Pinterest board.

Meanwhile, back at the ranch, I've sewn one pair of mittens. It took great effort not to sew two left-handed mittens, and I can't hem them because my sewing machine is too clunky, so I'm taking them to Missouri in the hopes that my mom can serge the edges for me (please, Mommy?). As for any others I might be able to get done (I think I can get one pair a day if I really buckle down), I'll hem them before I put them together. The box bound to NYC is nearly full! I'll take pictures before they fly away.

In closing, here's what an 8' squid pillow looks like:


Saturday, October 5, 2013

Hunger & Plenty

Remember the time of hunger in the time of plenty,
And poverty and need in the days of wealth. 
- Wisdom of Sirach 18:24

Chris got a job! Yay! He works for the county jail! Yay! That means he isn't affected by the stupid government shutdown! Yay!

I guess that's why that quote from the Wisdom of Sirach struck me when I happened upon it this morning. I'm still working my way backwards through the Old Testament and discovered after reading the Psalms that I missed a huge chunk of the Orthodox Bible. Oops. I don't know if what I quoted means to can your tomatoes or if it means remember those going through bad times while you're going through good, but the latter is how I take it. Chris and I have finally reached good times, but I'm sad about the people who are on "indefinite, unpaid vacation"--aka, furlough.

Here's a helpful resource: WIC and Shutdown: Where to get baby food and formula. The shutdown of WIC is what annoys me the most. Low-income babies without their meals? That ain't right. Apparently Texas is good through the month, but then it's up in the air. In the meantime, donate diapers and formula and stuff to local food pantries, 'kay? And in the spirit of How to Knit for the Homeless, skew large in the diaper department.

Speaking of knitting for the homeless, this year's work is almost complete. I've got all of one scarf (they're time-consuming, okay?) and 20 hats (woohoo!), and now it's time to pack away the knitting, get out the sewing machine, and make mittens. And my sewing instructions for the pattern have gone missing, so I really can't wait to be winging that!

Pray, lend a hand, and sit back and watch with joy as WWII veterans break into their own memorial. :)

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Ask Me How My Vacation Went

I'm sick.

And I don't just mean sick in the head (a rather crude way of putting "mentally interesting") but rather just plain sick.

There were several days on our vacation that I didn't get meals because I was in bed. One day I slept 18 hours. I had my signature mini panic attacks every time we talked about going to Longhorn Cavern. I had no energy. So upon arrival back home, I decided it was time to institute some changes.

I was vaguely aware of a book called Trust Your Intuition (look it up--it's a whopping $3 on Kindle), so I ordered it. It's about women, usually Mama Bears, who took it upon themselves to look into alternative medicine to help themselves or their family. So much of the book is about treating kids, and what do I need to know about natural childbirth? Still, there was much to glean. (Apparently citrus oil on the back of the neck helps with mood problems! Not that I'm quitting Prozac.)

It's time for "clean eating": good, simple foods; and for me in particular, no dairy or gluten and a massive reduction in sugar. A lot of the women in the book tout real food, a method of eating that involves massive consumption of cows and fat (my description should tell you how I feel about that). I've been down that path, and it's just too meaty for me--and when one real foodist says that vegetables are just a vehicle for more butter, I get suspicious. And I'm not giving up grains because that's a little freaky, and I'm not giving up beans because St. John of Rila ate them, and if they're good enough for a saint then they're good enough for me. I have a bread machine on the way (it was Chris's idea to get a new one instead of a thrift store purchase because, well, new ones come with instruction manuals) and a pack of Bob's Red Mill Gluten Free Wonderful Bread Mix, made primarily of beans.

But clean eating means cooking. There's only one restaurant in town that I trust to have simple food--Mr. Chopsticks--and I'll go mad if I eat there all the time. So far, so good thanks to the help of frozen veggies I've had hiding in the freezer for some time. And now that Chris is back working, I'll have plenty of time to work on whatever weird creations tickle my fancy. Yesterday it was a flatbread made almost entirely of beans with sundried tomatoes and Italian seasoning. It's great.

So if you're mildly interested, I'll keep you updated on my holistic experience.

I think I need to reinstitute teatime.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

If I Had My Way ...

I'd have one kid. Just one.
Dorothy Elizabeth if it was a girl,
Titus Allen if it was a boy.

I'd vaccinate.

I originally thought I'd be an unschooling homeschooler,
but now I think I'd just send them to public schools
so Mommy could have some sanity time.

I'd adopt from foster care.
I'd do embryo adoption.
I'd do NaPro and have my own kid.

Instead,

I've got PCOS and can't conceive.
I've also got a mental disorder that requires a lot of treatment and a lot of drugs.

So,

I'm thinking of going on birth control of some sort
because having a baby and staying on drugs = birth defects,
and having a baby and not staying on drugs = disaster waiting to happen.

As for foster care,
those kids require a lot of work (that's no secret),
and I'm prone to a debilitating melancholia that is not conducive to helping a child who really needs help.

I see your kids on Facebook,
and I want tummy time with black and white flashcards
and the first day of kindergarten
and parent-teacher conferences

and I kinda wanna just drop a kid off at the library in the non-fiction section
and let them learn whatever the hell they want to.

Nine years of marriage
One miscarriage
One failed adoption
(and boy how it failed)

But,

you know what do I have?

