Wednesday, May 18, 2016

I Feel a Little Bit Like a Rabbit

So, I’m trying to update my health. As you know, over the past year or so, I’ve been struggling with severe bloating, GI issues, depression, anxiety, etc. None of these are new, per say, but they’ve gotten a lot worse. So bad that I have visited my primary care doc more in the past year than probably ever. When I say “severe bloating,” I mean that at the end of the day I look 5 months pregnant. NO JOKE. I have the photos to prove it but of course I’m too embarrassed to post them here so you are just going to have to trust me on this.

I get worried about it, and I get depressed about it. I feel like I eat fairly healthy. Sure, I love cookies and pizza, but I limit my intake of them. I take healthy snacks to work, like apples and greek yogurt. I don’t eat fast food, except for pizza twice a month. I’ve been running 3 miles every day for months and months. And yet I still can’t lose weight. Okay, well it’s not that big of a mystery: I REALLY, REALLY like wine. But one night last week, when my belly was out to ‘here,’ I was just so sick of everything. I was crying to a friend on the phone. Jeff was at a networking event; no kids; I was alone. I feel like there is something BIG going on with my body that my doctors are missing. I feel like all my primary care doc is good for is to refer me to a specialist. I feel like my colonoscopy/endoscopy that I had in February was necessary, and potentially live-saving, but in the end the doc said, “eat more fiber, and drink less coffee.” Well, I could drink less coffee if I could get more sleep and I don’t see how that’s going to happen while being a working mom trying to manage my own life, daughter’s activities, etc. (Or being a mom, period – working outside of the home or not. One kid or more.). I talked to my hippie/new agey friend Stacey who recommended I try to find a naturopath – more on that later. I felt desperate. I truly, really felt that something was WRONG with my body. Something out of whack. Hormones or thyroid or gut or brain. Well, definitely brain, but also something else? But I just had my hormones and thyroid tested in November. And my gut issues in February, but nothing was getting better. I feel like Summar felt the year before she was diagnosed with Cancer, when she kept going to doctor after doctor after doctor and nobody could fucking figure out what the hell was going on. THAT’S what I feel like. I’m not saying I have Cancer, but I feel like there IS stuff going on that we have just not gotten to the root of yet. And frankly, I don’t think my doctors are going to help. And after seeing a naturopath yesterday (paid out of pocket, of course not covered by insurance), I don’t feel like that’s going to help either (at least not the one I saw and I don’t have any more cash to spend on getting consults with others). So I decided to take matters into my own hands.

I ordered this book on Amazon: Wheat Belly 10-Day Detox. Yes, same author of “Wheat Belly” which I haven’t read. Yes I know he’s extreme: he believes wheat and grain is the root of all evil. Well, I don’t know about that, but I do know what my tummy looks like after I eat a cracker – YES I GET BLOATED AFTER EATING A FUCKING CRACKER. I’ve been tested for celiac; negative. But you can be negative and still have gluten not really agree with you; still have an intolerance to it, or have it give you issues. I explored this last year with a co-worker, who told me all about it, and the changes she’s made, and how she feels SO much better now. And, I found this to be true as well with one of my church friends: he started Paleo 2 years ago and lost a bunch of weight and looks very healthy now. I spoke with him again about it last weekend at a church event and he said that yes he too had IBS and slept with a CPAP (like my husband) and was on various medications for various minor ailments and now all he takes is an allergy pill; he no longer needs his CPAP and he no longer has IBS symptoms.

From what I can tell, Paleo, “the whole 30” and Wheat Belly all boil down to the same thing: Eat real food. Which makes me wonder why I can’t write a best-selling book and call it something different but say the same thing. But it’s not just good enough to “limit process food” – you have to get rid of it entirely. At least, that’s what the Wheat-Belly 10-Day detox is all about. And I just officially started it because the first time I was able to go to the grocery store was last night but prior to that, I gave up processed sugar, grains, bread, and ALL processed food. Before I listed out the recipes he includes in the detox program, before I could find the ingredients, I stopped eating cereal, sandwiches and cookies. I made myself egg omelets filled with veggies; I bought hummus to dip my celery in; I made salads; I cut WAY back on my alcohol intake. I’ve lost 7 pounds since Monday, I still have a flabby tummy but I’m not 5 months pregnant at the end of the day, so something is working, right??

