Tuesday, March 01, 2011
Yum. Love me some cookie dough. It's like a drug...sit down with a pile and it's gone before you know it. There's nothing better than a good cookie dough high.
My oldest, who fancies herself Betty Crocker, started rummaging through my bare, bare cupboards last night. "Mom, what do we have? I want to make cookies for my friends at school."
I tried a dodge. Not a good one, admittedly, but you gotta give me some credit. "Honey, I honestly don't know. But you can't cook anything until this kitchen is clean and the dishes are done."
There, I thought. That ought to take care of that.
Something happened at that point that I'm still trying to explain. A rush of adrenaline; a chemical imbalance of some sort, because my 11 year old daughter whipped through that kitchen like a caffeine-riddled Wonder Woman. I'd never seen my child so driven to do anything with such vigor in all her young life. Color me impressed, but I was still adamant that no cookie dough should be formed within the four walls of that room. I looked on helplessly as she started singing her way through the gathering of the bowls and measuring cups. I started to panic, then got a crazy stroke of what I thought was genius.
"If you can find the recipe, and the ingredients, you can make cookies."
Knowing full well the ins and outs of my meager supply of cookbooks, I resigned myself to a victory dance. Ha! There's nothing in there she can make because of the dearth of supplies. I win...I win!
Well, while I was busy doing my little dance, she stole away to her room and came back out with a black-ring bound book she'd constructed in fourth grade. A book of recipes. Compiled by 9 year olds. FULL of goodie recipes I couldn't begin to imagine existed. Oh, damn.
My resolve was beginning to extinguish; I was out of ideas. Flailing around, I exclaimed, "Honey, if you think you can find something in there you can make, all the more power to ya. I just have to say that I really don't think we have what most of those recipes require."
Now, to anyone who might think I was being a bit overreactive, then; you'd be right on the money. I was. I've never consciously tried to stop my children from developing any sort of skill or talent. And my daughter IS very talented. In oh, so many ways. But, see, I'm in Journey mode. The mode that takes every ounce of self-talk I have within me to maintain. I love that child, but I also know myself.
I retreated downstairs and left her to her own devices. I was stewing in my own juices, those that guilt from trying to discourage my child and worry about becoming the Cookie Monster could only concoct. After about 15 minutes, I went from simmer to warm, and began to believe that she'd given up.
And then, she brings to bowl, complete with spoon, to me. "Here, mom...taste this!"
Aw, crap. She'd made butter balls...a simplistic little recipe that calls for flour, powdered sugar, margarine, and a wee bit of salt; cook, and then roll in more powdered sugar. Delectable. I was in trouble.
Approximately about half a dozen little butter balls worth of dough later, I was hating on myself, big time. I had just snarfed a good portion of what she wanted to cook. And it must've showed, too, because she said to me: "Mom, it's okay. I still love you!"
Ah, the unconditional love of children. What music it really is to the ears. Drowned out, of course, by the Tuba of Self Loathing in surround sound.
But the Force must be strong on this Journey. It must, because I ate two of her finished products (yum!), went to bed wondering at the beautiful little gift that God had given me in that girl, and feeling content. I had made such a fuss, and yet, I lived through it, just to start today off right. And it continues to be right, with good and correct choices. There must be more to this Journey thing after all.
Friday, February 25, 2011
I like to think of starting a new adventure as being something truly noteworthy: learning to ride a bike, a first kiss, a newborn child...replete with thrills, chills, and spills. The kind of thing you won't forget; something that lives on and on in your memory, where the mere mention of it captivates and excites you.
Well...not this time, dammit.
No, this particular adventure (if you can call it that) travels down the same road, harbors the same dangers, the same mistakes, the same ol' blah-dee blah, blah, blah. One that has become so repetitive, in fact, that it's more of a chore than anything, like coming to work five days a week and/or doing dishes. Craptastic stuff, really.
I want to change my lifestyle. All of it. Not even kidding.
I'm a passively passionate person about self-improvement. I "know" all the tricks of the trade, read all the books, been through all the motions. One item in particular-healthy living-has so effectively alluded me that I wonder why I even bother at all. I
love the idea of it...rising at 6 a.m., taking a deep breath, knowing that I slept well and feel it in every inch of the marrow of my bones, partaking in a good bout of cardiovascular activity for 20-30 minutes, hopping into the shower, dressing and then cooking a scrumptious, well-balanced breakfast, then coming to work happy as hell because I am the picture of beaming health and NOTHING could get me down.
Ah, fairy tales. Aren't they NEAT?
As a full-time working mother of two and the proud owner of an anxiety disorder, my lifestyle, as it sits, is condusive to all manner of worrying, flipping out, giving up, and wondering just what the hell I did to deserve such a scattered mind. I mean, really. When I'm calm, I am the master of my environment-organized, proficient; productive. I have a great, analytical mind. It's just that my brain is also like an ADHD child that hasn't had their medicine, in like, a week. The slightest inkling of excitement is enough to utterly demolish any good intention or worthy goal I ever entertained, just like that.
