Thursday, January 31, 2013

Watercolors, Comfort Zones, and Middles

"As for me, I am a watercolor.  I wash off." (Anne Sexton)  Counseling Days are rough, my Friends.  Seriously, we discuss being "My Best Self" which I have come to find out means throwing me outside my Negative Little Comfort Zone.  Like most People, I do not care for being tossed out of my Safety Zone and Submerged in the Cold, Cruel World of Learning Experiences and Growth.  Terrible stuff.  Leaves me reeling for days after. According to my friend Maggie, the issue is simple.

Maggie: The problem is you have no in between.  There was no stops between the Super Awesome, I'm Amazing, and Entitled to Everything Manic Jennifer of a few years ago, and the I'm Worth Nothing, Look Away Jennifer of Today.


Me: What can I say? I've never had middles.  Its a problem.  


Really, that's what we need to discuss in counseling, Guys.  Where am I suppose to get middles from because its a mystery to me!  What's worse is that with the People I Love and Care about the most Yours Truly is Needy and Unsure.  I don't feel worthy of their time and attention which only makes me more work for them.  I need to Straighten Up.  Fly Right.  But I'm not exactly sure how.  I scare easy and cry with little provocation.  I'm like a watercolor.  I wash off.  Where can I purchase some Middles?

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Bad Day, Bad Time

Another hard night.  Time to take my meds that make me sleep.  Brush away the tears.  Make up a story about hope and happy endings.  Slip into sleep.  Try to rest.  Tomorrow, we begin again.  Same struggles.  Same fears.  Same hurts.  A new day. "A bad day, a bad time.  State of mind most important for work.  A blithe, itchy state.  Where the poem itself, the story itself, is supreme."

True Blood, Medication, and a Reason for Everything

Just think, there's a purpose for everything that God creates, whether it's a unique ability, an over-priced cup of coffee with to much milk, or a vampire.  Okay, I'll admit...I LOVE HBO's True Blood.  Like Charlaine Harris' books, the series is marked by action sequences followed by orgasms, lots and lots of orgasms.  And while that's great and all, what I enjoy most is Sookie.  Truth: Listen, Kids, I'm little different.  The reasons why are complex and personal.  But like Sylvia Plath, I like people too much or not at all.  And I rarely like them too much.  What that means in real terms is that I rarely become overly attached, and that goes double for the opposite sex.  I love the idea of romance, but I have to feel something.  And feeling something is a problem.  I learned to shut off at an early age.  To make jokes.  To laugh.  To pretend the ugly things don't bother me.  Its all good.  My friends tell me in some ways I more stable than most.  I don't come and go in my feelings.  The answer is YES or NO.  Most people have more gray area.  They exist on a continuum.  But I feel too much or nothing at all.  Maybe what I like about Sookie is the innocence aspect of her character.  She just likes Bill.  Not banging everybody and their brother.  Because, lets face it, I ought to be more experienced.  Tougher around the edges.  Fall easier.  Let go more quickly.  Excited to touch for the sake of touching.  No feeling attached.  Just arousal.  But I can't, and, I don't. I hurt and cry too often.  You'd think I'd be stronger by now.  I'm not.  Maybe there is a reason for that, I dunno.  But for the moment, its time for some medication and another episode of True Blood.     

Red Hairbands and Crossbows

“If I didn't think, I'd be much happier; if I didn't have any sex organs, I wouldn't waver on the brink of nervous emotion and tears all the time. ” (Sylvia Plath, Unabridged Journals)   I've cried all all night till there was nothing more, like Zooey Deschanel, but now, I think, perhaps, its time to summon the strength of fellow bipolar patient, Sylvia Plath.  I write about Sylvia often.  She comforts me, you see.  Her bursting passion.  Her devastating psychosis.  Her hot desire.  And today, after brushing away more than a few tears, it occurred to me that when Sylvia wanted kissed "bang, smash on the mouth" she didn't stand around crying.  Sylvia could, and did, look a loaded crossbow in the eye, and stand nonplussed and unimpressed.  Of meeting Ted Hughes, she wrote.