Last night Jeff helped me with one of the recipes: Italian sausage pizza. The crust was made from a mix of almond meal and coconut oil and olive oil and other stuff; then we topped with sausage and veggies like mushrooms, green peppers, and red peppers. It was decent. He ate it, which is saying a lot. This morning I tried one of the smoothie recipes for breakfast and at first I thought it was kind of gross. Because it was warm and smoothies aren’t supposed to be warm. That’s because I used melted coconut oil in it. But then I added some ice and it was much better and do you know what? Normally I have a banana at 6, cereal a half hour later, and by the time I get into the office around 9, I’m STARVING. Then I eat chocolate, a yogurt, almonds. I’m STILL barely holding out for lunch until 11 or 11:30, and then I’m fine for the afternoon as long as I have an apple around 2 or 3; but I’m STARVING again for dinner at 5. Today, not the case. I took a long time to drink my smoothie and I wasn’t hungry until lunch. Since I worked from home today, as a snack I made a new recipe of “Apricot Ginger ‘Granola’” per the program which consisted of combining a ton of seeds (pumpkin, sunflower); nuts (almonds, pecans); coconut shavings; coconut oil; dried apricots; ginger (of course), etc. You mix it all together and spread it out in a pan and bake. It smells fucking DELICIOUS when it’s baking. I mean, unreal. But it tasted…sort of like rabbit food. Like, yes I was definitely eating a mix of nuts. I topped with blueberries and added a bit of almond milk to make it more like cereal and that helped. I just don’t know if I could eat it every day. Some of the other recipes sound good though, and others I wouldn’t eat like meatloaf. So far, they’ve been SUPER easy – this is coming from a non-cook. It’s basically just combining ingredients which is what cooking is, duh. But I remember for like a day I decided to do Paleo and I tried to make my own ketchup and I tried to make “mashed potatoes” from cauliflower and they were both disasters and Jeff wasn’t very supportive at that time either so I ended up throwing a temper tantrum and throwing everything away.

This time, I asked for his support – for help cooking, and he said yes. Like, I want to make “eggplant mini pizzas” and “eggplant parmesan” but I’ve never worked with eggplant before and I don’t really know how or what to do with it. I have finally mastered the cutting of an avocado though! See, I’m helpless. (I had to watch a fucking youtube video and then trash 3 avocados before I got it). Though I will tell you that I haven’t worked out this week, because it is recommended that you do NOT during detox.

I’m not declaring that I’ll never eat bread or grains again. I just want to see what happens in 10 days, and how I feel and look at that time, as so far, it seems to be going pretty okay.

One of my issues is that although I’m 1,000x more of an adventurous eater than I was in my younger days, I’m still not anywhere near any “normal” person’s idea of an adventurous eater. In fact, most people would call me picky. However, at restaurants and what not, I’m willing to try things I would never consider at home – bc back to the no cooking ability thing. I basically like chicken and salad and pizza and pasta. Two of those are out, at least in their traditional forms, so I’m left with salad, chicken, turkey, yogurt, apples, bananas, and veggies. I’m just not good at thinking up MEALS. Which is funny for how much I stress about the whole family meal thing with Jeff & Ethan. Also, I’m a total fucking hypocrite because I still smoke. Which is just about the LEAST healthy thing you can do. But please don’t take away ALL of my pleasures ALL at once, especially when my brain and body are so presently unbalanced. Thank You.

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Farrell’s Freaking Awesome Salad

I can’t cook. And I’m not a health nut (though I’m trying to become one – more on that in next post). But I do make a pretty freaking awesome salad, that I eat pretty much every day for lunch. And this isn’t JUST me tooting my own horn; for big family gatherings (w/Jeff’s family, obviously since me, Mom & Tom doesn’t quite qualify as ‘big family gathering’), I often make a salad and get a lot of compliments. When I do that for everyone, I cut up my veggies larger so people can pick them out or I put them in little ramekins so they can choose what they want. So no, this blog isn’t going to turn into a recipe or cooking blog by any means (HA!), but it’s nice to take a break from the angry, depressing, frustrating, sad stuff I’ve been writing about lately, don’t you think?