Have you ever seen a tizzy fit? They're really neat, too.
However, there is reason to hope. My second to youngest sister and her husband are currently participating in a program called Crossfit (which, to me, sounds like a cross between Navy Seals boot-camp and Dante's seventh ring of hell) to amazing results. Being tired of being tired, and wanting to live my fairy tale, I spent some time with her inquiring about what particular changes to their lifestyle have contributed to their continuing success and "beaming health." Although I am moderately arthritic (damn you, genetics!) and really want no part of Sgt. Pepper's pound-your-body-til-you-puke regimen, I did have some questions about the particular diet they have been partaking. Ladies and gentlemen, I give you: the Paleo diet.
Also known as the "Caveman" (oogah!) diet...a diet supposedly indulged in by the hunter-gatherers of 10,000 years past and what, evolutionarily speaking, we as human beings are genetically engineered to process with the least amount of worry. Hoahkay...? Annoyingly enough, I have done enough research and endless poring over nutritional resources from recognized authorites out there to be a bit skeptical. Nonetheless, I carried on with my Paleo fact-finding: Oh, yay! I can eat meat! Oh, yay! I can eat a boatload of fruits and vegetables! Oh, yay! Healthy fats? Not a problem. No grains or dairy? Now wait...what the hell...?
Years of examining this thing called the "food pyramid" brought me to a screeching halt. No dairy (with the exception of ice cream) isn't really a big deal. Dairy is host to all manner of inflammatory agents, of which would contribute to my debilitating flare-ups. There are other means of obtaining calcium for the body. Meh. But no WHOLE GRAINS? WTF? No neat little things that scrub your arteries and intestinal tract clean? I dunno about this...
Sis was so excited about having a fellow "cavegirl" in the family she couldn't stand it. I, myself, was excited to try something new. But wiggling in the back of my brain was the question of how removing complex carbohydrates, the fuel of mind and body, could be good in any way, shape, or form. In fact, a debate took shape of comments to a status update from myself on Facebook about it...then the fight was on. My sister-in-law, bless her soul, got the opportunity to wave around her B.S. (b.s...har har har!) in Nutrition and Public Health, championing the Food Pyramid. Seeing the benefits of both systems, I'm stuck. Gotta do more homework...more homework...
I've come to the conclusion that I can't live without ANY whole grains. Note: whole grains. A bowl of steel cut oats, every morning. A good compromise. Also duly noted was the Paleo's adversion to processed/refined foods. As somewhat of a food purist (if only in thought right now) I approved of that wholeheartedly. I can make that adjustment to my diet, too. Now, just add exercise, and...violá! My fairy tale! Right? Right????
We'll see. I'm pretty pragmatic. I know my limitations and my weaknesses. (NO BEER? KILL ME NOW!) I am in day 3 of my altered diet, and I like it. I need change...I actually crave it. But this journey is such a one note fiddle that I can only hope I don't lose my infatuation with it. This blog will document my progress, regress, and everything in between. Like I said...HOLD ON TO YER BUTZ; it's gonna be a wild ride.
Featured on my blog: http://mannisue.xanga.com/742169736/hold-o
Thursday, January 13, 2011
What can I say? I feel great. Not because I'm going to look like a supermodel by May, but because I'm going to be literally BOUNCING off the walls by May, and I know I can do it! I hate to admit it, but every time there is a "stop-start" in living a healthly life, I feel like a complete idiot after the first few days of my "start" gung-ho...I always ask myself, without fail: Why did I stop doing this? How could I possibly forget just how awesome it feels to not smoke and exercise and KNOW THAT I'M ACTUALLY ACCOMPLISHING SOMETHING GOOD FOR ME? Never ceases to amaze me. Definitely a *facepalm* if there ever was one.
My sister and my brother-in-law are active in doing Crossfit, and it seems to be working SO well for them both. They're very active and doing things physically I DREAM of doing. I believe I will have to get in touch with my sister and find out what, precisely, this Crossfit thing is. The Enbrel is working so well, and I wanna play, too!!!
Tuesday, December 28, 2010
What is it about certain things? I swear...the fact this year is almost over gives me great joy, notwithstanding at how swiftly, albeit bittersweetly, it has past. I have a friend who's favorite saying is "look for the silver lining," and never in my life has the thrust behind that particular phrase taken on the depth that it has these last 12 months.
