So I’m a horrible person

Well, well, well. Look who’s come crawling back! (Hint: it’s both you *and* me!)

For those of us using the Gregorian calendar, it’s been since March 1st that I’ve updated the blog. One could say I’ve been Joy of Missing Outing. But, in reality, I nearly died and then just kept doing other things that weren’t writing.

Okay, so I didn’t nearly die. I did get terribly sick for all of March, and was convinced by Terrible HMO Kaiser Permanente that my gall bladder was going haywire (instead of the stomach flu I assumed I had) and then I spent several weeks getting crazy tests and fretting that the end was near. Seriously, all you doctors out there reading this: Don’t take someone with an anxiety order and probably just the flu and tell them they’re wrong and that it’s probably something worse and that they’ll need surgery. THIS MAKES ANXIETY WORSE. DON’T DO IT. I AM PERFECTLY CAPABLE OF READING WebMD AND CONVINCING MYSELF I’M DYING ON MY OWN.

But! In good news, it really was the stomach flu all along and I’m fine. Fuck you, Kaiser.

Let’s see, so what did I do after that? Well, not a lot of my goals. I’ve kept making soaps and cleaners for the house. I’ve been cooking, but not as consistently as I should be. I took a trip to Seattle’s Emerald City Comicon for mine and hubbers’ seventh Nerdiversary. We tore out our front yard and reseeded it with normal people grass instead of the tweekerfest that was going on out there. I took the kiddo up to Seattle for Everfree Northwest, a My Little Pony convention (she liked this more than could be considered ‘a little’). I turned thirty-mumblemumble and went on a superb birthday beach trip weekend with five dear people and had a great time.

Maybe we should recap the goals? That seems like a good place to circle back to, you know… for continuity.

  1. Drink less beer
    I am not unhappy about how this has been going. AND! Through the process of trying to figure out if my gallbladder is fucked up, I had my liver thoroughly tested and it’s fine so I’m good to go.
  2. Read more
    I… have been checking books out and slowly reading them. But it’s Game of Thrones season, y’all.
  3. Write more
    Well, we know how this has been going.
  4. Watch more movies
    Not been watching many movies, but it is TV season so I’ve been watching my shows. Game of Thrones, Grimm, Better Call Saul, etc. They’re like weekly serial movies, right?
  5. Get better sleep
    LOLOLOLOLOLOL
  6. Eat better food
    Could always do better at this, according to waspy bitches on the internet.
  7. Exercise more
    I haven’t been going to the gym much. I’ve been thinking about going back to Jazzercise, which through the years has always been the only exercise I’ve actually enjoyed. Laugh all you want, whatever. It’s like Zumba without the requisite Latin flair, and Zumba is a legitimate exercise class that people don’t make fun of, so…
  8. Cook more
    Need to get more consistent with this. Back on the bandwagon. Cliché cliché whatever.
  9. Learn to sew properly
    I finished sewing class, but I haven’t sewn much since. Shall have to break out the old Viking here soon as I do have projects on deck.
  10. Go on hikes more often
    Went on a bit of a hike at the coastal birthday weekend, and it felt good! Perhaps I’ll go this weekend. I’m sure hubbers would be glad for this.
  11. Spend no more than $100 per week on groceries
    Ugh, this one. I haven’t been super on top of it like I’d like to be, what with getting sick and then that false impending death. It’ll be tough going as we creep into summer, with camping trips and other outdoorsy weekend plans all the time.
  12. Make some of our household supplies
    Hey – this is a thing that I’ve still been doing! I get a gold star!
  13. Homestead more in general
    Best intentions! I did just acquire both water bath and pressure canners for my birthday (thanks mom!) so I need to, a) learn how to can, and b) buy more jars, and c) decide what I want to can. I think, first up, green beans! Canned green beans are gooooooooooood, people.
  14. Focus on more one-on-one interactions with friends
    I may have been over-vigilant on this one. I haven’t been to a party in ages, and I haven’t seen many people one-on-one either. I Googled, “What is that word when you don’t feel like seeing anyone” and the response was a long list of articles advising you on how to handle your depression. So, maybe I’m depressed?

    Oh, I just remembered: Misanthrope.

    I don’t think I’m depressed right now, I just lack the energy for bullshit interactions for the last few months. Maybe misanthrope is close, but perhaps intense introverting is more accurate. I’ve interacted with but a small circle of friends that I feel good about. Maybe I should push myself to get out a bit more. I’m getting curmudgeonly.

  15. Run a 5K
  16. Find the joy of missing out
    Joy. What is ‘joy’ again? Maybe this was all some overly optimistic twee bullshit.

I’ve got some social situations coming up this weekend. My sister-in-law’s birthday, a friend’s going away party, and (most excitingly!) I’m throwing a Memorial Day barbecue in a couple days. I do like hosting.

A coworker once said that introverts like hosting, but not going to other parties. This is 100% true for me, especially lately. Hosted parties are on your own terms, and are filled with people you feel comfortable around. Attended parties are filled primarily with people you don’t know well and crushing self-doubt as you latch on to the two people you know and desperately attempt to avoid small talk with strangers.

And I think that brings us up to date as I skirt around the question as to whether or not I’ll be good at updating next week. Remember kids: promises are for perfect people!

It’s German for happiness at the misfortune of others

Salutations, faithful readers!

My last week included such titillating adventures as Still Fucking Lice! and Getting Stabbed With A Scalpel! and Fighting With My Insurance Company!

If you haven’t tried adulting, might I thoroughly dissuade you now.

This week has all been about how working through identity crises is for privileged people with too much time on their hands. Like, the last thing I’ve wanted to do after spending an hour on the phone with Kaiser or two hours tediously picking bugs out of my kid’s hair is sit down and read a goddamn book. No, what I do want to do after all that is make myself a cocktail and mainline Fuller House.

What I’m trying to say is that I’m making very little headway on my goals. Why in fact, I even lied to you guys (all 18 of you!) on Twitter yesterday and said the new post would be up that night. Ha! Joke’s on you – I didn’t work on it after all! Because 5:00pm Twitter-updating me turned out to be far more enthusiastic than 8:30pm post-kid bedtime me.