A kick-ass art collection,
vacation time out the wazoo,
the two awesomest nieces ever,
the kind of marriage people dream of.

I still think,
"When I have kids ..."
but I'm getting over it
and learning to be proud of myself.

Still Don't Have Kids

One of my Facebook friends posted a list: 10 great reasons to have a large family. Thanks to foster care adoption, she has four children now. I think it's wonderful. I always love it when one of my friends whom I know from the infertility community triumphs in the end, usually in unexpected ways--God is good. But I'm thinking of compiling a list of the reasons to consider child-free living (I hate that term--it sounds too PC--but childlessness sounded too negative). I don't have a list now. I'm going on vacation at the end of the week, so I can get some serious thinking done then.

Meanwhile, I'm about to be an aunt again. Another niece--hooray! And yet--ouch. Why does that stupid sting of infertility never go away? I'm coming out of a depressed episode over it, but I'm picking out a thousand presents at the same time. Don't worry: Once she's here, it'll be a good thing. I just have some struggles to get through, and I'm hoping to fight through them well.

Adoption. Oh, adoption--you broke my little heart. I keep considering you out of obligation to the world or something--perhaps I feel obligated to take care of children or think I have to prove my pro-life-ness. But here's the thing: We tried adoption, and it was miserable. The agency stank, our lives were messes, the process was a nightmare. Everything fell apart. They say the definition of insanity is doing the same thing multiple times and expecting different results. I wish we would just put our collective foot down and say no to adoption for good. But that leads me to my next point.

Chris and I have been dealing with the fact that I feel useless. That's probably the mental illness at work, but I've got to start thinking differently. I'm not useless ... at least that's the mantra I'm uttering until I believe it. "Doctor Who" has actually made a difference: "900 years of time and space, and I've never met someone who wasn't important." Chris says his needs are simple: work an honest job, hang out with me, travel, read, go to sporting events, go to church, etc. My needs, on the other hand, seem to be a bit more complex: don't do anything that isn't useful to someone other than yourself. So I never read and I'm too nervous to go to church and I'm completely stifled by this need to be productive, so I spend all my time on the computer or asleep and I hate myself for it. So we're going on vacation, which we haven't been able to do in ages. And I'm going to enjoy it. And I'm going to eat good food (preferably without gluten and dairy, but we'll take what we can get) and soak in the Texas Hill Country and disconnect the internet and read ... maybe I won't even take the computer. The novel can wait. And I'm going to try and shake the baggage I've loaded onto myself over the years. I'll still probably need more therapy, but I've got to start somewhere. I'll adopt one day if I want a child, not for someone else's idea of the good of mankind.

That was a long paragraph. I usually don't make them so long because reading them makes me glaze over, and now here I am writing one. Sorry.

So I may or may not have a top ten list for you when I come home. And I may or may not have loosened up. We'll see.

God is good.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Yay! Another Post on Food and Psychology!

I'm pretty sure I came here and griped when, after the Newtown school shootings, someone I followed on Facebook said that all we need to do is feed our children lard and they won't need psychiatric meds. Listen up, folks: I've concluded in a very non-scientific, please-don't-quote-me-on-this kind of way that madness has always existed and this whole business about an epidemic is just the result of people actually getting treatment. British mental health blogger Seaneen Molloy put it best on Facebook:
I should also make some apologies. I used to sneer a bit when I saw people speaking out in things like Time to Change about panic and anxiety. Be a bit like, "Yeah, the common cold of mental health". Dudes, I'm sorry. I'm going through shit panic attacks and anxiety right now and its as horrible as anything else I've ever experienced and messing me up quite a bit. I was a bell end. Forgive me.
This "epidemic" isn't a problem of everyone deciding they have "the common cold of mental health" and getting drugs to dull the pain better than a healthy dose of Glenlivet. My biggest shock upon going to a crowded psychiatrist's waiting room for the first time was how sane people look. I can look pretty sane too--I can look pretty sane when I'm having a mini anxiety attack and my head is swimming and my heart is pounding and I have weakness I can't explain. The whole waiting room looks sane when you're all just messing around on your iPhones. Doesn't mean we're all mental hypochondriacs. 

So. Diet. 

There's a diet that's gaining popularity right now (no names) that claims to have had success with mental disorders like schizophrenia. Color me skeptical. Load up on butter and coconut oil and watch your problems melt away. I fell for its cousin, the "real food" movement, until I read something that said that vegetables are best as a vehicle for more butter. I started eating like a sane person again after that. (I swear, I've gone through more diet fads.) My very non-scientific, please-don't-quote-me-on-this mode of thought is that these diets may have a slight impact on mental health but probably have greater influence on diseases of the gut. I won't say that there's no impact on the mind--after all, I heard a BBC documentary on alternate prison techniques where one compulsive thief was taught to eat properly instead of having just sugary snacks and stopped his crime sprees. But it makes little sense to me that a diet filled with meat, butter, coconut oil, and lard is going to cure your major mental health disorder. Sorry. 

