Monday, December 31, 2012

Music Monday: December, Thanks!

Well, I trust everyone had pleasant holiday times with family and friends. Now it's New Year's Eve. Didn't that happen fast? It was a year ago today I lost my writing job. I am determined to live happier and more fully in 2013. Toward that end, here's my December appreciation list.

December, Thanks!

1) Thanks to nature for letting me harvest some of the cauliflower I planted late this year. It survived a couple of frosts and then grew during the crazy, inexplicable mini heatwave we had in November.

2) Thanks to Purina Farms for the dog show. It was nice to do something different.

3) Thanks to HUBS for helping me bake our Christmas gifts. We've been buying stuff for people for so long that none of it feels like it matters. I might make gifts from now on.

4) Thanks to my wonky car battery for needing me to drive everyday to keep it charged. I tend to let myself get stuck in the house for days at a time, but, this way, I get out and I've seen more of my city than I have in years.

5) Thanks to my sensible nature for being able to talk my precision-minded mom down when she called me freaked out about getting paid an extra $1.52 on her last check. She's so weird! PT thought she couldn't use her money because of it! I convinced her to put aside that amount in change at home and then act as she normally would. That way if her company wanted their money back she could just give it to them.

6) Thanks to nature (again) for snowing during the holidays.

7) Thanks to fashion magazines for finally giving me an idea of what to do with my increasingly wild natural hair that actually works.

8) Thanks to Zoloft for not wrecking havoc on my internals as I try to feel better.

Now, let's do music!

Tell me, what are you thankful for in December?

Monday, December 17, 2012

Music Monday: Moving Right Along

I mentioned a few weeks ago how my therapist wanted me to consider going back on medication for my depression. I thought about what she said, that since I've been depressed off and on (mostly on) for over twenty years the root cause is probably a chemical imbalance that lifestyle changes alone won't take care of. She might be right. Lord knows I've had trouble keeping any momentum going even with things I love to do, so I talked to my doctor and started Zoloft Friday.

I had some nausea and dizziness over the weekend, luckily I think that was just my body getting used to it because those symptoms were gone today. It'll take a while for it to really kick in, but I'm hoping that knowing the medicine is there to support me will help me get a move on and keep going. Wish me luck!

Now, let's do some music!

Friday, December 14, 2012

(Not Really) Happy Friday: Pleasant Distractions

Well, just when you thought today was going to be no shittier than a normal day...I've spent a significant amount of time watching comedies (The Five Year Engagement), Christmas movies (Desperately Seeking Santa) and old TV shows (Highlander) just to get away from the news.

If you're a worrier or a depressive or a cynic, it can be difficult to listen to breaking news like we got today without going a little nutty, even if you don't know anyone directly involved. So, my prayers go out to everyone in Connecticut and let's get ourselves to an extra long list of internet goodies. Be well, friends.

1)Christmas is around the corner. If you ever wonder what the super rich give each other, Hello Giggles has an idea. The $52,000 playhouse might be my favorite. And by favorite I mean most insane waste of cash ever.

2) Kitten dance party, anyone? I think we need it!

3) If it weren't for the relatively small size of these animals/insects, humanity would be in for a world of freaky ass hurt.

4) Lions and tigers are big enough to hurt people. These zoo videos show why we need so much unbreakable glass between us and the beasts.

5) Frogs are people, too.

6) Still doing your holiday shopping but wondering what's appropriate to spend on certain people in your life? What Should I Spend is here to help!

7) Rap music has never been funnier.

8) Holiday shopping for a lot of guys? This list of gift ideas won't steer you wrong.

9) Behold the tranquil beauty of these 10 baths with amazing views, and, if you're lucky, plan a trip.

10) Finally, here's links to 14 holiday films you can watch online.

That's all for now. Go enjoy the weekend!

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

TV You Should Be Watching: Winter 2012 Edition


I don't know if you remember this about me, but I love, LOVE watching TV. Now that we're heading into winter hiatus for all our favorite shows, I thought it would be a good time to let you know what I've been filling my nights with this television season. Since many of you will have vacation days coming up, it's the perfect time to check these shows out if you haven't already, just follow the links. Let's go!

1) Arrow: The CW knows how to do superhero shows right. The first episode was the most exciting hour of network TV I've seen since the third or fourth season of LOST. The basics? Spoiled super-rich boy Oliver gets stuck on a dangerous island for five years, learns how to kick serious ass, gets rescued and then sets his sights on cleaning up his corrupt, crime-ridden home town as a masked vigilante. If you like action and good-looking people this will hit all your buttons. Granted, sometimes the actors (especially the occasional guest star) are better at looking good than acting, but no one has embarrassed themselves and the writing is just good enough to keep you interested.

2) Nashville: If you like soapy drama, good writing, excellent acting and amazing music, look no further. I love it when I have high hopes for a show and it makes me love it even more than I thought I could. The basics? The core of the show is aging country diva Rayna trying to stay relevant and feuding with the much younger Juliette, who's a country-pop superstar. But, there's a lot more going on, including embezzlement, dirty political campaigns, old loves interfering with new ones and some musical newbies trying to find their way in the industry. This is good stuff, people. Anyone who misses nighttime soaps but wants something more realistic should find this to be right up their alley. And, the music? The actors do all their own singing and...God, the music is awesome! Just watch the clip above for proof.

3) Scandal: This actually premiered at mid-season early this year, so I admit to being late to the party. After watching the first season fly by in the Netflix instant "newly added" options one too many times, I finally decided to check it out. I was shocked by how much I enjoyed it. The basics? Olivia is a high-powered attorney who helped the current president get elected and runs her own crises management firm, meaning she helps lots of rich folks get out of trouble when they do really stupid shit. This is the sexiest show I've seen in ages; everyone's smart and talks really fast because they know what they are doing, and the plots always keep you guessing. Plus, I like that not everyone on the show is super-outrageously attractive. This is good stuff, guys.

And now, a couple of honorable mentions to show that have already been canceled:

4) Emily Owens, M.D.: Yes, this is a lot like Grey's Anatomy without all the sex. But, it makes me feel warm inside when I watch it. It's just a simple, pleasant show filled with folks who are nice to look at. Sometimes that's all I need. I'll miss you, Emily.

5) Last Resort: Well, hello there, action drama about a navy sub crew that has to flee government conspiracies on a small island populated by drug lords. I really enjoyed watching you start off strong and get mired in minor ridiculousnesses that continued to grow week by week. I'll miss the intense acting and your crew of sweaty seamen. God speed!

What new show has become appointment viewing for you this year?

Monday, December 10, 2012

Music Monday: Christmas Is A-Comin'!


Well, that was quite a weekend for me, folks. I spent most of Thursday writing the first draft of an essay I hope to have published, got badgered by my doctor about losing weight on Friday and later had a panic attack at the grocery store. Nice, right?