Here are the things I did this week that felt good:

  • Finished my sewing class! I now have cutsie kitty pajamas that are like twelve sizes too big. Holding them up is like a success story on My 600-Pound Life without all that bothersome bariatric surgery or actual weight loss.
  • I made tons of practice bread. I really want to get better at baking yeast bread. The lesson learned this week (I think) is that I shouldn’t be too zealous about force proofing in the oven. It’s not that I’m trying to save time, I guess I just like the gratification of squishy poofy dough, but I think this may be foolhardy. I’ll science through my hypothesis and get back to you.
  • I cooked a bunch of food.
  • I sewed a scarf!
  • I purchased a pattern and fabric to make a skirt.
  • I made the hubber’s Steak & Blow Job Day Top Secret Dinner Reservations.
  • I crushed the grocery challenge this week:
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$77.71! Back in the game!

  • Did not buy more Girl Scout Cookies even though I wanted to.

Maybe I did do some stuff that was okay. But I’ve been so exhausted this week that I can barely think of anything I did that was good. In fact, even writing this is like slowly walking across broken glass. But I’m forcing myself. I think this coming week will be about forcing myself to do the things I should, even though I really, really don’t feel like it.

For instance, I haven’t read a book in two or three weeks. I mean, I’ve read Facebook, but that sadly doesn’t count as much as I wish it did. I started a novel, but it really wasn’t my style and after that I’ve felt no motivation to read because a part of me thinks that giving up on this book and moving on to the next book is a failure, so it would be better just not to read at all than to admit defeat. But today I returned the ill-fitted novel to the library so that I wouldn’t have to feel that guilt of not finishing a book that is just sitting there. Judging me. Plus, the book I’ve been looking forward to (Leah Remini‘s memoir Troublemaker: Surviving Hollywood and Scientology) is due back at the library soon and can’t be renewed because it’s on perpetual hold until people stop wanting to schadenfreude over what a hot mess scientology is. So tonight, after I publish this, I’m going to force myself to read. Even though I’m exhausted, even though I might only get through a chapter before I crumple into a weepy pile.

Oh! And last week I forgot to give you an update on the Sckooncup! So here it is: The menstrual cup thing is, IMHO, a big hassle. It’s messy, and uncomfortable, and inconvenient. It makes me feel like a pioneering failure, the fact that I don’t love it as much as everyone else I know. It hasn’t surpassed traditional hygiene products in terms of convenience or tidiness, and for that reason I’m gonna have to give it a pass. I know some of you would urge me to try another brand until I find one that I love, but at $40 a pop it’s a hard sell. If I buy one more and hate it too, I’m out $80 which is basically a year’s supply of tampons. So, I’m really hesitant to do that. Sorry, everyone who loves them. It’s not for me.

And that’s it for this week! Time for a little schadenfreude.

Back in the saddle agaaaaainnnnnn. I’m back!

 

I’m back! I had planned some big apology sesh at the beginning here to temper my gaping absence, but you know what? Life happens. And a lot of life has happened these last two weeks.

First off: The Walking Dead is back on. STUFF IS HAPPENING, GUYS. I won’t spoil anything for you, but people have died, okay? It’s a big deal. On top of that, it airs on Sunday nights. Sunday, as you might recognize, also happens to be the night I typically update the blog. The Walking Dead has played a heavy role in my not updating JOMO recently. I’m going to have to figure a workaround for this.

In fact, now that the mid-season break is over for many of my shows (seriously, what the hell even is a mid-season break?) I’m finding it more and more difficult to do the things I should be doing, like reading and blogging. I’m seeing that the majority of the JOMO Empire has existed within the mid-season vacuum and perhaps that was a key factor in my resounding success and that now I’m actually going to have to make some hard decisions in my life. Great.

But let me get back on topic.

I have sucked at the grocery challenge these last two weeks. Like, I can’t even say the numbers, so I’ll just post these pics:

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$242.48?! It’s as though I wasn’t even trying. Almost exactly like that.

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$167.68. I have brought shame unto my family.

I know. I KNOW. I’ve let each and every one of you down. I’ve been weak. I bought some grand margaux and baguette and tortilla chips. I splurged a bit, and also had to stock up on some basics that I’d run out of. Looking back, part of the grocery challenge was also functioning as a pantry challenge, wherein I was relying heavily on my reserves of things like spices and canned tomatoes and broth. But, eventually you run out of some of that stuff and it’s not like a kitchen can function without them. So, I stocked up on a bunch of stuff. Also, I bought some fancy cheese. Sue me.

Another thing is, with The Walking Dead back on (I’m sensing a trend here – how many of my failures can be directly linked directly to the undead rising from the Earth?) and our weekly viewing party (if you can call two couples a ‘party’) I’ve felt a need to provide snacks. If you know me in real life, you know how compulsive my need to feed people is. No one shall cross my threshold without being offered something to eat. I’m the old Jewish mother of atheist Portland nerds. So, I bought snacks. And before long it’ll be time for our weekly Game of Thrones viewing party so I’m gonna have to keep some prudence in mind. Snack prudence.

Snack prudence is a thing I actually just said. Send the doctor.

Valentine’s Day happened. I know, I know. Valentine’s Day is this stupid meaningless thing. I also expect flowers and a fancy dinner and a nightcap. And don’t fuck it up. Like, don’t come at me with a 6:30pm or 8:30pm reservation. I will know you waited too long to call if we end up with some second-best seating time. I know this is silly and demanding and trivial. I don’t care, it’s fun. I’m really  not usually like this, I swear – it’s just a thing I enjoy. And on Valentine’s you usually get a special prix fixe, special wine pairings, special plates compliments of the chef. And as long as the husband doesn’t mess it up, I will plan an equally fancy date for Steak & Blow Job Day. I’m not a monster.