"I was stamping and he was stamping on the floor, and then he kissed me bang smash on the mouth and ripped my hairband off, my lovely red headband scarf which had weathered the sun and much, and whose like I shall never again find, and my favorite silver earrings: hah, I shall keep, he barked.  And when he kissed my neck I bit him long and hard on the cheek, and when we ccame out of the room, blood was running down his face..." (the crossbow was in the other room)

So, for, tonight, I think I'll tie a red hairband around my brown curls, practice a little patience, remember how hot my fire burns, and thank Sylvia for the example.  “How frail the human heart must be -- a mirrored pool of thought.” 

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Xanax, True Blood, and Bed

The medication has worn off.  Tears around the edges of my heart and eyes have replaced the sleepiness.  The thick, dull feeling that leaves me sluggish, but numbs the pain is gone.  A broken mind and a tight heart.  Words that hurt light up in my head like flashing neons signs.  The tape in my brain replays the same few tracks.  Someone please turn off the lights.  Stop the recorder.  Give me peace.  I feel trapped inside my own body.  Physical pain is more bearable.  It is centered.  Real.  We understand its simplicity.  Something is gashed, torn, or broken.  We have done damage.  Sometimes, I forget that I can do that sort of damage to myself.  Once we've committed the act there nothing left to do but wait it out. Its time for another Xanax, True Blood, and Bed.

Despair Followed by True Blood

Sometimes, when a Woman is in the Depths of Despair only Sexed-Up Vampires can help lift her Rumpled Spirit.  And to this end, today, Yours Truly marched into Target and purchased HBO's True Blood: Season One.  Now, I'll admit, before diving into Blood Sucking Vampire Sex, I briefly considered The Wire, but, while I've heard great things about the series, I have also heard it takes a little bit longer to get hooked.  I am not ready for such Strong Meats.  No, I must suckle at the teat of True Blood until I am stronger and less crazy. (Yes, I hear myself, but I just can't stop myself).  Reviews to come.

Rainbows, Tears, and Israel Kamakawiwo'ole

Israel Kamakawiwo'ole rendition of "Somewhere Over the Rainbow" has a special meaning for me because I first heard it on my way home from Europe (I dream I thought would never come true).  Right now, I'm struggling with another desire.  Cried of lot of tears.  Found myself broken on more than one occasion.  And at the moment, that dream seems as likely as my seeing Europe did a few years ago.  Not that likely.  But despite what the naysayers told me, I did see Europe...and, maybe, just maybe, with a little patience other things can happen, too.  "Oh, Somewhere over the rainbow way up high.  And the dream that you dare to, why, oh why can't I?"

Monday, January 28, 2013

Take Me Home

I think, maybe, God knows when life's put more on our plate than we can work around in one day.  Truth: I am sitting in Biggby in tears because I am too out of it to drive home.  It feels like an overwhelming task.  I wore myself out...so I texted a friend for prayer.  And what I got was a ride home.  (Well, its  coming)  Sometimes, when we can't walk anymore we're carried (or in my case driven) home.  Time for some medication (I waited all day long).  No more tears, tonight.  Faith is the substance of things hoped for, evidence of things not seen.

Leaf on the Wind: Crisis

In case its not obvious, throwing me into crisis takes very little.  I'm a leaf on the wind!  And if the breeze blows northerly I might become distraught.  No, seriously, Guys, my Therapist has assured me that "Crisis Counselors" are on call for me 24/7.  And today I made use of them.  Listen, Folks, when you are bipolar AND a historian, you search for "evidence" to confirm your worst fears.  And as a long time Crisis Researcher, allow me to assure you if you seek ye shall find.  Really, go try.  Within a month or so, you'll have your own weblog.  But as a very nice woman named Maureen reminded me today: Nothing has changed.  Nothing is forever.  There is no reason to mourn.  The only pertinent question I should be asking myself is why I chose to celebrate finishing a chapter of my dissertation with a meltdown.  We just don't know.