So when I came across the article Gut feelings: the future of psychiatry may be inside your stomach, I had visions of lard replacing lithium dancing in my head. But it was actually a fascinating read. It wasn't about changing your diet and having your disease get marginally better--it was about taking therapeutic levels of probiotics and having your disease get vastly better. And the article is not without moderation: Seems the probiotics work best in younger people, although adults can see different sorts of results. Read it--it's great. My window may be closed age-wise (and I doubt my psychiatrist will prescribe super-doses of probiotics), and I may be the biggest fool of all for not trusting diets yet trusting capsules, but I think I'm might throw in a probiotic to see if it can't help with my brain. I got a powerful kind when I was going to make nut cheese (which I still haven't done) so I may take it out of its lonely home in the pantry and give it a shot. 

Concerning my brain: Summer is ... very slowly ... coming to an end, which means I'll probably perk up a bit. (People are fascinated by my reverse SAD.) I don't know how I'll tell if the probiotics are doing anything or not as cooler, happier weather kicks in, but it can't hurt my diet apart from my mind anyway. 

Toodle-loo, comrades. 

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

On a More Positive Note


This year's hats for the homeless haul in August. Eleven hats and one scarf. Knitting continues. This has been a good year!

Bad Dreams


I just awoke from a dream about my biggest enemy. You remember the one: the girl who lambasted me on Twitter because I'm pro-life. I can't seem to let it go. In the dream she wouldn't give me a Christmas present, so I stuffed her in a bag and threw her down the stairs. Yes, very Christian and charitable of me. Then I had to explain what was happening to other high school friends far more liberal than I. I just love dreams like that. They really make sleeping fun.

Here's the pro-life stance that my old friend never bothered to find out: If you think abortion is going to be illegal someday soon, you're delusional. My take is that it's better to reduce the numbers of abortions rather than try to eliminate abortion altogether because the latter simply won't happen. My husband's cousins run a crisis pregnancy center in rural East Texas (East Texas Pregnancy Help Center) that doesn't just get you to swear not to have an abortion and hand you a Bible. They teach classes that help you deal with the situation of having a young child--I recall a class on how to cook the foods you can get with WIC. Places like these are going to do more to help curb abortions than blithely voting Republican and leaving it in the hands of people who may not actually be pro-life. (Remember the pro-family politician who tried to give his mistress money to have an abortion? Yeah, so do I.)

I'm not pro-life and trying to take away women's choice. I'm pro-life and trying to help women make the better choice.

As for my old friend, she'll never know my slightly complex thoughts (unless she is indeed cyber stalking me). When I pray for her (which I had to do right after the dream), I'm praying more for myself to love her. The fallen human in me thinks, "She really was always a lousy friend"; the Christian in me thinks, "That doesn't matter." And I may come off as pretentious and stupid for being a Christian, but I don't much care. Anyone who thinks that is actually just doing me a favor.

But if you're so petty and childish as to break off a friendship because someone doesn't agree with you politically, I don't want you for a friend either.

Friday, July 19, 2013

Concerning My Last Post

You'd think I'd learn ...

“Do whatever falls to your hands,
in your circle and in your situation–
and believe that this is and will be your true work;
nothing more from you is expected.
It is a great error to think that you must
undertake important and great labours,
whether for heaven, or, as the progressives think,
in order to make one’s contribution to humanity.
That is not necessary at all. It is necessary only
to do everything in accordance with the Lord’s commandments.
Just exactly what is to be done? Nothing in particular,
just that which presents itself to each one
according to the circumstances of his life,
and which is demanded by the individual events
with which each of us meets.”

~ St. Theophan the Recluse from “The Spiritual Life”

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Never Mind--Don't Save the World.

Matushka Olga
Chris is nearing the end of nursing school and starting the search for a job. I'm trying to be a good wife by the prayers of Matushka Olga Michael, but I can't stop inserting my own desires into the mix. I found two Orthodox nursing homes in the northeast--one in Worcester, MA, and the other on Staten Island--and I encouraged Chris to apply. But soon this need to be across the country consumed me. Bigger cities--more people to take care of. I wanted anything but to stay here in Texas and toil away at my knitting.

But I started to think about Matushka Olga again: She lived in a tiny village in Alaska all her life, yet lived a holy life and undoubtedly will be glorified as a saint one day--America's first Orthodox woman saint. Why do I always get these illusions of grandeur and think I need bigger and better in order to serve God ... or rather myself? I rarely leave my house here (thanks, anxiety)--why would I think that would get better in New York City? And when I was in Carrollton, I utterly despised suburban living--why would that change in Worcester (other than there's a Jerusalem Patriarchate Church there and that's REALLY REALLY COOL)? Is my lot in life to stay here in Denton and knit and bake and deal with my illness?

Then this popped up on Facebook:


Yeah, I think I'm stuck in Texas. Tschüß bis später, illusions of grandeur.

Anyway, Chris has an interview with the county jail infirmary tomorrow. We're both eager about the possibility, and I think Chris has a leg up after teaching in prison out west, even if that ended poorly. (It wasn't the prison part, it was the teaching part. Why do think he's in nursing school anyway?) We'd covet prayers.

Monday, July 8, 2013

A Good Day

This is from the OCA website:

Holy Prince Peter (David in monasticism) and Holy Princess Febronia (Euphrosyne in monasticism), Wonderworkers of Murom. Prince Peter was the second son of the Murom prince Yuri Vladimirovich. He entered upon the throne of Murom in the year 1203. Several years before this St Peter had fallen ill with leprosy, from which no one was able to heal him. In a vision it was revealed to the prince that the daughter of a bee-keeper would be able to heal him: the pious maiden Febronia, a peasant of Laskova village in Ryazan gubernia. St Peter sent his emissaries to this village.