This year’s surprise reservations were to Nel Centro. It was… good. It was not overly expensive, and the food was solid but uninspired. We got the hazelnut goat cheese and beet salad to share, and then chicken tortellini (me) and lamb pappardelle (husband). All the food was fine, but it wasn’t earthshaking. Valentine’s dinner should be orgasmic. Really, all dinner should be orgasmic, but especially so when you’re dropping a couple bills on a single seating. Also, my after-dinner macchiato came out more like a tiny cappuccino, but at least they didn’t try and make me something with caramel in it like Starbucks does when I order it.**

I gave up beer for Lent. You read that right, folks. I gave up my most favorite liquid for an imaginary holiday I don’t believe in. The idea came to me sometime in the morning on Mardi Gras, and before I knew it I wasn’t drinking beer for the next 46 days. Like many decisions I make, it was rather impulsive. So, what I’m trying to say is that I’m becoming more and more familiar with mead, wine, and cider.

Last week, I woke up to a distressing personal message on Facebook. It was from an old high school friend, someone who I haven’t seen in probably ten years, but whom I believed was a generally kind and caring person. So you can imagine my surprise to open up my phone in the morning to a message that said, and I’m paraphrasing here, ‘You’re too condescending and serious. I’m unfriending you!’. And then, not only was I unfriended, but I was blocked and cannot message this person to find out what could have been so awful as to make them literally ruin my day. And, in all seriousness, it didn’t just ruin my day. Stuff like this happens and I’ll spend the next Until the End of Time killing myself trying to figure out what I said and convincing myself that everyone has always hated me because I’m just so fucking condescending. I don’t even have to try – my brain provides this service free of charge!

So I realized something. This is a person I haven’t seen in ten years. Somebody I would be unlikely to hang out with, and whose presence in my life is limited to Facebook. And they were able to ruin my day. Why keep relationships with non-IRL friends on Facebook, when it’s easy to use that access to make me feel shitty? I mean, and this is probably true for the majority of people, the large part of my Facebook friends list was people from earlier periods in my life whom I friended for the sole purpose of casual stalking. You know, seeing what they’re up to since high school or whatever.

The result of this situation? I culled my friends list! I went from just over 600 to around 250. 250 actual real-life humans that I regularly interact with. I just don’t need to give people unfettered access to my life and opinions. (I do understand the irony of making such a statement in a public blog, but there’s nothing I write here that I’d consider too polarizing or TMI. Also, my barometer for what regular people consider TMI could be skewed.)

The culling has been cathartic.

In other things that have felt good, I’ve been to three sewing classes and it’s been a blast! Just as I hoped, I’m learning some of the basic skills I’d lost. There’s a beginning sewing 2 class that starts the week after this session ends. I plan to sign up for it, as during that class they let you learn such exciting things as: Buttonholes! Zippers! I’m nearly done making my pajama pants, and will be excited to wear them!

I made some new dishwasher detergent this week, as I’d run out of the Awesomesauce I’d made initially. You may recall a couple weeks ago I mentioned that the Awesomesauce was making my glasses cloudy. So this time I tried this unnamed dishwasher detergent, which claims citric acid is key in avoiding cloudy dishes. We’ve washed a couple loads with it so far, and I’ll keep you posted on my findings.

I also got a cute new haircut last week! I’ve been trying to grow my hair out. I had for a while sported that shaved-on-the-sides-long-on-the-top look every girl in Portland was wearing. Then I became Over It and have been patiently waiting through iterations of frumpy hairdos until I could actually do something with it. Well, wait no longer! I can do something with it! Instead of the thick emo side bangs I’ve rocked the last couple years, I am now back to flat bangs and couldn’t be more pleased. And what’s more, they require flat-ironing to become presentable, which has obligated me to some amount of styling in the morning. And I tell you what: I’ve felt damn fancy styling my hair these last few days. It’s made me realize just how little effort I’ve put into getting ready of late, and that I generally feel better about myself when I, you know, try a little.

But I’ve saved the best for last, dear reader. The biggest reason for my absence has not been The Walking Dead, but rather the fact that my kid GOT FUCKING LICE. For those of you unfamiliar with the plague, it completely derails your life for a week or so. Want to do something other than launder EVERY PIECE OF FABRIC IN YOUR HOUSE? TOO BAD! Want to spend your time NOT COMBING AND PICKING YOUR CHILD’S HAIR FOR TWO OR THREE HOURS EACH DAY? ALSO TOO BAD! I can not understate how much lice really puts a heavy, wet towel on accomplishing anything.

So, I guess that’s it. Overall, I’ve felt discombobulated these last two weeks as my schedule has been willy-nilly. But I managed to make soup this week, and now I’m updating my blog finally, so maybe life is getting back to normal. Maybe?

**I am so irritated that Starbucks took the already-existing macchiato, a perfectly satisfying espresso drink, and created a sugary monstrosity of the same name. It has made it hard for me to get a macchiato anywhere, as I’m either asked about whether I want the caramel drizzle (hint: I LITERALLY NEVER want a caramel drizzle on my coffee) or (if I’m at a self-respecting espresso shop) whether or not I understand I’ll be getting a traditional macchiato, and not the syrupfest Starbucks has unleashed. Life is hard in a post-caramel macchiato society.

But I’m an Artiste!

Last week I talked a bit about depression, and anxiety, and was generally having a crummy week. I’m happy to announce that this week has been great! I’m contributing the greatness to the following points:

  • Friday (my weekly day off and designated errands and/or lady brunch day) started out rough. Woke up crying, that sort of thing. I had a long list of places I needed to go, but no motivation to even get out of bed.However! I’ve come to know that I can kind control it to some extent, and I know that if I can manage to get up, get showered and dressed, get some coffee and get out the door I can most often crush the depression monster before it turns into the panic attack monster. Luckily for me, my depression (at least in the beginning stages) is fairly lucid, but if I let it go and it morphs into depression-anxiety, I have a harder time kicking it.

    I know that this isn’t true for everyone, or even mostly everyone, with depression. Telling people to just get over it and pull themselves up by the bootstraps is an asshole thing to do, okay?

    But I managed to do the things, got out of the house, ran all my errands and accomplished all the things I needed to. And I was right: Once I got past the completely overwhelming hurdle of actually getting out of bed and getting ready, I actually had a really nice time running around. And then when I got home, I received the *best ever* no-reason-just-reminding-you-you’re-awesome/blog-fan-mail card from a sweet, sweet friend and that really blasted my day into the positivity stratosphere.

