Twoo Wuv.

My husband and I don’t really celebrate Valentines Day.  We figure that loving and appreciating each other every day works out to be a better deal than dropping a few grand on jewelry an overpriced food once or twice a year (the other day of big spending would typically be an anniversary, which we acknowledge and enjoy each year, but we don’t do go overboard).  We just aren’t big ticket gift givers.    In honor of that, I decided to go all out and send that darling guy a series of four ecards, prescheduled to arrive at various times throughout his overnight shift.

Then … Yesterday, I woke up to this delightfully quirky Valentine:

Valentines 2012 card front

Close up of the inset heart:

Valentines 2012 card heart

Inside of the heart:

Valentines 2012 card, inside heart

I can’t begin to top that.  When people talk in cliches about their “better half,” it’s typically just a string of meaningless words that sounds slightly less offputting than “the ole ball and chain.”  I won’t stoop to that level, and I won’t demean how awesome he is by just saying he is half of me, better or otherwise.

But he is.  He most definitely is the better one of us.  Even though he’s a whole person, not some weird half person.

 

But that’s enough of me being sweet.  I might have to go do shots of Old Fitz to get my edge back after that.   But before shots, you should know that if I ever run away and join the circus, I would like to do this.

I should probably work on my crippling fear of heights.  And maybe lay off the Old Fitz.  Though it would probably help with the heights.

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Food Photo Post

A weekend of absolute birthday merriment meant I pretty much failed to post.  I’m collecting my thoughts on a few of the weekend’s events, but those posts will happen either later or never, depending on my attention span.

So since I haven’t refilled the words in my head enough to do a good post, here’s a random smattering of foods from the past four days.

My homemade sprinkle-filled birthday cake, courtesy of Christina Tosi’s book, Momofuku Milk Bar.  It was delicious.   The girl cutting the cake  was mocking my poor cake cutting capabilities by cutting all the pieces into odd shapes from all around the edge.  She did very well.

Birthday cake

For Sunday brunch, I made champagne waffles with blood orange syrup.  My waffles always come out ugly, but the syrup was gorgeous.

Blood orange syrup

Today, my new soup pot arrived.  It’s made of light cast iron and enameled.  It makes me very giddy.

New light cast iron soup pot

So of course, I had to make soup. White bean and noodle vegetarian soup.

White bean and noodle soup

And finally, though this was the first photo taken all weekend, I saved it for the end. This is a container of ham. Parking lot ham. In a parking lot. Parking lot ham dated from the week before. I did not bring it home.

Parking lot ham

 

Tomorrow, I’m going to try my hand at making seitan.  Peace.

Best Birthday Card Ever

Continuing with my “best __ ever” posts, the image below is from the birthday card my husband made for me.  I’m going to be making merry this evening, so if I don’t post now, it probably won’t happen.

Inside of birthday card

It takes someone who really knows me to make something this perfect.  He’s the best guy ever.  Inside the card, there’s an envelope attaches that says “I heard you lke cards, so here is a card in your card.”

You open that card, there’s another photo that is captioned, “hey girl, I’m not objectifyin’, you’re just objecti-FINE.”  And another envelope with another card.

 

And inside that card, was a beautiful, personal message that had me crying over my cuppa coffee this morning.  Happy Birthday tears.

 

Without a doubt, he is the most amazing human being I have ever met in my life, and I am so honored that I get to keep getting older with him.

Best dry erase ever

This

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I picked up this tabletop bamboo dry erase board made by Three by Three Seattle at Barnes and Noble today.   It is my favorite thing of the day.  The included dry erase marker has an eraser built into the cap, and I’ve never seen a dry erase board that erases so beautifully and easily.  It’s a win.

They make bigger panels of the dry erase bamboo, some of which are also magnetic (somehow.  I’m guessing the company is owned by amazing warlocks.), and I’m seriously considering buying enough panels to cover the front of my ugly ass refrigerator.  BAMBOO MAGNETIC REFRIGERATOR, Y’ALL!