When the prince saw St Febronia, he fell in love with her because of her piety, wisdom and virtue, and vowed to marry her after being healed. St Febronia healed the prince and became his wife. The holy couple loved each other through all their ordeals. The haughty boyars did not wish to have a princess of common origin, and they urged that the prince leave her. St Peter refused, and so they banished the couple. They sailed off on a boat from their native city along the River Oka, and St Febronia continued to console St Peter. Soon the wrath of God fell upon the city of Murom, and the people begged the prince return together with St Febronia.
The holy couple was famous for their piety and charity. They died on the same day and hour, June 25, 1228, having received the monastic tonsure with the names David and Evphrosyne. The bodies of the saints were put in the same grave.
Sts Peter and Febronia showed themselves exemplary models of Christian marriage, and are considered the patron saints of newly-weds.

Sunday, June 9, 2013

Best Search Terms Ever

A few days ago, Chris was doing one of his favorite things and reading the Loquat's blog stats to me. He got to the terms people searched that got them to the Loquat, and read what has to be the best search   ever:
Is loquacious an illness?
It really depends on how imaginative you are, gentle reader. If you consider excessive talkativeness an illness, then yes. Regardless, I love your search so much that I raise a hearty gluten-free cider to you and say in the classic German way, "Prost!"

Have a great Sunday, gentle readers.

Saturday, June 8, 2013

Happy 9th Anniversary!

A happy wedding anniversary to Chris, the Martellus "Tweedle" von Blitzengaard to my Agatha Heterodyne!

Fun fact: These are the actual words with which Chris proposed to me. 
No, wait ... that's not right. Let me try again.

A happy wedding anniversary to Chris, the Tarvek Sturmvoraus to my Agatha Heterodyne!

So much nicer. Ignore the slime.
Another fun fact: The ninth anniversary is the "Girl Genius" anniversary, probably because I won't have the fodder from the comic to pull off something like this again.

Real fun fact: The actual ninth anniversary is the pottery anniversary. How practical!

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Ask Me Anything About My Mood Disorder

I just read a blog saying that my mental-illness hero Stephen Fry (a British actor) attempted suicide last year. He has bipolar disorder. I thought I had bipolar disorder for a long time, but people who know more than I do think that what I thought were manic episodes were really just elation about not being depressed. So I was diagnosed with major depressive disorder.

Here's the blog that inspired this blog: Stephen Fry, suicide, and the cycle

I know this blog has an itsy-bitsy readership, yet I know some things I've said have had an impact on the gentle reader. So here you go: Anyone, ask me questions about my mental illness. On any subject. Go. Here's some ideas to get you thinking:

I have a recently-discovered thyroid problem, and taking nascent iodine has caused my depression and anxiety to plummet. I'm sure this contributed to my terrible summer. I frequently have what I call "suicide summers" where I have a very difficult time for months. Here's hoping I'm spared this summer.  
Chris and I talk about having a kid, but remembering the cyclical nature of mood disorders makes me wary. It can be incapacitating, and I don't want to neglect a child because of it. I don't want to risk post-partum depression. I don't want to risk passing a mental illness on to a child. 

Have a field day--ask me anything. I'm not afraid.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

2013 Garden

After a pathetic year of tomatoes and peppers, I swore I'd only grow greens and herbs this year. And it's actually working out swimmingly. I still have more seeds to sew (even though it's nearly June), but I need the proper potting soil. Ah, the joys of container gardening.

Meanwhile, I've been having a rawkin' time with Lightroom, playing with various filters. So here's pictures of my garden so far with an awesome cyanotype filter--cuz everything looks better in blue!

Baby figs! Hooray!

I'm the only person who doesn't grow purslane as a weed. Great for Omega-3's, great in smoothies cuz it chops up nicely. 

Very hard to see (sorry), but this is German thyme. 

Baby lemon balm. Can't wait to make tea out of this. 

Lamb's quarters. 

Don't tell Monsanto (although I don't think they deal in lamb's quarters), but my lamb's quarters re-seeded from last year and gave me a nice, new crop. 

No house that values both cats and gardening is complete with homegrown catnip. 
More pictures as things progress--hopefully in filters more exotic than cyanotype.

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

So What's New?

Christ is Risen! (I guess that's not new, but Pascha just passed.)

I'm keeping the Nikon. I should just abandon all threats to get rid of it. It's here to stay.

I'm sick with something--something's out of whack. I think it's my thyroid, so I'm downing nascent iodine like a fiend. I'm hoping to see the naturopath I've seen before in hopes of having a natural solution.

Chris and I both have colds, but mine appears to be more mild than his.

Stupid Hammy's outside because he's cornered some nocturnal creature and now refuses to come in. He's been outside whining for about two hours. Oh well, Hamilton, that's the price you pay for not coming inside when Mommy tells you to!

God was benevolent to me and made me well enough to go to Pascha, but the very next day I was back to being sick and weak. I'm trying not to complain, which is really hard when you want a solution, but I'm weak in more ways than one.

Chris's semester is pretty much over.

I get up in the middle of the night and knit.

I missed a chance to go to the Nativity Monastery with friends because I don't listen to my voicemail.

I think that's all there is. I should get up from the computer and give the cat her chair back.

