04 May 2015

Too Much

Too much is happening, and my brain is overwhelmed. It isn't really too much, though, since I'm still standing. I have days when it's likely sheer stubbornness that keeps me going. My mantra lately has been "focus". Each day, I remind myself to focus on the main objective. For now, while my whole house wants redecorating and decluttering, I have to narrow it down to the living room. When I'm looking for paint, I'm looking only for the living room paint (and my people know THAT's a big fat lie... I love paint). Same with curtains. I bought new curtains, ONLY for the living room. It isn't easy to focus when I see ideas for other rooms of the house. Or other projects. Too much going on in my head!

The clamoring of the rest of the mental clutter gets shoved to the back as I remind myself to "focus". Each unfinished (or never started) project belonging to someone else weighs very heavily on my mind. There are numerous projects out in my shop which require my attention. Those'll have to wait until I can clean things up. The boxes and tools are all a jumbled mess that don't allow for much productivity at all.

Slowly, I'm learning to accept that I do need help on occasion. I am even learning to *ask* for the help, because there is quite a difference between knowing the need for help, and taking action to get the help. What I have encountered a few times, though, is that the "help" I get is along the lines of verbal encouragement: "You got this! You're smart, and you can figure it out!" Gee, thanks. It isn't just my morale that's flagging here, so I want real, physical help. I do realize that I don't play Damsel in Distress very well. I get it. But just because I am *capable* doesn't mean that I want to have to figure it out on my own. And maybe I just want some company. Some helpful, useful, strong company.

My secret is that there are days when I'm not physically capable. When just the act of walking seems to be too much, and my brain is exhausted, and I have very little energy, my body just wants to drag itself to bed and sleep the day away. Moments like that, I understand why so many people with fibromyalgia lay in bed all the time. Moments like that, I wish that someone would clean my kitchen for me, including wiping down the counter tops and sweeping the floors... and putting away the toaster. Please, put away the toaster. It goes in the cabinet under the bar, second door from the right. There's even a nifty slide out rack where the toaster lives. Seeing a cleared off counter eases my mind.

Yeah, I know. I'm strong, smart, and capable. I can put away the toaster. Thanks.

23 March 2014

Two Years

For two years, this blog has been dormant, while Life went on. There was plenty to write about during those two years, and I was too lazy to do the writing.

Writing. The thoughts in my head clamor to be written. The act of writing calls to me. My patience doesn't allow for much *actual* pen-and-paper writing, when typing is so much quicker. And that same (im)patience doesn't want to waste time staring at a screen for hours on end. Unless it's my phone screen, go figure.

In the past two years, my mama began writing a blog, too. Her blog is powerful and moving. It's her story, a heartbreaking journey that others need to read. More than that, she needs to tell that story. Life stories often come out in bits and pieces, and can be confusing or overwhelming when we try to corrale them into a cohesive project, such as a book. Blogging seemed to be the perfect outlet, so I helped her set it up. And she did with her what I did with this one - abandoned it for a while (I am my mother's daughter in so many ways). Recently, a major upheaval in her life has compelled her to once again blog. Reading through her blog (in addition to making me cry) inspired me to once again try posting on my own blog.

Thanks, Mama.

The past two years have done nothing to ease my anxiety about putting my thoughts in writing. I've had my words used against me in legal documents. I've been spied on, had my privacy invaded to such a degree that I'm nervous about writing that which most strongly needs to be written. There is a lot I would like to write about my marriage. My conundrum is this: should I write, in a blog, those thoughts that I refuse to express to my husband? It's a near-certainty that he will look for, and find, a blog (this blog) written by me, and will take every word to heart, as if it were the absolute gospel truth of what I think and feel. When it has been put into writing, that solidifies the thought into fact, and indicates that there is absolutely no other viewpoint co-existing with the written one. At least, that is how I feel he views my writing.

There are too many thoughts and ideas, often contradictory, that whiz and whirl through my mind, that I couldn't ever get them all down. My thoughts about my husband aren't all negative. The thoughts aren't all positive, either.

In the past two years, the scale of positive and negative has shifted in both directions. The assumption might be that I'd want positivity to outweigh the negative. I think that doesn't really work for me. I really do need the balance. I need the lows to help me really enjoy the highs.


It's amazing how quickly two years can pass!

17 February 2012


Now I'm in the mood to make scones.

If it weren't 10pm, and if I hadn't awakened at 4:10am, and if I hadn't already cleaned up my kitchen, and if I weren't just completely tired and propping up my eyelids with toothpicks already, I'd totally try my hand at making some scones tonight.

I'ma put some squiddos to bed, and hit the hay myself.

Post PS - Kraft Milkbite Bars? Ridiculous commercial. Who decided that personifying the foods they want us to eat was a great marketing strategy? Of course, those cannibalistic Cinnamon Toast Crunch commercials are even worse.


