Thursday, January 26, 2012

Mel's Amazing (& Amazingly Easy) Pad Thai Sauce

  • 1/2 cup Tamarind Juice*
  • 2-3 tablespoons Fish Sauce (to taste)
  • 2 tablespoons White Vinagar
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1/2 tsp Paprika (optional)
  • 2 tablespoons Vegetable Oil
  • 2 heaping teaspoons Thai Kitchen Red Curry Paste**

  1. Mix all ingredients in a bowl until well combined. 
  2. Pour over mostly cooked stir frying veggies. The rice noodles will soak up almost all the liquid, so don't worry about it being thin!

    *To make Tamarind juice: soak 2 tsp Tamarind Paste in half a cup of hot water. Let soak for 5 minutes. If your paste is like mine (it's hard and more like dried dates than a paste), you'll need to crush the paste against the side of the dish it's in to loosen it up/make a 'juice'. I also had to strain my 'juice' as it had big lumps in it, like the skin of whatever tamarind is, so if it's lumpy, strain it before you add it to the other ingredients!

    **I can never get the proportions or flavour quite right on my own, so I cheat with the pre-made paste. Thai Kitchen's paste is AMAZING. Can also try red chili sauce or a fresh minced red chilli, but you likely need to add more sugar to balance the tamarind paste.

    Magic Pill

    I know I'm depressed. I feel I have every right to be. But I also know it's not helping.

    I just don't know how to fix it.

    Do I talk to my GP? He'll only refer me to someone in Hamilton, that is if that kinda referral can even be made. I have no idea.

    So do I look for a therapist in Toronto? Do I need a therapist, or a psychiatrist or what??

    I really don't want to talk about my feelings. I just want a magic pill that will make me feel less overwhelmed and more motivated.

    Have you ever had drugs that are supposed to induce euphoria? I mean as a side effect.  I have. More than once. They never made me feel anything.  Which makes me think any kind of 'magic pill' wouldn't make me happier.

    I'm already on a very low dose of an antidepressant, for my pain, but it doesn't seem to affect my depression at all. I can't take more because it makes my eyes swell. No really. ugh.

    But I need something. I'm sooo tired and sore all the time. Fuck, what I wouldn't give to feel like my old self for a day!! I hate this. I hate this so much.

    And the depression just makes everything worse. It makes me not what to try, it makes the urge to curl up in a ball and play dead until it's over so very strong. I have a very hard time fighting it. I think it also makes me more tired. My body's natural reaction, when it can't handle the pain, or whathaveyou, is to shut down. How the hell do I stop that?!

    I just feel so bloody hopeless.

    Saturday, January 21, 2012

    How Lyrica Stole my Libido

    Last winter I was hurting. A lot. Winter is worse for me. Even inside out of the cold, I still hurt more. Maybe I don't get enough sunshine? I don't really know.

    Anyway. Point. I started taking more lyrica to combat the pain. I tried 225mg in the morning and at night; it was too much. After a few days my brain was just constantly fuzzy, and I felt kinda high. Like time wasn't moving right, and my brain didn't work. So I backed down to 225mg in the morning and 150mg at night, that seemed to work better. I was only fuzzy the first night, then my body got used to it.

    I thought it was helping, and maybe for the winter it did. Ever so subtly though, it stole away my libido. There were other things going on though. I was in a lot of pain. I was stressed out, mostly because of the pain. I was battling depression, all of these things make me want sexy times less.

    This November, for NANO, I tried to write a romance. I think I actually got more of a light weight mystery. I had a lot of trouble writing simple attraction, never mind sex scenes. I'll admit the sexy parts have always been the easiest for me, and this November it was like pulling teeth. I barely managed one short one! So not like me. It forced me to realise something was truly wrong.

    Around mid summer I'd noticed something was wrong. My brain knew I needed sexy times, that I should want them, but I couldn't get my body interested, hell, I couldn't even get my mind on board.  But November was the breaking point. I couldn't deny something was fucking me. Or rather not fucking. There was just way too little fucking going on in my life.

    See, my emotional state, depends so very much on my sexual release. If I don't get enough orgasms I get depressed, I hurt more, I'm down on myself, life just sucks. When my libido took a holiday it totally messed with my ability to be happy, to have any kind of energy. My sexual health totally affects my energy levels(oddly more sex=more energy & more ambition), my emotional state of mind, my state of mind period, and my self-image.

    I decreased my doses of lyrica in December, to 150mg every 12-ish hours. It took a couple weeks to get the excess out of my body, but I finally got my libido back! I feel like myself again!! I'm less tired more often, and I actually have some motivation - not a lot mind you, but way better than the nothing I had for the past, oh year maybe? Not really sure, it feels like forever though.