I will admit that even though I'm planning to make nifty food gifts for everyone this year, I am not feeling Christmas spirit at all. HUBS and I tried to remedy this by getting five holiday films from the library this weekend and watching all but one so far. The result? I now want to stuff my mind with as many cheesy Christmas movies as possible. Here's what we've watched so far:

1) Jingle All the Way (Sigh...)
2) Arthur Christmas (Nice, better than I expected.)
3) The Santa Clause (Possibly the most boring Christmas movie I've ever seen.)
4) Santa Baby (Notable mostly for the fact that Jenny McCarthy's chin is broken out for the whole movie. Look, girls! Sure, she's got a hot body, but she's also got acne! She's just like us!)

Next up is the live-action version of How the Grinch Stole Christmas. The Grinch has always scared me a bit, so I'm a bit nervous about my response to this, but I'm diving in anyway! Any recommendations for holiday films we should watch to prep for the season?

OK, let's get to the music!

What's the silliest holiday movie you've seen?

Wednesday, December 05, 2012

5 Music Acts That I'm Shocked Have Lasted This Long

Let's be honest here, no matter how good a singer or musician you are, there is not a lot of room on the Top 40 for new music. Sure, it helps to be good looking, but since almost everyone who deigns to shoot for longevity in the music industry is hotter than shit, that will not set you apart. Neither will dressing like a freak (anymore) or actually knowing how to sing.

Here are acts that have managed to bottle the longevity lighting, much to my (basically pleasant) surprise.

5 Music Acts That I'm Shocked Have Lasted This Long

1) Pink. I like Pink, really. But, come on, did you expect a chick whose whole persona hinged on her hair color to still be charting hits 12 years after she debuted? I sure as hell didn't.

2) Foo Fighters. I fucking love Foo Fighters! When I listened to them in my dorm room in 1995 I had no idea that they'd still be kicking it almost 20 years later. Amazing. Especially if you consider the fact that they may not have existed (at least not at this level) were it not for Kurt Cobain's unfortunate depression.

3) Green Day. Their first recording came out in 1990. I had just started high school. People! That's an assload of time passed for a punk band, even one that managed not to self-destruct within a couple of years! They've released 15 albums and done a Broadway musical based on their music. All that, and it wasn't until this year that one of them had a public freak-out. Good on you Green Day. Good. On. You.

4) Weezer. Look at that video. They're the comedians of rock, for God's sake! And yet, they've managed to stick around since 1994. God bless 'em.

5) Rihanna. She come out in 2005 looking like a Caribbean Beyonce' clone but quickly went in a very different direction and managed to carve out a constant space at the top of the charts for herself. Seven years on top isn't an eon or anything, but I still find it surprising considering how much competition there is. You go, RiRi.

Whose musical career is still going strong, much to your surprise?

Monday, December 03, 2012

Music Monday: Thanks!

We miss you Skyler, but this is better for you.

As part of my on going struggle with depression, anxiety and cynicism, I'm going to take some time at the end of each month to think about all the things that made life a bit easier for four weeks. Gratitude as an idea is overused, (and sounds too hoity-toity to me, anyway) so I'm just calling this my Thanks! list.

November, Thanks!

1) Thanks to the nice old white man at The Original Pancake House who tapped me on the shoulder before he left and said, "You sure can wear a hat!" a day before my birthday.

2) Thanks to the Humane Society for having room to take in little Skyler kitten so we could get him off the street.

3) Thanks to nature for easing us into winter with stupid mild days that feel a lot more like Spring.

4) Thanks to my aging body for forcing me to bed early, but not so early that I have to be done with dinner by 6 p.m.

5) Thanks to Walmart's Equate Anti-Itch Plus for cleaning up my acne-ridden face and neck like a true beauty champion.

6) Thanks to the giant owls who've invaded our neighborhood for keeping the hooting to a minimum and (hopefully) not snatching up any kitty cats for dinner.

There! That feel good to say. Now, ready to get down?

What made you happy in November?

Friday, November 30, 2012

Happy Friday! Getting On With It

I don't know where you're reading from, but I plan to spend my weekend enjoying our unreasonably warm weather. Right after I share some cool webtastic sights, that is!

1) Anyone remember '90s teen show Boy Meets World? That show hosted some now well-known folks before they hit it big.

2) Did you know that you can use your hand to properly portion your meals?

3) If you need a reminder to do your kegels, these panties might help!

4) I'm now even more glad that I've never needed a urinal.

5) Wanna watch Sesame Street parody Mad Men and more? Now you can!

Enjoy the weekend, everyone!

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Tuesday Tipday: How To Keep December From Sucking

Aw, yeah!

I have never had holiday anxiety. In fact, it's one of the few forms of anxiety I haven't dealt with. But, some people go crazy at this time of year trying to make everything perfect. And in their endless quest, they make December the suckiest time of year instead of the happiest.

Well, if this sounds like you, I've got some tips to help you out.

How To Keep December From Sucking

1) Perfect schmerfect. You know there's no such thing as perfection, right? Then why are you losing your mind over something you can never achieve? Not to mention the fact that everyone's idea of "perfect" will be different anyway, so no matter what you do something will be left out for someone. Think about this: if these people didn't like you they wouldn't be hanging out with you during the holidays. YOU DO NOT NEED TO IMPRESS THESE FOLKS. ALL THEY WANT IS TIME WITH YOU. Ok?

2) Rest, relax, repeat. Here's what I think most people really want from the holidays: time off from school or work and...wait for it...FUN. That's right. They want to catch up on their favorite magazines, clear out their Netflix cue and sleep until noon after staying up too late. Ask yourself how your friends and family can have fun watching you do your best impression of a whirling dervish as they try to relax. If they care about you, they probably can't. So, you know, calm the shit down already and enjoy yourself!

3) It's as easy as it looks. If you're used to running yourself ragged for Christmas/Hanukkah/Kwanzaa/Whatever perfection, you may literally not be able to relax about it. So, go nuts over something else. Sleep more, exercise more, watch more TV or throw yourself into learning a new language or an instrument. But, keep your obsessive behavior away from holiday planning.

4) But there's so much to do! There really isn't. Even if you haven't done a holiday related thing until December 15. The key here is knowing your limits. Not the limits you impose on yourself to get all the crap done you think you need done, but your actual holiday planning limits considering all the other stuff you do. And the answer to that, you ask?

5) No man is an island. Come on, you have a significant other or kids or friends, right? Make them do some of the things you want done. That party you're planning can turn into a pot-luck. Someone else can hang lights, buy the tree, make cookies, clean the bathroom, get a gift for your youngest daughter's former piano teacher, etcetera, etcetera. Get over the idea that nothing is done correctly unless you do it and every day will suck a lot less from now on.

How do you stay calm during the holidays?

Monday, November 26, 2012

Music Monday: I Will Not Be One Of Those People!

Well, welcome back to everyone who enjoyed a Thanksgiving break last week. Ours was pretty mundane; HUBS, PT and I went off to his parents' house to eat, talk and eat some more. I was surprised my mom came along, she's always invited to their various holiday celebrations, but has only gone once. She found out she would have a four day weekend, though, and it changed her mind.

