Will post more during nap time (pray I get one!) but for now: I called! I did it! (now I’m waiting for the doctor to call me back. Of course.)
I have so many reasons why not.
I don’t have child care. I don’t know how much it will cost. I am embarrassed. I don’t trust doctors. I believe in figuring things out on my own. I just need some more Vitamin D and a G* Lite. I will feel better if I start running again. I should learn to be more honest with the people in my life. I just need to get out more. I want to have another baby. I am scared.
The truth is that I haven’t been very honest here lately. I am aware that my writing is suffering. Don’t you all want! to! hear! about! my! budget!?
The truth is that I feel buried under a mountain of sad. I feel like everything that’s going wrong has morphed into this endless layer cake and I can’t see where the layers start and if I can’t figure out where the layers start I don’t know how to fix it. Every minute it shifts and turns and slips from my grasp.
Mr. E is befuddled and I tell him that his three problems don’t compare to my thirty. That he can’t expect me to be in a good mood when these have been the most stressful three months of my life. When the weather and weight charts and our bank account balance and what hall table to buy and my eroding family and my mother’s judgmental tone and the constant work of trying to make people like me and read my site and to write something worth while and our broken gate and my lost running routine and the weight I still haven’t lost and the never ending day in and day dullness out of the life of a SAHM and the interrupted sleep and the crying it out and the beans for dinner and the budget – when you add it all together I feel like I should get a very large very solid gold medal just for sort of keeping it together.
I don’t want to go to the doctor. I don’t want to do it. I am scared and scared and scared. I picture myself sitting in an office, shrugging my shoulders and saying “I just feel sad” to a stranger and I want to throw up. I shake all over thinking of it.
I think it’s a ridiculous design – the most anxious and neurotic and crazy people are the ones who are expected to do all these insanely anxious making things to try to fix the problem? If I could call up a doctor and make an appointment and blithely find child care and saunter in and explain all my problems and get out of the house without having an anxiety attack, I wouldn’t need to go to the doctor.
I have nothing more to talk about because this is just becoming all I can think about. I can’t write. I spend half my day wanting to throw up and the other half of my day crying and the other half of the day wishing for sleep and the other half of the day praying away the dreams. My muscles ache from the tension of being me.
I can’t talk to anyone about it. I don’t want to talk to anyone about it. I can’t hear anymore about what I should be doing, or how I should fix things, or what better ways I should be living my life. I don’t want any more advice about how much I suck.
You won’t know about any of this, I know. You’ll say “I had no idea” or maybe you’ll wonder if I’m being melodramatic, but working the sinking weight of depression into a phone conversation isn’t something I’ve mastered yet. And I am a survivor. I have learned to keep quiet about these things, not to court awkwardness, to cry in the shower.
And sometimes I do feel better. A Sunday morning in the park, a funny email, a back rub, a glass of wine. The fog does lift. I do smile through the gray. But then there are mornings like this one, when all my defenses are down and tears land on Eli’s soft downy hair and I hate myself for it, hate it. Wonder what else I have passed down, what I’m doing to him now.
I don’t even know how it works. Do I just casually mention the sad to my regular doctor, right after I tell him I think I have celi@c disease? Do I have to meet with a psychiatrist all the time, once a week? Will certain drugs make things worse, scramble egg my brain so I’m an anxious muddled tooth grinding mess, more than I am now?
I feel like there’s a blackboard out there of my life, a Back to the Future Polaroid, and my life, the one I had picked out for so long, is being erased from it. Like I am losing my some day daughter and my future four children and my craftsman in the burbs, making chocolate chip cookies when my kids get home from school, it’s all slipping away in the time my brain takes to really pickle itself, and I’m waiting to be left with an empty frame.
But even worse than that. The worst part is that it feels like I’ve lost my words. Something I had in my writing feels gone. I want nothing more than to sit down in front of my blog and spin tales and fit the words together like puzzle pieces and tell you how it feels to be me and have it ring that bell in you and have you say “me too” and I have lost that. This…whatever it is… It is stuck in the pipe and nothing else is getting past it.
