God Bless the Rice Steamer and my Crock-Pot

When DSB and I were together, we (or rather, I) would cook home-made dinner ever night.  There was always meat, there was always a starch, and there was usually a vegetable.  And nine times out of ten, I made gravy from scratch.  When we did actually eat breakfast (maybe twice a week), DSB would whip up pancakes or french toast or who-knew-what.  The point being, is that we cooked much much more often than we ate out.

Now here I am, single lady, and I don’t miss cooking one bit.  I do, however, miss the food.  When I’m not eating fast food (which is far too often), I’m eating pre-made meals and dinner at other people’s houses.  I need to stop eating fast food, for my health AND my pocketbook, so I’ve been scoping around the Internet today and realized that I have really, the only two tools you need to make a fine meal, with minimal effort:  rice steamer and crock-pot.

You also can’t put down the value of a good microwave.  And I’ve had friends say a toaster oven is the way to go.  I am working with what I have and will likely be trying to avoid the microwave, as the things I put in it are generally full of salt, and my lower appendages are swollen like melons.

I’m still having those durn stomach problems too, pretty much no matter whether I eat fast food or dinner at Mom’s or dinner at Dad’s or pre-packaged whatever.  Or even not eating at all.  Doesn’t seem to matter.

But I’m ready for winter-foods that I can put in my crock pots and for things I can steam in my rice cooker, as well as, yes, more rice!  I think I may be over Ramen, although it’s unclear, but I have been so tired and sleepy lately, I think I am vitamin deficient and I think changing the way I am eating could help my budget (definitely), my health (for sure), and my sanity (probably).

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And who doesn’t like a little buttered rice? :)

Building Rome, Revisited

It has been since my birthday on August 11th since I have participated in Building Rome (which is brought to us by Green Embers, and you can get started here).  Building Rome focuses on small goals that lead to big goals, and I must admit, I have been lacking in the goal department here lately.  Sure, there are things to do, but they all seem so big and insurmountable.  I thought it might do me some good to spell things out every week again, in a relaxed and simple manner.

I won’t be reporting on the last week’s goals, because I am looking for a clean start.  They were too complex, too big, too whatever.  Instead, I’m going to review my top “Do or Die” goals and then end with new goals.

Rosa’s Do or Die Goals:

1) Take care of all  Kizzie’s needs, including play with Kizzie every day for at least 30 minutes.   I am failing horribly at this one, especially at the playing with Kizzie card.  That, and she went one 12-hour period without food, because I just didn’t notice.  Story of my life at this point.

2) Hygiene/Self-Care.  I am struggling with this.  Instead of showering every day, I am showering when I know I really need to.  I am, however, keeping my hair clean on a daily basis.  I have some very rough patches on my feet that really should be taken care of, and I am not using lotion like I should, and that really drags me down.  I do need to take better care of my body — its almost like I feel I don’t deserve it.

3) Take all medications as prescribed.  To a “T.”

 4) Eat healthfully.  Some days are better than others, but mostly, I just suck.

Rosa’s Goals Week of 9/1/2014

1) Keep taking Wellbutrin in attempt to quit smoking September 13th.  Continue cutting back and doing what I can to minimize the fallout when I actually do quit.

2) Get back to reading again.  Even if it is just 15/min per day, that would be better than nothing.

3) Do one nice self-care thing for myself every day, no matter how much I think I don’t deserve it.

4) Blog more regularly.  I have been blogging about once a week and really do miss it.  I need to stop flailing and start doing.

Astonishing Light

I am lonely, I am anxious, and have had a very different last week.  But, as Goddess of Mindfulness and Dad both pointed out, I rocked it.

The Big Dawg, QoB, and Rock were all out of town this past week at a water garden conference.  Big-time conference, lots of networking, lots of learning, lots of  fun (hopefully).  They left myself and Blue Cat in charge of the two stores, for the most part.

I think Blue Cat and I were fairly nervous for most of the week, especially when it came to dealing with pond customers.  I was better at saying, “we’re really not sure” and explaining the situation and that it would be better to come back next week.  Blue Cat was intent on just “handling” everything.  Sometimes that’s not the best approach, but sometimes it works.  I just hope he didn’t feed any irreversible information to anyone.

It was fairly slow, but we did bring in some money.  I was in charge of deposits, which I am used to, but I am used to someone telling me when to do one, and then just doing it.  I was also in charge of making sure we had enough money  hanging around to make change and therein lies a delicate balance.

