Life · Uncategorized

Traveling Solo

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I don’t know what the weather is like where all of you live, but it’s COLD here this week. The temps have dropped to the teens and 20s, which is pretty low for Charlotte. People keep pointing out that I’m from New Jersey. “Shouldn’t you be used to this?” I don’t care where I am from, 20 degrees is still freaking cold. Plus, I’ve been living down South for approximately 11 years now and I have gone a bit soft. I will, however, still walk around complaining that they’re cancelling school because it’s cold. In my day we whippersnappers went to the school even if there was 3 feet of snow. And we walked to the bus stop. Kids these days. They don’t know how easy they have it. *angrily waves cane above my head*

I’ve been thinking about travel recently, which really has nothing to do with the weather (although I do kind of wish I was anywhere but here somewhere warmer right now). The company I work for is pretty generous with the amount of PTO that we are given each year. I’ve been at the company for almost 2 years now and, with the exception of the Canada trip last summer, I’ve used most of my days off just hanging out at home. I would really like to start doing things with my time off, rather than just be a hermit. This is where it gets tricky though.

I’ve been on plenty of vacations throughout my life, but all of them have been with family. Any trips I’ve taken by myself were trips to go visit family or friends in Florida. I don’t have a ton of money, but I do realize that there are lots of places I can go and things I can do that won’t break the bank. Even if I can find affordable things to do, I admit that I am still intimidated. My anxiety can make traveling stressful to begin with and, truthfully, I don’t know if that will be worsened if I am traveling alone. For all I know, it could actually be a really liberating experience for me and I could love it. (I could end up running through the streets, flashing my tits during Mardi Gras, yelling “I’m free!” You never know.)

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Part of me feels like I might enjoy some solo travel. I am a pretty introverted person. I like my alone time and I like being able to find quiet activities. If I take a trip by myself I can get a massage, wander around a bookstore for 5 hours, or sit in a cafe and just relax until my heart is content. (No more climbing mountains or crying in the middle of glaciers, thankyouverymuch.) I’ve been thinking about attending BookCon in June. I don’t really know what you do there, but it sounds like something I might enjoy. Plus, I am not entirely unfamiliar with NYC, given how often I used to visit when I was growing up. I haven’t been to NYC in probably 9-10 years and I would love to go check out some places that I’ve never had the chance to visit.

Buuuut (here comes the anxiety creeping in) what if going by myself is scary? What if I get lost or mugged or something else terrible happens? Or what if I just hate being by myself and feel awkward the entire time? What if the zombie apocalypse finally happens and I get stuck in NYC with no escape plan? At least if you’re in your own home you have a slight advantage over the zombies. Should I carry a small machine gun with me in the event of the zombie apocalypse? Do they even make tiny machine guns? There’s a lot to consider.

What are your thoughts on solo travel? Have you done much of it? Is it something that you’ve generally enjoyed or was it weird? I’d love to hear about some of your experiences. 

Life · Uncategorized

Meet Merlin 


I would like to introduce you guys to my new kitty baby, Merlin. I adopted him this weekend from the Humane Society. (This was the Christmas present from my boyfriend that I hinted at earlier.) He’s 8 months old and I fell in love with him pretty much instantly. His name was Nash, but I’ve decided to call him Merlin instead. 

Yesterday was his first day in his new home. I’d say he’s adjusting well. 😊

Life · Uncategorized

…And to All a Good Night

Greetings! I hope you all had a merry and most enjoyable holiday. Or at least a generic, non-shitty Monday. After all my griping and worrying, I am happy to report that I not only survived Christmas, but I actually managed to have a good time.

I survived both dinners with the boyfriend’s family. Fortunately, no meat was flung in anger, which means that I will probably be invited back next year. (Disclaimer: I call this “fortunate,” but I feel like the only ones who are benefiting here are my boyfriend’s family. Just imagine the story I could have shared with you all if I actually had thrown a rib roast or ham across the room. *sigh* I’ll do better for you guys next time, I promise.)

We opened presents with my boyfriend’s daughter on Christmas Eve. Lots of books and Harry Potter-themed gifts were exchanged at out house. The animals also received presents and lots of treats.

Here’s a shot of Beaker, all worn out from playing with his new toys, and Ash, trying to disguise himself as a present:

One of my favorite gifts I received was from my mother. She took several years worth of home movies and had them converted from VHS tapes onto DVDs for my siblings and I. I watched a few of them last night and really enjoyed myself. It’s nice to be reminded of forgotten times and relive happy childhood memories. There were some nice scenes of me sleeping/farting, taking a bath, and attempting to eat a plastic bag out of the garbage can. I was so much more sophisticated back then. I also learned that when I was 3-4 my voice sounded like that of an 80 year old woman with emphysema. I’m really glad I grew out of that phase. Or maybe I didn’t and everybody has been shielding me from the truth for all these years? (This is bothering me. I feel like I need to investigate further.)

There’s another exciting present that I received from my boyfriend that I can’t wait to share with you guys, but it’s not quite time yet. Anyone want to guess what it is? Hint: No, I didn’t get engaged and I don’t have a bun in the oven. There are brownies in the oven at the moment though, which, to me, is even better than having a bun in your oven.

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Speculations on Speculoos 

I’m playing in the kitchen this evening in preparation for tomorrow’s festivities. Actually, I would have been making these this weekend regardless of whether Christmas was approaching or not, as I am currently obsessed with speculoos butter (aka “cookie butter”).