There are all these voices in my head now and they are the voices of my mother and my husband and my son and my friends and they all tell me this is bigger than I am, that I need more help than a Go Lite and a bottle of Vitamin D, but none of them can take my place and pick up that phone and make me an appointment and walk in there instead of me. None of them can explain to someone else how scary it feels to be me right now, how I wonder if this is just how my brain is put together, if I am just meant to be sad, if I have made all the wrong choices in my life and so I deserve to live an unhappy life, I am just not strong enough to fight and so I need to learn to love losing.
I am telling you this because I have nothing else to say. And I am hoping that if I get this out, something will come unstuck. I am hoping today is the day I can do it, that some how the unsticking will make me strong.
That today I will be able to pick up the phone.
A big congratulations to my friend Sarah who ran her first marathon in 3 hours and 52 minutes this morning while I uh, slept. Woo hoo! She so so rocks.
Speaking of running, the other day Mr. E emailed me a NYT article about an elite runner who had a baby and then started having all kinds of problems training afterwards - her times were terrible and she felt awful the whole time. It sounded just like when I was training for the Detroit Half last year, which was a miserable experience all around. Turns out she has Celi@c Disease, kicked into gear by her pregnancy. What do you know. I look forward to churning out some six minute miles momentarily.
We made $46 dollars at our garage sale. Mr. E was highly offended at the total but hey, it’s $46 dollars we didn’t have before our garage sale, right? I’m just happy to have the giant ugly file cabinet out of my backyard. The rest of it is going in a free pile on the side of the road.
We’re still waiting for test results, but I swear Senor Pants just grew out of a whole bunch of clothes and his fingernails are getting longer, so that’s cool.
The general consensus on saving money at the grocery store seems to be 1. plan your meals 2. don’t buy crap and 3. eat less meat. We certainly don’t eat fancy expensive meat, and I try to do a few vegetarian meals every month, but my husbands metabolism is such that if I do make a vegetarian dinner, he’ll be in the kitchen making himself a frozen pizza a few hours later, the stinker.
I also experimented with buying the Sunday paper this week, for the coupons, and there was ONE coupon that we might have used, for $2.00 off bleach. Considering the paper costs $1.50, I think we can all agree that it isn’t worth it. However, we did have a really nice morning sitting around the park and reading the paper and eating Nerd Ropes, so I’m willing to consider that $1.50 well spent.
So, back to meal planning it is. I won’t lie, if it weren’t for the gluten thing, I’d still be throwing ten premade meals in my cart at Trader Joe’s, but I can’t really do that anymore. We’ll see how meal planning goes. Sometimes I have a hard time making myself eat what I have planned, but I am sure it will save me money in the long run.
Gluten free lemon bars made from lemons I grew myself are in the oven as we speak. Have I mentioned I love California? Home grown lemons! Nothing on earth smells better.
My Flip camera arrives tomorrow. Look out.
Garage sales are sort of inherently awkward, aren’t they? Strangers walk up to your house and paw through your things, probably criticize them or touch them and put them back, and you sit and watch them and make halting conversation and hope they buy something. Luckily for Mr. E he didn’t get the awkward gene, he loves nothing more than awkward small talk, especially if it it’s with old people. I should wake Senor Pants up, he’d be a great ice breaker while people fondle my old napkins and try to bargain me down on that file cabinet. Although I am waiting for my first drive by on how small he is - the longer we go without one the longer I can convince myself he’s not THAT small. 1% in the house!
Ok, it’s way to early to be blogging, clearly. And there’s the baby. Send big money thoughts my way, and pray Mr. E doesn’t have to pee a bunch of times or something. If I have to deal with the awkward I’m liable to start chucking the shit in the street.
Ever since we sat down and made our household budget, accounting for our new mortgage and my husbands new salary, I’ve been sort of obsessed with the price of food.
I don’t know if I really noticed how much less food we can buy with our money until I started taking my food budget out in cash every month. This is the only thing that keeps up from spending 2K a month on food, but dude. That $600 is gone FAST, and it is stressful. And now I’m sort of obsessed with the rising cost of groceries.