Remember how I told you about my birthday last week? And how old I was feeling? Well, I've really got a lot of work to do now. I do not want to be one of those old people who takes medicine day and night, spends all their time at the doctor or who looks and feels older than they are. Aside from the birthday, the thing that's brought this on is my stupid sinus infection. I had to get another round of meds from the doctor, know what? If I count the vitamins I take, I know have seven daily rounds of health additives.

Um...I'm only 38! That's too many pills and sprays and gummy chews and oils for someone who's not even fucking 40 yet!

I cannot wait to be over this infection so I can go back to preventative medicine. While that will help me not feel so old, I also need a serious attitude adjustment. I know you're only as old as you feel, so I need to keep my mind and body active enough to slow the atrophying.


There! Take that, body and bad, depressive attitude!

Now, let's get pumped!

How do you keep feeling young?

Monday, November 19, 2012

Music Monday: Aaaaand, I'm Old!

So, I'm a year closer to middle age today. Congratulate me! I realize 38 is far from old these days, but I have not been feeling young at all. My issues? Let's make a list!

1) I've been getting nose bleeds. My nasal passages are super sensitive to dry heat, so I have trouble every winter once we turn the heat on anyway. But now, since my sinus infection, they've been worse. Even though I use a humidifier on high every night.

2) My skin won't stop breaking out. First it was my chin, then my forehead and my neck and my chin again. Ack!

3) My knees are killing me. They creak and pop and hurt whenever I sit down or get up. I've been exercising regularly for over a month, but it's not helping.

4) For the past week or so I've been exhausted. I'm wiped out by 11 pm nightly. Is this it for me? Do I need to start eating dinner at 5? This reminds me of two years ago when I realized I couldn't stay up all night anymore without being tired for an entire week afterwards. It was a crushing blow!

I have spent a quiet day trying to ignore all the stuff that's making me feel old and useless. What's that? You want another list. I can do that!

1) I did yoga and took a walk.

2) I danced naked to Bobby Brown's Every Little Step.

3) I watched two movies.

4) I ate free birthday food for lunch and plan to get more.

5) I ate dark chocolate fudge stripe cookies and dark chocolate pretzels.

6) I opened the windows and let the cool November air fill the house while I bundled up on the couch.

I know, not exactly an exciting day. But, music makes every day more interesting. Let's enjoy some!

How do you like to spend your birthday?

Friday, November 16, 2012

Happy Friday! Party Time!

I have a good feeling about this weekend. Why? Well, I've gotten a good amount of stuff done this week, so I don't feel like I waisted my time. We have a bit of fun money to work with, and...And? My birthday is on Monday and we'll actually be able to celebrate a bit!

In three days I'll be two years away from 40, people. I'd be lying if I said the idea of that isn't fucking with my mind, but I'm trying. Trying to do better and move ahead so that 10 years from now I don't find myself dreading 50. I want to look forward to each year. Who doesn't?

Enough seriousness! Here's what I found online this week.

1) If any of you writers are doing NaNoWriMo, Galley Cat and Writer's Digest have a host of tips for you.

2) Most of us can use a self-esteem boost from time to time. Here are 50 ways to upgrade yours.

3) Want to eat better? Dr. Oz likes all these foods, and this is a list of foods that aren't as bad as we thought.

4) I can't stop talking about mustaches!

5) Last, but not least, this video-filled list of cats freaking out should send you off with a good laugh.

That's all for me folks. Have a great weekend!

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Tuesday Tipday: How To Cook Like You Mean It


Preparing meals at home can save you some serious money. I happen to enjoy cooking; trying new recipes and making new dishes out of whatever I have on hand. If you're sort of useless in the kitchen, but want to get the hang of something other than boiling water, you're in luck. Here's how to give good food.

How To Cook Like You Mean It

1) Begin at the beginning. If you only eat at home by opening a box of this or a can of that, you need to get a handle on some basics first. You can get a fancy how-to-cook book from the library and stress out over reading it. But, I think it would be better to watch others cook more than anything else. Find yourself a cooking show you can get into and tune in as often as possible.

2) Start slow. Some of the easiest ways to get comfortable with cooking is to get started with something super simple. Like sandwiches. If all you ever do is slap baloney on bread with mustard, try adding fancy lettuce, a new type of bread or another flavor of mustard. Getting something easy right will give the the courage to try even more new things.

3) Know what you like. One of the keys to creating a good meal is knowing what flavors go together. Whenever you eat out, take your desire to try new foods along and experiment with different flavors, textures and things you haven't had before. It can also be helpful to eat old favorites in new ways, as well. If you think McDonald's has the best burger, go out and try a burger at Red Robin. If you don't already have a handle on it, start a list of all the foods/flavors you like and add to it whenever you find something new.

4) Get those toes wet. Now that you know some stuff the only thing left to do is start cooking. As soon as your favorite chef makes something you like the thought of, that is also easy to prepare, take note. If you're nervous to jump right into making a full blown meal, that's OK. Instead of making the whole dish, try acing part of it: pasta sauce, gravy, grilled fish, cheese sauce...You can always refrigerate or freeze that bit of the dish until you feel ready to tackle the rest.

5) Jump on in. Hey, you mastered that pasta sauce, didn't you? Watch that episode as many times as needed and go ahead and figure out the rest of the meal. Keep in mind that you don't necessarily need a bunch of fancy tools to cook a good meal. You can also substitute some ingredients for others to get the same type of flavor. A quick Google of "what can I use instead of (insert ingredient here)" should take you to other options. And don't be afraid of short cuts. I never buy heavy cream, for instance, instead I use a can of milk and everything turns out fine.

6) Experiment some more. Once you get that first dish down, keep trying. Now might be a good time to get a cookbook that focuses on your favorite type of food and to add to your cooking show watching. Also, take the list of foods/flavors and use it to help you spruce up simple things or create your own things. Found out you like caramelized onions? Find a recipe and add them to that boxed mac 'n' cheese you plan to make.

As someone who makes up dishes a lot I can tell you that you'll get a great meal 95% of the time if you mix ingredients that you enjoy. (Within reason, of course. Chocolate and ketchup on anything would probably be a disaster, you know.) The other 5% of the time, you'll get a good meal. And there's nothing wrong with that!

7) Make your debut. An official dinner party isn't necessary, but letting someone else eat your creations is. To really get comfortable with cooking you'll need some feedback to see what's working or could use some work. Who knows? The person you cook for might be able to help broaden your horizons even more.

8) Keep on truckin'. The first time I tried brown rice I hated it. Hated it so much, in fact, that it took me over 10 years to try the stuff again. But, when I did? I loved it! Now I can't live without it in the cabinet. The message here is to keep trying. Maybe you won't get the appeal of kale the first time you use it. Look for a recipe that has a lot of other things you do like in it and give it another shot. If you still aren't hot on it after that, it's fine to let it go.

I know that's sort of a long list, but it's not that hard to fix a satisfying meal from scratch if you give it a bit of effort. Good luck!

How do you add special touches to simple foods?