Now, I LOVE vegetables. But I don’t particularly like eating many of them plain, except for broccoli or asparagus. So I throw a shit ton of veggies on my salad. Little cut up veggies in my salad aren’t really going to get me to my daily requirements, but every little bit helps, and I do what I can. You can pick and choose; if you don’t like one of the veggies listed, just don’t include itJ Because it’s such a PIA to get out all of the ingredients and chop everything up, I usually make two salads at once. If I’m working from home for example, I’ll make one for my lunch and put the other in a Tupperware for tomorrow’s lunch to bring into the office. (I also label each Tupperware with scotch tape and write the date on with a sharpie, otherwise I’ll forget when I made it and I’m paranoid about expired food—if you’ve ever been to my parent’s house, you know why [you have to check the label on everything – they KEEP everything forever. Well, maybe not forever, but you know what I mean]).
So here goes (All ingredients are organic, BTW).
  • spinach leaves (tastes WAY better than kale and just as healthy too!)
  • baby carrots
  • green pepper
  • red pepper
  • celery (sometimes, if you want that “crunch”)
  • mushrooms (great source of vitamin D)
  • cherry tomatoes, sliced in half
  • cucumber
  • garbanzo beans (1/3c), to help fill you up
  • crumbled feta cheese (1 tablespoon)
  • avocado for healthy fat (plus it’s filling)
  • chicken slices (1/4c) to make it a meal (if just a side dish, I would forego the chicken; it adds about 100 calories I think? I like the pre-sliced Southwestern chicken packages you can find at any grocery store)
  • sliced honey roasted almonds (1 tablespoon) on top (I like the “Fresh Gourmet” brand found in the salad aisle)
  • dried cranberries for sweetness (1 tablespoon) (again, Fresh Gourmet. You could sub raisins) – This I believe is the key to the salad (just my opinion)
I top with homemade balsamic vinaigrette dressing: 3 parts extra virgin olive oil, and 1 part vinegar (ie ¾ c oil, ¼ c vinegar). But play with it until it tastes right to you. You can add pepper, salt, garlic, herbs (like oregano, basil, parsley). I just keep mine super simple and add a pinch of salt and a bit of pepper. Shake and no need to refrigerate. (Refer to this article for more)

Feel free to add pepper on top:)

Isn't it so pretty??! I ran out of cranberry topping for this one:( It was still yummy though!
PS – I don’t add croutons to my salad but you can, though watch what type and the ingredients and calories on that. I also don’t recommend adding sugar to your dressing, because to me that kind of defeats the purpose, but if you need it to be sweeter, you could try adding a bit of stevia or truvia. Or a pinch of raw cane sugar. I don’t know how many calories the salad is – probably around 350 with the chicken? A perfect lunch meal, if you ask me.

Monday, May 16, 2016

F*ck Family Day; I Give Up

We saw Marcy’s sister Danielle in the grocery store yesterday with her son Noah, who is nearly 9. He is a sweet kid. Smart and funny. We’ll have him over occasionally and Danielle will chat for a bit and I really like her. I like having her in my house and I like chatting with her and when Marcy is in my house I cringe and want her to leave NOW NOW NOW. It was just me and Jeff at the store; the kids were at home still.

Right away, Danielle asked how Summar was doing. She expressed empathy at Summar’s situation and wanted me to know she had been thinking of her, which I thought was very nice and sweet. And, you could tell the care was genuine.

Danielle says to me, “It seems like Ethan is obsessed with his friends.”
Me: Yep.
Then she shared a story about last Friday night. Their biological father [Marcy & Danielle's] was in town and Marcy had everyone over. Noah was supposed to spend the night but of course Marcy had also invited Ethan’s friends over. Ethan basically ignored Noah the entire night and Noah was so miserable that he begged his mom to let him come home with her; he didn’t want to stay the night. Danielle and Marcy got in a big fight about it, which isn’t unusual as they’ve always fought a lot, I’ve been told (though I’ve never witnessed it).