Also, it is my 32nd birthday tomorrow.  Please, internet, come have cake and cocktails with me.  I made the cake myself.

Soon. Ever. Always.

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With mental health issues, I think many of us want to see the illness in the same concrete terms as physical illness.

Did you have bronchitis?  Are you better or not?

Did you have the flu?  Are you over it?

Did you have leprosy?  One, how the fuck did you manage that, and two, how the FUCK did you manage that?  (okay, leprosy rarely applies)

Of course, with more serious physical conditions, cancer, heart disease, HIV/AIDS, diabetes, all the other ones I’d know about if I had the persistence to become a doctor, we don’t have that on/off switch with being ill.    My analogy doesn’t really hold strong with these diagnoses, because often, the people surrounding a person with a mental illness consider the diagnosis of mental illness no more serious than a flu that will pass, or a leprosy that can be magically treated with a pill a day.  Either way, the issue is either gone, or forever medicated into a level of stability.

At this point, writing in an impersonal POV is starting to challenge me, so let’s switch focus.

I was diagnosed, formally, with bipolar disorder when my son was about two years old.  I’d occasionally been medicated for it before then, but I only stuck with regular appointments often enough after my son was a toddler to get an actual diagnosis on paper.  For the next five years, I would have periods of amazing stability and happiness, then times when I would cycle.  My medications would be adjusted, and I would get back to a good place.  By the last two years, I really only needed med adjusts in March and September ever year, because those were the times that I seemed to get most wiggy.  Or more accurately, February and August were those times, and I would always hold on, waiting as long as I could, hoping that it would get better on its own.

I always wanted to just be better.  I wanted to not have to change pills.  I wanted to just fucking get well.  So I would wait until I couldn’t stand to be near glass, because I wanted to break it.  I couldn’t stand to be alone, because I knew I would somehow break some part of myself in two.  Then I would go in.

In July of 2009, my husband was laid off.  By the time my September med adjustment necessity rolled around, we had no insurance, almost no money (but just enough that we couldn’t find assistance), and my prescription would have cost $600 a month without that insurance.

I decided to let my pills run out, and see what happened.  I figured that the worst case scenario would be that I would lose my shit badly enough that they’d have to take me to the emergency room.  Something would work out.

Then the craziest thing (other than me) happened.  I ran out of medication.  Weeks passed.  I was fine.  My September cycle never came.  I made it through November, December, January … I was fine.

Even February, which I’m sure you’ve noticed I hate with a passion as hot as a supermodel (back before they started making all the supermodels too thin to be hot), I was fine.  Seasonal blahs, but no cycling.

I’ve been off all medication since September 2009, and I’ve been okay.  We have insurance again, but I’m hesitant to mess with what’s working pretty well.  I don’t know why I’ve had this luck to be okay without the medications that I previously needed, but I won’t question it either.  Anyway, that isn’t the point of this post.

I’m fine.  But I’m not well.  I pretended for a year or so that being off the medication and not losing my shit meant that I was better.   Healed.  Forever and always.  That’s probably not true.  I still have so many broken thought processes that I can fix, many of which would be considered separate diagnoses in themselves.  I have crippling self-worth issues combined with moments of such intense narcissistic entitlement.  I have issues controlling my impulses.

There are days where I feel overwhelmed enough that I would love to burn myself the way I used to in high school and early adulthood.  To have only one single thing to think about.  But I don’t.  Haven’t in a long time.

I am better, but I am not always well.  I don’t know why I have been able to do so without medication for so long.  I don’t know if I’ll ever need it again.  I might.  Might not.  It’s an option.  It’s a process.  At least it isn’t leprosy.

What I’m trying to say is this:   Don’t put these issues on an on/off switch. Don’t do that to yourself, or to anyone else.

Peace.

*No offense intended to anyone with leprosy.  

 

When you love someone …

The saying goes, when you love someone, you must set them free. I have always had a very “fuck that” attitude about this cliche.  Most cliches actually.   I wasn’t born yesterday, so I avoid them like the plague.  *winky*

Also, fuck adorable wall decorations that I got at the best antique/junk shop in town. Fuck them all.