Let me back up for a moment. Have you ever heard of this magical sustenance? I imagine if you are European or shop at Trader Joe’s regularly you are already privy to the heavenly-ness of cookie butter. If you happen to be living under a rock and haven’t heard of it yet, let’s discuss:

Speculoos cookies are crispy little treats of Belgian origin. They have a subtle sweetness with notes of caramel. They’re spiced with warm spices, like cinnamon, clove, and nutmeg, which gives them a similarity to gingerbread, but aren’t quite as in-your-face. They’re quite tasty on their own, but then some brilliant person came along and said “You know what would be even more delicious? If we ground up these cookies until they have the consistency of peanut butter and then we can spread them on everything.” It sounds a little crazy, doesn’t it? Spreading cookies on things? But oh, it’s fucking glorious. I wish I knew who was responsible for this act of genius because that person deserves a lap dance.

So, know that you know about cookie butter, let me tell you about tonight’s creation. I took some semi-sweet and dark chocolate and heated it over a double boiler with heavy cream. Once the chocolate was completely melted I stirred in some cookie butter and finely chopped speculoos cookies. After chilling the ganache for about an hour I rolled them into tiny balls and coated them with cocoa powder.

Behold speculoos truffles in all their rich, fudgy gloriousness. ❤

Truffles aren’t the most beautiful of desserts, but they sure are yummy.
Errr, I may have gotten a little carried away.
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Holidays and Eating Disorders (“The Rib Roast Conundrum”)

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The holidays can be one of the worst times of the year if you’re someone with an eating disorder or any kind of food issues. With Thanksgiving, there’s usually an abundance of food, but at least it’s only one meal. Christmas, however, is a horse of a different color. For whatever reason, people have decided that Christmas basically starts the day after Thanksgiving. That means we get to celebrate and be surrounded by holiday “treats” for practically an entire month before the holiday even gets here. YAY.

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After a few months of working on myself and working on my food issues I’m starting to feel like I am making some progress. It’s not like I climbed a mountain or anything, but there have been enough baby steps that I’m at least able to see a way out of the forest. (That terrible metaphor is giving me flashbacks to my trip to Banff for some reason. *shudders*)

Even with the progress I’ve made the holidays are starting to stress me out. If you could see the break room in my office right now you would see approximately 5 gift baskets, plates of assorted cookies and pastries, boxes of chocolate covered everything, and a really ugly cake that someone paid a lot of money for. (I’m embarrassed for them.) There have been holiday get-togethers, special lunches, etc. In an attempt to maintain the slightest bit of my sanity, I’ve declined offers to a few social gatherings lately. Too much forced socialization makes my social anxiety skyrocket, so I’ve been trying to avoid doing too much this year. I’ve been trying to stick with my normal routine as much as possible – going to dance class and keeping up with exercise, reading and spending time at the book store, and cooking healthy meals for myself at home. Still, I can’t run away from everything.

There will be not one, but two Christmas dinners with my boyfriend’s family this week that I feel obligated to attend. One of these dinners will take place this evening. I’ve been doing my best to prepare myself for the occasion, but, to be honest, I am stressing over it a bit. For starters, I am not always super comfortable around his family. This is no fault of theirs, as I am uncomfortable around the vast majority of people I encounter. Most of the family dinners I’ve been to involve me sitting in the corner, being quiet and trying to focus on not saying something stupid (which I always fail at). On top of the general feelings of awkwardness, there’s the food situation. We’ve already been informed that dinner will consist of a fancy (and probably expensive) rib roast. For most “normal” people, there’s nothing wrong with this. It’s a lovely thing to serve for Christmas dinner. But for me, with all my eating issues and my general anxiety surrounding food this time of year, this is not happy news.

My eating disorder manifests in the form of excessively healthy eating, sometimes to the point that I don’t get enough calories. There are a number of foods that my warped brain has deemed “unhealthy” or “bad” and I do everything in my power to avoid those foods. One of those foods is red meat. I don’t believe I’ve eaten red meat since I relapsed, 6+ months ago. Even with all the baby steps I’ve taken towards recovery and the slow progress I’ve made, I’ve still been avoiding red meat. Now, this evening, we will be presented with a lovely piece of slightly bloody animal carcass and I will be expected to eat it. (I don’t even know what else we’ll be having, but I expect that some of it will involve other foods that I actively avoid.)

Do you see the conundrum?

Obviously, I can’t go and avoid eating altogether because that would be rude and draw attention to my already weird behavior. (Also, this is exactly what my eating disorder wants me to do, which is why I shouldn’t do it.) This means that I will have to go and eat food that will make me anxious and most likely bring up feelings of guilt and/or self-loathing later. I envy those in recovery that can handle these situations graciously. I am ungracious as fuck when it comes to these situations. On the outside I will try to act “normal” and pretend to be enjoying myself, but on the inside I will be panicky, angry, and envisioning myself picking up said rib roast and throwing it at the host’s head.

…and this scenario just pertains to one dinner. One holiday function of the several I have been invited to. This situation will play out over and over again for the better part of a month, with every dinner/party I am presented with, compounded by dozens of holiday gift baskets and ugly cakes with baby Jesus on them.

This is why the holidays are so challenging for people with eating disorders, even those of us in recovery. Even if you have other things to try to distract yourself with, like decorating, charitable work, or religious traditions, there’s still usually a lot of food around. Unless you refuse to leave your house for a month, there’s no way to avoid it all. *sighs*

Sorry for my long-winded rant today. I may or may not be under the influence of a lot of cold medicine.

Now, excuse me while I go warm up my rib throwing arm.<<
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