Off the Tracks

Some days, like today, suck.  Everything was fine and, then, on a whim, you do something stupid and BAM! the whole day has derailed.  The trains off the tracks.  Leaving destruction in its wake.  Dear Lord, being like June Carter Cash is harder than I expected.  I lack patience.  But, maybe, things just take time.  I dunno.  Its hard day, and "I'm so tired I can barely wiggle."  Guess its time to brush away the tears and go paint some pottery.


Sunday, January 27, 2013

Cargo Boats, Skeletons, and Coffee Shops

"Can you understand me a little, love me a little?  For all my despair, for all my ideals, for all that-I love life.  But its is hard, and I have so much-so very much to learn." ~Sylvia Plath

"I have let things slip, a thirty-year-old cargo boat stubbornly hanging on to my name and address."  Its going on 2a.m. and sleep is eluding me.  I worked well today.  Turned in a chapter.  That's an accomplishment.  I should feel elated.  But I don't.  I'm just tired.  Tomorrow I will concoct my essay for a bipolar fellowship.  In it I will sound strong.  Self assured.  Unafraid.  I will sit down in a coffee shop and pull out my laptop.  I will pretend that I am completely normal.  That I'm not scared of the future.  Not worried about my shortcomings.  Not a thirty-year-old cargo boat stubbornly hanging onto my name and address.  Thirty is not that old you say?  Well, never underestimate the power of going nearly a decade as an undiagnosed bipolar patient.  Not to mention all those other skeletons I keep hidden in my closet.  There's no room for my coats. I am exhausted.  Sometimes, like tonight, I'm sick of fighting.  Tired of all those pill bottles.  So tired of never feeling save.  Sick of my molten face.  Like Plath, I love too much or not at all.  She ended up with her head in an oven, and I wonder what the rest of my days will look like.  Can you understand me a little, love me a little?  For all my despair, for all my ideals, for all that-I love life.  But it is hard, and I have so much-so very much to learn.

Who Needs Fifty Shades of Grey?

Sonnet 135

Whoever hath her wish, thou hast thy Will,
And Will to boot, and Will in over-plus;
More than enough am I that vexed thee still,
To thy sweet will making addition thus.
Wilt thou, whose will is large and spacious,
Not once vouchsafe to hide my will in thine?
Shall will in others seem right gracious,
And in my will no fair acceptance shine?
The sea, all water, yet receives rain still,
And in abundance addeth to his store;
So thou, being rich in Will, add to they Will
On will of mine, to make they large will more.
Let no unkind, no fair beseechers kill;
Think all but one, and me in that one Will.

Saturday, January 26, 2013

For the Longest Time

I don't care what consequence it brings
I have been a fool for lesser things
I want you so bad, I think you ought to know that
I intend to hold you for the longest time.

Billy Joel's "For the Longest Time," has been one of my favorite songs since I was a little girl.  Yes, imagine it.  Me a chubby cheeked six year old, with wild curls, and a Casio keyboard declaring to the world I've been a fool for lesser things than love.  Yeah, I was obnoxious.  I grew out it though and into a paralyzed and emotionally unstable middle aged woman.  Yet, to this day, for me, "For the Longest Time" has remained right up there with Stevie Wonder's "I Just Called to Say I Love You."  And there's somethin' odd in that. Because, lets face it, I'm fucked three ways toward the weekend, and have the emotional stability of a thirteen year old.  Honestly, right now, I am having an anxiety attack for no real reason other than I feel panicky.  Don't ask me why.  If insanity made sense, I wouldn't need so many meds.  But, maybe, I like those songs because, crazy or not, and scared or not, I don't care about the consequences of chasing after something or someone I care about.  It terrifies the hell out of me, but it ain't gonna stop me.  Oh, don't get me wrong, I won't be calling anyone to say "I love you"...that's a suicide mission, People.  But, I think I will give myself room to invest.  Cause lets face.  I do whether I mean to or not.  I mean, look at me.  I'm a woman who uses Capitalization at will, names her Cats after Serial Killers, and cannot keep her Heart from Falling Out her Mouth. What else can ya do?


