Thursday, September 19, 2019

Croning (trigger warning...possibly uncomfortable subject matter ahead.)

so, The Unused Portion has been on a bit of a hiatus, which is obviously a good thing, if you tend to play along...

yeah, I'm still here again, and I'm sorry I talk about uncomfortable things like my mental health, thoughts of suicide, and my eventual death, but...that's life, and as the tagline states, "just whatever's on my mind".  well, being human, sometimes death and dying are on my mind.  not so much today, but it will come up again, trust me.  and it's about to be the Autumnal Equinox, so...it's the season for it, anyway.  my ancestors have been closer than usual.

so what's the news, kids?  what's up with you lurkers in the dark?  why Do you read along?  it's for the gossip, isn't it?  yeah, I know you.  freaks.

the word of the day is 'pain'.  it has been the word of the day for several days, now.  whatever the eczema-type rash thing I currently have on my right ankle is, it sure is making a show of wanting my attention.  I'm assuming I ate a whole bunch of something that irritated it, or simply irritated it by eating whole bunch of something...anything.  who knows.  eggs?  white flour?  sugar?  processed foods?  all of the above?  it probably wasn't the protein salad.  I stopped seeing the doctor over my weight issues because she just pissed me off with her deprivation diet, but I did start seeing a nutritionist.  she's nice, but I haven't really made any progress on my weight/health with her, either.

our recent move (been here 1 month!), added a lot of pressure to my food issues, and once I got settled in, found my journals and glucometer, it turned out my blood sugar levels were really high!  up above 200!  I got them to come down pretty quickly with a careful diet and the world's tiniest bit of exercise, but it's hard to keep them down on my budget (with my lack of abilities) so I stopped checking again for a minute.  also, my fingertips got sore from the constant pin pricks, and test strips cost money.  so my ankle peels and burns, and swells and cracks and weeps.  and I ice it, and put warm compresses on it, and moisturize it, and let it dry out, and rub it, but do my best not to scratch it (I fail).  putting on a shoe is one kind of hell - walking is another.  I drink SO much water, and try not to eat at all (which leads to a whole slew of other issues), but it's so bad now, it's all I can think about.  I've been contemplating a shower to soothe it for more than an hour, and I think I'm ready to go there.  I also remembered that we bought aspirin when the teen got his braces on, so I'll probably take a few of those, too.

it's a bit better now, after a hot compress, and getting wrapped in gauze...though the aspirin may have had more to do with it, who knows.

it's interesting to note that it's just the way it was 9 years ago, when I first moved here - when I got so sick and broke out in hives the way I do, and ended up with a prescription to prednisone after a trip to the emergency room.  fun times.  but like I was telling my therapist this morning, (because I have it all wrapped up, now, like I do from time to time to keep my hands off it so I can let it heal and she asked what happen as people will when I wrap it up), it's all about moving, and poor food choices, and stress overload, and coming down from all of that toxicity...and my nostrils dried out!  where I get my pimples just turned to sandpaper overnight.  I'm 'croning'; moving into aging gracefully - or as smoothly as I can manage, anyway.  paying attention to the foods I feed myself needs to be part of that, no matter how much I resent having to pay that attention.

I'm getting there.  I bought some new soap, and moisturizer.  I scheduled an expensive haircut at a fancy salon.  the part of me that wants to care deeply and lovingly for myself is learning to be gentle with the part of me that wants to press hard on the spot where it hurts the most, and stick hot needles into my deepest pain.  but I'm cleansing the wound instead, applying salve, wrapping it in soft bandages.  just taking a moment to indulge myself, and letting that be ok.  yes, there's so much that needs to get done, and I'm doing it, but I need to make time for me, too.  to let all the chaos resolve to an order, and release the tension.  listen to what the body needs, and provide it.

*right after typing that last paragraph, I took off the bandage and scratched the hell out of the wound, then had to clean it all up and rewrap it.  sigh ~

---

and it's a Tuesday, after a gig weekend, and I am hurting.  my foot is SO much better, but is still a mess, so I'm doing my best to ignore it outside of cleaning and moisturizing it.  I've been sneezing and coughing, and my sides hurt from it.  my head is stuffed, and my back has been threatening to seize for about a week.  I'm wheezy and weak-kneed, eyes baggy, sinuses clogged.  I still refuse to close the windows, though my bare feet are freezing under the desk in the breeze from the window (it's about 50 degrees out, but I'm sure it's not that cold inside).  I don't want to wear my slippers because they hurt the wound on top of my right foot.  I suppose I could put on the left one...