    I just can't get over what a huge difference it makes in my life, in all aspects of my life. I feel a bit... silly, for how long it took to realise something was well and truly wrong, and then more time to figure out the actual cause.

    My body feels one step closer to being my own again. I can't put into words, how... good that feels, what a relief it is to feel more like myself!

    Damn Lyrica. It helps sure, but fuck a duck. I'm sure it had a lot to do with the extra weight I've put on, and it store my libido. That's just not cool. I know I'm going to be very careful going forward, that no other medications screw with me again. Only my husband gets to screw me, damnit.

    Wednesday, January 18, 2012

    Reading, Writing and Feminism.

    My husband sent me a link to this article -- The reading iceberg: promoting ‘serious’ male narratives over ‘trivial’ female narratives starts at school

    The jist, if you don't want to read it, is that for women educated in the 70s, 80s, and I'll even go so far as to say the 90s (cause I had the same experience then), and frankly men got the same conditioning, that we were taught that great literature, that 'serious' writing was written by men. That anything that had to do with "women's issues", you know, things like relationships, home life, 'feelings', was trivial, sentimental, and a waste of space.

    Reading the article made me feel slightly vindicated.

    When I was 14, I knew what I wanted to be. I'd known since I was 8. I wanted to be a writer. I wanted to tell stories.

    In grade nine we were forced to do some more of that gov't 'standardized testing'. You know, I think teachers HATE standardized testing, I know all my teachers seemed annoyed by it, many gave off the impression they felt like they were doing their students a disservice.

    Anyway, grade nine English, we were forced to do a test. Among other questions for the 70 minute class, was to write a story. I've never ever been good at on the spot writing, or anything else - I'm not great with the kind of pressure to perform while being watched, even as a baby, I didn't want to be watched.

    The point is, I wrote a story, it wasn't great, but I liked it.  And, like the article said, it was about woman's issues, about a girl coming home, only to a home she'd never known, to meet a father that was a stranger. It was her journey both physical and emotional, but I focused on her feelings, her worry, her fears, and eventually her bravery, her stubborn will to face what would come with her head held high.

    I got exactly the response the article talks about. the exact words even. "trivial, ephemeral, sloppy and sentimental." I also got shallow. I know I shouldn't have taken it to heart, but it was so hard not to. Though, to this day I'm still angry and bitter about it. I mean, wth, I was 14! I had 30 minutes. It's hard to come up with a masterpiece on the spot damnit.

    I'm rambling again, eh? Anyway, that article makes me think that I was right to think the man that graded my story was biased. Cause he was. I wrote about something he'd likely never cared about, a young girl leaving the only home she'd known to meet a man and responsibilities she'd never expected to have.

    This is likely also why there is such a big surge right now (I think?) in women's books, or rather books targeted at women. Not just romance, but horror, fantasy, comedy, heck, even erotica. About women, with marketing meant to get a woman's attention. Too many women of my generation grew up with feminists telling us we were equal to men, we should get equal pay, equal responsibilities, that we could do anything they could. We believed them, but when we went looking for our stories, stories about strong women, brave girls, there just weren't many stories for us. Jane Austen, and Nancy Drew is not a long list.  So the women of my generation grew up, and wrote them. 

    What I really want to know, is why are relationships, feelings, emotional journeys, domesticity seen as solely women's issues? Who got to make that call??

    I mean, okay sure, most women want to talk about their feelings, and most of the men I know have a hard time talking about theirs... I'm guessing though, that's a lot to do with how we've been raised. But in any case, I can see that being a chick thing, but, emotional journeys, they are what make or break so many stories, they are what make us who we are! How is that a chick thing?! And relationships take at least two.

    I really get pissed off when I hear the dwems (Dead White English Men) of the world saying emotionally charged stories are shallow, sentimental, and trivial. There is nothing trivial about an emotional journey, it's tears, screams, heart-wrenching pain, and soul-stealing joy. It's meaty, gritty, raw truth. Damnit.

    Thursday, January 12, 2012

    Too much Thinking. Again.

    One of my favourite quotes, talks about dreaming, something I do a lot of.

    "If a little dreaming is dangerous, the cure for it is not to dream less but to dream more, to dream all the time."
    --Marcel Proust

    This is one of the things that I struggle with. I also struggle with fear of failure and chronic pain that kicks my ass on a daily basis. Though, sometimes, I kick it's ass. Like yesterday. Yesterday was a good day. But, as payment, today I'm exhausted. I'm still hoping to do something with myself. We'll see.

    But dreaming. Dreaming I do a lot. I dream about simple things, like tattoos I want, how life would be different if I just have the energy and nerve to go to the gym (no really), I dream about being braver, being obese rather than morbidly obese, about pretty shoes I'll never be able to wear (I have no arches).