Monday, January 21, 2013

Divine Grace: Liberation

Sovereign grace is gradual grace and gentle grace.  Gradually, and without violence, Jesus pricked Saul's mind and conscience with his goads.  Then he revealed himself to him by the light and the voice, not in order to overwhelm him, but in such a way as to enable him to make a free response.  Divine grace does not trample on human responsibility.  Rather the reverse, for it enables human beings to be truly human.  It is sin which imprisons; it is grace which liberates.  (John Stott)

The nuns taught us there were two ways through life- the way of nature and the way of grace.  You have to choose which on your will follow. The Tree of Life

Grace "doesn't try to please itself.  Accepts being slighted, forgotten, disliked.  Accepts insults and injuries," while Nature "only wants to please itself.  Gets others to please it, too.  It finds reasons to be unhappy when all the world is shining around it.  And love is smiling through all things." Divine Grace does not trample on human responsibilities.  Instead, grace liberates.  As most of you know, lately, Yours Truly has struggled with severe  and paralyzing anxiety.  And, if you want the cold, hard truth, most of my fears stem from the idea of my being hurt.  Of transforming into a Zooey Deschanel song, just a heap on the floor.  There simply aren't enough assurances in life to suit my taste.  I want to be open and loving, but, Gawd, that's risky business, Folks.  Terrifies me.  But, then tonight, as I finished this week's Bible study questions, I ran across the John Stott quote above and something occurred to me.  I am frightened because I am most concerned with my own well being not the well being of others.  I'm selfish.  Here's the deal, if we can find a way to love free of expectations than caring isn't so scary.  In my opinion, true love is grace.  Grace to let someone else be him or herself.  Grace to make mistakes.  Grace to know that loving is worth the effort even if we can't see the outcome.  Grace liberates us to love.

The Great Perhaps

"Francois Rabelais.  He was this poet.  And his last words were 'I go to see  a Great Perhaps.'  That's why I'm going.  So I don't have to wait until I die to start seeking the Great Perhaps." (John Green, Looking for Alaska)  If you want my opinion (and if you don't then why are you reading my weblog?), life is not what happens to you while you're busy making other plans.  John Lennon was wrong.  With age, I am beginning to suspect that life is what  happens when we take chances and chase our desires, despite the risks.  And therein lies the catch, I guess.  Not a huge fan when it comes to risk taking.  I need assurances.  Handholding.  Hugs and Lullabies.  But, unfortunately, no one offers those sorts of safety measures.  Trust me, People.  I've looked.  So what is a Insecure, Bipolar, and Terrified Gal to do?  I think the answer might be: Suck it up and seek the Great Perhaps.  Futures do no simply fall in our laps.  A future is defined by what dreams we are willing to chase, the Great Perhaps.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Babel, Darkness, and Hope

So give me hope in the darkness that I will see the light
Cause oh they gave me such a fright
But I will hold on with all of my might
Just promise me we'll be alright

But the ghosts that we knew made us black and all blue
But we'll live a long life
And the ghosts that we knew will flicker from view
And we'll live a long life
~Mumford and Sons

Last night, Yours Truly drove home listening to Mumford and Sons latest album Babel.  Now, in case its not clear from my previous posts, "The Ghosts That We Knew" is one of my favorite songs and Mumford and Sons is one of my favorite bands. The reasons why are many and complicated.  But maybe this will help explain.  When I fall sleep, I suffer from nightmares.  Each and every time it happens, I wake up trembling and aching for morning's light.  And, okay, sure I'll admit it, in the dark I feel incredibly lost and alone.  Yet, when I am awake, I am often seized by anxiety.  Thoughts of my inadequacy.  Fears about the future.  Worries about the safety of my heart.  You see, at the moment, I'm struggling to find balance, security, and, perhaps, where I belong.   Like the song says, I'm still waiting for the ghosts that I knew to flicker from view.  "So give me hope in the darkness that I will see the light, Cause oh they gave me such a fright.  But I will hold on with all of my might.  Just promise me we'll be alright."