I need to write, but I have 17 (17!) saved drafts already, and I have so much I want to do with this blog!  I have years of backlogged work that I keep myself from completing, and it feels like I'm out of time, out of other options, and I am unwilling to do anything else at this point but my own work.  so I've cleared the boards, but I'm still all stuck in my head in a big knot that needs untangling.  luckily, I'm skilled at untangling knots.  all it takes is time and patience, which I've had more trouble with, in the abstract.

of the many times I've spoken of being a sort of duality, I am also the whole universe at once, as we all are, though I have removed so many of my societal filters, I see no point in taking part in most of our social constructs.  yet I do want to be a part of this world, have a place in it from time to time before retreating back to my fool's sanctuary of dreams and flimsy things that have no reason or meaning.  it's just my creative process, but what am I making?  and how does one measure that on a scale of comparable importance?  yet who cares for such things as usefulness and productivity when one can pursue Truth and Beauty!  whatever else I do in this life, I'm sure I'll manage to pass on at least one important bit of wisdom to future generations through my child.  which of the many I've gifted him with it will be, I can't say...

and I did get a haircut, and my foot is getting better, but spending my weekend partying like an (aging) rock star with one of my oldest and most toxic friends sent the roller coaster I've been riding around a curve and through a tunnel, because I said something to my nutritionist that she asked me to say to my therapist, so I guess I feel like I should type it out here, as well:

"If you're going to kill yourself, yummy food is not a bad way to go.  I keep wondering how many more ice creams until I have the heart attack." - me

 now, I'm Not suggesting I'm about to kill myself, people, so CALM DOWN.  I'm simply suggesting that We Are All Going To Die from One thing or Another, Eventually, so what's the harm in me eating a whole pie over the course of a day or two every now and again?  why does it really matter?  my therapist suggested that the quality of the life I have left to live on this planet might be affected, and again, I feel slightly fatalistic about such things, because I honestly think I will off myself if and when that happens.  in any case, it's not today, so we will continue with the chronicles of my resistance to eating well and exercising regularly, figuring out whether or not being fat is the root of all my problems, and if it's worth giving up eating a chocolate cream pie as if it were a single serving in the hopes of one day setting eyes on grandchildren.  stay tuned ~

Wednesday, May 15, 2019

S is for...

Suicide

I must have been around 15 or so when I first thought about killing myself, and I know I've thought about it off and on since then, but haven't really ever talked about it with anyone...except maybe some random strangers on a hotline, or something, but...not really.  it's come back around again due to 'circumstances beyond my control', and I spent most of the morning crying, and googling articles about suicide, single mother suicide, reading tool kits that led to broken links, calling/messaging hotlines, calling my insurance company for referrals to therapists, calling therapists to see if they take my insurance/are accepting new patients/have time for me, and yelling at the people who are triggering me into feeling like death is the only way out.

for starters, the property I live on has been seized by the New York State Department of Transportation through eminent domain, and I have been informed that my son and I must vacate the premises that has been our home for the past 5 years - the longest we have been able to make any place our home in the 15 short years that he's been alive, and it's been a real donkey kick to the gut for many reasons.  first and foremost, there are no apartments available for rent in my son's school district in our price range.  he is in 9th grade, and I REFUSE to move him out of the school district, as it would be a devastating blow to him at this point in his life, and as a 'responsible parent' (what a laugh), I Will Not Do That to him - even if we have to live under a bridge to keep him here.  this is simply the latest in a line of incidents that have made it clear to me that this town, this community, these people, and the institutions that run them Don't Want Us Here - well, they may not mind my son, but I'm obviously The Plague, and need to be destroyed...

we moved here because our former friends Karin and Ian encouraged me to, then dumped me as a friend when it became apparent that my abject poverty was obviously the product of a personal failing on my part, rather than the systemic power structures people like them work to keep in place.  then my landlord tried to evict us (after I had already told him I was moving out), and our next landlady raised the rent out of our price range after a year, forcing us to move into the Woodstock Commons - a subsidized housing complex we lived in for a year - where families who are the products of generational poverty simply couldn't abide my high standards of living, and made several attempts to gang up on and intimidate my child and me - and since it was easier to get rid of us than deal with all of them, the property managers kicked us out of there, too.  we were happy to leave, at that point, as my son could not walk outside unattended, and even when he was with me, he had to endure the neighbors yelling epithets at me/us whenever we stuck out noses outside our front door (not that the door stopped them, they made sure we knew we were hated by banging on the walls from the apartment next door, and yelling at us through them).  then the 'coven' I used to belong to - Lake Circle - excommunicated me for calling Ian and Karin out on facebook.  a few years later, while my son was studying for his Bar Mitzvah, I was thrown out of the Woodstock Jewish Congregation after their 'education coordinator' Dee offered to be my support system if ever I needed a break from single parenting, and after having dinner with her and her family once a week for a most of a year (holidays included), I took her up on that and dropped my son off with her, and she called CPS (child protective services) and sent the state troopers to my house to find me.  so we found another Rabbi who was willing to complete his study at her synagogue, and never looked back.