Monday, November 12, 2012

Music Monday! Get It Done!

Well, it's about time! I am finally off my ass and doing things, people. I made three necessary phone calls today, did four loads of laundry and have made a significant dent in the 1,000+ emails I let build up over the past four weeks. Plus, I did yoga and managed to drink only one cappuccino. Progress!

I hope your week is off to a good start. Now, let's get to some music so you can round your day out with some fun...

Friday, November 09, 2012

Happy Friday! Rest Is A Good Thing

Well, peeps, I'm wiped. I had a big project due Tuesday and it wore me out. I meant to take an hour nap today and ended up sleeping for three.

I'm also having car trouble. I can't get it to start without jumping it, and since the battery is new as of last month, the fear that something major is wrong with it is eating away at me a little. I don't know why...Yes, I do. Lila is the first car I ever bought and I own her outright. She's actually the only thing I fully own that's worth any kind of money. And, considering that she's 15 years old, that's not saying much.

Even though I've been without a car before (in college, for a year after college when neither my mom nor I had a vehicle), I already miss the freedom and being able to get up and go whenever I want.

Oh, well. Such is life, right? Now! Let's see what I found online this week.

1) Did you know that there's now an Oprah channel on Huff Post?

2) Speaking of Oprah, many would consider a love of Oprah related things un-manly. If you need to get your masculine groove back on, The Art Of Manliness is here for you.

3) And, what's more manly than facial hair? The American Mustache Institute has a handy guide to mustache styles. While you're at it? Check out Beard Team USA 2012. Those dudes are no joke...

4) Looking for a new job? Here are 9 things you shouldn't say on your resume, along with a body language guide to tell you if you're tanking the interview.

5) If you're still looking for a way to help Hurricane Sandy relief, Techlicious has a full list of options.

That's all for me, folks. I'll be catching up on your blogs this weekend. Enjoy!

Friday, November 02, 2012

Happy Friday! Oh, The Languor...

Ever since HUBS went back to work I've gotten a schedule down that I'll need to break soon. I wake up, exercise (good), make breakfast (great) and then spend the day watching movies (not so great). It's such a routine now, that if I try not watching movies, I feel antsy.

I know. This is avoidance. I have lots of things I need to get to work on. After six weeks of taking care of HUBS, I'm behind on a lot of stuff. But, for some reason, losing myself and my cares in film after film feels...Better.

On the upside, I have seen some good movies (Mancora, Adrift, Undertow, Brokeback Mountain, Leaving, In A Day, A French Gigolo...All available on Netflix instant, by the way.) The downside, of course, is that I'm in the house neglecting real world responsibilities.

Monday, Lordy, I swear, Monday I'm doing better. Now, shall we look around online?

1) I know Halloween is over, but did you realize that there are several penis-themed costumes?

2) I've been carrying one of these safety keychains on my morning walks around my (tad sketchy) neighborhood. Ladies, you can be safe and stylish!

3) How did these happen? How!?

4) Did you know that there are giant Polaroid cameras that anyone can pay to use?

5) If you like historical movies, Lincoln will be a good bet when it comes out next weekend. HUBS and I saw a pre-screening last week and were pretty impressed.

Enjoy the weekend!

Thursday, November 01, 2012

Sunday Dinner: Multi Use Steak

Fall is prime comfort food time. Everything warm and gooey is good to eat when the weather gets chilly.

Last week I made steak. It's so easy to cook things exactly the same way, but a tiny bit of effort will usually get you something you want to eat again and again that's also different enough to keep you interested.

My easy-way steak includes a simple salt and peppering, maybe some onions and a good stint in the oven. But, I found an easy recipe in Real Simple that I was able to turn into something that I think was even better.

Multi Use Steak

1 steak
pineapple juice
low sodium soy sauce
salt & pepper
1 medium onion, sliced
1 green pepper, sliced
1 pound or more baby carrots, halved lengthwise
about a 1/4 cup butter or margarine
about a 1/4 cup whole wheat or regular flour
rice or pasta

Salt and pepper your steak and marinate it in equal parts soy sauce and pineapple juice, enough to at least cover the sides of the steak. Marinate for at least two hours, turning over half way through.

Bake, with juices, covered with foil on 350 degrees until done. For my medium sized steak it took 40 minutes.

Drain juices into sauce pan, add butter and heat on medium until melted. Stir in flour until you get a thick gravy. Cover and take off heat.

This can be eaten by itself with mashed potatoes, but you can get more creative. I sliced onion and green pepper and sauteed them with a bit of cooking spray until they began to caramalize. While that was cooking I roasted some baby carrots with olive oil, salt and pepper. Slice the steak thinly, add it to the skillet and you can pour this, with the gravy and carrots over cooked rice or pasta.

Or, (and this is how my husband ate it) you can add cheese sauce to the pepper/onion/steak mixture, put it on some hearty bread and have cheese steak sandwiches.

See? One steak easily gives us three different meal options. Not bad, huh?

What foods do you cook and reuse in different ways for multiple meals?

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

8 Things I Love That No One Needs Anymore

Maybe I'm old-fashioned or being naive, but some stuff just used to be better, funner or easier without much technological advancement. Here's my list of things I kind of miss, even if I don't still use them myself.

8 Things I Love That No One Needs Anymore

1) Tap Water: When did tap water become not-good-enough for people? I mean, sure, if you're someplace where the water tastes nasty or is nasty, pop open a bottle of distilled Alpine water that's been blessed by Buddhist monks. Otherwise, get a filter and drink the stuff from the faucet. Don't you know that there are millions of people around the world who would kill to have drinkable water flowing through their homes?! Use it, dammit!

2) CDs & DVDs: We're all about the digitally downloaded mp3, PDF, etc. now, and I admit that I rarely buy music anymore. But, I do love a hard copy with liner notes, lists or lyrics. It's a wonder anything ever gets made with all the people who have to be involved, and I like seeing who helped make my favorite stuff possible.

3) VCRs: I know, seriously old school. And if more than two things you wanted to see played simultaneously, you were screwed. But! It was so easy to use. I still have one even though it's been abandoned to the basement. I suppose this is me being nostalgic for my childhood, when VCRs were still new technology. Ours kept a lonely kid happy on my many uneventful nights. And for that, I love it still.

4) Books: I need books. It's that simple. Not a Kindle or Nook or whatthefuckever. BOOKS. I like the way they smell and feel and how words look on the page. I like how books sound when you thump them. Unlike the items in #2, I still buy books. Way too often, in fact. Sure, they take up a lot of space, but no one can accidentally delete them from your life if they're sitting on your shelf.

5) Cameras: I majored in photojournalism in college. Yet, of the 400 photos I've taken in the past three months, only about 12 of those have been with a stand alone camera. Even though I own six working cameras, I used my smartphone for every other shot. Oh, I still lust over fancy pants equipment. I'd just prefer to carry as little extra weight as possible when I don't need to have my real gear on me.

