Therapy By Abe Lincoln

Sometimes the best outings are the impromptu ones. Last night I just looked at Ken and said “Let’s go out.” Not even hesitating, he nodded and said “yeah, let’s do it”. Just like that we packed my camera bag, hopped onto the metro at 7pm and headed into the city. After one transfer and some metro reminiscing we ended up at the Smithsonian station, where we just started walking and photographing the National Mall. My DLSR gave out around the Washington Monument, and I had to iPhone it from there but whatever, we were having fun. We walked the Vietnam Memorial, and ended it with sitting on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial.

The Lincoln Memorial is a special place for me. I’ve spent a lot of time there day and night, sitting on those steps. Thinking about my life when i was happy, sad, anxious about things. Staring at others doing the same. The tourists, the solo people, people eating lunch on their lunch breaks. Its just one of those places where you can people watch every type of people imaginable and yet be lost in your own mind all at the same time. (and no one thinks you are insane if you run down the steps screaming JEN-NAY!!!!! and racing toward the reflecting pool. However security frowns on trying to get IN the water to meet up with the imaginary Jenny from Forrest Gump.)

We got our fill of sightseeing and tourist madness, (even met a couple willing to take a rare picture of us and is emailing it to us later!) and decided to walk to a different metro station to soak up a little more of the city before getting our grub on in Chinatown. Basically in Chinatown you just walk into a place and start eating and the place we chose had the usual chinese and sushi fare, and was pretty decent. We even went all out and split a bottle of sake. What’s nice about the city, is that kitchen’s are still booming at midnight so you can pretty much get a full meal anywhere on a Friday night, depending on what you want. We also discovered a THREE STORY WALGREENS with gourmet food in it, in case that’s of interest to anyone out there, because we were fascinated.

The impromptu night out was just what I needed to pretend I wasn’t in the pits of depression for a few hours, maybe even help me climb out with a little inspiration. That I can always come home, see my happy places and things can be ok for a few hours, when I can muster up the energy to get it together and try to get to them.

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Respecting the Elderly CAN Be Hard.

Today I’m doing an experimental exercise on self-restraint through writing. Mostly because I had this absolutely horrifying conversation with my grandmother last night, and I know this woman is not a terrible person, she just has Tourette’s of the mouth sometimes, that goes along with Tourette’s of the 1950’s ideology and it rears its head sometimes and makes me want to scream. I promise you the very next day, she will go out and do something fantastically generous and liberal and you won’t even believe it’s the same woman but I’m the one who’s left to deal with knowing that sometimes…..sometimes she still acts like “that person” sometimes and I hate her for it. SO ONTO HER FUNNY QUIRKS.

My grandmother sometimes gets caught up in the fad of the month like someone following PEOPLE magazine, Or Dr. Oz goes crazy for. (Oh….Dr. Oz. If I had a dollar for every time she called me up and started a conversation with “Dr. Oz says….” and then drops some stupid medical knowledge I told her YEARS AGO I’d be fucking rich by now. But when HE SAYS IT, IT’S THE FIRST TIME EVER SHE’S HEARD IT.) She also does this with fad diets and DISHES. At one point she had a theory. Buy little dishes, “like Koreans.” (Her words not mine) Eat little portions out of all of them. So she went to Macy’s and bought a shit ton of fiesta ware. All little dishes. She then made dinner in 6 little dishes every night for each of us. It lasted for like a month until she realized she was washing a shitload of dishes. Now, that I’m married and have a place of my own, guess who is trying to give me all of the little dishes every time I visit? She tried South Beach for a while, I’m not sure what happened there, but Atkins, well, she likes grains. In her words “Starving herself of bread just doesn’t work.” Currently she’s into Greek yogurt, Oikos mango to be exact, every morning, with toast and good lord she does not live without protein bars, that must consist of peanut butter and chocolate. She also freaks out if she thinks the fridge has “too much food” in it. Which is a major issue every time Ken and I visit and put ANYTHING in it, because you know, the logical cause of two more people in the house is a temporary influx of food. We try to hide it as best we can but you know, what can you do, we have to EAT. I finally came in a few months ago to see she bought an upright freezer for the basement for all her frozen Costco purchases and laughed, because even though her upstairs freezer is NEVER FULL I guess this eases her food storage mind a bit, and ultimately we have more out of sight food hiding places when we visit for the weekend.

I feel marginally better after thinking of this side of my grandmother and her crazy obsession with the perfect food consumption and storage situation. It sort of explains also where I constantly get the need to revamp and reorganize certain parts of my life, only I take it out on the living room furniture configuration and how the pantry operates and dispenses food directly into my mouth. THANKS GRANDMA!

That Time I Plotted My Husbands Death….

So I have hit that time of the month where I have started to make kind of repeated insistent food requests. I’ve figured out why, but it’s finally occurred to me that Ken has not because he keeps trying to express a desire to not be down with my urges. Usually, he picks up on the impending doom of the Invasion of the Body Snatchers aka, my period, and handles it like a champ (seriously he’s amazing) but its a total miss this month.

