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Halloween Prep, pt. 2 

Hello guys and ghouls! Following up from my previous Halloween Prep post, I thought I’d share a few more of the fun Halloween things I’ve made lately.

“Are you my mummy?” cookies

Potion ingredient bottles

My second attempt at the creepy Victorian candle holders turned out much better than the first! (Ignore the weird noises in the background)

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Next time I’ll show you some of the costume pieces I’ve been working on! 🙂

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Just a Few Words

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Taking a quick detour from discussing books, I would like to tell you guys about something that I experienced today.

As usual, I spent my lunch break at Barnes & Noble, coffee in one hand, book in the other. This is my favorite way to spend my breaks and really helps me unwind after having people in the office bother me with requests all morning. Lately I’ve really needed these breaks. As if work stress isn’t enough, I’ve been going through some very challenging personal stuff this past year.

I’ve been in therapy for a couple of weeks now, working on recovering from my relapse into depression and my eating disorder. If you are familiar with mental health issues, I’m sure I don’t need to tell you how exhausting and frustrating the road to recovery can be. I’ve had some pretty good days since starting therapy. And some really bad ones.

I’ve been forcing myself to do all of the things I need to do to get back to a more normalized eating pattern and not be so obsessive over eating healthy. Some days I feel good about this, others I don’t. In addition to repairing my relationship with food, I’ve been trying to repair my damaged relationship with my body. After spending months of telling myself horrible things and beating my body image down to a bloody pulp, this is probably harder for me to fix than the food issue.

When I showed up at Barnes & Noble today I was determined to read my book and stay distracted enough that I wouldn’t let the negative thoughts start to creep out. It wasn’t an easy task though. Thoughts of what I’m going to eat for dinner tonight already started creating chaos in my brain. I was supposed to plan dinner out ahead of time, but I dropped the ball. I wasn’t feeling super confident in my appearance today either, having thrown my hair up in a messy bun this morning just before leaving the house.

As I sat there, struggling to focus on the pages before me and ignore the panic ensuing in my head, an elderly man in a wheelchair came up to my table and introduced himself. I’d never seen him before in my entire life, but I introduced myself and shook his hand anyway.

“Excuse me, miss, I don’t mean to interrupt you, but I saw you from my table over there and I just wanted to come over and say hello. You are absolutely beautiful and I just wanted to tell you that in case no one else has today,” he told me.

I’m sure there are a lot of people who would have gotten creeped out or assumed that the man was trying to hit on me. (This is often my first assumption also when strange men approach me.) He wasn’t though. He didn’t take his comments any further, didn’t say anything inappropriate, look at me funny, or ask if I was single. In the few more minutes we chatted he asked me about the book I was reading and told me how much he loved coming to Barnes & Noble, but given that he’s in a wheelchair, he doesn’t get out much. After that we wished each other a good afternoon and I left to return to work.

He didn’t say much and he didn’t know anything about what I’e been struggling with lately, but the kind words of that man made me smile. Part of me wanted to cry. Those few words that we exchanged were exactly what I needed to hear in order to pull myself out of the funk I was about to spiral into.

You never know what’s happening in someone else’s life. You never know what a few kind words to someone could mean to them. You could make someone’s entire day without even realizing it.

 

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My Best Friend ED, Pt. 1

WARNING: May be triggering to those struggling with eating disorders and/or body image issues. 

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There’s a voice that lives inside my head. Typically I refer to this voice as “ED,” even though it’s a woman’s voice. A voice that sounds a lot like my own. ED likes to pretend she’s my best friend and that she has my best interests at heart. She tells me what I “should” and “shouldn’t” eat on a regular basis. She tells me not to eat “bad” foods, no matter how much I enjoy them, because if I do I’ll get fat. If I get fat my boyfriend will leave me, my friends will stop talking to me, and my family will be mean to me. Lately, she’s been telling me that I’m already fat and that nobody really cares about me, so I’ve been losing weight. “Keep losing,” she says. “Everything will be better once you’re skinny.”

I listen to her.

ED confuses me sometimes. Today she’s been criticizing the dark circles under my eyes. I have dark circles under my eyes because I haven’t been sleeping well lately. One of the reasons I haven’t been sleeping well is because I’m hungry. I wake up to the protests of my stomach, angry with me for not eating enough at dinner. ED tells me to ignore my stomach though. What does my stomach know? My stomach should be flatter and more toned, not asking for more food. ED reminds me of this all night while I should be sleeping. She’s mad at me today because I didn’t listen to her. Last night, after tossing and turning for hours, I gave in and ate an apple. “You shouldn’t have eaten that” she scolds. “But I was hungry,” I reply. “Yeah, well now you raccoon eyes and you’re fat.” She’ll tell me to eat less later on to make up for the apple. Then I will wake up hungry again.