6) Film: Before smartphone photography took the world by storm, there was the digital camera revolution. Remember the thrill of knowing that every shot was a good one? Well, I say perfection can be boring. Why do you think all the photo apps on your phone have settings that mimic fucked up film shots? It's fun! Not quite knowing what you're going to get is exciting, and excitement is something most of us need more of.

7) Laptops: Yes, a tablet would be easier to carry. I'm already freed of heavy camera weight, though, so I've got poundage to spare for my portable friend. My newest model is named Siobhan and she's 16 months old. I'm serious. Stop laughing! I like to name stuff!

8) Pen & paper: I frequently write posts out longhand. Sometimes all the clickaty-clack and staring at a screen makes me feel disconnected from what I'm writing. Besides, if the world goes all Revolution on us, we are going to need to know how to write with our hands, people!

What do you love that people don't need anymore?

Friday, October 26, 2012

Happy Friday! Fall & Such

Ah, friends! We're firmly fixed in fall and working our way steadily toward that Halloweenie time of year...Which I couldn't care less about. Really. I don't like being scared, I haven't worn a costume in decades and we never get Trick or Treaters, so I don't even hand out candy (and haven't since my teenage years). It'll be a good night to stay at home and read, as far as I'm concerned.

Not being a spoiled sport, though, I've got some Halloween themed links for you, so let's get to it!

1) Want to see a galaxy being born? It'll only take a little over two minutes!

2) TIME has put out their list of the 25 best blogs of 2012.

3) Family photos could not get more awkward. Just in time for Halloween foolishness!

4) Also Halloween related? Sexy cartoon and Sesame Street characters. Elmo just can't stop crying, y'all.

5) Finally, if you want to boost your creativity, you might want to get a cat. Plus, boredom might be good for you.

That's all for me. Have a great weekend!

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Tuesday Tipday: How To Care For Others Without Losing Your Mind

My mom cared for my grandmother for 10 years of her life. For the last eight of those years, they lived together.

The most important thing for P.T. was my grandmother. While that's completely understandable and commendable, it meant mom did things like go a whole day without eating, forgetting to take her blood pressure pills and skipping her own doctor's appointments.

In short, P.T. lost her mind.

If there's one thing I've learned in the six weeks I had to help HUBS while he was on medical leave, it's that the person you love may be sick, but if you devote all your time to them you'll lose yourself, neglect yourself and get bitter.

Here are my tips for staying sane when caring for loved ones.

How To Care For Others Without Losing Your Mind

1) Calm down. It's hard to be in pain. But I know that it's also incredibly difficult to watch someone else experience pain (especially if you love them and can't do anything to help them). Try to find constructive ways to release that anxiety. Scream into a pillow, punch a stuffed animal. Watch a reality show filled with stupid people (That's 99% of reality shows! You won't have trouble finding one!) and yell at the screen. Yessss...Better.

2) You matter, too. Get regular checkups. Take your medicine. Bathe, for God's sake. But! Don't just do the things you have to. If life is chock-a-block with responsibilities but no fun, you'll get miserable pretty damn fast. Find time to read your favorite magazines, work on your illustrations or have coffee with a friend. You'll be a better care-taker if you remember that your body and mind need nurturing too.

3) Don't fear boundaries. In order to get all this "me" time in between medication schedules, procedures and appointments, you might need to tell your patient that there are certain times of the day and/or week when you'll be doing your own thing. If taking a three hour bath while you drink wine and watch porn is the only thing that'll relax you, step up and let them know you need that time. You porn addicted winos, you.

4) Separate is not equal. If you're dealing with someone whose mental or physical functioning has dropped dramatically, it can be hard to separate them from their illness. Thereby making it easier to get mad when they do/say bone-headed things. Remember - they are not the illness. Now, if they constantly treat you like crap, that will need to be discussed. But, a bit of poor attitude is to be expected when a long-term debilitating condition sets in. Get mad at the condition and find a way to lighten the mood for both of you.

Are these steps easy? Not at all. Plus, it'll take some self-control not to fall back into a them-them-them mindset. But, as doing yoga and going to bed early have taught me as of late, you'll be glad you made the effort.

Have you ever cared for a sick family member or friend for a long period of time? Hit the comments and let us know how you coped.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Music Monday: I Got The Music In Me!

Welcome to the week, everybody. Do you know what's awesome? Google Play Music. I'm probably late to the cloud music party, but I love this thing. Just upload your music and you can listen to your library on any device with the app installed. It's amazing.

What else is amazing?

1) Comfort food on a rainy day.
2) Frozen yogurt with caramel sauce.
3) New fall TV shows.
4) New music. Go!

Friday, October 19, 2012

Happy Friday: Yes!

Finally! HUBS feels better, y'all! Monday night he was in excrutiating-almost-crying pain for a couple of hours, and then...Calm. Sudden, blissful calm. The pain isn't gone, but he's now able to sit for an hour, before he only had ten minutes in a chair until he needed to lay down. He can sit long enough to drive himself to work or play video games on his computer. He's almost like a normal person again, and I am so, so, sososo glad!

That is the best thing that happened this week. Now? Let's look around online...

1) Creative? A new study says you're probably kinda crazy, too.

2) Having trouble staying productive? Try napping.

3) Dammit Kathie Lee Gifford! Stop dropping puppies!

4) If you've ever wondered what atrocious names classmates are teasing your kids with, Babynamer can help you out. No one ever used Ada Potato on me. But I got "Yo, Adrienne!" all the time. Had to stop talking to a boy over it. Yes I did.

5) The Awl has a great list of 21 Lies Writers Tell Themselves.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Music Monday: It's In The Way You Use It

I love fall. I mean, love fall and its weather with a passion. I got the chance to drive around on Sunday and relax in the presence of pretty, pretty leaves. It was nice, and I hope you are all enjoying the cooler, more colorful days we're having.

HUBS is still in pain. He has now had two cortisone shots in his back and is taking some kind of muscle or nerve relaxant along with his pain meds. It's not helping. Plus, he had to go back to work as of today, where he had to stand in pain most of the day since sitting feels even worse.

I don't know what to do for him anymore and it hurts and makes me angry and sad and frustrated. As you can likely guess, it's doing wonders for my depression!

I mentioned before that I've been seeing a therapist again. On Saturday she suggested I talk to my doctor and go back on mood meds. Which made me cry. I'm not ashamed of taking drugs to feel more like a normal person, I just hoped I was done with that when I stopped taking Wellbutrin four years ago. But, considering the state of my unhappiness right now, and the fact that my therapist doesn't feel the tips in The Depression Cure alone can lift me to a normal level, I might as well.

Another thing screwing with my emotions? My stupid hair! To put it mildly, it's a 20 mule team cluster fuck up there. Oh, well. I'm going to keep trying new techniques to see if I can come out of this transition without going bald.

Enough of the pity party! Music!

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

I Am Not My Hair

Why is hair sometimes such an emotionally charged thing? Women are especially prone to worrying about this; since all men really have to deal with is the possibility of going bald, they do get it easier. But, women? We have a lot more to think about with regards to hair.