I put up with it last night and quelled the cravings …but of course it did not go away today when the dinner question rolled around.
“What do you want for dinner?”
“Bon Chon.”
“But Bon Chon is allll the waayyyy down Broad st…..don’t we have something in the freezer?”
“Nothing that I want.”
“You wanted Bon Chon last night and we found something else.”
“I know. That’s why I STILL NEED IT TONIGHT.”
“Are you for real?”
“Yes. All this food in here I hate right now.”

Bon Chon. A very special fried chicken place made by these Korean people. During the previous night’s dinner debate he told me last night he “didn’t think Bon Chon was as good as I apparently did” and I swear to Thor my hormones almost slaughtered him on the bed. I played out his death right there. My uterus went right into “DEFEND FRIED CHICKEN MODE”. Jesus H Christ where does this woman emerge from? Do uteri have “defend fried chicken” modes? Actually it’s just “don’t insult food craving modes” in general I think. I also felt this bubbling anger this afternoon when Ken told me that last night somehow the freezer got left cracked open and ALL THE ICE CREAM was liquid. The ice cream I hadn’t touched in over a month, but today, I’m upset about it.

So begrudgingly I think, he’s going to get it tonight. So I’m trying to counter the hormonal irrationally charged being that is myself and have roasted peppers and broccoli cooked by the time he gets back. And pot stickers. And I’ll explain to him the “situation” he’s missed out on, and hopefully my nonsense will make sense and there will be a peaceful resolution to this chicken situation.

Confessions of an Accidental Eating Disorder

Let’s talk body image. Of course, I always think of these things in the shower, the really need some sort of dictation device that works in there, because I swear my best thoughts come in there when I’m musing over my shampoo. 
Anyway, I grew up as one of those “blessed” super skinny, bony, high metabolism, no curves, type of girls, who did not receive boobs until I was 18. Of course I thought I was ugly anyway, and in all honesty I DID NOT HAVE AN EATING DISORDER. I was just like that, no matter how many  Mcdoubles I ate while cutting class with my friends. And I smoked a lot of weed, so the munchies were often. I graduated highschool at 97 lbs and looking back at my prom pics I’m even a little bothered by my appearance even though I could do nothing about it. But, time moved on and a year later I grew some nice C cups, gained about 15, and still thought I was ugly. I know now, my issues with my appearance are way deeper that just surface. 
When I was 23 my mystery illness started taking off. And with that, so did my weight. The docs started saying, oh, here’s some STERIODS for some inflammation. WEIGHT GAIN. Maybe your pain is caused from depression, try these 6 million pills that your body will prove to be the most sensitive person on the planet to: WEIGHT GAIN, lactation, a freaky craving for alcohol (medically proven side effect!), twitches, psychosis….the list goes on. My brain does not like drugs that effect my serotonin or anything of the like, even though I have issues with panic, depression, and anxiety. A topic for another day. Anyway, the point here is over this massive journey of “what’s wrong with Kris?” I’ve morphed from “that skinny girl” into “DAMN WHAT HAPPENED” and a lot of people have a hard time understanding the reasons, without judging or being all up in my business about it. 
I also enjoy cooking. My husband and I enjoy it together. We like to feed people. And often we would, and since I dabble in photography, I would post dishes and talk about it with friends. So a lot of people also started assuming I was Paula Dean, using all the butter ya’ll! And questioning my diet out the ying yang every time a new picture would pop up. Even though it was a army of soldiers eating my food, not myself, and I loved cooking ethnic and with vegetables. So I’ve been fat shamed, skinny shamed, sick shamed, just shamed all around. 
But now a very weird thing is happening. I’m losing weight. I’ve lost over 50lbs in the past few months, and because I’m a shut in, apparently it’s a wow factor when people and doctors see me. I’m no where near skinny, because of the massive amounts of weight I put on over the years compared to my original size, but everywhere I go people say something. And I should take these compliments with grace and move on right? But the truth of the matter is, I carry a terrible guilt about it. Because, the weight loss, is because I’m queasy ALL THE TIME, I throw up A LOT, and I eat very little. None of this is by choice. Once again, I DO NOT HAVE A EATING DISORDER. It has been a by product of the severe vertigo caused by the vestibular disorder and migraines I’ve been dealing with these past many months. When I eat, I think about proteins, fruits and veggies, and staying hydrated to replace what I’m losing, because I can only handle things in small portions. And yes, SOMETIMES, I still get a 4 piece mcnugget from the dollar menu because I live with a full time college student and soldier for a husband and we are so tired and broke and once in a while cant bear to cook. Back off. 
But it’s hard to accept compliments on my “accomplishment” when I feel like a total fraud despite my attempts at maintaining a healthy diet as best I can while my body is working against me. Things are just never what they seem. 