So I’ve been beating myself up since Friday that I didn’t go to the bank and get more fives and tens.  My coin situation was fairly fine — I knew there would be a bank run on Monday, but I’m not sure there were enough fives and tens to last through today.  I never heard about it, so I’m assuming all was fine.  What a lot of lonely worrying I spent on that!

I also beat myself up, because I was supposed to not let the cash reserve get too high, and I failed to count Wednesday, and on Thursday we were double over what we are supposed to hold.  I made a frantic bank run on Thursday morning and am just hoping I’m not going to get lectured about my oversight.  All’s well that ends well, right?

These things have been eating me up all week, and I have convinced myself in my head that I am not competent to do the things I was asked to do.  Hold that thought right there, though, Rosa.

This past week:

1) I didn’t complain.  Not about working longer hours or about helping out with chores at Mom’s.  Did I somewhat dread doing chores because I made jokes about spilling entire gallons of water onto myself?  Yes.  Did I complain?  No.  When people are away, they need to hear that everything is fine.  And it was.  Completely.

2) I kept the dogs a little bit of company off and on throughout the week.  In my mind, that would help them be less neurotic when the folks got home, and hopefully it worked to a degree.  As Mom said, I had a little “staycation” in which I got to drink crushed ice and water from the fridge and put my feet up for a little while before doing chores.  It was actually quite nice to be away from the ensuing mess at home.

3) Speaking of the ensuing mess at home, I didn’t let myself get too bothered by it.  I knew I would get the chance to address it, but when I got home from doing work and chores, I was exhausted.  There is nothing wrong with ignoring a small pile of dishes or a mounting hill of laundry (as long as you still have clean underwear).

4) Today I got some feedback from Mom and as she says, if something got really messed up, we’ll deal with the fallout later.  I have been freaked out all week that we’re almost out of goldfish.  Talk about things that you can’t control.

5) I managed to get my colonoscopy and upper GI done on Friday, while Snickers and Blue Cat held down the fort.  I felt sick all day, so didn’t do much other than animal chores (which Dad helped with, hallelujah!) but I was ok with that.  I know I need to get better, physically.

So after typing this all out, and affirming that my mental health is intact (other than anxiety which is an all-the-time-thing ), I have to stop and say to myself:

Rosa — practice some self-compassion and you will get there.

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A Commitment to Experience Myself Differently

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If you’re determined to think of yourself as limited, fearful, vulnerable, or scarred by past experience,

know only that you have chosen to do so,

and that the opportunity to experience yourself differently is always available

Yongey Mingyur Rinpoche, The Joy of Living

(Quote found at Mindful Balance, one of my favorite pages)

This quote smacked me in the face at 5:00 this morning.  And I mean, smacked me and called me its runny-nosed brother, and smooshed my face into the carpet, calling me names all the way.  It knocked me the eff over.

Why didn’t I ever think of this?  Why hadn’t I listened when I heard it before?  How I see myself is a CHOICE.  Self-perception is IN MY HANDS.  I can keep the good and dismiss the bad.  I don’t have to perseverate on all the bad things that have happened to me throughout life.  They do not define me.

I have this breakthrough every now and again.   Usually after Goddess of Mindfulness has said something or after I read something like the above quote.  It just never seems to stick.  With the life I am living now, the life I am trying to build, you know, that life worth living, this MUST stick.  I MUST reinvent who I am.  Embrace the good, out with the negative thinking of myself.

The  one thing in the quote I don’t agree with, is making it sound like being vulnerable is a negative thing.  Perhaps if you consider yourself overly vulnerable, like any little thing is going to reach into the safe world you’ve built and snatch it away.  That’s a negative form of vulnerability.  But the vulnerability I see in myself, I consider a good thing.

Maybe this is because I am equating being vulnerable with being open, with being willing.  These are two things I am striving toward, and maybe they don’t equal vulnerability.  I only say they do because, well, they sure do make me feel that way.  I think you have to be willing to open yourself up to new things, new ideas, new people in order to grow, and that does make you vulnerable.

With that being said, I’ll take the majority of the quote as pure words of wisdom, and leave that one word out.  For me, being vulnerable is a place I need to be at, for now.  I need to leave myself open, even if it means I’m going to get my feelings  hurt or laughed  at or rejected.  It’s something I need to do, for me.

Building A Life Worth Living, Week Four

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The tiny miracles, true friendship, amazing family, beloved critters, and lovely events in my life that have made life worth living this week:

1) The ability to send an “unpublished” post to a few friends, have those friends reply in earnest, and wind up with an email chain full of great advice and love.  Thank you…stuff like that makes my week, any week.