We worry ourselves over getting the right length, shape or color. Does it go with my skin tone? Does it make me look too old or too young? Does it look professional enough, or freeing enough? We endure mild forms of torture with a variety of chemicals and hot as hell tools to get it all just right. Or so we think.

Well, I am done. I stopped all the fussing with heat a few years ago. I simply got tired of trying. And now I've decided to stop with the chemicals. As of early this summer I stopped relaxing my hair, after 23 years of holding fast to unnaturally straight (for me) tresses.

For those of you who don't know, having your hair relaxed is no joke. That stuff is potent. If you leave relaxer on too long it can dissolve your hair or burn your skin. And yet, millions of women take the risk for kink-free strands.

We also blow dry or flat iron our hair into submission. And, many Black women will remember having their hair done in the kitchen as children with a hot comb. This was a metal comb that was sat on the open fire of a stove and then raked through the hair to straighten it. I know! It was insanely capable of burning the shit out of you if the person doing the combing wasn't really careful. Or if you moved. Oh, God. If you moved, forget about it!

My freshman year of college in 1993. Long before having to endure styling over bald spots.

My reasons for going natural were two-fold. In 2008 my hair fell out and it's never really recovered. I'm hoping that getting rid of the bi-monthly usage of harsh chemicals will help my hair finally grow back. (I did see a doctor who specializes in hair/scalp issues, by the way. None of the stuff he gave me helped.) Also? HUBS and I just couldn't afford the cost of upkeep anymore. It cost $50 every time I got my hair relaxed. Considering our previous financial situation, I actually started to feel guilty when I went to the salon. I was always thinking about the bills we could pay with that cash or the groceries we could buy.

The downside now? I'm embarrassed to say it, but I have no idea how to care for my natural hair texture or how to style it in this weird in-between stage. And I have no idea what to do with it once it's fully natural.

I was never good at futzing with my hair anyway. I've never had the arm strength for all that hands-over-head stuff that creative styling requires. Now? Thank God I own a lot of scarves, headbands and bobby pins, because I'm in some combination of those things daily.

So I'm waiting. Waiting for my hair to normalize. Waiting to figure out a way to look polished with whatever my kinky/curly hair will turn into when all the relaxer has grown out. Waiting for a new freedom that I wish I'd been brave enough to dive into ages ago.

Monday, October 08, 2012

Music Monday: Bait & Switch

Rudy doesn't believe this either.

Well, well, well...Look who's shown up again on a Monday. These continue to be some of the most trying times HUBS and myself have had.

Luckily, my health issues are basically cleared up, and we're experiencing the kind of financial relief that can only be understood by anyone who's been unburdened of several thousands of dollars in debt.


But, HUBS is still pretty bad off. He had an MRI last week and we found out he's got a bulging disk and another disk that about to bulge. He's been in tremendous pain for a full month and nothing has helped him get back to work or fix the problem enough so that he can live normally. Not the physical therapy, or the major pain medication, or the cortisone shot he had last Thursday which was directed right at his bad disks.

Actually, about that shot. The orthopedist told us it should take up to 48 hours for it to kick in and HUBS to experience some relief. He called the doc this morning, since, clearly, that didn't happen. What did the doctor tell him this time? That it could take up to a full week for the cortisone to work.

You know what? If that was the maximum amount of time for him to get back to some semblance of normal, why did he not tell us that before, during or immediately after HUBS got the shot? On top of that, this doctor apparently makes it a policy to never take people off work for injuries like this. So, now HUBS is using sick days to cover his time off, because if the doc won't sign off on staying at home worker's comp won't pay for it.


Yeah, I said it! I'm on to you medical conspiracy fuckers!

Wow, it feels good to get that off my chest! Let's listen to some music now, I need to calm down...

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Heal Thyself!

So, aside from trying to get better and help HUBS get better this past month, I've also been reading a book that was suggested to me by a reader of this blog (Thanks, Jeri!).

The Depression Cure was written by a doctor who created a drug-free program to help people kick their depression symptoms in the ass.

What I love most about the program is that everything is doable, inexpensive or free and based on some pretty simple ideas. Since we tend to close ourselves off from life when we're depressed, we end up making things worse because, guess what? We need to get some exercise, hang out with people, sleep a solid part of the night, go outside and see the sun and do things we enjoy so that we stop dwelling on our problems (perceived and real).

I haven't fully implemented all of his ideas, mostly because there's still a bit of upheaval around these parts, but I am happy about what I've been able to do so far.

1) I'm taking an omega 3 supplement because it's been shown to help with mood.

2) I've been using Breathe Right strips since Friday, and they have greatly helped my ability to sleep through the night. (With the exception of Monday night, when I was up for an hour and 40 minutes dealing with a bout of food poisoning. I'm done with you, Applebee's.)

3) Now that it's cooler outside, I've been spending a lot more time outside in the sun. Not purposely soaking up the sun, but not actively staying to the shadows when I'm outside, either.

4) With all our HUBS medical trips of the past few weeks, I've probably talked to more people this month than I have all summer. Even though doing so much of it was annoying at times, I know it's better than locking myself away in my cat-filled house on a daily basis.

5) I let HUBS talk me into swimming last week. His physical therapist said it would be good for his back and leg, and he found a place with a whirlpool, sauna and steam room to help with my congestion that we could try for free. And, you know what? I thoroughly enjoyed it. It was free. We went in the middle of the week at night so hardly anyone was there. The pool was a balmy 84 degrees so it didn't shock to get into or out of. The whirlpool without bubbles was to die for. You have my heart Jewish Community Center. You. Have. My. Heart.

6) I've become completely absorbed in the games on my phone. Ruminating is one thing that will make depression worse every time. I needed to get my mind off things and turned to my neglected game apps. It has worked tremendously. I even had HUBS futz with my phone to give me more storage space so I could add more games. I'm loving the freedom it's giving my brain!

I plan to do more as I feel better. Honestly, I feel like I have some control over my symptoms for the first time in my life. If nothing else, this program works just by giving me hope of being able to beat this thing. Plus, I'll have a nice list of steps I can take to make things better when I start to get down.

If you're battling the blues or full blown depression, I cannot say enough to recommend getting your hands on this book. I really believe it will help.

Do you have any tried and true methods for beating back the blues? I'd love to hear them, so share in the comments!

Friday, September 21, 2012

Happy Friday: Normalcy Is A Tricky Thing

HUBS and I are both sick. I have some sort of sinus infection that I've been battling for a month, while HUBS hurt his back last month and has been in so much pain for the past two weeks that he's been on worker's comp leave for almost the whole time and will likely have at least another week off.

As you might remember, I'm not currently working. But when I do, I work at home. Driving long distances in rush hour traffic are no longer a part of my DNA. HUBS' injury has lead to an amount of (almost) daily driving that has been unprecedented in my life for the past four years.

And, since I'm semi-sleep deprived and completely unused to driving a lot, this has been a difficult time. HUBS is cranky 'cause he's in pain and no one really knows what's causing the pain. I'm cranky 'cause I'm essentially running errands every day and I've been congested for a month and I'm not sleeping enough.