I told her that she can always call us if her and her husband need a date night; Noah is always welcome and we won’t allow Ethan to have anyone else over to distract him if Noah comes over. Noah includes Sophie too and likes to play with her as well, not just Ethan.

Then Danielle got all paranoid and was like, DO NOT tell Marcy I told you this!!! And I was like, Danielle, do you think we CHAT??! HAHAHAHA.

After we got home, I had to take Sophie to make-up softball practice and in the car I told her who we saw at the store and she said, “Yeah I really like Danielle.” And I said, “Yeah, me too.” And I told her something cute Noah said and that was all I revealed. Then Sophie says, “I get the feeling that Danielle doesn’t really like her sister. I mean, I don’t think she HATES her, but they’re definitely not best friends either.” I told Sophie her intuition was exceptional. (And then I had to explain what “intuition” meant:))

Anyway, we ended up having a decent weekend in the end, despite my freak out on Saturday.

Friday night, me, Sophie and my parents went to Ethan’s baseball game to watch him pitch. He did pretty good but the team is 0 for 4. Ethan switched teams AGAIN this year because his new, cooler friends played on this one so he ditched his team from last season – the team who actually WON. Anyway, that’s neither here nor there I guess.

Saturday afternoon the plan was for me and Sophie to support our church team in the American Cancer Society’s Relay for Life event. I didn’t really know what all was going to be there, but I knew there would be food, music, and some stuff for kids; plus it was at a park. It was a chilly day for May, but it was sunny and pleasant. We had one of Sophie’s old friends meet us, so she had someone to hang with and it was one of her besties she hadn’t seen in a long time, so that was nice. We also ran into my ex SIL, Sophie’s Aunt Jen and her girls (and her beautiful golden retriever, Ginger), which I had a dream about happening but before you call me psychic, realize it’s a small town and if anything is going on, usually everyone shows up at some point. We only planned to stay 2h because Sophie was invited to a birthday party later that day. Jeff and Ethan said they would go with us but upon waking, Ethan was already grumpy. First Jeff wanted to take him to the air show, and he whined about that, even though one of Jeff’s friends was going with his boys, whom Ethan knew. Sophie did NOT want to go to the air show because she has been to one before and she has sensory issues and it is just too loud for her. Then Jeff tried to talk Ethan into going to the Relay thing with us but he didn’t want to do that either. Then Jeff tried to talk Ethan into going out to Ethan’s friend’s dad’s farm, but he didn’t want to do that either. So he stayed home and stayed inside and played video games all morning long. I decided to sleep in that day – my ONLY day to sleep in – and well, I regretted it. I regretted it because even though yes, Sophie is perfectly capable of entertaining herself, I don’t think it’s fair to ask her to entertain herself for FIVE HOURS when there is a kid her age who can play with her but chooses not to, and when there is another adult in the house who gets to sleep in every day. Sophie gets up at 6:30am; that’s just her body’s natural clock, and so by the time me, Jeff and Ethan got up at 8:30, she had already entertained herself for two hours. By the time Jeff cooked us breakfast and we ate, she had already entertained herself for three hours. By the time I did my run and took a shower and made her lunch, she had already entertained herself for five hours. Because Ethan didn’t want to do anything. With her. And Jeff just wanted to read the paper, which is his prerogative. I know I can’t force Ethan and Sophie to get along or like each other or play together. I know that they are different. I understand they have different interests. But they actually have a lot of the same interests, too. They both play soccer, baseball, basketball. They both love the dog. They both love going in the “fort,” (the wooded area behind our house that runs along the creek). Etc.