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Downgrading

I've been scouring the house and praying for St. Phanourios's mother (it's an Orthodox thing) to try and find a little Pentax point & shoot. It's purple, it's shock-proof, and it can go underwater. And it appears to have gone up in smoke. Thing is, until I find it, I can't get rid of my Nikon D90.

I took my D90 to San Antonio on my birthday trip with my mom (did I seriously not blog about turning 30?) and thought I took some pretty awesome pictures. The computer revealed otherwise. And I've had enough. I, who once went to art school to be a photographer (and subsequently dropped out), cannot stand the complicated nature of this beast.

I had a camera I once loved that got me interested in photography. Now my mom has it ... and loves it too. I miss that camera. When I was in Marfa, I used to go out every day and take pictures of the weird things I'd find in the yard, and I got some really good pictures out of that. Now I don't even like picking up my camera. I miss my point & shoot.

So here I am, up at 3AM, searching the house for a camera I got for hiking (and swimming), thinking I might just ought to switch entirely to film. No matter what, it's time to say goodbye to a camera that just doesn't agree with me. I may one day move back to a mirrorless system because there are certain features on the dSLR I like (I click button, it takes picture immediately--astounding!). Until I have the money though (bearing in mind that I once paid $600 for a lens for this thing--I can get a whole mirrorless system for less than that), I'll keep searching for my Pentax. And taking film pictures.

So, anyone want to buy a camera?

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Food Bloggers: DIAF

A friend on Facebook (thanks, Heather!) posted something that has made me quite content. I'll owe a dollar for saying its name here, but that's okay: 21 Tips to Keep Your Shit Together When You're Depressed. I had some thoughts on it.

I think the medical professionals in my life all agree that depression is something I'll be dealing with for the rest of my life. Major depressive disorder has now become part of the fabric of my being. And there are those who would tell me to rise above it, but I can't. Depression is part of my life just like the infertility and my exceptional mode of speech (once described as "inimitable" and "Chandlerian" in the same sentence). Right now, it's not bugging me because of swift work on the part of my psychiatrist, but one day I'll be depressed and at least mildly suicidal again. Such is my lot. I trust that God knows what He's doing. But as I sit here writing two novels (one is fanfic, so don't be impressed), I like one of the things I read in the piece:
There is a long history and link between depression and creativity. It’s a bright light of this condition, so utilize it to your best advantage.
Writing has helped tremendously. There are days when I'm too depressed or too stomach-buggy to do it (and either way all I want to do is nap), but it is my bright light. Photography makes me happy as long as I'm not busy comparing myself to better photographers (see the thing about the artist temperament in the previous post), so I consider myself lucky to have two things I love to do.

Some things about the article scare me--in particular:
4)   Understand that antidepressants will only do so much. They’re useful, they’ll level you out and give you the time you need to figure out your own path to getting well. They can be helpful. There are lots to choose from. They may not be for you, and even if they are, they take some time to kick in. Conversely, they may not be for you. Work with your doctor.
I feel like I'm using my drugs to do everything. And it's not just antidepressants--it's two kinds of mood stabilizers and an anti-anxiety drug as well. Psychology has become a sort of hobby as I sort through my own malady, but I still don't trust myself to be able to make good decisions involving my meds--every one I've tried has backfired, and I've ended up deeply suicidal. I was good at high school chemistry, but I don't get my own. But that's why we have psychiatric professionals, right.

And now to the blog's title: Food bloggers! I'm calling you out! Your special way of eating that you present with little to no scientific merit will not cure my depression! Exercise will not cure my depression! (It's here that I add that exercise can do wonders and I've seen it in action, but cure? Seriously?) Stop talking about epidemics! There have always been "mad" people! I have the book collection on the history of mental illness to prove it! Write recipes for roasted chicken and leave me alone with your amateur-at-best medical advice!

It's out of my system now. Anyway, Chris promised me a trip to the Dallas Museum of Art to the Chagall exhibit, so I better get back in bed before I'm too tired to go. It's just that 1:00 in the morning is when I do my best blogging. Toodle-loo.

Thank You, Mr. Chesterton

The malady I'm suffering from right now:

"THE artistic temperament is a disease that afflicts amateurs. It is a disease which arises from men not having sufficient power of expression to utter and get rid of the element of art in their being. It is healthful to every sane man to utter the art within him; it is essential to every sane man to get rid of the art within him at all costs. Artists of a large and wholesome vitality get rid of their art easily, as they breathe easily, or perspire easily. But in artists of less force, the thing becomes a pressure, and produces a definite pain, which is called the artistic temperament. Thus, very great artists are able to be ordinary men--men like Shakespeare or Browning. There are many real tragedies of the artistic temperament, tragedies of vanity or violence or fear. But the great tragedy of the artistic temperament is that it cannot produce any art."

~G.K. Chesterton: 'Heretics.'

Friday, April 5, 2013

I'm Okay

What a strange thing to say: I'm okay. After a terrible year filled with suicidal ideations, I'm doing just fine. The secret? Extra Klonopin. Apparently it was my anxiety and not my depression that was giving me such fits.

The psychiatrist seems to have figured it out. If I could stop being sick on Wednesdays, my psychologist would be great. Well, he is great--tummy bugs are not. I'll have a nice scar where things went wrong between a knife and a head of cabbage. I've got the world's best husband, two worthless yet lovable dogs, too many cats--life is actually good.