I say all this to explain my light posting and attention to all your blogs as of late. I plan to go to the doctor some time next week, which will hopefully cure at least some of my issues and lead to a clearer head and more internet time.

Plus! We do have good news. HUBS' excellently supportive parents have generously relieved us of a tremendous amount of financial responsibility. So, we have some breathing room that we need to plan out lest we end up in a ridiculous amount of money trouble again. Which is causing tiny panic attacks every time I think about it, but I suppose I'll get over that soon.

Enough about my crap! Let's see what I've been missing online...

1) Babies belong to gangs now? I'm horrified...And filled with laughter.

2) Sports fans will likely go nutty over this exhaustive list of every team logo ever. They even cover rugby!

3) Planning a fall trip to Copenhagen but never been abroad before? Here's a great list of all the things you'll need to keep in mind. There are two more parts if you want more help.

4)I've been in a forced foggy-headed internet vacation for most of two weeks, but if you're feeling overwhelmed by online life you shouldn't fear tuning out for a bit. 12 Most gives you some inspiration for shutting down and living off line.

5) If you're trying to eat healthy, this list of the Top 10 Superfoods could help you out.

Phew! This was a lot of interneting for one day. Now I need a nap. Have a great weekend, everyone!

Thursday, September 20, 2012

10 Things I Don't Understand

Hey! Someone else looks like crap with messy hair just like me! Good to know...

There are some things about life which I have little or no understanding of. Here's my list.

10 Things I Don't Understand About Life

1) Messy hair: It looks fine on other people (usually). But, if I have a single hair out of place, I am guaranteed to look like a homicidal crack head. Isn't it nice to know what doesn't work for you?

2) Giving the finger: Sure, I've done it a couple of times in righteous anger. But, it just felt kinda...Meh. Since what I really want to do when I flip someone off is yell or smack them upside the head with a large metal serving spoon, the finger just doesn't feel like enough. So, I don't do it.

3) Thong underwear: These, ostensibly, became all the rage to remove ladies' panty lines. Can I tell you something? When I was still working downtown and saw well-dressed career women all the time, a LOT of them had thong panty lines. And there is nothing more hideous than a constant reminder of a stranger's ass crack. I am pro-granny panty. All the way.

4) Sunscreen: Now, before you begin to silently judge me, you should know that I of course wear sunscreen. But, I also hate it with a fierce passion. I'm sure there's some $45,000 bottle of the stuff out there that makes you feel fresh and glowy and sophisticated. I only buy the drugstore variety, so I turn into a sticky hobo within an hour of putting the stuff on. Dammit, sun!

5) Iced coffee: Just disgusting. If coffee's not hot, what's the point? I will sit under a fan on full blast if need be to have my piping morning cuppa. Yes I will.

6) Piercings: Earrings? Sure. A dainty diamond stud in the nose? OK, fine. But bones and bars and ear lobe extenders? No. And, you're not even an original anymore, hun. Take it out, stitch it up and move on.

7) Politics: Oh, I vote. Lots of people went through a lot of trouble, including dying, so my black female ass could have a say. The problem? I find it impossible to believe 99% of what anyone on either side (or in the middle) tells me. I think most of them just want the power of being elected. And the rest of them will soon be corrupted by all the games they need to play to get anything accomplished. As you might imagine, I usually leave my polling place feeling vaguely icky and praying I made a choice that won't send us into Armageddon.

8) Fashion magazines that refuse to acknowledge the fact that most women can't, and wouldn't even if they could, pay $70 for eyeshadow: Show some cheap shit, already! And? Stop pretending you have a story on high/low fashion when your "low" is a pair of $189 pants. You know what? Nevermind. You keep acting like fools and I'll keep not reading and yelling Fuck you Vogue! when I pass a newsstand.

9) Ugly-cute animals: Notice we don't ascribe this dichotomy to people? That's because ugly-cute doesn't exist. Can you really not love your ugly-ass dog if you don't insist it's cute? Well, shame on you, I say. Shame!

10) Low rise pants: Haven't we all seen enough butt crack beginnings in our lives? Haven't we?!

What things about modern life do you not understand?

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Tuesday Tipday: How To Look (Sorta) Good When You Feel Like Crap


Well, well. I'm finally almost getting over my feeling of being exiled by illness. And while I'm no where near 100%, I am bolstered by a good bath and hair combing.

Why are those things so important? Because when you're sick, whether those are physical or mental blahs you're dealing with, it's easy to get mired in bed with ratty hair and dirty pajamas. Sometimes that's OK. But sometimes, you absolutely need to leave the house. And when that happens, you should try to look presentable enough that everyone you come into contact with doesn't frown upon seeing you and ask, "Do you want me to call someone for you?"

Here now? My tips to look less like the crap that you feel.

How To Look (Sorta) Good When You Feel Like Crap

1) Get up slowly. OK, so you have to be somewhere. If at all possible don't make this a first-thing-in-the-morning kind of appointment. In my experience, that will just make you angry. Shoot for an out-the-door time of 10 or 11 am. That way you can roll out of bed, relax for a bit and then ease yourself into presentability. Also? Don't pretend you'll be any more ready for leaving the house after noon. Give yourself too much time, and it will just get harder to be motivated. And you know it.

2) Some grooming is essential. Look, I'm not going to pretend that I am the most kempt person while ill. I am not. But when you need to show your face to the world, you gotta do something. If you can't get with brushing your teeth, eat something that smells good before you leave. Nobody can use their breath as a knockout weapon after having peppermint candy or a chocolate chip cookie.

Don't feel like combing your knotty mess of hair? This is what scarves, hats, ponytails and razors were invented for. Too tired to bathe? Clean the essentials. Yeah, those essentials. (Though I must say, a cap full of bleach in a hot-as-I-can-stand tub full of water always does wonders when I feel like shit.)

3) Eat. Something! Maybe you've been losing precious nutrients through no volition of your own during this time and you're a bit afraid of ingesting anything that will upset the delicate balance of your tummy. If you're going to keep your wits about you in the world at large, you'll need some food in you.

Saltines and Sierra Mist may not be exciting, but they'll stop you from fainting in Sears. So will a bit of white rice with sugar (no milk or butter unless your illness involves no intestinal me if you haven't learned this lesson for yourself) or dry toast.

4) Decoration becomes you. Put on your best looking, non-confining clothes. Lip balm if you're a guy, lip gloss and blush (if you can stand it) for the ladies. Add big shades for your undoubtedly weary eyes and nice, but comfy, shoes. There! That wasn't so hard! Now, get out of the house and get your shit done so you can crawl back into bed as soon as possible.

Friday, August 31, 2012

Happy Friday: Sorta Kinda

People? I am not having a good week. I'm sick, sleep deprived, achy, irritable and tired of things that should be simple turning drastically more difficult (and more expensive). So, in order to DO MY OPPOSITE, let's not go into too many details, OK? Here's what went right this week...