2) The beauty that I was able to start again with Goddess of Mindfulness, the ORIGINAL therapist to end all therapists.  She has been a great support to me in what has been a really difficult week.  I have never had a mental health professional be more supportive and more willing to spend the time.  And to genuinely care — that might be the best part.

3) That a tiny miracle, a new baby, may be growing in the belly of one of my dearest friends.  That I will be able to be witness to this little one from pregnancy on up, is precious.

4) The trust that QoB and the Big Dawg have in Blue Cat and myself, to run both stores while they are away at a conference.  The Rock and I did it last year, and it seems that the Big Dawg is getting better at ceding intense control.  That, and we’re trusted — that is the big part.

5) The resiliency of the Kizzer Wizzer.  She had been so accustomed to me being at home 24/7 when I was sick, and now it seems I am gone all the time.  She has transitioned beautifully and is still a happy little dog — she gives me no reason for guilt.

6) The ability to end the week on a high note, feeling good, feeling positive and optimistic, and most importantly, living in the  moment.  The weenie roast at the end of the week was perhaps the best time I have had, with friends, in quite some time.

7) The reaffirmation that I made the right decision in not having children.  It is lovely to watch friends’ and families’ children grow, but I know deep in my  heart that I could never do it myself.

8) The wisdom, courage, and forethought to remove myself from toxic situations before they become too ugly.  Truly beautiful wise mind.

9) Noticing the serious side effects of a temporary medication after one day, being mindful to it, and deciding to not continue.  My mental health is a priority to me, and I would rather have painfully swollen feet and ankles, than to be up peeing every two hours, all night long.

10) The sheer joy of having a big bag of ice in the refrigerator, so I can have my water as cold as I like it, thus motivating me to drink more water.

Reasons I Might Be Losing My Mind

With the exception of “Dear God: You Forgot to Mention the Bad Parts” (which was one of my favorite posts of recent, but that received almost no attention…go look!), I have mostly been doing challenges for my post updates.  Lots of list posts, goal posts, thankful posts.  That’s all well and good, but I don’t want to be THAT blogger.  I started this blog to put it all out there and to process and to be reminded that I am flawed, but human.  I haven’t been putting it all out there.

I know we’re all tired of Rosa saying what crap 2014 has been (but it has), and it’s safe to say that my mental health has taken a nosedive once again.  There are reasons, though, this time.  There were triggers to the nosedive and I am going to say like I say on my tagline and “tell it like it is.”

Firstly, I have been going through a family struggle.  It’s something that everyone wants to keep private for very good reason, but it’s really been bringing me down.  I don’t know how many tears I have cried over this, and I don’t know when or if it will get better.  It weighs on my mind heavily, maybe more so than it should.

Then, there’s all the med changes.  No more Zyprexa and no tapering off the 10mg I took three times a day.  No more sleeping pill (a benzo) after a very short taper.  And remember the Geodon decrease and the Abilify upswing.  All 0f this within the last little while.  The no more sleeping  pill thing has probably been the worst and I haven’t slept in days.  I did, however, get a reprieve and was prescribed a small dose of Trazadone that I am hoping will work wonders.  I want to sleep, I don’t want to be comatose.  Hence getting off the other sleeping pill (plus, the sleep-driving just wasn’t a good thing).

The pressures to change my lifestyle.  Quit smoking AND lose weight.  Start exercising.  Eat healthier.  Taper down your smoking.  All at once, all coming at me from family, friends, doctors.  Everyone means well, I know, but I can’t do it all at once.  Goddess of Mindfulness told me today the same thing:  Rose, you can’t do it all at once.  She thinks this is a terrible time to quit smoking, even though I have been amping up for it for almost two weeks now.  She says I need to let my meds even out, start sleeping again.

Goddess of Mindfulness also thinks I need to focus on healthy eating.  She thinks it will make me feel better overall.  My dad really wants me to join a gym, after I mentioned that I might at some point want to do water aerobics.  The doctors are telling me no help for me until I quit smoking.  Everyone else just looks at me and my growing size and horrible cough and tries to recommend something.  Or just looks at me.

Something has to give.  Right now, in this very moment, my eating is out of control and I have to fix that.  Weight loss surgery somewhere down the line?  Maybe.  For right now, though, there has to be a change within my brain.  This is something I can do anytime.

Quitting smoking?  I will continue to cut back.  I will quit within the next month or so.  Can I do it all at once?  No.

Exercising.  I do want to do the water aerobics classes, but money prevents it, and right now I am so out of breath to do anything, that continuing smoking prevents it.

And all 0f the aforementioned squirrels just run around my mind chattering, and I am overwhelmed, and I feel like I’m losing it.  Something has GOT to give.