    So now all I want to do is send people cards for no reason. Seriously, it’s the best fucking thing and we should all do it.

  • I did some hand lettering on a marketing piece for work last week, and it was really fun. Like, really really fun. And it reminded me of how much I enjoyed doing that sort of thing. And then I realized that I haven’t really done much creating in a long, long time. Sure, I feel creatively rewarded when I cook and organize and decorate and tidy, but I haven’t made art in a long time. So, I went out and got some new pens, paper and some watercolors. I’ve never really used watercolors, but I love watercolor paintings. And I painted a beet! I want to do a series of small vegetable paintings for the kitchen. This one is just a study – it’s not going on my wall.

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    This painting can’t be beet!

  • I started my sewing class on Saturday and I had a blast! We were told to bring patterns for pants with elastic waists, which was thoroughly unexciting (Grandma pants!), but when I picked up the recommended pattern I realized we’re making jammy pants! Up with jammy pants!

    We cut and pressed our patterns and practiced some finished seams. We learned about things like that it actually matters what direction you put your fabric on the pattern because the stretch is different on either axis. We learned how to read the pattern directions (which are really stupid complicated and unintuitive). Some things are coming back to me from my days sewing in 4-H and I’m stoked to go to next week’s class. I need to go pick up the fabric and some notions for next Saturday. Yay another trip to the fabric store!

  • Some of our very best friends brought their kids over for hanging out Saturday. The husbands brewed beer (first time going full grain!), the kids LARPed with some new practice weapons and the moms got to do some mom hanging out. Also, TACOS!
  • Today my sister-in-law and I (and the kids) got pedicures. Girl day! Purple toes!

So, yeah, those things made my week pretty great.

GROCERY CHALLENGE TIME!

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$76.70!

The bill should have been a lot less than that, but I probably spent about $30 on Valentine’s Day stuff. Well played, Hallmark. Well played.

My reading hasn’t been tip top this week. I’m reading Mindy Kaling‘s memoir Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? (And Other Concerns). It’s not my favorite. It’s short, and I really should have finished by now, but I’m not getting into this book. She’s pretty self-deprecating, and she talks a lot about body image stuff, but I wouldn’t consider her body positive at all. She’s not really my kind of person, I guess. Also, she uses some ableist and transmisogynist language that I’m really not crazy about. But I’ll push through. I hate leaving things undone.

Excercise? Pffft. I am really sucking at this. I really, really need to find my motivation and get back on track. But I’m so enjoying the reemergence of my creative side that that’s all I want to do right now.

So, this week I found some joy. A lot of it, actually. I hope you did too.

Wherein I Battle the Gods of Anxiety and… win?

I buy the nicest things from a super market store
Vitamin land and marzipan and I know just what they’re all for
I’ve organized my useless life in a way I’ve never done before
Even visit the dentist now

But I’ve got no time for silly chitter chatter

I’ve Got A Thing About Seeing My Grandson Grow Old
Yusuf (Cat Stevens)

The last two weeks I’ve been depressed. Not that ‘can’t get out of bed, life is meaningless, suicidal ideation’ kind of depressed – just the regular kind. The kind where it’s like the opacity on your life has been turned down to 60% and you’re just kind of drifting.

I mentioned last week that I’ve created this coping mechanism for my anxiety and obsessive qualities. I always took that as a point of pride, that I’ve been able to control it on my own for the most part. I’ve never medicated myself in earnest (although I’ve tried a smattering of SSRIs and anxiety meds, I haven’t ever taken any for more than a couple months at a go).

But the last couple weeks my schedule has been off. And the most detrimental shift that can happen to my schedule is fucking around with Sunday.

I covet Sunday. I protect it fiercely. I desperately DO NOT WANT ANYONE TO ASK ME TO DO SOMETHING SUNDAYS (unless that thing is make a lot of soup. I would gladly stay in and make soup with someone on a Sunday.) Sunday is the day where I go grocery shopping, make a bunch of food, and otherwise prepare for the week. If I miss Sunday I end up doing things like buying lunch all week and becoming overcome with anxiety.

So, I have two possible takeaways: a) I’ve done an incredible job of creating rituals in my life that keep me organized and help me manage my anxiety, or b) The fact that my anxiety goes sky-high when I don’t complete these rituals is, in and of itself, problematic. This is third-wave me: realizing that what I thought all along was helping me is, in actuality, an unhealthy crutch.

Yesterday was Saturday. We had no kids this weekend (our family is a scaled down Brady Brunch configuration wherein we don’t have kids every-other weekend) and I desperately wanted to do nothing. All day. And we did! We watched four Jaws movies and only left the house for a short while to attend the tasting room opening for a local meadery our friend works for (check them out: Stung Fermented). We also made nachos and slept in until noon. It was singular perfection.

So today, because we did nothing all day yesterday, the husband asks to go on a hike. Which, I wanted to do too – kind of. I did nothing yesterday so I should get out of the house and do a bit of breathing outside air and walking. But, I say no because I know that missing another Sunday in a row is really going to throw me off organizationally and emotionally. And then I’m thinking, God – I can’t actually do anything because I’m kind of a slave to these rituals I’ve created for myself. AND I’m making my husband a slave to them too, because now he can’t go on a hike since it’ll give me a panic attack at some future date. Or maybe I’m just putting too much emphasis on it and everyone does this. IDK.

Overthinking things is also one of my specialties, so it’s hard to know when I’m over-thinking verses typical-thinking.

So, yes – today I went to the store and cooked all day and otherwise prepared for the week. I know what you’re all waiting for: Did I keep to my budget and Win The Day? Drumroll…

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$89.26 – Winner, winner chicken dinner! (Or, soy curl dinner)

I was worried this week, coming off of last week’s crushing defeat, but I pulled it together! Plenty of veg and even some expensiver non-food items like shampoo, lady face soaps and delicate lotions. Also, a coworker Snapchat-ed me a picture of his weekly grocery bill that was under $100. That was super cool! I started a thing that other people want to do too!

I made delicious curry coconut dal for this week’s lunches, as well as put together a dinner menu that assures equal parts culinary delight and complaints from the kids.