It’s hard to focus on things when ED is around. She’s very loud and takes up a lot of space. She likes to talk about food a lot. Specifically what I can have and what I can’t. It’s hard because she’s always making up new rules for me. Still, I do my best to stick to them to make her happy. She likes for me to weigh myself frequently, also. Almost every day. “This isn’t healthy,” I tell her. “The number on the scale doesn’t matter!” “That’s just what everyone else wants you to think, but what do they know? They just want you to get fat so they can all judge you for it,” she says.

I know she’s wrong, but I usually lose the argument.

Sometimes ED disappears. It can be months or years. It’s much nicer when she’s not around, but, of course, I don’t say this to her. She’s been with me for a long time. How can I just abandon her after all we’ve been through together?

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As I’ve mentioned previously, I’ve been struggling more and more with my eating disorder lately. After being in “recovery” for 13+ years now, it’s been incredibly hard and frustrating to feel like I’m slipping back after all the work I’ve done to get better. This is what it looks like on one of my “bad” days. 

Books · Uncategorized

Weekend in Raleigh

Greetings, earthlings! I hope you’re all doing well on this torturous occasion that we refer to as “Monday.”

We went on a short trip to Raleigh this weekend. It was nice getting away from the house, work, kids, and animals for a couple of days. While we were there we attended a chocolate festival and SPARKcon. The chocolate festival was every bit as decadent and sugar laden as you can imagine (and oh so worth it). We got to sample cheesecake, cupcakes, fancy bon bons, brownies, fudge, and more. 😍 SPARKCon, while less delicious, was pretty cool also. For those who have never heard of it, SPARKCon is a multi-day festival showcasing different types of art and creativity. Throughout the weekend there were performers to watch, art being made on the streets, music, and all kinds of crafts to purchase. Look what I got!: 

Of course, no trip to a new city is complete with visiting one of the local bookstores. Quail Ridge Books is a fantastic independent bookstore, complete with cool wall art (notice the hands holding the light bulbs):

The shop was a cozy and inviting little space. I loved the quotes on the wall and fun, mismatched furniture. They had a really great selection of books, also. (It can often be hit or miss with indie shops.) The fiction and cooking sections alone were enough to make me want to plan another trip back. There was other merchandise, like literary shirts, accessories, bags, etc. I could have stayed there all day if I hadn’t had all that chocolate to go eat!
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Help, I’ve FALLen and I can’t Get Up…

FALL IS HERE! I know, I know. I’m technically a little early on this, but with the recent changes in the weather and the fact that all the Halloween things are out in the stores, I’m declaring that it’s Fall. *happy dance*

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Fall is my favorite time of year. The weather is perfect – warm, but not too hot, with cool mornings that call for light jackets. It’s also an appropriate time to start wearing boots and my leather jacket again. Mother Nature is at her most beautiful during this time of year. With the changing leaves and the re-appearance of pumpkins everywhere, the world is a splendor of stunning reds, oranges, and greens.

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The food is delectable. With the exception of the glorified pumpkin spice latte (or PSL, if you will), I am a huge fan of autumn cuisine. There are very few smells more heavenly than the aroma of baking apples and cinnamon or homemade pumpkin pie. Sweet potatoes, butternut squash, cranberries. brussels sprouts, and cider all become regular staples on menus. I eat most of these foods all year round, but there is something extra special about seeing them make their appearances again for the first time after so many months of lighter fare.

Did I mention Halloween? Halloween alone is enough to make me love this time of year. I get giddy when the Halloween decorations and costumes start showing up in the middle of August. (No, it’s never too early to get excited about Halloween!) I love Halloween for the sheer fun of the holiday. There’s no pressure to buy presents or spend a bunch of money. You get to dress up and pretend to be someone else and indulge in sweet treats. No joke, I am currently working on 3 separate costumes for all of the Halloween activities that I have coming up  next month. I can’t wait! 🙂

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What are your favorite things about Fall? 

Books · Uncategorized

Bookish Habits, Pt. 2

In continuation from Bookish Habits, pt 1, I’ve thought up some more of my weird, bookish quirks to share with you all. (Try not to judge me too harshly.)

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  • I sometimes dog-ear pages that have a scene/quote that I want to revisit – I know, I know, I KNOW…I am horrible. I swear, it’s the smallest fold possible at the bottom corner of the page, so as not to create any damage. (Ironically, if I lent someone a book and they did this to one of the pages I would be livid. :-P)

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  • I don’t like buying used books – I will buy used books on occasion, but it really depends on the quality of the book. The majority of the time I go to the used book stores I find the quality of the books to be disappointing – bent covers, stickers on the front, discoloration, etc. Unless a used book looks like it’s practically new, I’m not buying it.
  • I hate lending people books – I have to really trust people in order to lend them one of my books. Even if I do let someone borrow one, I let them know that they are expected to guard that book with their freaking life. If someone doesn’t return a book or returns it with some sort of damage we’re DONE.