Tonight, though, I was pondering some stuff, deep and not deep, and at least some of it cliche.  Last year, I was having an amazingly awful horrible no good time.  I felt awful, alone, and abandoned (which is actually subtly different from being alone).    Many of my dearest friends, not knowing how to deal with that, chose not to.  To be very clear, I did not then nor do I now blame them in any way for that.

Back then, I knew they had abandoned me because I was not worth their time.

When I came out of that rough time, leading up to tonight, I realize that they hadn’t abandoned me at all, they just didn’t know what, if anything, to do.  I don’t give a lot of clues as to what will help me, because I often don’t have a clue myself.

I love these people.

And back to my initial title and sentence, I don’t want to let them go.

Tonight, a friend of mine called to ask how I was doing, because she knew I’d been hijacked by a stomach virus over the weekend.  Another friend played a rousing game of “I can post the best ‘You’re the Best’ song on your Facebook wall.”  She won by a landslide.  Then rubbed the victory in my face with an extra post of this:

 

I will not let such good people go, cliches be damned.  I have cut loose many people from my life that I shouldn’t have.

I will love them, and I will let them grow.  And if they ever wanted to go, that would be their choice.

But I would hope they’d come back.  Because my people.  My loves.  They do it like nobody does.

Okay, February, let’s talk about this

Agatha:  So, February, how are you?  It’s been a year since I saw you last, and back then, you appeared to be having some … um … anger issues.

February: *steepling its monthly fingers*  Really?  I don’t recall anything like that.

Agatha:  Oh,  I think you do.  See?  You have this habit, you blow into my life once a year, set up residence on my couch, and proceed to make sure that anything that can go wrong. Does.

Feb:  I really think you’re confusing me with someone else.  Do you, perhaps, mean Steve Buscemi?

Ag:  What?  No.  What the fuck.  Steve Buscemi has never been to any of my homes, and he certainly doesn’t appear to have a yearly vendetta against me.  And he’s not a calendar month.  You are.   You are the one that made sure through my childhood that my birthday would be a snow day so that I would have to spend it home alone, away from the few friends I have.

Feb:  Children love snow!

Ag:  Shut it!  You are the one who made sure that I fell into a soul-crushing depression every year for my birthday.

Feb:  Adults love soul-crushing depression!  Otherwise, why would they have so much of it?

Ag:  Well, in part, because of YOU.  You bring that shit to almost everyone.

Feb:  You should have said.  You could have returned it.

Ag:  Returned it?  Where does one return  unwanted mental health issues?  Because I think even Walmart’s return policy is a bit strict on that one.

February shrugs its shoulder, leans back, and takes a sip out of  the “I HEART Mondays” mug the month carries around like a badge of disdain for everyone and everything.

Ag:  This year, you’ve managed to give my son, my nine year old kid, his first ever stress-related breakdown.  You’ve given me a stomach virus that borders on medieval torture.  You’ve caused immense shitloads of hardship for the people that I love and care for.  And it will not fucking stand.  From this day forward, you are to back the fuck off and behave like every other month of the year.  You will not make things worse anymore by your mere existence.    You will not mess with the lives of the people that I protect.  Get me?

Feb:  What, exactly, do you think you can do to me?  I’m just a month.  Just days stamped on a calendar.  A few holidays, some bad greeting cards, and time.  That ones the imporant thing, girly.  I am TIME.  So listen, here.  You will stop trying to make this month better.  You will stop trying to have a good attitude about it, because I’m here to make sure you can’t.  You will stop even looking for a motherfucking silver lining, because there isn’t one.  For the next twenty-four days–oh, and how I love a leap year–your world is mine.   Stop trying to control it, because you don’t have any control.  Stop trying to find a way to like it, because honestly, I don’t want you to like it.  And when you push me, I will push back.  Do you get me?

Ag:  So that’s how it’s gonna be, huh?

Feb:  Yup.  Game on then?

Ag:  Game. On.