Know what else is strange to say? I'm turning 30 on the 22nd. I'll be making this for the occasion. I even got pistachio flour so I could make it taste reeeeeeeal yummy. And since it's such a terrifying, round number as 30, you have to do as I say. I want you to donate to Dolls for Downs in honor of the big 3-0. Alternately, gifts to the suicide hotline are always appreciated. And I like flowers. :)

Thanks, everyone. Looks like it's all uphill from here.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

The Continuation of a Long Term Bit: It's a Two-fer! (Kansas and Oklahoma)

The continuing adventures of two loquats trying to see something interesting in every state.

It's nursing school spring break! Let's go to Kansas and Oklahoma!   What?   Strange choice, I know.

We had originally intended to spend the week relaxing at Chandler's family's ranch.   Then her parent's really old cat (she's 20) got pretty sick.  When she dies we're going to be giving one of ours to them and assuming that she wasn't going to make it we decided we were going to go up to Missouri and deliver Miss Lemon to her new home.  She got better, but we decided to go ahead and go up there for a day or two and knock out the two states that are in between.  The plan was to stop in Oklahoma City and see the OKC National Memorial and then spend the night in Wichita, KS, but we got away too late and decided to leave OKC for the trip home.

Wichita was chosen for one reason and one reason only:
 That is the greatness of Eighth Day Books. Chandler called going there a pilgrimage. Here's the view from the poetry section
















It's an amazing store. Go visit sometime. After spending more than we should have there (but really, how could we not buy as many books as we could hold?) we went on to Topeka to visit a non-descript elementary school.
  That's the former Monroe Elementary School in Topeka.   Back in the 1950s it was one of the black schools in Topeka where the plaintiffs in Brown v Board of Education sent their children. It's now a National Historic Site. There are some very nice and uplifting things about civil rights and desegregation.
 
 Of course, when you let people with an irresistible urge to do inappropriate things have their way with things like this,
 
 You end up with this sort of thing        I'm not ashamed of what I've done in any way.

Not technically in Kansas, but the state line was about a block away so we went anyway is the National World War I Museum.

 They built the monument shortly after the war ended, the museum underneath seems to be much more recent.

It's quite well done.  They start you out by walking over a bridge over a field of poppies.
If you, like the guy in the gift shop I tried really hard not to stare at, don't get the significance, look it up and don't tell me you had to.  I don't want to lose respect for you.

They have more wartime propaganda posters than you can shake a stick at and they have a little station where you can make your own and email the results to yourself.  Once again, we could not resist the temptation to not be serious.
 

I'm sure they look okay if you aren't really looking at them, but if you do they make no sense at all.  What is that giant cat going to do to the tiny soldier if he doesn't know the answer to the question asked in a language he doesn't understand?  As for the other poster, are the marines choking that bird?  Is that blot it our some sort of euphemism?  Your guess is as good as mine.

After a brief interlude with family we headed for home, but with a brief stop in Oklahoma City to see the memorial to the 1995 bombing.  Across the street from it is the local Catholic cathedral which has its own memorial entitled "Jesus wept."


For those that aren't aware of the set up of this memorial, it consists of two gates, one inscribed with the minute before the bombing and the other inscribed with the minute after.  Symbolically the memorial is supposed to occupy the space in between those two moments.  

Within the space is a field of empty chairs with the names of the people killed in the bombing.  They're arranged as they were in the building.  There were nine floors to the building, there are nine rows of chairs.  The chairs on the first row are for the people who worked on the first floor and so on.  The chairs for the children in the day care center on the second floor are child sized chairs.  

On the other side of the reflecting pool is an elm tree that survived the blast and has been surrounded by other new plantings.  




They've also left up the chain link fence that was put up in the immediate aftermath.  People still come and put things on it.  I saw a letter someone wrote last year to a loved one killed there.



It's really one of those places that we as a country got right.

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Food Units

Wow, long time, no blab, huh?

Food is always a hot topic at the house, which is no surprise since I feel like crap most of the time. I'm up bright and early after a night-long battle with cheese (I lost), and once again I'm berating myself for just not getting that I can't eat dairy. I was all into real foods until I felt like they were pushing meat as being more healthful than vegetables (?!), and everyone likes to post dessert recipes more than savory recipes. Oh, that reminds me, I feel there's something that needs to be said:

Food bloggers, stop saying that if I eat a certain way that it'll cure my depression. That is insipid.

Even my gluten-freeness has fallen by the wayside. It's a terrible thing and probably the reason I'm more depressed than usual and not sleeping. But I've got a system now that keeps the number of flours going rancid in my pantry/fridge down to a minimum. I've learned being gluten-free that if you're not careful you can have thousands of different flours in your house. So I go grain-free with coconut and almond flour, plus chickpea flour (sprouted, of course) for soccas (what? You've never had a socca? Look at this beauty!), and maybe cornmeal because I live in the South and must needs have cornbread, right? Now think how well this system would work if I actually cooked!

Oo, now I'm thinking pickled carrots, pickled beets, sauerkraut, and pumpkin socca for dinner.

I have three cookbooks on my shelf now: Mastering the Art of French Cooking, The More With Less Cookbook, and Cooking with Coconut Flour. What more does one need?