I’m becoming less enchanted with the dishwasher soap I made a few weeks back. My dishes are cloudy. My crystal glasses, foggy. I’m going to try buying some commercial rinse agent and see if that alleviates the issue. Also, the laundry detergent doesn’t make my clothes smell like laundry much at all, even though I poured an entire bottle of over-priced essential oil into the batch. Back when I was poor I would buy whatever laundry soap was the cheapest, never knowing you had to buy Tide to get your clothes to actually smell like laundry. Then I became less-poor, so I bought Tide and relished in my perpetual laundry smell. Then I became the kind of not-poor, privileged white person who thinks, Fuck the system! I have time and resources and will now MAKE my laundry detergent! all the while missing the calming, reassuring scent of Tide. DAMN YOU TIDE!

I’m looking forward to a better week. I have successfully completed my Sunday Ritual and have appeased the gods of anxiety. And if it doesn’t end up working out, I’ve at least got these damn good-looking tacos to look forward to Friday night.

See you all next week.

The Title is the Hardest Part

I’ve felt outside of myself this week. Like, I’ve been keeping on goal (mostly), but I haven’t really felt connected to what I’ve been doing.

I think this is because this week’s schedule has been off-kilter. School was out Monday, and then there was late start on Wednesday. School’s also out tomorrow too. Kids these days have it so easy, never apparently having to go to school. And when school is out, it totally whacks my routine.

I seem to have a difficult time getting things done when I’m pushed outside of my regular routine. Back in my early-mid-twenties I was diagnosed with ADHD. It was a surprise to no one but me, but I’d already created ways to cope so I’ve never really done much with the diagnosis. For instance, I’m freakishly organized about things in my life, and I do this as a fail-safe for keeping ADHD from letting me miss things. And so when my routine is off, I start to feel like I’ve been flailing. This is what I’ve felt this week.

However, like I mentioned, I’ve still been working on things.

First off, I started a Twitter for this here blog. It allows me to share things on a smaller, more frequent scale. I’ve never been into Twitter, but doing it for this purpose has been fun so far. And some of the people who follow me are legitimate humans who I don’t even know! You can follow me at @myJOMOlife. And a quick shoutout to @ShrimpBoyz who suggested the Twitter thing. You should follow them. It’s about shrimp.

I finished Carrie Brownstein‘s memoir Hunger Makes Me a Modern Girl. It was a little slow to start for me, as she’s a pretty wordy writer. She’s got like two metaphors for everything. And her vocabulary is extensive, almost to the point of being alienating. I kept wanting to tap words for definitions, every time thwarted because I was reading it analog. But towards the end I was really enjoying it.

I’ve failed at exercise this week. I didn’t go to the gym at all, partly because I injured my knee after so much walking about last week. I spent two or three days icing and heating and icing again.

I did go on a hike with the family today in Silver Falls State Park. It was pretty! And full of water falls! And there was a lot of down walking, and then back up again. I’m preemptively icing my knee as I write – a cautionary icing. But look!:

I haven’t done any sewing, but I did schedule my sewing classes. I begin a four-class session on February 6th and I’m really looking forward to it!

Sadly, I failed at grocery shopping this week.

Fail Groceries

$102.46? Unacceptable!

But it gets worse. I also went to New Seasons (local grocer de naturalistic fallacy) and purchased a bag of vital wheat gluten (for making kickass seitan) and some soy curls, which brings the total grocery bill for the week to $117.04. Sad indeed.

Most of this inflated bill is because we seemed to run out of all paper products at once. I also had to stock up on some canned goods, veggie broth, granola bars (I know, I know… I need to be making these, but I’ve been flailing, okay?) and a growler fill of RPM IPA from Boneyard Beer. (Quick side note about the growler fill – I wanted to get Buoy Beer Company‘s IPA, but the keg blew as the guy was filling it, so he gave me the RPM for the happy hour price! What fortune! Also, yes… our grocery stores have growler stations. This is Portland, remember?)

Last week, the husband and I decided that we would save the difference between $150 (our average weekly grocery bill pre-challenge) and whatever I spend on groceries into our vacation savings. We’ve got a few trips in mind this spring/summer, so this gives me a greater impetus to spend even less on groceries!

I made some all-purpose spray, as that was the next cleaner I ran out of. It’s based off of this recipe here.

all purpose sprayjpg

Metal cleaning spray is metal.

The recipe comes out looking like a grey nutrient broth, so the husband suggested I add some food coloring to make it more visually pleasing. It looks much better with a couple drops of blue and green. The whole bottle cost me less than a dollar to make, and it smells all clean and fresh! I think next time I run out of castile soap I’ll either make my own, or get unscented because everything I make with it smells of peppermint which isn’t horrible, but is limiting.

I also made some “Jet Dry” out of hydrogen peroxide and lemon essential oil. You can find the recipe here. I’ve come across some rinse aid recipes that call for distilled vinegar but beware: I’ve read reports that pouring vinegar into your dishwasher’s inner bits can cause important pieces like gaskets and rubbery things to degrade. I have not noticed any difference to the dishes when using this homemade rinse aid, but to be fair, I don’t know if store-bought rinse aid is noticeable either.

I have been hanging out with folks on a one-on-one and couples basis this week, which has felt good! In fact, since starting this process I haven’t gone to any parties (save from one bestie’s birthday, which was not to be missed). This has felt good to me – actually connecting with folks. I’ve got a small game night coming up next weekend with a couple good friends. I am looking forward to it!

I’ve been thinking over the 5K thing; which one I’m going to do. I might sign up for the Shamrock Run, which is in March. I understand that it’s such a busy clusterfuck that pretty much all you can do is walk, which would take a fair amount of pressure off.

Sadly, I did not find the joy of missing out this week. I’ve been out of sorts and feeling chaotic, but some of what I’ve been doing is feeling more habitual, so I think that’s a small win. Maybe I’ll find it next week!

Coming up mogul

Hey, guys!

There have been many times over the last couple weeks that I’ve thought, I’d like to share this with my readers but I’ll need to wait until next week’s post to share. And then maybe that thing (a cool blog, or a recipe I like, or some cool photography or whatever) hits the cutting room floor for the sake of brevity.