    I dream big too. I dream about what life would be like if I'd made different decisions, if I was a different person -- this is often where many of my stories come from, or at least how I flesh them out to make them feel real. I dream about being a writer. About being published. Of course my actual issue is finding the energy/time/creativity/bravery to actually write, to allow myself the possibility of failure. I have such a hard time with failure...

    Proust is right though. They key is to dream all the time. If I did, I'd write. I'd look at my fear, face it down, and just keep going. I'd fight, I'd find the motivation, somewhere, somehow, and I'd fight. Fight the pain, fight the exhaustion, fight the fear, fight the doubt that screams in my head.

    But how does one do that? How does one dream all the time? Is it even possible? Is it selfish??

    Oh how I want to write. I want to write modern love stores, sex stories, mysteries, life stories. The mundane and the fantastic swirl in my head, and come out in my dreams. I want to put them on the page, I want to make them come alive in words. I want to share them with the world.

    But if I'm going to write, perhaps I should look to write for money. Freelance? Make some small amount of money writing crap for hire. Ugh. I find it horribly distasteful, but as my husband pointed out, he wouldn't pick his job, if he had money enough not to work. Work is work, it's not fun, it's not something you enjoy, it's not something you may even like, but it gets you money so you can sleep in a warm bed and eat regularly. Reality shitting all over my dreams.

    I have so little energy. So often I pick doing dishes, getting groceries, making food, instead of going to the gym, or sewing those curtains that have been sitting there for a year, or doing something for me. Writing is just sitting at my laptop, which I do already, but, it's still work. I still require my brain to be with me, I still require a pain level that doesn't blur my vision (yes, this can be an issue). Writing still turns my brain to mush after a few hours.

    So do I dream, or do I let reality shape me? Ugh.

    I mean, I take November, and I let writing be my job. I attempt to write for eight hours a day, sometimes more, because my muse, she doesn't show up when I want her to, she's like a cat, she comes and goes at her will. The point is, that month, I put everything else on hold to write. Because, you know what? Being chronically ill means, I just don't have the energy to write all day AND do dishes, buy groceries, clean the apartment (a job I find difficult when not working), watch our budget, or do fun things like, spend time with my husband, or knit or read or craft.

    One thing Nano has taught me is, I can't write 'full time'. I just can't put in that many hours. I'm just not capable. I don't like letting everything else go. There needs to be balance. I just don't have a clue what that is yet. So I haven't written since then. December was devoted to Christmas. And these past two weeks?  I've been dreaming a lot about the various stories I want to write. I've also been trying to get our lives more in order, and I've been dealing with some very painful times.

    I want to dream. Oh how I want to dream. In my dream, my writing eventually pays off, in that, I make some money, not a lot, but some. I've never dreamed so big as to think I'd be in line with the greats, with the women writers I love, but, man, would I love to be a footnote. I'd just like to see something I write, eventually be in print. Like actual print. Though, the first step, I think, is online publishing. Getting my work on someone's kindle, ya know?  I want to be read. I don't care if all it ever brings in is pennies. I want to be read. I want.... I want to be a writer. I have since I was a kid. I still have the same problem, I still have trouble with actually getting it done. I guess, the real issue is giving it time, taking time to write. Allowing myself the time, and space to fail, to write really badly, to learn from it and get better.

    I sit here thinking about it and worrying. Worrying if I take the time, if I make it a priority, if I write what I want, my husband will get upset with me. If I can use my limited energy to do something that doesn't get me a paycheck, then I should use that energy to find a way to make us some money. I don't even know how to go about finding freelance work. I looked once, and was totally overwhelmed. I don't have ANY experience. There's nothing I can put in a portfolio. I've done some technical writing, but everything I've written was under a non-disclosure agreement, and so long ago anyway, that I don't know if I could do it again. Not well. So how do I manage to get someone to hire me?! No clue. Man do I feel unemployable.

    Lost Hat

    If you see this hat, know it was 'stolen' (I left it on the subway train in all the bustle to get off the train last week when we had a jumper). It's a lovely hat, though a bit floppy really. There is one tiny mistake, but it's only noticeable if you really look for it.

    Faire Isle hat -- lost/stolen on subway 

    I can't decide if I want to knit another one just like it, or if I want to knit myself a chunky hat, or if I want to knit a hat like this in a firmer yarn that won't flop so. I just can't decide!

    Thursday, January 5, 2012

    No Sympathy from Me, You selfish, inconsiderate, mother-fucking asshole, fuckwit Subway Jumper

    So some fucking asshole decided to make mine, and everyone else's 6pm subway commute an hour longer, and a whole lot less pleasant.

    I get on the subway train, only to learn that the driver is "distressed", a few minutes of listening to passengers, to learn that some selfish fuckwit thought it would be a great idea to jump in front of a new subway train at union station. Fucking asshole! And he didn't die! Right now I'm so fucking pissed off I would like to finish the job for him.