Baking is something that I love to do. Nearly all the bakery goodness that I love to bake is of the sort that I should not eat. Cakes, biscuits, breads, oh My!

Now, I am a member of Costco, den of awesome mega money-saving money-spending madness. At Costco, there can be found a variety of delicious edibles that can not be found in the run of the mill grocery store. Stuff like an amazing mixed berry whole grain artisan bread, full of virtuous grainy wholesome brown crusty goodness. It's just yummy. And we can rarely find it. That particular mixed berry loaf, I mean.

After weeks of abnormal cookiness in my kitchen, and mucho breads being baked, I decided that I wanted some of the delicious Costco artisan bread. Guess what Costco did not have.


 Google to the rescue!

I was determined to find a recipe for artisan bread. What I found was a beautiful recipe that made a very good base dough, which can be easily altered for a variety of flavors - I could do roasted garlic and herb, or jalapeƱo and cheese, or as is my current quest, a cranberry bread. I do not know which berries are in the Costco bread, so I am opting for dried cranberries to start.

I got whole wheat flour, milled flax seed, and regular flour. Then, on an unrelated trip to a Chinese market, I found a most lovely blend of whole oats and pearl barley. Beautiful and yummy! And perfect for my artisan bread. I did put the oats in the food processor to chop them a bit. There was still a very grainy appearance to the end result, as it seemed that the grains flew around the blades rather than being cut by the blades.

Oh how very nice was the dough. It was an unusual bread dough, to be sure - sticky and not easy to handle... Sticky. Still, it was brown and wholesome and had me hopping with excitement. When my first loaf came out of the oven, I thumped its bottom side, and hollow it sounded. Yay!

It was just so... I do love to bake. Love it!

The bread was tasty and toasty and nutty and home baked Yumminess.

Versatile, and requires no kneading, by the way. Yes, I will share with you where I found the recipe. It's called Fantastic Fearless Five Minute Bread...  And really, Mixing it did take only five minutes. If you wanted to get a little froggy and pre-mix your flours, you'd probably be able to shave a couple minutes off the mixing time. Of course, rising, resting, and cooking all take longer than five minutes. Believe me, it seems like forEVER when you're eagerly awaiting this Yumminess.

It's worth the wait, though.


10 February 2012

Dr. Me

It is amusing to watch my cats do yoga - "downward dog" is their fAvorite pose. That has nothing to do with vacuums or doctoring. Last night, I gave my vacuum cleaner a tracheotomy. It wasn't sucking. At all. All it was doing was spitting out hard pieces of debris from under the brush. This is not helpful if the goal is to get all the little bits of stuff removed from the carpet. Why else would I do it? I'd already gotten more than my fair share of exercise at the gym yesterday, and was tired as a result... Which begs the question of why was I vacuuming in the first place? Because I was cleaning my room. I don't know where that urge or energy came from, but I did it. And the vacuum was not cooperating. Since my vacuum tends to be a bit asthmatic (the HEPA filter makes me crazy - I don't want to clean my vacuum before I use my vacuum to clean), I took it out to the shop vac to clean the filter. Still didn't work. So I watched the hose on the vacuum cleaner and saw it drawing up tightly. The hose was clogged. No air. Couldn't breathe. This machine needed an airway, stat! I had a long piece of picture framing molding (which is a perfectly logical thing for me to have at my house), and slid it into the hose, gently, with the thought that I could maybe dislodge the clog and push it out the other side. Ha. Not a chance. So I took a box cutter and sliced through the hose, between two coils, pulled out a huge handful of dust, lint, hair, cornstarch and other detritus that made up the clog. Then I shook out as much dust as I could, closed the incision (I still need to find my duct tape), and cleaned up the mess. The vacuum had bled dust all over my bedroom floor. I swept most of it up. And when I turned on the vacuum, man, did that sucker suck! The doctor is IN! All day today, I've been ignoring the urge to vacuum the whole house.

03 February 2012

Two Minds

While daisychaining my way across the internet in the past few days, I have collected a few new blogs to read. I'm of two minds about this. One mind tells me that I don't want to collect blogs to read. I've spent quite some time (over a year now) significantly reducing my online time. I've developed a disinterest in sitting at the computer for hours... which is a completely misleading statement, given that I have a laptop and can sit or lay comfortably where ever I choose (within reason, as defined by me and my circumstances), and I spend inordinate amounts of time cruising the 'net on my iPad, too. Which seems to fly in the face of my "I've spend time reducing my online time" statement. I've been less "active", more of a passive internet consumer. Rarely checking facebook, rarely reading or commenting on blogs, going so far as to nearly dread checking my email. I just haven't had the energy or the interest in re-building an online community.

My other mind remembers how much I did enjoy being a part of an online community. Reading and commenting on other people's blogs, writing my own, and whatever else I did that I enjoyed (very descriptive, that). I'll read other people's blogs or webpages, and truly want to write again.