Saturday, January 19, 2013

My Spot

Amy: You're noticeably better.

Me: You think so?

Amy: Yes, you're not so all over the place.

Me: I'm still a little nervous.  Everything's the same right?

In my opinion, that hardest aspect of being bipolar AND OCD is that I struggle with a sense of panic on a regular basis.  For me, the sand is always shifting, and I fear I might fall down, yet again.  In fact, any fluctuation in my emotions, positive or negative, leaves me fragile.  For that reason, I yearn for stability and routine.  Just to take one example, like Sheldon from The Big Bang Theory, I have a "spot" in all my regular haunts, the corner, chair, or table where I am most comfortable and choose whenever possible.  When forced out of the warmth of my "spot" and plunged into cold realty, I become uneasy.  Routine is a beautiful thing, my Friends.  Why anyone would want more mystery out of life is beyond me.  Human existence is one long mind fuck.  Therefore, the yin to my wild, passionate, and crazy yang is stable, calm, and patient.  Patient is important because I know I am probably a little tiresome.  Tonight, I am a little nervous.  I need to drive home from West Lafayette...what if there is traffic?  Oh dear.  So many variables and so few assurances.  And I guess that's it.  There are no assurances in this life and what we are looking for is someone who knows how messed up we are, how many pills we take, and still wants to hold us anyway (The Silver Linings Playbook)

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Last January

Tonight, I realized that I started this weblog over a year ago.  At the time, I compared my existence to an imploding star, and, when I wrote that very first entry, Yours Truly was in the Depths of Despair.  No, really, in all seriousness, it was hell.  And if you'd have asked back then if things might take a hopeful turn, I'd have said no and then promptly burst into tears.  Just to illustrate how bad off I'd become, let me say this, last January, on the night before the American Historical Society, I got upset...so upset, in fact, that I didn't sleep and trembled from head to toe all night long.  The next morning, I drove to Chicago sore from the shaking and in tears.  To be honest, I cannot describe more of that weekend to you because it was hell, and I won't relive it. Miracles don't happen in my neighborhood, Guys.  But, you know what?  During this past year, even during that terrible weekend, I discovered the meaning of grace.  In the midst of despair, I learned that there comes a moment when you can't hold back what's inside.  You can't bide your time.  You can't act sane.  Whatever hurts.  Whatever you feel comes pouring out because you simply can't hide anymore.  Your defenses are gone.  And in those moments, you find out who matters in your life.  Its the people you can't scare off.  The ones who still offer you grace when you're broken and all played out (and say crazy things).  And if you want my opinion, that's a miracle.  To be held up, when you can no longer stand on your own.  I won't lie, Guys.  Its been a tough year.  But I'm hopeful (at least when I'm calm) that something special is just right around the corner.

Feelings, Sponges, and Ducks

“She had the perpetual sense, as she watched the taxi cabs, of being out, out, far out to sea and alone; she always had the feeling that it was very, very, dangerous to live even one day.”  Tonight, Yours Truly is nervous.  Not sure why, but panic is seeping into my system.  Draining me of my ability to concentrate.  Leaving me limp and used up.  Like Virginia Woolf's Mrs. Dalloway, sometimes it seems to me that living even one day is very dangerous business, indeed.   I worry that damn holding back my suppressed hopes and desires will break.  Water is already spilling over the levies.  Its just a matter of time before my heart pours out of my mouth.  Then, all will be lost.  I've lost my tough exterior.  I'm a sponge not and duck (ducks let things roll off their backs while sponges take it all in), asentimental, far too fragile, and scared stiff sponge.  Scared of my own feelings.  Scared of the panic welling up inside.  Scared that the sense of being far out to sea and alone will never pass.  But what can you do?  Throw parties, I suppose.  And remember to say what you feel because, in the end, maybe that's all that matters, what we feel and what we admit to feeling. “Peter would think her sentimental. So she was. For she had come to feel that it was the only thing worth saying – what one felt. Cleverness was silly. One must say simply what one felt.” 