Simplify, simplify. Eat more veggies than anything else. Stop pretending that eating more salmon and flaxseed can cure major depressive disorder. Stop making gluten-free eating synonymous with weight loss and thereby eating disorders. And eat a socca. It's that simple.

So why can't I do it then?

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Home Again

It's 1:15 in the morning. I don't remember being asleep before that, but I must have been because I know I wasn't lying there awake from 9:30 to 1:00. Regardless, I arrived back in Texas last night, and only once did I text Chris asking if it was okay to murder my fellow passengers in cold blood (I try not to be easily annoyed, but there's only so much talk I can stand about how your life in finance really prepared you for law school). Now I'm back home with Chris and the menagerie and a record of swearing that means I'll just put $20 in the alms box and call it even. Must ... kill ... potty mouth ...

Life is good. Time has gotten the higher dosage of meds to work, and rest has done a good job of killing most of the depression. I fully expect to be depressed again in due time but hopefully not suicidal. Anyway, here I am, another early morning blogging session. That's okay. Sleep is not my strong suit, and it feels good just to be happy.

I escaped Missouri just before a winter storm watch. My parents are expecting to be snowed/iced in for a few days. In younger days, I'd stomp through the snow to the back fence that overlooked a major street just to watch the cars slide around on the ice. Instead, I'm back in Texas where it's raining and where it'll be 44 tomorrow. Brrr.

My dog still squeals when he sees me. He just about lost it when I came through the front door. That's a good pet if I've ever heard of one.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

So I'm Depressed

I'm in my ancestral homeland of Missouri after a suicidal scare. It's here that I am attempting to recuperate. I return to Texas and to normal life on Tuesday. Fortunately, I saw my psychiatrist just before I left and my meds have been adjusted accordingly. The only problem with that is that now I'm shaking like a leaf. But my mind is improving, so I'll just have to deal with spilling my drink occasionally.

I eat so much sugar when I'm at home. You should see me knock back the Dr Peppers! Teatime is the only thing that makes me feel remotely sane food-wise. And that still involves a big glob of honey. Mom and I roasted a chicken (it was my maiden voyage as a chicken roaster) for Chris, and that was the last time I cooked anything. And cooking is therapeutic for me. Woe is me. Mom wants to make biccies though, so we'll see if that goes down.

So I recover. I have a clean and blessed home to return to when I'm better. And we can always hope these meds work.

Saturday, February 2, 2013

On My Depressing New Habit

If you can call it a habit.

I worry that I'm depressing all my friends on Facebook by posting missing people from Seeking TheLost. I've probably been blocked now by just about everyone. Staring such sadness in the face may be too much for many a sensitive soul to bear. I try not to worry because I'm the most sensitive soul in the world, and if I can face that down then surely other people can. I worried that some might think it was annoying, but someone responded to that comment on Facebook with, "Yeah, it's so annoying when you try to help people." Good point.

I try to post just Texas cases since I have friends mostly from Texas. Occasionally I'll post one from Missouri since I still know people there. I have posted one international one. I try to stick to the rules that the people I post it to should have at least the scant possibility of finding them, but I find it very hard not to post missing suicidal and mentally ill folk from all over the US. This may be TMI, but there were many times before I was being treated that I just wanted to walk out the front door and disappear, so even if I don't post one of those people they're always near to my heart.

I was reading an article (that I didn't like, by the way) that mentioned that people who say they'll pray for you and never do anything else are lazy. I disagree--sometimes prayer is all people have to give, and who better to turn to in a crisis than God? That said ...
“God provides the wind, Man must raise the sail.” - St. Augustine of Hippo
But I'm incapable of doing anything tangible for the suicidal woman who's disappeared in South Texas. Prayer's all I have to offer--that and sharing the information. That's all I can say to defend what I'm doing. I hope I'm not depressing you and that you're praying or keeping good thoughts or, if you're in range, keeping your eyes peeled.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Dear "Normal Weight", I Hate You

Yes, I hate you. You make me feel mightily inadequate. You make me feel like my husband isn't attracted to me. You make me feel like life isn't worth living until I've acquired you. You make me feel like people are just treating me like a charity case and don't really like me. You've driven many people to eating disorders or, even better, suicide.

You make me want to go into my local grocery store with stickers that say, "Don't eat this crap--love yourself instead!" and stick them on diet items.

But I'm here to expose you for what you are: You're an arbitrary set of numbers decided by a life insurance adjustor in the 40's. Some measure for health you are.

I got sidetracked again. I put my fat acceptance books on the shelf and started worrying about weight loss again. This paleo/PCOS book put me over the top. Apparently the author felt fat at a size 9, but now that she's a size 3 she's "healthy". I wonder about the mental health of any adult woman who measures her size in juniors' sizes (odd numbers) instead of women's sizes (even numbers), but that's neither here nor there.


That's not to say that my mission to ditch sugar is ignoble--I like my feet and want them to stay attached to my body. I just don't hold out hope for losing weight while I do it. Dropping gluten did me a world of good and caused me to drop 15 pounds in a year without a shred of effort (if you exclude the effort of not being able to eat bread), but I'm still the same size (a glorious size 22). I expect to be in that size range forever. But I don't think that just being fat has destined me to diabetes--my sugar habit, on the other hand, might. 

So eff you, "normal weight". Now I'm off to find jeans that don't fall off when I stand up and ... maybe ... make some stickers ....