Slowly, I am learning to accept that my preferences are not set in stone. Maybe I actually am flaky or flighty, or some other unstable adjective that carries negative connotations. Today, I might want to write and blog and be online. Tomorrow, I may genuinely detest the thought with every fiber of my being. The day after tomorrow, a few of my fibers might decide to enjoy technology again, in moderation, while a few more fibers want to fling themselves whole-heartedly into the blogosphere (I guess those would be the cardiac fibers?). I just never know. I'm kind of like a spectator in my own skin, waiting to see what all these fibers will weave themselves into from moment to moment.

And somehow my girl-cat has turned off the track pad on my laptop. You'd think she'd have gone for the mouse instead.

12 January 2012

Kitchen Aid

"If you give a mouse a cookie..."

I could write a grown up version of this beloved children's tale - "If You Fix a Leaky Faucet". Or something like that.

That's how it started. My faucet leaked. For ages.

One day, [nerd alert] I quietly slid a cup under the faucet, averting my eyes so I couldn't catch myself proactively trying to figure out anything about that faucet. After five minutes, I measured the amount of water in the cup, ran some numbers, and figured that faucet was losing over two gallons of water every. single. day. [/nerd alert]

My previous attempt to fix the faucet (three months ago) involved changing the O-ring under (above?) the aerator. Didn't work, and I ignored it for...well, three months.

So I decided to buy a faucet. I went to Home Depot, which is much like a bookstore to me, in that I could bankrupt us if it weren't for wasting our money on those luxuries like utilities, house and car payments, food... I put my metaphoric blinders on and made a beeline for the faucets. Okay, not exactly a beeline - I detoured through the tile to drool over the tile saws just a little.

In the faucet aisle, I found a very nice brushed nickel faucet for a very reasonable $88. I had already decided that I wanted a nicer faucet than the construction-grade-bought-in-bulk faucet leaking in my sink. That wouldn't be difficult to accomplish, really. So I chose the brushed nickel faucet to match the handles on my cabinets and drawers. I wonder who decided that brushed nickel complimented orangey maple cabinets?

Just for kicks, because I am familiar with how Home Depot often hides their clearance items in plain sight, I scanned the shelves looking for the yellow clearance tag. Found several tags... for only 10% off, or on ugly faucets, and worse, 10% off an ugly faucet. Then I found one that made me blink, squint, wonder if I needed new glasses, and finally bend down to examine closer - $100 off! A Tuscan bronze faucet! For $35, I forgave the single handle-ness of that gorgeous faucet, and bought it. No brushed nickel for my kitchen! I quite like the look of oiled bronze, or as they called it, Tuscan bronze.

Thursday morning, while my kiddos were getting ready for school, seemed like a great time for starting a faucet exchange program. Because a fifth grader and a sixth grader have no need for mom's supervision or for using the kitchen sink while getting ready for school. hahahaha! I put a kink or two in their morning routines, and nearly broke my back a few times, making sure they were out the door on time. But out the door they went, and under the sink I went. Of course, my horizontal tummy offered the purrfect vantage point for Patches to supervise my work.

I'll spare you the gory, back bruising details.

Three hours later, my faucet was gleaming quite nicely. I'm pretty sure it winked at me. The thing probably knew what was coming, and was having a moment of amusement at my expense.

My darling husband came home and liked the faucet so much that it reminded him that we had other ideas for the kitchen, like the Giani Granite paint kit for painting the counters to look like granite, and getting a new sink, and well, the food waste disposer wasn't working, and the faucet matched nothing in the room.

Oh dear... we were giving a mouse a cookie.

Yes, that very evening, we bought paint, sink, and food waste disposer, and electrical cord for said disposer because oddly, the gizmo does not come with a cord attached! Isn't that helpful?

And by 6pm that evening, I was removing the faucet I had installed that very morning. And the sink. And taking all the stuff off the counters to scrub them.

If you want an inexpensive way to change the look of your kitchen, I highly recommend the paint kits sold by Giani Granite. Over the next few days, Our counters went from white-ish and plain to glossy and looking much like a real granite counter top. Very pretty, and significantly less costly than actual granite.

Once the counters were finished, it was time to drop in the new sink. My husband and I attached the disposal to our new sink, installed the drain kits, and lifted the sink up and over...

Guess what?

The drains on the new sink did not align with the old plumbing. Three days of having no kitchen sink were wearing on us, and this last hurdle seemed almost insurmountable.

After some studying, I figured out that all the straight pipes needed to be shortened. I snapped a few pics of the plumbing and ran off to Lowe's, where I match the pieces of the plumbing puzzle. Once at home, I grabbed my hack saw and started working. It was time consuming, not difficult. In fact, I was able to use more of the existing plumbing than I originally thought.

The next morning, I plugged everything in, turned on the water, gave the plumbing collars a final hand tightening, and...

nothing exploded.

All worked fine.

Now? The cabinet handles don't match my faucet...