Friday, May 27, 2011

I Can't Stay Down Long

Things that are bringing me out of my funk:

1. I cut my hair off. I lopped off several inches and it's now just above my shoulders. The coolest part is that I cut it myself, with a little help from the boyfriend.

2. I finally saw the last season of Lost. Closure is so satisfying.

3. I've been experimenting with marijuana extracts and it's going well! It's not just for brownies anymore, people. I've been medicating with tea, cookies, lime gummies and CHEESECAKE.

4. I made my first green smoothie of spring! I really can't drink them when the weather's below 70, since I shiver and my teeth chatter, making my head miserable. But finally, last week, the weather and my fridge stock aligned and I got my first taste of spinach, yogurt and banana in months. Oh, green, goopy, sweet, healthy wonderfulness, how I missed you.

5. I've been really enjoying taking pictures and I've been thinking of trying to sell some prints. I've looked into a few online art hosting/printing sites, but it's confusing for my poor migraine-addled brain, so I'm having trouble figuring it all out. I don't know if this idea is going anywhere, but it's nice to think about.

6. Sewing. My mom gave me a sweater that needed a few buttons replaced. I noticed it had a couple small holes along one of the seams as I was fiddling with it and repaired them, too. Being able to do something nice for someone else, fixing a problem, keeping my hands busy; it's a win, win, win.

7. I'm putting off school until fall. It's not exactly a good thing, I really wanted to get started, but the class selection just isn't right. I'm taking the risk that I'll continue to put it off for another ten years, but I'd rather do that than immolate myself trying to push through a difficult, unnecessary situation. I made a tough decision, and I feel good about it.

8. The flowers have bloomed on my nasturtiums and they are a lovely addition to my small porch garden.

And, they're edible!

9. My treadmill. As expected, the longer, brighter and hotter days are seriously impeding my outdoor exercise capabilities. The option to turn on the telly and the fan and hop on the treadmill at my every whim is keeping me moving, which I think is an essential key to my happiness.

10. Good people. I give thanks to the universe for the people in my life who surprise me, commiserate with me, humor me, love me and just get me, in the coolest ways.


Saturday, May 21, 2011

A Rather Dark Post

I'm not doing so great lately.

Pain. Day in, day out. It wakes me in the night, it interrupts everything. I feel stalked and harassed. I can't move a muscle without migraines peeking over my shoulder, reminding me to stay inside, in the quiet, don't even try because it's just going to hurt, I don't need a life anyway, do I?

From there, it just gets uglier.

It's partly being so broke. The constant anxiety over being able to buy groceries and prescriptions, and pay the rent and utilities is keeping my head at a minimum low hum.

That virtual volunteer job seems to have evaporated, and it took a chunk of my hope with it. It was the first possibility I'd come across in a while. I'm really disappointed.

And school registration is coming up quickly, but I am so intimidated and afraid I'm going to fail, that I keep thinking of excuses not to try. Like, where am I going to find the $50 registration fee? I'm so tired of stressing over money.

I feel really powerless right now, not at all like the asskicker I try to be. Not at all.


Saturday, May 14, 2011

Gardening Update!

Blogger ate this post (originally posted on the 11th) and hasn't fixed it. So, I am reposting. Sorry for the lost comments, everyone!

The garden is small, but doing well.

I'm about to plant some more greens, having suddenly realized that my current supply would be hard-pressed to ever meet my demand.

Poor little arugula and green leaf lettuce. I barely let you grow before I eat you. And I'm not even bothering to really learn your names. Maybe you are chervil. I have no idea. All I know is that you are mesclun heaven.

The three-year-old strawberry plant is surprisingly prolific already. I think we got maybe two s-berries last year? My boyfriend has happily already consumed one already, right off the plant, of course, and there are several more ripening, teasing him with their lingering green spots.

I want to eat them now.

Striped strawberry will be eaten.

I don't think I planted the garlic at the right time. That's okay, though. I enjoy munching on the garlic chives and maintaining a sliver of hope that I will pull amazing, fantastical, probably magical garlic out of my little plastic planter.

Young garlic shoots.

It could happen. Well, maybe not those few on the end there, I'm not sure what's happening there.

Scraggly looking garlic chives. I suspect that I'm not the only one nibbling on these.

I plan to add more plants, just as soon as I can afford them, but not much more. My little garden isn't much work, but on my bad days, it's already tough.

Salad mix, garlic and thyme, kicking it on the porch.

Strawberries, an undead rosemary and my dog, sunbathing.

Indoors, a weeping fig drips onto a stevia plant. How generous.


Sunday, May 8, 2011

Talking Out My Eyeballs

It's spring, which means several things to me.

1. I'm rather sneezy and itchy and nose-blowy.

2. It's my four-year chronic migraine anniversary.

3. Summer is coming.

The allergies are no big, mostly. I've had hay fever my whole life so I have a lot of practice ignoring these kinds of symptoms, but my head, not so much. Sneezing and nose-blowing are keeping my pain levels up, never below a five lately, which amplifies any minor sinus pressure and turns my head into a timpani. (Band geek alert!) It feels like my voice is trying to come out my eyeballs. I can't afford antihistamines and decongestants at the moment, not that I'm super keen on popping pills anyway, so I've been using my neti pot a hundred thousand times a day and hoping that this allergy season will pass quickly for me.