Jungle Cooking.

So one of my hobbies is cooking. But lately, because of the mess that is my life, it’s been on the back burner. Ha! See what I did there? But I’m still trying to muster up the motivation to dust off the pots and pans and get some meal planning going because I actually enjoy it so much, even when I can’t eat it. AND LOW AND BEHOLD I’M GOOD AT IT. I have all these ideas of assembling cookbooks with my photography and recipes I’ve written and made my own as sort of one of those things I can be proud of some day.
But today my gripe is this. When it’s been awhile since I have made something, I often turn back to some light reading to remind myself of cooking techniques I’ve used in the past for certain dishes, especially since I do like to branch out with a lot of ethnic type food. Today, my beef is with making one of my favorite comfort foods, Thai Coconut Sticky Rice with Mangoes.
So I’m brushing up on my “sticky rice cooking” reading. And all these fucking recipes are like crazy. And they act like its all super easy “you just take those handy banana leaves you have lying around the kitchen and wrap that rice right up in there and steam it over an open hot water pit and PRESTO! Sticky rice at home! Just like Thailand!” WHAT THE ACTUAL FUCK.
I don’t know about you but I have an electric stove, pots and pans, a microwave and a rice cooker at my disposal. I don’t keep banana leaves and crazy steam pits of water oh hand for random special rice cooking. I mean, maybe when HGTV shows up to build me my dream home I can make some of those requests, but for the time being the rice cooker and the wok I have from the Korean market are just going to have to suffice.

Rants to Remember

So I had a couple much needed “take a stand” type moments last week, and they ended up playing themselves out on Facebook. It ended up being a good thing for me, inside. They were things I needed to voice, outside the four walls of my bedroom, beyond the ears of my patient husband or ever abiding childhood friend. However, since I’m returning to this place to pour out my thoughts once again after a year or more of a hiatus due to a lot of upheaval and illness, I would like to record those little rants here as well. So I can come back and remember I DO have the balls to just say what I’m thinking and it doesn’t make me nuts, or unreasonable.

” It seems I have angered the masses of the Internet without  medical degrees that love to judge me when I dare post that I made desert and had a health problem too close together and BAM! THEY KNOW WHY I’M SICK!, and this time I’m building up the courage to tell you you have know idea what you’re talking about, your advice is as unsolicited as a Jehovah’s Wittness and to fuck off. 
Just to clear things up, all this “rage cooking?” I’M NOT EVEN EATING THE FOOD. IM TOO SICK. If you’re worried about my weight, calm down, I lost 40 lbs this winter, I can fit through my door, that’s also not the reason I’m sick. And the meds? Just shut up. I’ve had to make some very hard choices, and sometimes those choices involve medication. And real medical professionals. You have no idea.
And  on another related topic.  Religion.
I also find kind it sad that I need to scare the boogeyman out of some people’s closets with this: just because I do not attend church or subscribe to a deity does not make me apathetic to a basic sense of morality. 
I don’t murder people, I don’t tempt people to buy my body on the street corner, I don’t pedal drugs to children, kick puppies in the face or get in fist fights out of rage, or fun. I hold myself responsible for being a decent human being to others and I’m content to pay that forward in the life I have now. No need to hide your children ok?”

Letting Madonna’s Vogue get me in the mood….

After a vacation that was nothing but work, we’re home and hitting the ground running. But we’re armed with a wealth of information and a plan forming to get it all done. Just thinking about the next couple months is going to be exhausting, but having a working plan eases my anxiety.

While DC was a big pile of suck, with nothing but rain, and no cherry blossoms, Richmond on the other hand was an entirely different story. Our first day there was sunny and warm, and after discussing how we need to do things with Ken’s school, we met up with Shannon and she took us on a combo walking/driving tour of the basics of Richmond. It’s old, beautiful and charming. There are tangible activities that ken and I can do, from parks to hanging out in cute shopping districts. Even just lazing about on the James River that literally runs through the city. Rush hour traffic was a breeze compared to DC, and I think I’ll learn the basics of the city pretty fast. We took a cruise out to the West End, where his school is and we are trying to find a place, and we’re pleased that its not too FAR outside of downtown, and has tons of things like Whole Foods and Trader Joe’s to excite us for our cooking endeavors.

We townhouse hunted in the pouring rain the second day, and must have seen about 10 places before I just couldn’t bring myself to do another tour. So much information, so much exhaustion on my part, and we still had to drive back to Bragg that day. BUT…. we found at least two places we are really excited about, that will provide the space and features we need, and all within our budget. We’re going to digest and weigh the options of several places before making a final choice, but I feel pretty good about one place in particular.

So, this month’s calender is about to blow up with appointments, including the start of Kens injections for his back, and my upcoming surgery. Both within 4 days of each other. But we take what we can get right? Hopefully I can squeeze in some fun cooking, and process these few pictures I was able to take on our trip in the next couple days and get them up on flickr. Adios!