things settled down a bit after that, but since then, I was also asked to leave our homeschooling co-op, dumped by all my friends, and asked to step away from my role as toilet-scrubber from The Rock Academy because I had the nerve to get uppity when the other parents harassed me, and the other students harassed my son.  and no, the perpetrators of the harassment were never addressed, to the best of my knowledge.  on a side note, The Rock Academy did offer for my son to stay on with a full scholarship, but I see that as their way to get rid of me while continuing to honor the agreement I made with the original founders, and the fact that it would make them look like assholes to kick the kid out after he worked his ass off cleaning up after the rich kids for 5 years straight (he earned it, he deserves it, and to deny him that would make them look like serious douchebags, since they claim to care so much about him, though I doubt they spare him a thought, even if he's standing right in front of them).  

so now, after being dumped by long term friends, being kicked out of three apartments and ending up homeless for months, being kicked out of the Jewish community, and my long-time spiritual group, being dumped by my newer friends, not having had a date in well over 15 years (and recent attempts to date have yielded either losers I don't even want, or being dumped by even more people who have deemed me unacceptable, continued emotional abuse by my so-called 'best friend', and the overreaching implications of the fact that my own mother has made it clear that she never wanted me and hates me with every fiber of her being - adding in that time she tried to Sue Me For Custody Of My Own Child - what the ever loving fuck do I have to live for in this world?!  my kid?  sure - he'll need me for a few more years, but let me tell you - holding on to life when everything in it has told you you're not worth it, are nothing and no one, because your waiting for your teenager to grow up and make his place in the world is a HARD way to go.  there's nothing I want to do anymore.  I feel no passion, no excitement, no connection to anything, no love, no support, no meaning, no nothing.  it's done.  I'm done.  I'm over it.  there's nothing left.  there is nothing but an empty shell going through the motions of 'being here', biding my time until I can safely leave this plane of existence when my kid has proven himself capable of carrying on without me.  that is all.  I hope it's soon.

R is for...

Ridiculous

what I must be to think this was a good idea in the first place.  this game, this blog, this life in general.  I'm just biding my time until it's over, at this point.

Q is for...

Quit

I'm sick of this game.  it's uninspiring, and hasn't yielded any new connections for me.  and even though I make it a point to go and visit Every other blog that participates, and leave a nice comment on each (even if I don't like what's posted), less than half of the participants visit me back, or leave nice comments for me.  so - waste of time and energy.  I'm out.

Thursday, April 25, 2019

P is for...

Passover

as per my cultural norm, I'm not really choosing to get into the religious aspects of the holiday, more at the tradition, and passing it on, in my way.  I thought I'd put together a Seder plate (because we do actually own one, though it looks like something that belongs in a Hebrew school kindergarten class), and what I think of as a Seder:  the preparation & planning, the ritual story, the meal, the day to day of the actual 'holiday', & the switch back to 'regular' foods.  I'm on the prep & plan stage at the moment, but I'm going to do an abridged ritual, and 'my kind' of meal:  matzah balls & soup, soup nuts (couldn't find any), gefilte fish (we skipped it because he won't eat it, and I didn't need a whole jar just for me), salad, chicken skewers, roasted veggies, some kind of chocolaty dessert, and baglach.  I have my great-grandma's baglach, and my Sapta's (grandmother's) matzah ball recipes.  gonna marinate the chicken, and make tzadziki for dipping - which is mixing dairy and meat, and breaking the number one rule in kosher food practice...but I suppose I could think of something else before the meal needs to take place.

see?  doesn't this look like the kiddie version of a Seder plate?  one day I'll get a real grown-up one.


so the prep/plan wasn't really all that much, to be honest, because in my head, I see my mother beginning her preparations two weeks out, as we used to switch out the whole kitchen for a entirely different set of dishes/cookware/utensils, and have 40 people at the table, which is A LOT of work!  since in my house, it's just the two of us (the teen and I), and I had no intentions (no ability, really) to go 'full on' the way my mom did, we just pulled everything we would need from the cabinets - a pitcher for hand washing, the Seder plate, the recipes, my trusty Haggadah (that had to be stolen from my family's coffers of Passover items several years ago, because I am not allowed access to my ancestral heirlooms), candles and holders, kiddish cups for the wine.  as far as the meal/foods, I needed a horseradish root, fresh parsley, matzah meal, matzah, a cucumber for the tzadziki, a bottle of Manishevitz (the Kosher wine I grew up with), a shank bone, some soup nuts, and some kind of dessert, which simply required me to make a list, and go to the store.  easy.