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Me and Jane Eyre

“Do you think I am an automaton? — a machine without feelings? and can bear to have my morsel of bread snatched from my lips, and my drop of living water dashed from my cup? Do you think, because I am poor, obscure, plain, and little, I am soulless and heartless? You think wrong! — I have as much soul as you — and full as much heart! And if God had gifted me with some beauty and much wealth, I should have made it as hard for you to leave me, as it is now for me to leave you. I am not talking to you now through the medium of custom, conventionalities, nor even of mortal flesh: it is my spirit that addresses your spirit; just as if both had passed through the grave, and we stood at God's feet, equal — as we are!” 


The quote about is my favorite moment from Charlotte Bronte's Jane Eyre.  Why, you ask?  Well, because, little Jane can't quite seem to keep her mouth shut and be coy.  Mr. Rochester is toying with her (Jane thinks he's in love with another woman) and, rather than play it cool, Jane lets it all fly.  She's a Hot Mess.  Seriously, imagine standing in front of the Guy or Gal you've fallen for and saying "Do you think, because I'm poor, obscure, plain, and little, I am soulless and heartless?  You think wrong!"  Not walking away with your dignity this time, huh?  But, from one Hot Mess to another, I find that trait comforting.  Listen, I've never been able to play things close to the vest.  Its too difficult.  I'll explode.  Subtly is not my strong suit, I'm afraid.  And when I get worked up enough, like Jane, I'm liable to say: I am not talking to you now through the medium of custom, conventionalities, nor even of mortal flesh: it is my spirit that addresses your spirit; just as if both had passed through the grave, and we stood at God's feet, equal — as we are!”

Monday, January 14, 2013

The Muses: As They Should Be

For personal reasons, Yours Truly has been thinking about the Muses.  You know, the Greek Goddess of Literature, Science, and the Arts?  Sure you do!  Everyone remembers Disney's Hercules, right?  Then you definitely remember the Muses.  Its the Ladies from the Vase who sing about Meg's love life and Hercules' fame.  See, I knew you'd remember.  Which leads me to conclude, I prefer my Greek Goddess to have a certain Gospel Singing Flair.  Its not my fault.  I don't want my Goddesses looking like this (see picture on the right.  She's no fun.).  I need Magical No Nonsense Ladies who sing me catchy tunes about love!    Is that too much to ask?  I don't think so.  I'm sure Erato (Goddess of love poetry) would agree.  Below you will find my favorite Muse moment from Hercules.


Sunday, January 13, 2013

No More Surprises

Guess what?  Today is a crazy day.  Come along with me on a magical tour of my strained, stained, and stressed psyche.  Together we will unlock the mysteries of my brain.  Okay, we probably won't, but it's fun to try.  Here's the deal: I hate surprises.  No, I really do.  In my experience, surprises are normally unexpected and unpleasant events that are followed by weeping and gnashing of teeth.  Don't believe me?  Well, listen, I can name each and every major surprise in my life in the last decade.  And every single one was followed by some sort of breakdown. Woe to you if a surprise is lurking in your future, waiting to pounce!  Now, the good news for me is: For the past couple months, Yours Truly has been surprise free.  Huzzah! The Bad News: I feel I'm due.  A surprise is hunting me like that Creepy Ass Clown in Stephen King's IT (a fucked up book, by the way).  For that reason, I am anxious.  Like I need a Xanax kinda of anxious.  This means writing even the simplest of tasks is a challenge at the moment.  Don't even get me started on my dissertating struggles.  But what can ya do?  Nothing I guess.  Just pray.  Try to put away your computer early.  And hope for the best. Woe to me.