But do not fret! I’ve joined the Twittersphere so I can share little one-offs and interesting bits with you all. You can follow me at @myJOMOlife.

I’m going to be big like Food Babe or something, but less with the ethically questionable content, and more with the feel-good life stuff.

</begging for follows>

 

 

 

Ch-ch-ch-ch-changes

I must confess, I’ve spent the earlier part of this last week crying over David Bowie songs and daydreaming about my life after winning the Powerball Jackpot. Luckily I’ve managed to drag myself back to Earth.

So, I spent a couple days last weekend feverishly writing an introduction to my new blog, and then a few days fretting over the fact that I’m actually going to write a blog. What is my scope? What’s my hook? I need a format! Just exactly how honest am I willing to get? The following is a bit nebulous, but I think I’ll hit a good rhythm the more I ease into a routine.

I think I’ve had a really successful week!

I’ll start with a bit of background. I have a rigid system for grocery shopping. I spend a bunch of time researching recipes for the week, adding their ingredients to my web-based list and then link the recipes in a table. Just look!:

Screen Shot 2016-01-14 at 8.39.36 PM

I go through and match my coupons to the things I need – without adding items I don’t need just because I have a coupon for it. I don’t particularly think couponing is a good way to shop – you just end up with a bunch of processed crap if you base your shopping off of what coupons you have. Also, sometimes other brands are still cheaper than the brand you have a coupon for, so stay alert! Because of this I don’t use that many coupons when I shop – maybe four or five.

I’ve started pulling up my market’s weekly deals online, to find what is on sale this week. I find this tactic is best for finding things like meat on the cheap. We don’t eat a ton of meat around here (I was a vegetarian for twenty years before I started eating a bit of meat again, so I’m most comfortable eating and cooking vegetarian), so this also helps to keep costs down.

So, since I’ve last updated, I’ve made two grocery shopping trips: one last Sunday, and one today. And guess what?!?!

Register.jpeg

$90.72!

grocery2

$68.13!

I did it! And with room to spare, even. And both these trips included some pricier items: cat food, coffee, a ridiculously expensive bottle of Dr. Bronner’s Castile soap. I’ve been trying to keep in mind things I already have lying around – that leftover bit of feta cheese, frozen turkey from Thanksgiving – and writing a menu around that. Less wasted food, less wasted money!

I made some new dishwasher detergent this week. I copied off this recipe for Awesomesauce. I added lemon essential oil so it smells nice like lemon-peppermint and it seems to be doing a good job of cleaning the dishes, although I think adding the lemon caused some difference in the texture – it’s kind of chunky. It was fairly easy to  make (though not as simple as the laundry detergent). I made a quart of it for, I figure, $1.50 or so. The savings and craftiness is such a high! I MUST DO MORE!

In fact, I’ve really become a little crazy about making stuff and saving money in just this short amount of time. I keep thinking of prices for stuff, and wondering where I can get things cheaper. I’ve been thinking about where I can get dried staples for the biggest bargain. Surely, I must be able to get them cheaper than the bulk bins at my local grocery store. And sure enough, I found that at Cash & Carry (a local restaurant supply store) I can get such deals as Twenty-five Pounds of Dried Black Beans for $16! and Twenty-five Pounds of Long Grain Brown Rice for $12! Now, I haven’t completely lost my mind. I realize that I don’t have any reasonable need for twenty-five pounds of any sort of dried beans. But – a coworker wanted to go in on a haul with me. I got sixty pounds of dried rice and beans for $40, split with a coworker I only spent $20 to get thirty pounds of food. It’s like I’ve started my own illicit co-op out of the back of my Subaru. Beans and rice – so cheap!

I’ve also drifted such less reasonable ideas as, Oh look – I’m nearly out of tampons. I bet I could find a tutorial online to make my own!

Making my own tampons is quite possibly the worst idea I’ve entertained in this process, but I did begin researching reusable menstrual cups and ended up purchasing a SckoonCup. Sadly, I’ll have to wait a month to get to use it 😦 But I won’t have to buy tampons any more, or contribute to all the waste they create.

I’ve only been to the gym once this week. However! I did go on one great hike with the husband yesterday in Forest Park, and today I walked with some friends, so that counts as three exercise sessions for the week and is technically still on goal.

I’ve been reading pretty steadily. I finished Lost at Sea: The Jon Ronson Mysteries by Jon Ronson. He’s currently one of my favorite authors: I haven’t read anything of his I didn’t find thoroughly fascinating. He’s an investigative journalist and digs up the most interesting, weird, obscure stories. I then finished You’re Never Weird on the Internet (Almost): A Memior by Felicia Day. It inspired me to finally watch her web series The Guild which has been fun. I’ll be starting Carrie Brownstein’s memoir Hunger Makes Me a Modern Girl in the next day or two. Can you tell I like memoirs? I’ve also created a Reading List page for you guys, if you want to keep up-to-date on what I’m reading.

I’ve gone out a couple times with girlfriends this week, which is much more often than I typically go out. But! Hanging out one-on-one and in small groups is one of my goals, even though the going out process gives me mom and wife guilt. I’ve found it immensely rewarding to be able to talk things through with other people and find out I’m not alone in this or that, or that someone’s already lived through whatever experience is currently crippling me emotionally. Because it seems like there’s always something.

Last night the husband and I went out with another couple. (Couples dates: on goal!) We went to dinner and for a relax in a soaking pool. I got to wear the bikini I bought almost a year ago and haven’t worn yet (well, I did wear the bottoms during the World Naked Bike Ride). This was fun and I felt totally sexy and awesome because I am. Then I got sleepy and went home at like 10:00pm because I’m also a senior citizen now.

So, how did I fail this week?

Over the course of the last year or two, as I’ve grown into what’s become this full-on identity crisis, I’ve allowed all sorts of obsessive and pervasive thoughts to really tear me down. This is something I really, really want to minimize in my life. But even the smallest thing can go wrong, or I think I’ve said the wrong thing, and BAM! I’ll spend the next… minutes, hours, days, months*?… obsessing about how much I’ve just fucked up my life. That’s got to be the last straw – this person is really going to hate me now. Now everyone will know what an imposter I am! Why am I such a god awful mess? Wow I’ve really fucked this up and it’s the end of the goddamn world now.