Being one that has dealt with anxiety in it's most frightening form, few things frighten me anymore. Financial stress, health issues, my own mortality...it's all taken a back seat to some of the most poignant things in life. Which, in my world, are things of the grandest scale. A friend lost her husband in a horrible car accident at the age of 36 in May of this year, leaving her with a two year old son and pregnant with their daughter (who was born 9 days later.) I feel so guilty for saying this, and may her husband forgive me, but in the midst of, and in spite of all of the tragedy I found exactly what I was looking for...what I had been missing in my life for so long. This friend and I were very close about 10 years ago. She and her husband at the time divorced and we went our separate ways, succumbing to pettiness and pride that came as a result of the situation. Over the years, I figured I had found my niche and was carving it out nicely for myself, learning along the way that I can be demanding, picky, and boastful...a far cry from the person I envision myself to be; it was making me miserable. After the funeral (and more than a year since we had even exchanged passing "hi's," in a grocery store) I found myself in a position that I had never known before: I had a friend in dire need, one that I had missed for so long...one that I have so much in common with and a kindred spirit that would allow me to be the better person that I know I am, with no pretense. We've been inseparable ever since, and she'll never know the true depth of what having her in my life has done for me as a human being. In short...I believe if we ever become so miserable that we feel life holds no more for us, that is the time to turn and serve our fellow man with love, even if it is in some small way. Detracting our undivided attention from ourselves has the power to transform and bring unparalleled joy.
In September of this year, I began to exhibit some severely painful and debilitating symptoms of the condition I have. After I was diagnosed last year, I had a great attitude. I would quit smoking and drinking, exercise every day and define the disease; not let it define me. After about five months, my desire to return to old habits as a result of believing I was "missing out on something" put me back to square one. All was smooth sailing until the fall. The symptoms being cyclical, I believed things would continue to be normal. Not so. Around Thanksgiving, my brother, who deals with a condition very closely related to my own, started to try and sell the idea of Enbrel, which had worked miracles for him. Not wanting to partake in any type of medication, I kept declining the idea. Finally, after dealing with the pain for three months, I broke down and visited my rheumatologist who suggested the Enbrel treatment. After taking the first shot, I fell into a depression and for the first time, started to see the disease as a defect; a blemish that would ultimately destroy who I was. Not that I ever expected that I would be perfect, but it was a blow to my ego. Since then, I've taken my shots every week and struggled with the idea that I will have to pay extra special attention to my health, as this drug weakens the immune system. However, thanks to Spark People and it's tendency to set all things in an achievable perspective, I believe I can overcome. In addition....it allows me to be a cheerleader for other people; if I can do it, so can anyone else!
Thursday, February 04, 2010
taptaptap* Is this thing on?
Welcome to this edition of Mannisue's Guide to Dealing with BAD DAYS, where we will be exploring this rare, but not uncommon, phenomenon while working within the SparkPeople dynamic by breaking down the purported causes of these bad days (at least, within my experience.)
Today's eppy will examine the contrast between a hungover, dehydrated day (yes, at work, too!), as opposed to a sober, well-rested day.
I will be the first to admit. . .Thursday nights I enjoy, and are supposed to be our weekly gathering of friends for a few beers and conversation. But it never ends up that way. It's usually a few HUNDRED beers, some whiskey, and a scramble to find a DD to get us home. Funny this. . .I have to work on Fridays, in the a.m. One would think that a 32 year-old woman would've outgrown this type of crap; you know, "responsibility" and all that.
Since really diving in to the SparkPeople experience, especially the healthy lifestyle bit, I've noticed a very stark contrast between hungover (even if barely,) and a normal, rested, no-alcohol- the-night-before day. I've come to the conclusion that I really, really, REALLY enjoy feeling clear-minded and awake, as opposed to the slight headached, foggy feeling that comes after even just a few drinks, that shows up the next morning. This last Sunday, after a jaunt to the local bar with friends, while fun. . .completely DESTROYED one of my precious two-days off. I hated the whole world, I was sleepy but not sleepy, irritable, and wasted the entire day in my recliner. WTF, Chuck? I couldn't go to the gym until later that evening, I was so dehydrated. That was absolute crap.
I don't have time for that kind of garbage. . .I'm supposed to be taking care of myself.
So, when trying to examine the reason I like to drink (and reasons vary with different people,) I came to the conclusion that I like the feeling of not being inhibited. I feel like I can converse more freely with my friends, that maybe I'm more "tolerable" and "likeable" to them (which, of course, is NOT the case--they're my friends.) I've carried a complex about my tolerablility for so many years, that I lost myself, somewhere.
Now this is the fun part.
Now that I feel so much better about me, I can BE me. I don't need help with that. And if someone can't stand that, then they can piss off. I don't have to be (and realistically, I'm not going to be) likeable to everyone. I love people; I love social situations--I have a wicked sense of humor and a very opinionated personality at times. I KNOW there are going to be people that can't stand to be around me--I'm quite comfortable using sarcasm as my coping mechanism, thank you. I'm fine with that.
So, my dear readers. . .another trip in to some of the more fragile, sensitive parts of my persona. It feels good to be able to get these things out, and I appreciate having the opportunity to do so. Stay tuned for the next installment. . .
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