Friday, January 11, 2013

The Benefits of Persuasion

“She had been forced into prudence in her youth, she learned romance as she grew older: the natural sequel of an unnatural beginning.” Persuasion is my favorite Jane Austen novel.  The premise of the story is this: A young woman, Anne Elliot, falls in love with a young man, Captain Frederick Wentworth.  Despite their deep affection, when her young man proposes, Anne refuses him due to family circumstances.  Rejected, Frederick sails away and Anne remains at home where the beauty of her youth fades, and she dons the title of spinster.  Then, many years later, to Anne's horror, Frederick returns in the company of a young woman.  Miss Elliot still loves her Captain Wentworth, and regrets not marrying him in her youth, but: 

She understood him. He could not forgive her,-but he could not be unfeeling. Though condemning her for the past, and considering it with high and unjust resentment, though perfectly careless of her, and though becoming attached to another, still he could not see her suffer, without the desire of giving her relief. It was a remainder of former sentiment; it was an impulse of pure, though unacknowledged friendship; it was a proof of his own warm and amiable heart, which she could not contemplate without emotions so compounded of pleasure and pain, that she knew not which prevailed.”  

Personally, I think that is the most heartrending paragraph I have ever read.  Haven't you ever wondered whether someone's attention is purely out of the goodness of their heart?  Haven't you feared your feelings could not be returned?  Anne has no hope.  She despairs of her situation.  (I am given to the same tendency)  Its one of Austen's most sentimental novels (published after her death).  And, thus, ends the way we hoped, with Frederick reassuring Anne: “You pierce my soul. I am half agony, half hope...I have loved none but you."  And in the end, "It would be difficult to say which had seen highest perfection in the other, or which had been the happiest: she, in receiving his declarations and proposals, or he in having them accepted.” 

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Drum Roll Please

After spending an hour in the grocery store, slicing my hand open cutting vegetables, and waiting six hours, my conclusion is...meh. My New England Clam Chowder is not inedible, but not great either. Better luck next time, I guess.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Adventures in Slow Cooking: New England Clam Chowder

Confession: I cannot cook.  No, really, Yours Truly lacks the skill to make even the simplest of dishes including rice.  That means that when I developed a nut allergy a couple years ago one of the mainstays in my diet, Peanut Butter and Jelly, was suddenly gone.  I was devastated.  Heartbroken.  I still am.  To this day, I refuse to do the Peanut Butter and Jelly Dance.  Anyhoo, due to these dire circumstances, this January, I am pursuing two interrelated New Years Resolutions: Eat Better and Exercise More.  Now, don't get me wrong here.  When I say "eat better" I do not mean Rice Cakes and Slim Fast Shakes.  Yuck!  What I do mean is actually consuming nutrients and going for walks which will give me more energy...and maybe make me less crazy.  To that end, I found this Awesome Blog dedicated to the Crock Pot entitled A Year in Slow Cooking (baby steps people, I'm no Julia Child.  I possess a tiny attention span and burn the shit out of everything.  Also, to be real honest, even as a little girl I found Child TERRIFYING).  That means tonight, I am going grocery shopping and tomorrow I will attempt to magically concoct a delicious bowl of New England Clam Chowder.  Yum!  Hopefully.  Tomorrow night, I'll give ya'll the inside scoop on my first foray into cooking.

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Pinky and the Brain

The Brain: Pinky, are you pondering what I'm pondering?
Pinky: I think so, Brain, but if they called them "sad meals" no one would buy them.

Pinky: Egad.  You astound me, Brain.
The Brain: That's a simple task, Pinky.

"They're Pinky and the Brain.  They're Pinky and Brain.  One is a genius.  The other's insane."  Everyone, sing it with me now!  "They're laboratory mice.  Their genes have been spliced.  They're dinky.  They're Pinky and the Brain, Brain, Brain, Brain, Brain."  Aww, I just love that.  Don't you?  If your answer was no then stop reading now and don't bother with my weblog anymore.  We are obviously from different denominations.  Annnywaaay, why I am a digging up this old 90s cartoon?  A.) Its AWESOME B.) Pinky and the Brain are perfect metaphors for me and my brother.  No, really.  When I was healthier we were more like Dexter and Dee Dee from Dexter's Lab, but, now that bipolar swings have set in, I'm ALL Pinky all the time.  What's more, with age, my bro's becoming the Brain with his dry sense of humor and rapier wit.   That's it.  I'm done.  Did you expect Pinky to have a point here?  Well, I don't.  Narf.  I'm simply stating a fact.  Now, I need to go talk to the Brain about this evenings plans, but I imagine we'll do what we do every night.  Try to take over the world.