Cool and Fine

Wil Wheaton posted this on Facebook earlier this week. I found it apropos of my whole general struggle. I guess Wil Wheaton and I are identity crisis besties!

I’ve been able to mitigate this thought cycle a lot recently, mostly by trying to remind myself that I’m cool and fine, but there were a couple times this week that it really got to me. It’s a work in progress.

And that brings us to right now – feeling pretty great about how the week went. I aim to update once per week (I know, I know… this week was late), so stay tuned!

*Seriously, I’ve spent months obsessing over things I’ve done, sure that I’ve ruined everything, figuratively killing myself over every detail of how I fucked up. My last therapist helped me figure out that I’m an obsessive personality-type (well, duh) and that in general my obsessive/compulsive behaviors are super helpful to me. However, the pervasive thought cycle that accompanies it is when obsessive/compulsive behavior starts being not-so-great.

It’s Business Time

Let’s get down to business. What do each of my goals mean, to me?

Drink less beer
This one comes straight from Wil Wheaton. I’ve already linked to his blog post three times, so you’ll come to see that the next few goals come directly from him. Okay, let’s consider the rest sufficiently cited.

I live in Portland. Beer is everywhere, and good beer. And good cider. And good mead. And good craft cocktails. Really, we don’t do anything here without having a happy hour before and a couple pints after. Or maybe that’s just me and that’s the problem.

I love beer. I love the way it tastes, I love the way it’s made, I love discussing it with other people, I love visiting new breweries (I even plan trips around how to visit each locale’s craft brew scene). As I write this I am enjoying an Alpha Centauri by Hop Valley Brewing from Eugene, Oregon. Coincidentally, the next brewery-centric trip I’m planning is to Eugene. I love beer, okay?

But, it also does these other things. Fat and hungover would be the top two complaints. Also, constantly questioning just exactly what kind of awkward mess I am.

HilliarySkinny (1)

June 2009. Skinny! Young! Hot!

HilliaryFat (1)

December 2015. I can’t really blame beer for this entirely, but it certainly isn’t helping.

So, I want to drink less of the stuff. Less often, and less quantity. But not less quality. NEVER LESS QUALITY.

Read More
I don’t really read enough. And this is odd, because the majority of my social circle is made up of Class A Nerds who do all sorts of reading. I’m a nerd too, just not a book nerd.

So, I set this arbitrary goal of reading a book a week. I had read a statement from a librarian at my local library about how they’d do a book a week, and they were already ahead of schedule for the year, and here were their recommendations. I didn’t really care for their taste in books, but I felt drawn to that simple goal – a book a week. And books are good for your brain! They exercise your thinking and fill your noggin with all sorts of great information!

In all honesty, a book a week is likely too lofty a goal, especially now that I’m apparently blogging. But maybe two a month? Even that would be a marked improvement. Before I was probably reading two a year.

So far since beginning this process two months ago I’ve read about five books. That feels good.

But I still need to get my shows in.

Write more
As I’ve mentioned before, I’m not a writer nor do I care about writing. And yet here we all are. Life is weird.

Watch more movies
This one, like Write More, isn’t a huge thing to me. I probably watch too much TV, but I tend to think the TV I watch is pretty well scripted and produced, so I don’t feel too bad. I mean, I do partake in some really trashy reality TV when my husband’s away, but we all have our guilty pleasures.

Get better sleep
This one would be huge for me. I just stay up too late, but still have to get up early. I need to figure out how to make this one work. Tips?

Eat better food
This one is tricky. I feel like I do eat pretty well. I cook probably more than anyone else whose private life I’m privy to. I prefer eating from whole ingredients, made from scratch. I don’t buy many processed foods, I make my own seasoning mixes, I buy low-sodium as often as possible. But on the same note, I tend to eat really rich foods too. As it turns out, even if your meal is made from great ingredients, and even if the cheese you add is craft and $30 per pound and came at the suggestion of a cheese monger, it’s still cheese and cheese isn’t good for you. Nor is all the locally-baked artisanal bread I so relish. And any sauce is made so much better by the addition of a little cream straight to my hips.

There’s got to be some secret to what all the skinny people are doing. Are they just eating fucking kale all the time? It’s got to be the kale. Note: Kale is fucking garbage.

I’ll try something other than kale.

Exercise more
This one I struggle with. I’ve never been athletic. See: being a nerd.

I was in orchestra, theater, and newspaper in high school. I hated the jocks because they were the enemy and anyways, intellectualism was always a more valiant pursuit. As it turns out, however, the human body does require a certain amount of activity to keep from complete atrophy.

The older I get, the more I notice this atrophy.

I’ve made several attempts in my life to be more active, to exercise until it kills me, and to give up when I fail to perform at 100%.

So, I’m trying at this. I have a new gym buddy. We’re going slow, and I’m learning to be okay with Whatever I Can Do Today.  My goal is to be at the gym three days per week. Even if my workout isn’t enough to kill me, it’s still something.

Cook more
This one is unclear to me. I’m not sure what I really meant here, as I honestly cook a lot. Five or six nights a week I cook dinner (from scratch) and I pre-cook a big pot of soup for our lunches for the week too.

Mainly I think I mean I want to try and avoid as many processed foods as possible. To try and make even the few processed things I buy, from scratch. Still don’t know exactly how this will manifest, as I do really buy very little junk food. But I’ll try.

Learn to sew properly
A couple years ago, my dearest purchased a used sewing machine for my birthday. I’d been asking for one, because I’m jealous of all those cool costumes and things my friends are able to whip up for themselves.

It took me a year before I even touched the thing. In fact, it was my husband who used it first to tailor a couple of his shirts. After that, I took it up to make us a few costumes. One for my husband’s band, then I hemmed some curtains, and then I made our entire family’s Halloween costumes.