But, the end of my allergies usually marks the beginning of the California summer and I'm really not looking forward to the heat. It stayed pretty tolerable until late July last year, so I hope I still have some time before I have to go totally dormant. I wish we lived somewhere with a proper air conditioner. We've had two portable air conditioners since we moved into this place and they are both pretty useless. They blow the circuits on this old house's wacky wiring, and tend to only work at half-power. Plus, the house has no insulation and huge south and west facing windows. Great for indoor gardening, terrible for climate control.

We've been looking for places to move for a while now. Besides the cooling issues, where we live is too loud, smelly, and stressful for me to leave the house without it being a huge to-do, but our combined health issues and total lack of money are making it very difficult to get out of this asphalt nightmare.

We're looking for a quiet place with a full kitchen, onsite laundry, and ideally some space for gardening, even if it's just a sunny porch I can cover with pots. But our price range is laughably low for our area, and though moving out of town would be scary, with all of my family currently just a stone's throw away, it may be the best option. I don't know, we thought we might move back in December and that never happened, so maybe we'll be trapped in this adorable duplex in the middle of urban hell FOR EV ER.

This post is very negative. Sorry about that. Spring does that to me.


Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Woah, It's Wednesday?

Last weekend was the most active I've been in a while.

On Friday, I hung out with a friend until the wee hours of the morning and had such a good time that I felt almost normal. But I was, of course, totally overmedicating to compensate for the nearly immediate migrainous repercussions of hysterical laughter. So, I rested for most of Saturday. Then, on Sunday, I woke feeling good enough to attend a festival just a few blocks away from my house, so we walked on over in the early afternoon and loitered until I was done. I ate some unimpressive yet wholly satisfying calamari and sat on the ground a lot. It was more fun than it sounds.

Then I went to my parents' house that evening, spent some time with my family and ate well. Overmedicated some more to compensate for the migrainous effects of excessive conversation and more laughter.

Then, I rested for three days.

Today, I wanted to rejoin the world, maybe take a very short walk to gently break my unwilling hibernation.

But my sunglasses are missing. I left them at my parents' house. It's less than a mile away, but might as well be on the moon.

I'm trapped in a house of dim, surrounded by glare.

Shiny, bright beams of blaring blaze blind, blur, dazzle me, into a daze of hazy pain.

So I'm sitting inside and pouting and waiting for help.

Thinking about that calamari. It was extra crispy.


Monday, May 2, 2011

Lucky in Food

Did I mention we got food stamps? It is THRILLING. I can afford produce again.

My fully stocked and overflowing fruit bowl.

We were really in trouble for a minute there. We're not nearly out of the woods yet, financially speaking, but the food stamps will make a huge difference. (Actually it's not stamps anymore, the program is called now called SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program) and the funds are deposited to an EBT (Electronic Benefits Transfer) card, like a debit card. Still, I continue to call them food stamps.) The past few weeks were rice and beans and eggs. Peanut butter, bananas, lettuce and canned tuna when we could afford them. And a few wonderfully timed food donations. Let me tell you, we may be on hard times, but we never forget that we are very lucky people. In the past month, we have avoided extreme hunger because of the following people, who will remain anonymous, because I mostly am.

-Our neighbor gave us leftovers he snagged from his food service job.

-My parents also gave us leftovers, food they "have too much of", random bulk staples from Costco, some home-cooked dinners, and free reign in their fridge when they needed us to house-sit.

-The food bank gave us some staples, and some weird stuff. Last time it was nearly all canned green beans and a chocolate coconut cake. But they also often have pasta and sauce, rice and beans, and even a little produce if we can remember to visit on the one day of the month they offer it. But we never remember.

-My friends surprised me with a grocery bag filled with different teas, after I'd shared that my normally large and varied stash was totally dry. I could have cried when I saw the chamomile. And the peppermint! I'd been drinking groundcover mint tea** and hot lemon water for weeks, so having real tea again was a revelation.

Getting the food stamps is a total game-changer for me. Living on starches and cans, with very little fresh produce, is terrible for my head and not great for the rest of my body either, really. But, as soon as we got veggies back in the house, I started feeling more human. I don't feel as foggy, or weighed down, I have more energy, I feel less head-triggery and more able to bounce back from being triggered, and my digestive system is functioning much better.

The only downside to the food stamps is that not single CSA in my area accepts them, and I'm struggling to find a farmer's market that does. Well, I found one, so far, but it's in the middle of a massive flea market, which I don't ever feel up to navigating, so it's basically inaccessible to me. It's disappointing, I'm coping by writing emails requesting change. As I do.

**Fun Fact of the Day: Mint doesn't grow true from seed. I've been trying to grow an edible variety for years now, but my cuttings just die and the only seeds I can get to sprout keep turning into the only mint variety that isn't really considered edible. It won't kill me or anything, but it's much more of a creeping groundcover than an herb for tea, at least according to my herb book (and my palate says meh, too). So, yeah. Groundcover tea. The things we do when we're desperate for a cuppa.

Groundcover mint. It works in a pinch.