Grocery budgeting is a huge source of stress for me because of my childhood. After my parents got divorced my dad always made me help him with the grocery shopping, and even though he insisted that we shop at the dirtiest cheapest grocery store in town, with a huge bulk food section and the sort of generic food that came in white boxes with black block lettering and where you had to bag your own groceries, whenever we walked out of the parking lot he would always mutter the total, whatever it had been, angrily, under his breath, and agononize over why it was so much money and how we could save more in the future. At dinner, he liked to calculate the cost of whatever we were eating and announce that beans and rice or plain spaghetti could have been so much cheaper, could have saved $2 for each person eating at our table. He could not, physically could not, take us to McDonald’s because it gave him a minor stroke to think of how much money we could be saving by eating at home. He yelled at my brother all the time, at the dinner table, angry at a 12 year old boy for eating too much meat, for being too hungry.
And so I have always been on guard against this. I would rather overdraft my checking account than never take my kids to McDonald’s. If I am at the store with Mr. E when we do a big grocery shopping trip I have to walk away when the checker announces the grocery total. I am not willing to eat beans and rice and I can’t eat plain spaghetti. I chafe against the idea of stretching my grocery dollar. I want nothing more than to be able to go to the grocery store and throw everything I want into the cart and blindly swipe a card at the end and not think once, or ever again, of the total.
And yet, I don’t have that luxury. I am a stay at home mom, and we are far from made of money. We made choices when we decided I would stay home with Senor Pants and one of those choices is that we have to live within in a budget. We can’t just throw things in the cart at the fancy grocery store and never think of it again. And so I have become more than a little obsessed with stretching my grocery budget. The more I read about the rising costs of groceries, or the mom that used to be able to buy eight bags of food for $100 and now only comes home with four for the same amount of money, the more I think how much food costs.
We own one car. We live in a tiny house. We have a reasonable mortgage and we got a good price on our house. We almost never eat out. We buy a lot of Eli’s clothes at thrift stores. My husband has a very good job and we are paying our debts and our mortgage and we have Netflix and computers and Pottery Barn duvet covers. We are hardly destitute. When I hear people speculate about a coming Great Depression, for the most part, I don’t worry, because my husband has a PhD and a job that is pretty secure. He doesn’t sell cars or real estate, let me put it that way. On the other hand I look at the cost of the food and it scares me. If I am struggling to feed my family, what about everyone else? What if the price of food keeps going up? can honestly say that the price of food makes me really really nervous.
There’s an interesting article in the New York Times, here, about a woman who clips coupons like a madwoman to try to keep her grocery bill affordable – and it sounds like a good idea. But all the comments on the article criticize her for buying paper towels and pop tarts and bottled water, and poo poo the idea of clipping coupons, saying that all those coupons are just for overpriced boxed junk food and if you buy unprocessed food and don’t eat red meat, you’ll save more money than you can with coupons anyway.
What do you think? Do you have a food budget? Do you stick to it? Have you noticed you can’t afford as many groceries as you used to be able to? Does the price of food concern you? Should I be clipping coupons, or do you think it’s a waste of time?
And do you know where they keep the gluten free pop tarts? If I had a coupon for some of those, I’d so be throwing them in my cart.
SLynnRo asked what I am eating now in the comments to my last post (also, yeah! I’m not the only one who thought Alaska was an island! We should form a club! I’ll be the Vice President!) and I thought I would answer in blog form since lord knows I need all the blog fodder I can get these days. Posting something every day is getting really old. Especially when I am just not in the mood to write about my feeeeeelings these days.
The good news is that if you do have a gluten allergy or Celi@c Disease there are A LOT of things you can eat, and you will find yourself putting a lot less processed, boxed foods in your grocery cart. The bad news is that you’re probably going to have to cook. And you will find yourself putting a lot less processed, boxed food in your cart. Canned soup is no longer your friend. However, you might find out that soup you cook yourself tastes a million times better than anything you can buy in a can.
I like to think of how I am eating now as the South Beach version of Atkins. I try to eat low fat, high protein, but I do eat rice and potatoes.