Saturday, January 5, 2013

My Mind Shut Down Like a Clam

“What I didn't say was that each time I picked up a German dictionary or a German book, the very sight of those dense, black, barbed-wire letters made my mind shut like a clam.”
― Sylvia PlathThe Bell Jar

My mind shut down like a clam.  Yep, been there.  In fact, I AM there.  Today, I am needy, whiney, and insecure.  In case you're not self aware, those are bad traits.  Perhaps not unforgivable, but definitely insufferable.  But what can ya do?  I tried reading, but, like Plath, that was a no go.  Then I tried thinking rationally and concluded: The future looks pretty grim, so why bother?  Now, I'm blogging and searching for the simplest form of distraction.  Because here's the truth: I might understand on a rational level that I have to first believe myself worthy of being loved before I can receive the affection I'm wanting, but, then again, I'm kinda of a wreck.  Tedious beyond belief.  In fact, I am so insecure that I keep considering apologizing for my neediness.  No one likes that sort of pressure.  I need to be better.  I need to be stronger.  I need to be my person.  I need to obsess and worry less.  I need to be the old Jennifer.  Its hard to imagining fixing all my issues and what if I can't have the things or love I'm hoping for if I don't?  I'm scared, Guys.  My mind's shut down like a clam.

Friday, January 4, 2013

The Fault In Our Stars

"The marks humans leave are too often scars."  The plot of John Green's novel, The Fault in Our Stars, centers around how two teenagers with terminal cancer navigate through love and loss.  In Green's Young Adult book, Hazel, a sixteen year old with tumors in her lungs, falls in love with a cancer survivor and amputee named Augustus Waters.  However, before you dive in, fair warning here, this is not a feel good story with a happy ending.  While Green does assure his reader that even when we are broken and dying love is possible, there is "fault in our stars" (taken from Shakespeare).  Or more simply and less eloquently put, even the loveliest stories and kindest individuals often fail to find a happy ending.  But rather than mourning, Green asks his audience to remember that "some infinities are bigger than other infinities." Or, in other words, even if we fail to get the amount of time we hoped when we weep for the loss (and we will weep), we should remember that forever only exists in the time (however short) we are given.  Its not fair.  Its not right.  But that's our world.  There is a fault in our stars.  If you want to know the truth that fact scares the hell out of me.  But what can you do?  Just hope and pray for the best I suppose.  Because like Hazel, whether I mean to or not, I fall "in love the way you fall asleep: slowly, then all at once."

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Clouds and Silver Linings

“It hurts to look at the clouds, but it also helps, like most things that cause pain.” 

“In my arms is a woman who has given me a Skywatcher's Cloud Chart, a woman who knows all my secrets, a woman who knows just how messed up my mind is, how many pills I'm on, and yet she allows me to hold her anyway. There's something honest about all this, and I cannot imagine any other woman lying in the middle of a frozen soccer field with me - in the middle of a snowstorm even - impossibly hoping to see a single cloud break free of a nimbostratus.” 

“I still love you in my own fucked-up way," says Tiffany to Pat in Matthew Quick's The Silver Linings Playbook, a novel about mental illness and new beginnings.  In case its not obvious by the quotes, Yours Truly is a little off today.  Swinging between stability and tears.  I want to discuss the merits of Quick's book.  The relationship between Tiffany and Pat.  The meaning of Silver Linings.  The affects of mental illness.  About loving someone despite the number of pills she's on or how messed up her mind is. But I can't because I'm scared.  Not exactly sure what's frightening me (maybe its all chemical), but I'm uneasy nonetheless.  I guess tonight, I want to see a single cloud break free of a nimbostratus.  Because I still love in my own fucked up way and I need a Silver Lining.