I had leftover chicken soup in the freezer from the week before (technically Not kosher for Passover, but I work within my parameters) which I thawed; and made matzah balls in some of my veggie scrap soup so they were both delicious AND nutritious!  made a salad, marinated the chicken before skewering it and broiling in the oven, made the tzadziki (I couldn't come up with anything else.  I would normally do a satay/peanut sauce but peanuts are not kosher for Passover, and I didn't have sunflower/almond/cashew butter with which to substitute...I also considered making a pseudo-pesto, since I Did have parsley and walnuts and could substitute nutritional yeast for parmesan, But...also Not kosher for Passover, so unkosher yogurt dip for the chicken it was).  I even found my once-beloved chocolate 'lollycones' (and a few other dark chocolate/coconut delights) for dessert, and got the teen the horrible 'fruit slices' which are pure sugar, that I won't eat, but he enjoys.

'baglach' - which I like to call 'the dinner rolls of affliction', even though they taste like good memories to me.

so - with everything cooking, cooked, prepared, the table set and us as ready as we would ever be to 'do this thing', we began.  we did not do a 'chametz hunt' the night before, because I didn't even bother to remove all the bread and 'leavened' food items from my house, mostly because we'd be needing it after the two nights of Seders I planned on conducting, and there's simply no way I'm prepared to do the full week of the holiday the way my family did when I was a kid, carrying matzah sandwiches to school in my Star Wars lunchbox (there's a story I wrote about it once, maybe I'll post it here eventually).  we went through the Haggadah pretty quickly, skipping over the more verbose and less relevant parts, stopping for the prayers, to sing the songs, and enact the rituals.  then we ate our delicious foods, finished the Seder, had dessert, and sang some more!  as always, we made it fun.

matzah balls!  yum...

in the midst of preparing for all this good Jewishness, I suddenly remembered that my father died right before Passover, and that this year was the 20th anniversary of that sad occasion.  in our tradition, when a person dies, we sit 'shiva', which is a mourning practice where we all come together at the home of the bereaved, and say prayers for and remember the deceased over the course of 7 days.  since my pops died right before a major holiday, this ritual is not observed, which I found very...'like' my dad, as he wasn't fond of sitting shiva in general, and would have laughed at the idea of the rest of us doing so for him.  but we didn't have to, and that seemed fitting.  his death kind of ruined the holiday for me for awhile, as it was always one of my favorites, and for years I couldn't sit through a Seder without becoming seriously emotional.  I think it was just about 5 years ago that I re-engaged with it, when my son decided he wanted a Bar Mitzvah, and started attending Hebrew school.  so - here we are.  full circle.  I truly enjoyed the Passover Seder we made together as a family - just the two of us, as we are.  it felt good and right, and I'm looking forward to doing it again next year!

the only thing I couldn't find in the stores for my table were these 'soup nuts' or 'mandlen' that I LOVED as a kid - sometimes eating a whole box of them for a snack!  ah, well...next year I'll just order them online in advance.  ; )

I found I needed some guidance in remembering what was Kosher for Passover, and what wasn't.  this is the resource I used for help:

https://toriavey.com/what-foods-are-kosher-for-passover/




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Wednesday, April 17, 2019

O is for...

Organic

I have one brief memory of being in a health food co-op way far in my childhood, that my mom was thinking about joining or something, but sensing her seething hatred of the woman behind the counter, I knew it wouldn't happen.  so I knew there was such a thing as 'healthier food', but not what it was or how to access it, and that it smelled weird.  I discovered the local health food store in that brief period between my going away to college, and moving out on my own - it was a few towns over, as were the other cool stores and the reason I was shopping there to begin with, while visiting a friend who lived nearby.  I think I went in there because my mother's dog had bitten me, and I was on antibiotics, and looking to get...something, I can't remember, and came out with yogurt, acidophilus pills, and an American version of a falafel.  

random internet image of a 1970's food co-op - I think this one was in Belfast.

