Monday, November 21, 2011

Pardon me, have you seen my brain?

Most days start out the same. I might exercise first thing, shower, get the kid ready to go to school, make a lunch for him, things like that. After that I am on a rocket ship that doesn't land until around 9pm. Work, which is generally much quieter in the months of October and November has been non stop hopping, with interruptions 12 times a day. My office is in a space where I am easily accessible, which is good when the work study student needs me, but bad when I am in the middle of a very detail oriented task and students just walk in and start talking. I have had them begin talking when I am on the phone, speaking out loud, not just listening to someone talking. Maybe they don't recognize a desk phone as a phone. If I had my iPhone to my head they might get what I am doing.

My point, and I do have one, is that lately I don't seem to have a brain. I cannot for the life of me remember anything for longer than 30 seconds. I forgot a doctor's appointment for Cooper last week, remembering 5 minutes before we should have been in the office. Then I forgot another meeting I was supposed to be at in another building on campus, but fortunately the other people were running late so by the time I remembered the meeting, I was still earlier than they were.

I needed to get toilet paper for the bathroom, and must have gone in and out of the bathroom 4 times in one day before actually remembering the need for the paper and getting it before I forgot again.

Yesterday I needed to use the bathroom, but while doing my business had to chant to myself "Do not flush, do not flush" until I was out of the bathroom, so that I didn't flush it while The Bob was in the basement putting the temporary rubber clamp on the main waste pipe, which has very kindly developed a leak. Which in and of itself is totally awesome.

No doubt contributing to the brain dead nature of my existence, is the dreaming. Non stop, busy busy dreams. I have always had very vivid dreams, and depending on what I am dealing with at work or in life, they can be more busy than others. So I wake up feeling like I have not slept. And depending on the nature of the dreams, I might wake up kind of cranky from the residule emotional tenure of the dreams. I spent an entire day angry at my dad one time, because I was mad at him a dream for something that was completely fabricated and nonsensical. That is always a good time.

On top of all of this, I am itchy. It is ridiculous. There don't appear to be any external causes. I did not get new soap, detergent, lotions, nor did I change my diet. But in the last couple of months, I have broken out in what kind of looks like eczema, but for the most part it fades away after a few days. Then it resurfaces. My skin has never liked its own sweat. I have always had to shower pretty soon after working out or sweating for some reason, but this is new. So I have changed up my soap, and am using Cetaphil or a Cetaphil like product for all bodily cleansing, Tom's of Maine deoderant which is NOT an antipersperant. I have not found it to be satisfactory in the past for keeping me non stinky, but it is winter, so perhaps it can keep up for now.

Then there is my face which feels like it is on fire all the time. Rosacea does that. On the one hand, I have been told recently by someone that I have the best complexion, I always look like I have been sprinkled by fairy dust. I was reluctant to give credit to an involuntary and uncontrollable influx of blood to the fine capillaries in my face.

My fear is this is all an indication of the downward slide that is Menopause. It is maddening when you google the symptoms of menopause, and discover that everyone experiences it in their own special and torturous way. It is not exactly the same for everyone. MADDENING. But brain deadedness, itching and Rosacea, all part of the POSSIBLE signs of the Change Of Life. And it is a train you cannot get off. The best I can hope for it to manage the symptoms. Which probably involves finding a new primary care doctor. My current one is 67 or so years old, and male.

Hey, I just remembered something I am supposed to be doing. Gotta go.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

On Mashed Potatoes...

I love potatoes in pretty much any form. Baked, fried, scalloped, mashed. I had a conversation with a friend recently about some very disappointing, terrible in fact, mashed potatoes I ate at a local restaurant. She had recommended the place to us, and I like to check out local places, so off we went.

I ordered steak tips and mashed potatoes. It is one of the meals I will order if available, to judge the basic culinary worthiness of a restaurant when dining at a new place. It is not fussy, and can be done by a diner or by a high falutin' place. The steak was alright. They had prepared the tips with some sort of sauce, which was a bit too bitey for my taste. I think steak tips are best when done simply and grilled to a medium doneness.