    No really. Fucker. Like how fucking selfish do you have to be to jump in front of a subway train? You have just fucked up some innocent driver, possibly for life. It doesn't matter if the driver sees you, there is a ton of steel at his back, and it takes time to stop it, no matter how fast he may want to stop it. And you've just made him or her, the driver a murderer just because you don't have the fucking balls to do the job yourself. Selfish.

    In comparison my inconvenince is just that. Inconvenince. I'm chronically ill. I was forced by this mother fucking, asshole fuckwit to walk an extra hour today, which means, because I had to push, that I'm doing fuck all for the next few days, not to mention the blisters. Fucker. It took me 2.5 hours to get home thanks to your selfish basket case self. Ya know, I'm sorry you're not dead. Fucker.

    And, And. I'm soooo pissed off, in all the commotion, I left my hat on the fucking train!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    My hat. That I spent about a solid week, week and a half knitting. My hat that I'd worn only a handful of times. Is now in the hands of some non-knitter, I'm sure.

    I am SO pissed off. I knew I'd left it as soon as I left the paid zone. Of course. But they were clearing the subway platform, they weren't going to let me go back down.


    SO pissed off!!!! This is only the second time EVER I have lost a hat. Of course the other hat was, at the time, my favourite. At least I didn't love this one as much, but it was my first faire Ilse project! It only had one visible (to me) mistake! It was beautiful!!! It was warm! It was a week or more of hard core knitting!!!!!


    Selfish, inconsiderate, mother fucking asshole fuckwit shit for brains, good for less than nothing!


    Tuesday, January 3, 2012

    Happy 2012!

    So, it's a new year. Christmas, aka, December was a little crazy, but I did my best to keep things within my abilities. I made lots of cookies for my MIL, and even had enough over for my uncle, and visiting with friends.

    I survived xmas shopping! Gods, I hate shopping in December, and what with all of November being devoted to NANO, December starts stressful. I think next year I'm going to start either the baking or the shopping at the end of October. Maybe get some halloween candy for stocking stuffers? LOL.

    I watched this video via A girl's guide to taking over the world on the Facebook, it was about middle age women in the UK and how they go crazy over xmas because of all the stress and expectations they put on themselves. Part of it was funny, about how husbands tend to just totally sidestep all the crap we as women deal with.

    It made me very glad I didn't go in for all that crap. I couldn't imagine worrying about Christmas for six months of the year!! o.0 I happen to love Christmas - for me it's all about spending time with my loved ones, and of course the cookies!

    I really do hate baking with Splenda, BUT I also really love my husband and being able to bake for his mom. She appreciates it - I think it's one of the few times she doesn't have to worry about eating baked goods. But for me, it's about the man I love, and how much he appreciates it. I'd make 100 (actually that's close!) cookies every year to hear that hitch in his voice! aww! Yeah yeah.

    Anyway. December. Christmas. It was lovely! We had the in-laws over a few days before Christmas, I cooked a turkey with all the fixings - which turned out fabulous!! We had a nice visit, and exchanged gifts. Then on xmas eve, we went to my parents to spend the night. That's really the gift my husband gives me, he lets me have Christmas with my parents. I'm SUCH a mamma's girl. I just... As long as they are living, I'm pretty sure I'm going to want to be there with them Christmas morning. It just... It wouldn't feel right to do anything else. They're my family, and like I said, that's what Christmas is all about for me.

    Chris was off until today, so we had lots of time just relaxing, playing mario party on his new computer via a gamecube emulator, and watching the Doctor Who I got him. There was also lots of TV and knitting for me, and video games for him. A good time was had by all!

    Today I cut the fabric for the lining I'm making for his coat - to replace the lining that's well, totally worn out. It took over two hours! o.0 I only cut out 4 pieces, effectively, but it still took forever. Part of the trouble is I don't have a dedicated table, so I took my time making sure everything was as flat and smooth as I could get it. Then cut carefully. Having your fabric well cut is 50% of the work of sewing, and if it's a simple sew, like what I'm doing, it's more like 70% of your effort, so well done!

    Now that I've babbled sufficiently, I'm going to make the confession, that prompted this post: I am a huge Pink fan. Huge.

    About, oh, ten years ago, when I was dabbling in pop music (again), I fell for her, and then sort of just went to boys and guitars exclusively for years. The other day, I'm not even sure how, in my browsing about Youtube, re-discovered her. Man, she rocks! I so want her, like, last three albums! She's got a great voice, and an even more amazing attitude. I loathe to say it, because usually only douches say it, but, she's fun!  She can be serious, and she has the smokey voice to go with it, but, gods help me, she's fun, and I love her for it.

    And this video/song has me wanting to sing at the top of my lungs!