I don't remember paying too much attention to local organics unless I was around other hippies who did - certainly not through my shoestring traveling days that were punctuated by Ramen noodle meals and rice and vegetable feasts after visits to the food bank, and celebratory pizza delivery when there was ready money to spend, and an address.  it must have been when I got to Vermont, really, that the choice to pay more attention to the quality of my food took hold.  there was that guy who lived across the hall from me who was following a macrobiotic diet, and wanted rides into town to visit the tiny little Montpelier co-op that quickly grew into the local grocery store, where I ended up shopping for years, worked at several times, and got spoiled on the fresh local produce and quality ingredients at fair prices.  also, I settled down more; I still moved around, but Vermont is a small community, and I started getting things like dishes, and proper pots and pans in place of my camping gear.


when I got pregnant, I didn't have access to a lot of things, like good healthy food on a regular basis (though I took care of myself the best I could), and even after the baby was born, it took me awhile to get it together with cooking and eating better than I had been.  there are things I insist on buying organic, or bio-degradable, or in bulk to save on packaging waste - I prefer non-GMO products, and non-high fructose corn syrup, corn syrup, hydrogenated oils, palm oil, soy anything, now.  glyphosates, endocrine disruptors, whatever unholy concoction of chemical compounds can be sprayed on our life giving foods these days, there's so much to avoid!  so growing things to eat has also been an ongoing goal in my life - to get closer and closer to my food sources, and pay attention to my relationship with the planet in that specific a way.  I can't always afford the luxury of that dream these days, but as always, I do the best I can.  when I am able, I will do more, and figure out a way to share the abundance I create.


how much do you think about your food and body care sources?  is it of major or minor concern to you?  why do you think that is?




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Wednesday, April 10, 2019

N is for...

Nutrition

I've posted plenty of times about my weight and food issues, but this week it's on my mind again in a big way, as my 'doctor' suggested I begin what's called a 'very low calorie diet', which is to say she wants me eating no more than 850 calories a day.  did you just think, "only 850 calories a day?!"?  if you did, you would be among the group of Every Single Person I mentioned this to, including my 15 year old, who said they learned in 7th grade health class that anything under 1000 was Not recommended, as you'd be depriving your body of the necessary nutrients to function properly.  I spoke with two other health professionals this week (I don't usually spend that much time around health professionals, it was just that kind of week) who were both shocked to hear I had been given what they considered Very Bad advice, and suggested I not only Don't stick to the plan, but that I find a new doctor.


here's what I'm going to do, though...I'm Not going to fire her. I'm going to explain to her that I struggled with anorexia a way long time ago, and that her choice of 'treatment' for my 'obesity' has been extremely triggering and problematic. I'm going to tell her that everyone else I talked to thinks her choice is misguided. I'm still eating under 1000 calories a day, and for sure I'm probably losing some weight, but I don't like where my head is at. frankly, I'm also concerned about having loose and hanging skin if I lose a lot of weight too quickly, after having been so fat for so long. I've been doing what I can in terms of strength training (not much, really) to rebuild some of the muscle I've lost over the years as a way to counteract that, but my back and my knees are having a bit of a hard time with it. yoga has been helping me get moving in a gentle way, and I have definitely regained some flexibility and balance (though flexibility was never my problem). my blood sugar hasn't seemed to change much, but I'm still over 200 lbs., so...we'll see. in any case, I'm going to give my doctor the chance to hear my concerns, and see how she chooses to move forward. she's young. she deserves a chance to hear open and honest feedback, and work with it accordingly.

time passing...

well, I went to the doctor today, only to find that I've been starving and depriving myself for two weeks now, against the better judgement of everyone including my own kid, and while I lost 9 pounds last week, I didn't lose Any weight this week, even though I'm running at a 3500 calorie deficit (approx. 850 calories in, 4500 calories out).  now I have to wonder how much damage listening to my stupid doctor has done to my metabolism, and how I'm going to fix it.  she didn't even seem to care - even tried to take my list of questions and complaints out of my hand while I was reading them to her!  looking at my food journal, she asked, "is this all you've been eating?"  like, YES...that's what you said to do!  then she said 'thanks for trying' and walked out of the room!  now I just want to eat everything in the house, but I also never want to eat again, since 'anorexia brain' took over (thanks a lot, doc), and I am ONCE AGAIN out to sea, without a life raft, and I just want to cry and scream, and give up.  I'm so angry and upset - just when I thought I was doing so much better with taking proper care of myself...I'm So Hungry right now, and I don't even want to deal with eating.  in fact, it's 4pm, and I haven't eaten today at all!  because that's so good for me, right?!  ugh.  I feel totally lost and alone in this.  I don't even know why I bother.

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