1) I finally had work done on my car so I could get my tags renewed.
2) When my horn shorted out and wouldn't stop honking, a nice apartment manager named Jessie helped me and even called her maintenance men in from lunch to look at my car.
3) I have not died from whatever cold/allergy/demon sinus infection I've gotten.
4) I started reading The Depression Cure and think I can integrate the changes into my life.
5) I wrote a cool blog post while trapped at the mechanics yesterday, it'll post next week.
6) Also while getting my car fixed? I solved my glitchy phone issues. At least for now.
7) We're getting a steady stream of sensible rain today, plus it's not hellishly hot. I really appreciate that!

Now! Internet awesome!

1) Maybe The Pomodoro Technique can help us "eliminate the anxiety of time."

2) The Scale of the Universe 2 is a website created by two 14 year old twins. And if you want to see how big you are in relation to the St. Louis Arch, a shrew, a twip and a lot of other stuff massive or massively tiny, you'll love it. I was trapped on here for half an hour Wednesday. But! It's OK! You learn things!

3) The wonderful weirdness that is Retronaut has skeletons of our favorite cartoon characters.

4) It's possible I'm behind the curve on this one, but I just found 12 Most. The site has great lists that'll help you learn stuff in business, media and lifestyle categories.

5) Finally, if you've started storing files in the cloud, Techlicious has a safer way to do it.

That's all for me, lovelies. I'm going to go get the tags for my car and try to exercise some before collapsing into a wickedly tired heap. Have a great weekend!

What's gone right for you this week?

Monday, August 27, 2012

Music Monday: Changing Things

This weekend was pretty low key, but I did do something essential on Saturday: I went to see a new therapist.

Six free sessions were made possible by HUBS' insurance company and their employee assistance program. I also made an appointment for free financial counseling that'll take place over the phone Wednesday. I'm not sure the money man will be able to tell me anything I don't already know, but it's worth a shot.

The therapist had some good starting suggestions, and until my next appointment my homework is to look into the things she suggested. And, that includes a visit to a homeopathic store to see if any natural stuff can alleviate my depression symptoms.

So, it's all worth a try, right?

Now, some new music for you!

Friday, August 24, 2012

Happy Friday! Trying To Live My Own Lessons

Mom before me, in January of '72.

Boy, did I ever get smacked in the face with my own theories this week. My mom, who I've been worried about since she got laid off right after my uncle died in spring 2009, finally got a job on Wednesday. She starts work tonight.

And? I'm jealous.

I know! I just talked about this on Tuesday. PT did not get my job. Her getting a job does not mean that there is one less job for me. I have some good stuff going on. I woke up at 4:44 this morning because I couldn't breathe (that's not the good thing; anyway, I think I have a sinus infection) and ended up applying for two jobs online and filling out two applications that had been sitting around for a week.

So, I need to let you know that PT getting herself a job really does make me happy and less worried. But I happen to also be completely envious. She's applied for exactly two jobs in her three years of unemployment and she nailed the second one. I've put my name in the race for, what must be, a couple of hundred jobs and aside from two short temp gigs...Nothing.

PT will be leaving for work soon, I have to call and wish her luck, so here are some internet wanderings for your enjoyment this weekend.

1)If you're interested in continuing your education, Mashable has a list of ways to do it online.

2) Brain Pickings has had some interesting articles on sleep and why it's good for every aspect of our lives.

3) Margaret Atwood has 10 honest rules for writing fiction. This list is great for all the writers out there (in here).

4) Lifehacker has the scoop on a web app that'll let you license your Instagram pics.

5) And for a little comedy, Olympic gymnast McKayla Maroney is not impressed and Expendables 2 stars before they were famous.

Enjoy the weekend, lovelies!

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Will I Ever Be OK With This?

My left hip is bothering me. It doesn't hurt or anything. It's just really fucking fat.

It's true. My left hip is fatter than my right hip. I know most of us live in bodies without complete symmetry, and I've dealt with this in other ways, but I still find this utterly annoying.

For some reason, this hip thing bugs me more than having one foot (I can never remember which) bigger than the other and a right boob that's heavier than the left. And I don't know why. It's almost like it's a symbol; a sign of something bigger and nastier in my brain.

This discontent isn't just about me losing 20 pounds, gaining back five and having it all, apparently, go to my left hip. No, I don't think so. It's about how I let myself go and kept myself there; way on the other side of the weight I want to be. How I started to back away, slipped and have stayed, cowering, on a rocky cliff. I'm hanging on for dear life to something I don't want. Again.

I've never been crazy about my body. That's not true. I probably didn't think much about it when I was five or six. But, that was before. Before I noticed that girls were supposed to be thin so they could be pretty. Pretty so they could liked. Liked so they could be popular and happy and successful. You know, before.

Before I saw Tamara in the second grade and how all the boys looked at her and talked about her all the time. And before I saw how the other girls asked about her hair and clothes and talked about her all the time. No one talked about me. I was chubby and kinda tall for my age, so if anyone talked about me it was because they wanted help with their math homework.

I don't blame Tamara for any of this. She was just being her thin, popular, really pretty self. The issues weren't immediate, anyway. There was just a realization that stayed with me. A realization that was there two years later when I got glasses, and two years after that when I started to get acne and...

BOOM! There's the problem.

I started exercising, but it wasn't like before, This wasn't roller skating in the park, swimming at the community pool or playing racquetball. Those were for fun. This exercise was work. I exercised to lose weight. I wanted to lose weight so people would pay attention and finally, fuck finally, like me.

They call it "working out" for a reason; if you don't like it, it's torture. And since it felt like torture, it didn't help. I didn't lose weight, I got bigger. I spent high school trying to be alright with being big, shy, acne-ridden and four-eyed. I wore long tops and stretch pants. I rocked short skirts with tights to try hiding my fat knees. Meanwhile I had to order a men's letter jacket and have my marching band uniform specially fit for me, all while yelling at my gym teacher, I'm just not athletic!

College was different. I lost weight; I wasn't thin, but after losing 60 pounds, I was finally not fat. I worked out every day. Sometimes twice a day or at 3 a.m. so I could always fit it in. I also cut way back on what I ate; and binged around the corners of my restrictive diet and crazy workout schedule. I never got any more popular, but I kept that weight off for years. Then, suddenly it seems, I was 35 and heavier than I'd ever been. And now I'm 37, a little bit lighter again, but with one super-fat hip.

One super-fat hip that shows me what a failure I've been my whole life every time my arm accidentally brushes against it. My left hip? That's my inadequacy in what feels like every area of life.

What I wonder now is if I will ever be OK. Not just with my supremely imperfect body, but with my imperfect life. Will I ever reach that pinnacle of human awareness where I can fully enjoy where I am while striving for something better?

Or will I always want more so bad that it hurts too hard to even try actually working for more?

Will something more or better always seem like it's for someone else and not me?

I don't know anything right now. Since I'm rounding the corner to 40, I'm not sure if that's freeing or terrifying.

Have any of you reached a point where you're fine with your imperfect bodies? How did you get there?


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