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Death to Sugar

I spent good money on an ebook about PCOS, which means I've got fertility on the brain again. PCOS has been of little consequence to me for years, but my biological clock is ticking loudly and telling me I'd gladly trade in the life of leisure I'd set aside for myself in exchange for a small human. Whatevs. This post is about sugar.

I came into the book knowing it was paleo in nature--no skin off my nose. I don't mind paleo, but there are things about it I don't like. After tossing the specific carbohydrate diet aside (which I don't think I ever mentioned on the Loquat), I got into the "real foods" movement, and lo and behold I feel much better. And unlike paleo, real foods says I can have beans (provided they're properly prepared). And if you think I'm going through 40 days of Lent eating nothing but shrimp, you're sorely mistaken. I will go mad. I'll gladly go through the trouble of sprouting lentils for several days if that's what makes them easier to digest. Fine. But I won't go without them. (Plus, I already have a good supply of beans-pre-sprouted-for-my-convenience from this store--socca, anyone?)

That said, this ebook is impressing something upon me that I've heard several times before now, which is telling me that there's sound science behind it. The message is simple:

KILL SUGAR.

Why? I don't feel like telling you. Read this article instead. (And if that doesn't depress you enough, read this.) But after all this reading, I decided that if there's one important thing I can do for myself, it'll be to cut back on sugar tremendously. When sleep was not forthcoming last night, I sat there in the dark, illuminated by the glow of my laptop, and massively tweaked my Pinterest board Sweet Meats. Now all that's left are smoothie recipes I can use in the popsicle maker, desserts sweetened only with fruit (bananas, applesauce, dates), or things I think I can prepare subbing date paste for honey. Meanwhile, the sugar with daily teatime has been replaced with raw honey ... which backfired terribly today, as Chris found it more delicious and used more. Silly goose. 

Here's hoping we reap benefits from this. 

Saturday, January 26, 2013

My Husband Turned 30 and I Didn't Take Any Pictures of the Food I Made

Yes, Thursday was Chris's 30th birthday, which we celebrated in style with Darjeeling, fried chicken, and mashed potatoes. It was glorious.

I also made red velvet cupcakes, except we couldn't find natural red food dye. So they were just velvet cupcakes. Oh, and they weren't cooled before Chris got home, so they weren't frosted either. Chris like 'em just fine anyway, especially after discovering that they were superb dipped in the Darjeeling. Nom. Anyway, I've now pinned a grain-free red velvet cake recipe that uses pureed beets, so we'll be good to go for 31.

I was more freaked out about 30 than he was, but I've calmed down considerably. That's a good thing, because in April it'll be my turn to turn 30. Oh well. I just gain more respectability, right? Or does that never come? We'll see.

Friday, January 18, 2013

I Have Value (Even if I Think I Don't)

I feel a little sick to my stomach right now--and not because of the throat bug that had me down and out yesterday. I'm upset. I realize that I'm not raising children and, in 99% likelihood, never will. Nonetheless, I'm stereotyped as a clueless person who doesn't get that parenting is difficult. I know that parenting is difficult. Once upon a time, I wanted to be a parent--I get that there are joys and sorrows to it that I'll never understand. I don't understand how difficult parenting is because the only thing that teaches you is actual parenting. And I don't have that experience.

So I'm selfish because I don't have to do difficult parenting. Know what else is difficult? A miscarriage (possibly two). A failed adoption you spent thousands of dollars on. Being married 8-1/2 years without having any kids. Being too mentally and physically sick to trust yourself to parent a child who needs it (either by foster care or adoption). Forget wanting to be a parent and having to wait--try wanting to be a parent and watching that dream completely fall apart. Then live in a world where people think they're saints for doing what humans have done from time immemorial--procreating--and who think you're the prodigal son for not having children. Tell me that's not difficult.

I have value. I'm finding worth hanging out with my nieces and caring for my extended family rather than lamenting the immediate family I lack. I'm writing a young adult novel that I hope will help break down the stigma of mental illness because I always wonder how different life could've been for me if I'd realized I needed help sooner. I have a billion more novels with similar themes in mind. And I spend a lot of time hating myself because I'm not normal. But I have value. You don't need progeny to have value.

Apologies for very angry blogging. Never blog angry.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Correct Me if I'm Wrong ...

You all know I'm not a mom--especially not a mom of girls. But I am an aunt of nieces, so I do have my opinions. I follow a sort of "girl power" website on Facebook for the book recommendations (which are wonderful--either I need to do some picking already or the nieces are going to get $200 in books each this Christmas). Occasionally, though, they rub me the wrong way. Allow me to enumerate the reasons.

Their latest kick is not complimenting girls for their looks but rather for their smarts. Makes sense, but I value modesty. Isn't modesty evidence of smarts? Shouldn't we value the looks of girls who know how to dress demurely? The clothes that are being churned out for girls nowadays can be nothing short of terrifying. I know looks shouldn't be the only thing that matters, especially for girls, but the sad truth is that looks do matter for everyone--I don't venture out of the house in my PJs (this isn't college anymore, anyway). Is it really so awful to compliment a girl for dressing in a way that respects her body?

Also, is it really girl power if you're offering shirts for sale that are only available in sizes 3-5? Don't compliment a girl's looks, but do reinforce the need to have a certain body type. Makes perfect sense.

My gripe is over. Time for your input.