So Ethan and Jeff ended up going out to lunch and then to a movie and Sophie and I did our thing and I was upset because I was feeling insecure and I felt like Ethan had rejected me and Sophie even though Sophie didn’t seem to be too bothered by it, though at breakfast she did sit with us and she did say something along the lines of “Ethan, you NEVER play with me. You ALWAYS just sit at your Xbox or you ALWAYS just sit in your room at the computer watching videos on how to play video games.” I know you aren’t supposed to use “never” and “always” language when having family arguments, but she had a very valid point.

Then Jeff invited me to dinner with him and Ethan, for after I drop Sophie off at her friend’s birthday party. It took some cajoling because I felt like he was feeling sorry for me and I’m perfectly fine eating alone; I already had chicken marinated; I can eat alone and read my book or watch tv it’s not that big of a deal. Then 10 minutes later: Ethan was invited to spend the night at a friend’s house.
And that was that.

Jeff and Ethan PROMISED that Sunday would be “family day.” This was Ethan’s idea a while back when I was upset over the fact that WE ARE NOT A FAMILY WE ARE NEVER A FAMILY.
Well, Sophie and I went to Sunday school and church and while we were doing that, Jeff DID drag Ethan to the air show which actually was lame, according to Ethan so he whined enough about it that Jeff took him back home early. Then Sophie and I made lunch and Ethan played video games and Sophie played outside for four hours with her BFF across the street and Ethan was still playing video games until Jeff FORCED him out the door. So he went outside for like 30 minutes, and then back to his video games which BTW, let me tell you this part: Saturday, Ethan texted his mom to bring over his Xbox One, which is the latest version of the Xbox. No matter that in OUR home, we have an Xbox Kinect, Wii, and Playstation 4 that Ethan just got for Xmas, because it was the only thing he wanted. He did this without telling or asking his dad. So Marcy calls Jeff’s phone twice and it’s in the bathroom plugged in and I’m getting ready after my workout and then Jeff and Ethan have words and then Marcy comes over. Sophie and I are at my desk working on a scrapbook for her friend and Jeff sees Marcy pull up and says, “Ethan, here’s your mom with your Xbox; why don’t you run out and grab it,” trying to avoid having Marcy come in. But Ethan wasn’t fast enough and here comes Marcy up to the door with her FAT dog Lucky and she comes in the house and then she accuses our dog Kylie of biting Lucky and then she says: “Ethan needs to wear a pair of pants; it’s too cold for shorts. Also he needs a shower. Also what medicine did you give him today? Also what are your plans today? What are you doing tomorrow?” all in a rush control freak control freak control freak.
I texted Jeff “She needs to go NOW NOW NOW” and he writes back “no shit.”

Anyway, my point is that Ethan is Greg Heffley from Diary of a Wimpy Kid, a kid who only wants to stay inside and play video games and not enjoy the gorgeous outdoors or play with his sister or value family time. Sometimes he only comes out of his room to eat.

Jeff needs to stand up to both Ethan and Marcy, but he doesn’t. He can control if Marcy brings over the Xbox. He can control how long Ethan spends playing video games.

Are my expectations too high? Is it too much to ask to spend a few hours together on a Sunday or Saturday twice a month? Is it unreasonable to want to sleep in ONE day out of 7 and not have my child be ignored for five hours, or is that being selfish? My heart is sad because I care. Jamie, TT and Sophie and Sutton do stuff together all weekend long, and Sutton and Sophie are 7+ years apart.

Also, a while back, Marcy and I were actually emailing each other about summertime and Marcy invited Sophie over for a week to be watched by Ethan’s babysitter. And I said, “Will Ethan have a friend over?” and she said, “Of course.” And I said, “No thank you, because Sophie will be ignored.” Actually I’m not sure I actually said that and I’m too lazy to look but I’m thinking I probably did and I don’t think she said anything back. This was in February, several months ago.