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  • I won’t buy books with movie covers – I don’t understand why they have to change the covers of books to include actors from the new movie/television iteration. Just give me the original cover, please.
  • I will buy multiple copies of a book that I love – I have like 8 copies of Jane Eyre, all with different covers. I will also buy illustrated or “fancy” hardback versions of books that I already own. Just because.

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Do you do any of these things? What’s your strangest bookish habit? 

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On Weekends and Personal Space

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The weekend is upon is again. A long one, at that. Despite my initial excitement over three glorious days in which I will not have to go to work, I already find myself wondering what I should do with myself.

There are the usual things that I enjoy doing on weekends: reading, cleaning (yes, I am one of those weird people that enjoys cleaning), baking, dance practice, perusing the bookstore, and going to the craft store. Those are the things that I consider “down time” on weekends. They’re the the things that keep me busy but, at the same time, keep me feeling relaxed and at peace. Being “busy” on a weekend means going out to dinner or brunch, checking out a brewery, hanging out with friends, or finding a show to attend in addition to the other things I mentioned. Needless to say, I am not one of those people who likes to just sit around the house in their underwear, staring at their phone all weekend.

Even though I like keeping busy, I need my quiet time, too. Personal time. That’s where reading, the bookstore, and crafts come in handy. These are all things that keep me occupied (and keep my depressed/anxious brain from thinking too much), but also feel like “me” time. I like having the time and space to do things by myself. It’s what keeps me sane and balanced enough that I can hang out with other people later, when necessary.

So, what’s the problem with all that? Technically, nothing. On a perfect weekend, in a perfect world, this is how things would work out all the time. But as we all know, there is no such things as a perfect world.

Since moving in with Boyfriend I have found that I struggle to maintain that balance between quiet time and not-so-quiet time. Having lived on my own for a while before moving in with him, I got used to a certain type of routine. Even prior to that, when I was still married, I still had a good deal of alone time, given that my ex and I had drastically different work schedules. Now, being here, I find that I am often at a loss for what to do with myself. Part of this is due to the fact that Boyfriend and I are different in terms of what we like to do on weekends. The other part of this is due to the fact that there is now a child in the mix, which is something I have never had to deal with before.

I guess I am just still trying to figure out how to adjust to the lack of personal space that I now have. Whether it’s just the two of us or all three of us there’s always somebody around. There’s no more coming home from work on a Friday and having an hour to myself, with nobody else around, to just take a bath and unwind. There’s no quiet Sunday mornings where it’s just me, a cup of coffee, and a book. There’s no Saturday afternoon working on crafts, with nothing but Gilmore Girls on in the background to keep me company. Of course, I can and still do all of these things. There’s nothing preventing me from it. The problem, however, is that it’s just not the same as it used to be. If I sit down on the couch to read a book now there’s usually someone else already there in the room. When I experiment in the kitchen there’s often a child creeping behind me, asking what I’m making, why I’m adding [insert ingredient], or just watching me in general. The people who know me well know that this kind of things drives me insane. Having an audience when I do things makes me incredibly anxious and stresses me out.

I get distracted very easily when I am doing things. For example, if I am taking a bath and trying to just chill out for a few minutes then someone starts slamming doors or stomping their feet loudly, that’s all I can focus on. The same thing happens when I am reading. Even if the other people in the room are being quiet for the most part, I get distracted by the fact that they are simply there.

I find myself relying more and more on activities that require me to leave the house, just to get some personal space. (Unfortunately, I don’t have a “she cave” or my own room that I can hide in.)  Last weekend, I took myself on a date to the bookstore, just so I could read for a few hours and get away from all the chatter, questions, and general activity happening in the house.

I don’t blame anyone else for this situation. I am smart enough and self-aware enough to know that this is entirely my problem to deal with. Nobody else in the house is doing anything wrong, nor are they trying to take away my personal space. Unfortunately, that’s just the way it is when you co-habitate with others and there are children involved. (I really wish I was better at the kid thing, but it’s really hard sometimes. How are you supposed to not get irritated when they’re following you around all the time trying to butt into whatever you’re doing? If anyone has any insight on this, I would really appreciate it.) But still, even knowing that it’s nobody else’s fault, I am not sure how to adjust. How do I keep myself from feeling like I need to escape on weekends, lest I go completely insane?