But, all the things I made I made without any actual training. In grade school my parents put me into sewing 4-H, which is apparently a thing. At that point (around eleven or twelve) I learned how to sew properly and from patterns, but I’ve since lost all of that knowledge. I’ve been asking my husband for a sewing class for months, and for Christmas this year he gave me a gift certificate to take a series of classes. So, as soon as I schedule those, that’s in the bag.

I’d like to get to the point where I’m able to do some of our tailoring (money saver!) and make some cute things for the kids and me. Also, I learned about thrift store re-fashioning, and this seems really, really cool.

Go on hikes more often
I live in Portland. There are a thousand hikes within an hour’s drive from here. And, if I do say so myself, our region is pretty damn picturesque. So why am I not seeing it?

In the last couple months I’ve gone on a couple hikes. They were nice, and challenging, and when I was done I felt accomplished and exposed to nature. And afterwards you get to drink that pint you earned.

So, more of that.

Spend no more than $100 per week on groceries
This is something that, I hope, will allow me to spend less money while also fulfilling my goal of eating better. Raw produce and bulk dried goods are just cheaper than buying anything else. All it takes is more time, which I’m fortunate enough to have. And it seems like a fun challenge!

Make some of our household supplies
This one is not only cheaper and helps me towards my goal of spending $100 per week on groceries, but it also is fun for me. I’ve already made five gallons of laundry soap (for like $5!!), and I’ve got recipes in the bag for the household cleaners I’m next to run out of. Dishwasher detergent? Gonna make that shit. Fabric softener? Gonna make that shit too.

I’m gonna make all the shit.

Homestead more in general
Really, I mean the looser ‘urban homesteading’. You know, make my own cheese, can and pickle everything. Yes, Portland is just one long Portlandia episode. It’s exactly how you’d expect.

But I make all this soup, see, and then all week we eat the same soup for lunch. But what, dear reader, if I were to make many kinds of soup, can them, and then be able to choose what soup I feel like that day? What then? Freedom, that’s what! Do you know how to can? Do you want to come over in spring/summer and teach me how to can and hang out and maybe get some green beans out of the deal? Let’s do the thing!

And although I enjoy the idea of doing even homesteadier things like keeping goats or chickens or emus or whatever, that’s just really not my style. I’d be over it in a week and be like, Now what do I do with all these emus?

I also suck at keeping a garden.

Focus on more one-on-one interactions with friends
As it stands now, I get a pretty rotten case of social anxiety. But I’ll back up.

I’ve got these kids, which limit the amount of time I’m able to go out sans-children. And there’s always this party or that party to go to. And I tend to go to those because whoever’s birthday or whoever’s housewarming seems important enough to spend my limited free time on.

So I go to these parties and I don’t get much quality time with whatever friend I came to see, and then the social anxiety of hanging out with strangers sets in, and then I drink too much. You see how all these goals are really this complicated jumbled ball of string?

And in the end, I’m hungover and I really haven’t nurtured any deeper relationship with the people I like.

So I want to do more small groups. Couples dates or game nights. Something with more substance.

Run a 5K
This one’s also a bit arbitrarily chosen. When I say I’m not athletic, even then the last fucking thing I’d ever want to do is run. Running is the kale of exercise.

But folks are always doing these fun runs. And they’ve posted their pictures on Facebook covered in colored powders or foam or whatever happens to be the theme, and they’re happy, outside, and have done something productive with their day before I’ve even had a chance to nurse last night’s hangover.

So, I want to be the person who’s posting pictures of the 5K they did. And that’s primarily the reason I’d like to do it, too, which isn’t such a bad reason when the result is that I’ve done something healthier and more interesting with my morning.

Find the joy of missing out
A bit of a disclosure here. There is already a book titled The Joy of Missing Out by Christina Crook. The Oatmeal also did a comic on the subject. And I ripped the idea off a coworker whose friend uses the term, because it really resonated with me and encapsulated what I’ve been trying to do.

I haven’t read the book, which appears to focus more heavily on minimizing technology in your life – this isn’t my goal, to unplug. But I did order the book on Amazon, because it seemed like something I ought to read given the circumstances, and reading more is one of my goals. Twosies!

In my mind, if I focus on all my goals, I will find it. It’ll be what’s left over when I focus more on myself and worthwhile activities.

That, to me, is the joy of missing out.

When in doubt, try again

I’ve never written a blog. Never even really considered it. I’m not a writer, nor do I have whatever that drive is that causes other people to want to write.

But, I’m shaking things up.

A couple years ago I started having what would become the second identity crisis of my life. The first occurred in my mid-twenties after breaking up with my first long-term relationship. I started going to therapy and after a couple years I felt much better. I was, you know, going to do the thing. The life thing.

That worked for a while! I met a real adult-type guy, got married, became friends with adult-type people and began shifting comfortably into a middle-class life. I could do anything I wanted to do. It was great.

But after a while I started feeling like I just wasn’t that interesting. I got socially awkward, drank too much, put on a bunch of weight, hated my job and generally didn’t do the kinds of things that are supposedly fulfilling to your average adult human. And this is where we reach my second identity crisis.

This blog isn’t about the past. It’s about right now, and the future, and all the things I’m going to do to become happier.

One of the things that initially prompted me to want to do things differently was Wil Wheaton’s blog post Seven Things I Did to Reboot My Life. Lemme paraphrase (warning – spoilers):

  1. Drink less beer
  2. Read more (and Reddit does not count as reading)
  3. Write more
  4. Watch more movies
  5. Get better sleep
  6. Eat better food
  7. Exercise more

Well, shit! Those are things, those are easy things. And they’re very common sense things, but something about how simple he made it seemed super inspiring and obtainable.

They all really made sense to me. Well, all except #3 as I’m not a writer. The irony isn’t lost on me.

So, my list is loosely based off of his. I’ve added some of my own, such as:

  1. Cook more
  2. Learn to sew properly
  3. Go on hikes more often
  4. Spend no more than $100 per week on groceries
  5. Make some of our household supplies
  6. Homestead more in general
  7. Focus on more one-on-one interactions with friends
  8. Run a 5K
  9. Find the joy of missing out

And I’m going to write about these things! Not because I like writing or have ever aspired to write, but because I just seems like one more thing I can do that will be uncomfortable and new.

Hello? Is it me I’m looking for?