The potatoes were terrible. I could not decide if they were instant or just bad. They had a weird texture, too dry or something, and had a strange flavor. And this is what baffles me. Mashed potatoes have to be one of the easiest side dishes in the known universe. I mean, the most basic version is quite simply potatoes, cut up and boiled, mashed with some milk, butter, salt and pepper. You don't even have to worry about how long to boil the potatoes really. Not like with potato salad. Then you need them done enough to be tender, but not fall apart tender. With mashed, the longer the better.

Of course the kind of potato used can make a difference, but I have used all kinds, mixed varieties in the same batch, and still, it is good.

Sure, the hardest part is the prep work. Washing, peeling if you don't like a more rustic version with peels in it, and cutting. But still not hard like breaking down a whole chicken. Which for the record I have not ever done. Because it is kind of gross.

For the mashing part I use a masher, not a ricer or a hand mixer. Some people like a really light, whipped effect for mashed potatoes, which would make them whipped potatoes, not mashed, and that is fine, for them. I like the rustic effect of a few lumps, a few bits of skin. I add milk conservatively, mixing in between to get the right consistency. This part I think is a personal choice, how thick or thin you like your potatoes. And don't forget the butter, salt and pepper. At this point you are done. Serve.

My boss has said that making mashed potatoes in her large, Irish Catholic family has been a religion and the source of more than one Bobby Flay like throw down. She likes to use cream, or at least half and half instead of milk, and at least one stick of butter. You will of course get some seriously rich potatoes with that method. And I watched The Pioneer Woman's HGTV show where she made mashed potatoes that practically induced a cardiac event just watching her prepare them. She used A LOT of butter AND cream cheese. She stated that these were popular on her ranch. I WONDER WHY.

My point is you can get creative with potatoes if you want, adding cheese, which I do when I use leftovers for the top of Shepherd's Pie. But at minimum it is just a bunch of boiled, mashed potatoes mixed with milk and butter. Go forth and mash it up people.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

So here's the thing...

So here's the thing. Addiction is a lying bastard. It tells you lies, and it gets you to lie to others. It tells you it will make you feel better. It tells you you will be happier with it than without. It snuggles up to you, makes you feel loved and safe. For the moment.

You don't even notice at first the damage it is doing. It tells you it is your family. It helps creates bonds with others that are not real, they are just built on the exchange of services that feed the addicition. It tells you we don't really love you, we don't care about you, that it will take care of you.

All the while the storm is brewing. The clouds are gathering, swirling slowly at first, gathering strength along the way. At first it is just a light breeze making the leaves flutter. Then there is the day the wind blows hard, even makes it hard to walk, but you persist. Eventually, it is a maelstrom, pulling everything it touches down into its vortex.

But you persist. The noise grows louder, turning you deaf to everything else except the sweet whispers of no more pain, the voices being shut up for an hour, a day. You just keep swirling, out of control, everything being sacrificed until eventually you find the bottom.

The bottom is different for everyone. Some are particularly immune to the noise, to the chaos, and so it takes longer. Longer to see there are no more choices, longer to see all of your friends are gone, all of your family has backed away. The bottom is where the fear and the wind crash together and become silence.

Addiction is a lying bastard. You feel worthless so you listen to addiction, telling you you need it to be OK. You listen to it telling you you deserve better, at the same time it tears at your soul with its grimey hands.

The truth is you DO deserve better, and you are not worthless. You are a shiny, precious soul. People love and care about you. But you won't listen. You can't hear them because you haven't found the bottom yet. It is in the silence of the bottom that you might finally hear the words. Our words, our prayers, might finally get through.

So we wait. We do what we need to do to try and be OK with what is happening, but we worry. We can see so clearly what you need to do, but it doesn't matter. We can't make you do it, we can't make you hear us. We try to be supportive without enabling. We can only do so much though. It really is up to you. But you can't hear us yet. We hope and pray you survive this long enough to finally hear us. To finally accept that you are helpless against the lying bastard, addiction, and you need help. We will be here when you do.