I am also trying not to eat a bunch of weird fake gluten free food – with some exceptions, I would just rather not have the cookies or the cupcakes. I’m trying to embrace the direction this is taking me and eat less processed food, so replacing those things with things that probably don’t taste as good and are just as processed seems off to me.
Right now I am still in the gathering food/finding out what makes me sick/looking for information/buying new cookbooks/checking out gluten free blogs phase of things. I am still trying to stick to our food budget of $600 a month, but when you’re replacing all kinds of cheap foods (wheat flour, pasta, sandwich bread, granolar bars) with gluten free food that costs four or five times as much (rice flour, rice pasta, gluten free bread, Lara Bars) it gets really expensive really quickly.
I’ve been switching up my grocery shopping a little bit – Trader Joes has a great list of all the gluten free foods they carry, but our $600 isn’t going far enough when we shop there exclusively. Safeway and Whole Foods have a lot of gluten free stuff as well, but again, I can’t afford to shop there all the time when I am sticking to a budget and have also had to replace half my pantry. We treked out to Winco this weekend and stocked up on some simpler basics, fresh fruit and veggies and dairy and eggs, and that saved a lot of money, so I think we’ll eventually make one big trip to Winco every month, and supplement that with trips to Whole Foods, Trader Joes, the gluten free store in town, the farmer’s market, and the asian grocery store.
I also really like this cookbook, and the Glutino mixes Mr. E found at Safeway for pizza crust and muffins. But again, at $6 a pop, those aren’t really budget choices.
Anyway, here’s what I’ve been eating:
Breakfast: RIce Chex with milk; 2% greek yogurt with fruit and McCann’s oats, unsalted sunflower seeds, flax seeds, and honey; egg whites or avocado on toasted gluten free bread from Trader Joes; gluten free hot cereal (Bob’s Red Mill from Whole Foods) with chopped apricots; omelets; and coffee.
Lunch: God only Knows. Lunch is hard for me. Um, frozen indian food from Trader Joes dumped over brown rice and green beans; salads; leftovers; canned chili from Trader Joes; yogurt and fruit (see above); Rice Chex; a Lara Bar; avocado and tomato and turkey; tuna salad;
Gluten Free Dinner Ideas – I keep this list on my refrigerator: (let me know if you want recipes). .Also, please don’t assume we eat this way every night, last night I had corn chips, cheese, green taco sauce and a yogurt for dinner. Chicken with mango salsa and coconut rice; hungarian goulash with pork shoulder served with rice and sour cream; roast chicken or pork tenderloin with risotto and green veg; zuchinni tomato torta (like lasagna but with zuchinni instead of noodles); chicken, corn, zuchinni and squash baked with spaghetti sauce; spicy beef, peppers, and bok choy served over rice; beef bok choy hot pot with rice noodles; salmon with pineapple jalapeno relish; steak, green beans, and soba noodles; spaghetti squash with walnut pesto; souvlaki; indian curried okra served with raita and green beans and cucumbers; vegetarian korma with rice; bulgogi; quick curried beef with broccoli and rice; brocolli with spicy balsamic dressing, olives, and pine nuts; broiled yogurt ginger chicken breast, mushroom rice pilaf, and cucumber salad; chicken tonette, black beans and rice; salsa yogurt chicken served over rice; grilled chicken salad; indian spiced tomato soup; gazpacho without the bread; mediterranean vegetable salad; seafood ceasar salad with rice bread croutons; romaine hearts with tuna and edamame; spicy bbq shrimp and rice; tropical shrimp, grilled, and rice; bouillabaise; grilled shrimp salad; asian turkey meatballs in lettuce cups with rice noodles; sausage, red sauce, and mushrooms over polenta; spaghetti squash and chicken meatballs; tofu, curry or indian sauce, veggies, and rice; stir fry with rice noodles; pork chops, apples, potatoes, and salad; buckwheat noodle salad; enchiladas with corn tortillas, tostadas; scalloped potatoes and ham using rice flour; chili and baked potatoes; thai beef salad; shish ka bobs, rice; beef stew; lentil curry with tomatoes and spinach; salmon over stir fried greens; roasted veggies with a poached egg on top; flank steak with roasted potatoes and veggies; chicken salad with chickpeas and raita; south african