Marcy suggested me signing up Sophie for a Jump! Camp which Ethan went to last year and liked and Marcy said “I don’t even know what it is but he had fun.” Well idiot it’s a Vacation Bible School camp and if you look on the website you can figure that out real quick (besides, the camp is at a Christian church). The reason this is funny that Marcy doesn’t know is because she’s Jewish and therefore would never willingly send her son to VBS. So today I asked Marcy if she ever signed Ethan up for that because Sophie’s friend Lexi, who she was supposed to do it with, is now visiting her grandparents in Wisconsin. Sophie was disappointed. She’s doing two other camps with Lexi but the rest she has to do on her own as most of her friend’s moms either stay home or are teachers so are off in the summer. I’m proud of her for letting me sign her up for stuff on her own. Anyway, I told Marcy when Sophie was signed up and Marcy said, “Oh, Ethan’s not doing that camp because none of his friends are.” Even though Sophie is. Even though I told her back in February that Sophie was, and when. It’s not good enough for Ethan. That’s how I took it anyway. Like, who cares if I know someone who is my step-sister, if my buddies aren’t there, I ain’t doing it. Jeff reminded me that friends are supreme with Marcy and that is the value she has passed down to Ethan. Jeff says he doesn’t know what to do or how to stop it. I tell him talk to Ethan. He actually DID talk to Ethan in the car on Saturday and Ethan ended up crying and then Jeff felt bad. Maybe it’s not a personal insult. I won’t tell Sophie a thing about it. Maybe I’m being far too sensitive. Maybe it doesn’t matter that Ethan wants nothing to do with Sophie. It’s just that…before, they liked each other and would play together, but now I guess they’ve drifted apart. No, you know what. I DO care and I can’t keep myself from caring and that sucks because caring means it bothers me. And it makes me sad for Sophie because she KNOWS Ethan doesn’t want to hang out with her or play with her, but she DOES want to hang out with him and play with him. And that makes me sad. But it’s probably no worse than how me and my cousin Kim treated her younger siblings, always going off by ourselves, calling them pests, excluding them. I don’t know. I’m at a loss. I’m sick of trying to fix something that is not able to be fixed.

Monday, May 09, 2016

Here’s How My Little Fucked Up Mind Works

I woke up feeling blessed. I had a wonderful Mother’s Day yesterday and a great weekend in general. I received flowers from my husband and a hand-made coupon book from my daughter and a card and sweet text from Ethan. Jeff cooked for his family yesterday; it was our holiday to host. He mowed the grass, re-mulched our flower bed, sprayed down the driveway, deck and sunroom. I cleaned in the morning, went to church with Sophie, ran to the grocery store, did laundry. Saturday I spent the day with my sister-in-laws; the first time they invited me on their annual Spring SIL day; we headed down to a Mexican street festival on Cherokee in downtown St. Louis and it provided us with the most interesting people-watching ever.

I woke this morning at 6 and went for my run at 7 which was very painful and slow because I hadn’t run since Wednesday. My husband slept until about 8:30. When I came in to the bedroom to finish getting dressed, he said, “Where are my clothes?” And I said, “Downstairs.” And he said, “Oh, so you only did YOUR laundry, that’s just great.” I said, “They are in the laundry basket ready to be folded; I just hadn’t gotten to that yet; sorry.” Him: “Well when I do the laundry, I do EVERYONE’S.” Me: “I did!!” I left without saying goodbye. I could feel The Evil Bitch pulling me down. I could feel myself spiraling out of control; my anger rising. I just wanted to get out of the damn house. I felt his comments negating my blessed feeling; negating everything that was good about yesterday and this weekend. I no longer felt blessed. I felt beat up on and sad and angry.

Normally I would have responded with a string of verbally abusive texts. I am verbally abusive to myself and to my husband, but not to others. This is embarrassing for me to admit, and it makes me a bad person – at least when I do it to my husband. Instead, I texted him with sarcasm: “You owe me an apology for your ‘good morning’ words.” In my head, I ranted and raved. I called people names. I dug into his family and called them names too even though they hadn’t wronged me. My mood soured. I knew it didn’t have to be this way. Logically, I knew that one insensitive comment, probably made in a rush to get ready and out the door for work (because he slept in), did not need to sour my day. It shouldn’t hold the power I was giving it. I didn’t need to turn into a raving, verbally abusive maniac. I could choose to remember the feeling I woke up with, and to bring it back with happy moments of the weekend.