chicken stew served over rice; tagine; bean thread noodles with beef; napa cabbage pork or chicken salad; turkey burgers wrapped in iceberg lettuce and yam fries; quinoa with cold marinated veggies; curried carrot soup; black bean soup; vegetable soup; butternut squash soup; prosciutto wrapped chicken breast, green beans, and whipped sweet potatoes; asian noodle cups; chicken lettuce wraps; spring rolls; bbq chicken, slaw, and watermelon; crispy tofu with peanut sauce and peppers; turkey kofta and grilled zuchinni; jerk marinated tofu and grilled corn and tomato salad; caprese salad; satay and brocolli; white beans, sausage and kale; tom yum soup with chicken or tofu; black bean salad; israeli salad; green bean, tomato and kidney bean salad; fruit salsa over chicken or steak; squash and sausage; beef curry and coconut rice; chicken baked in coconut sauce; dijon chicken stew with kale and potatoes; veggie slaw; parmesan chicken and rice; eggs in spicy tomato sauce; napa cabbage sauteed with ginger and garlic and topped with salmon; salmon, spinach and toasted pecans; chicken with cherry marsala sauce; curried cashew, pear and grape salad;
Dessert: sf Jello pudding with Cool Whip; gummy bears; gluten free cookies from TJ’s; apples baked with cinnamon and sugar; Lindt Chocolate. It turns out that cheap American chocolate makes me sick. What can I say? My guts are high class.
This boring and lame 21 for 31 post is brought to you by Senor Pants, who was up every hour on the hour last night.
I am simply too tired to post anything of substance, except for these three facts:
1. I am totally over Project Runway – I don’t care who wins anymore. I am, however, dying for Top Chef to start up again, because I have decided that every week I will cook one thing that sounds good from each episode. Gluten free too! Doesn’t that sound fun? I’ll let you know how it goes.
2. Up until a few months ago, I can’t lie, I thought Alaska was an island. And to be fair, it doesn’t touch the United States, and on a lot of maps, it appears to be sort of an island. Like floating out there on it’s own? No? Mr. E informs me that for certain, it isn’t an island, but I remain somewhat unconvinced.
3. I just realized, the other day, that the Burger King sign is in the shape of a hamburger.
I was super excited when I first heard about the scrap challenge started over at JC Handmade because I knew exactly what I wanted to make and I really just needed some motivation to get it done. And some scraps!
The way the challenge worked is that we each sent in one large piece of scrap fabric (along with a self addressed stamped mailer), and we each got ten small pieces back. One small piece of ours and then nine new ones. She grouped the pieces in the order she received them, in groups of ten. I was in group two.
Here are the scraps I got.
Here’s what I used for my inspiration.
And here’s my version.
This took me a few hours a day over three or four days – it wasn’t hard, just sort of time consuming and repetitive.
I used almost every bit of the ten scraps I got. I added the light colored canvas, fusible web, and pink thread. Oh, and a down pillow that I wasn’t using but didn’t want to get rid of. (P.S. If you ever do want to make or cover pillows, my advice is to check out the Crate and Barrel outlet and buy the cheapest down pillows they have. Their covers are almost always removable and they have some great deals, and a down pillow form makes all the difference in how your final product looks.)
I used an overlapping open back style pillow cover, so it is removable, but I didn’t have to add a zipper, which isn’t my strong suit.
When I got my pieces I was a little nervous that they didn’t go together, but I took a deep breath and went for it anyway, and I could not be more pleased with how it turned out. I love how the pieces work together, and if I had just pulled the scraps from my own collection of fabric, I think I would have been tempted to go so matchy matchy that I never would have achieved the right effect. Or I would have been so bogged down in the fabric choosing part that I would never have gotten started.
There are more pictures of my project and you can see some of the things that other people have made with their scraps in the Flickr group for the project, here.
Much thanks to JCasa for organizing the project – this is my absolute most favorite thing I’ve ever made. Well, maybe my second favorite.