I'm commited to working in this blog. In sharing the adventures I have as I venture into art, craft, life and healing from the deep scars of severe depression. I'm happy you're here looking and sharing in what is my small world.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

The best birthday gift I ever got

Was a huffy mountain bike. I was 10 years old and it was grass green and white and it was PERFECT. I wanted a mountain bike like nobodies business. A 16 speed or more. Something that I could FLY around in. Boy was I excited when my dad wheeled that baby in. I think I cried...okay. I know I did. I used to ride my bike up and down our little road in Kennewick, Washington, pretending it was everything from a horse to a motorcycle to a speeder like in Star Wars. We lived on a nice little road with minimal traffic so we could rule the road during our play time, my brother and the neighbor girls. I spent most of the day outside on that bike.

My bike riding stopped when we moved to Ohio from Washington state. So much changed in those years but on the top of the list was a change of weather (arrid dry desert heat to damp humid heat) and the hills. Add to that budding adolescence and being the new kid, and the bike stayed tucked away from then on out. I missed it, yes. But I was to shy to really give it attention, thus calling attention to myself. My play time was now mostly spent indoors and this is when the first roots of depression took hold in my life. REALLY took hold.

Fast forward to today. It's no secret I'm on this grand quest for self improvement. Part of that is wanting to recapture joy into my life, allowing myself the little luxuries I denied myself for so long, like the time to play with drawing, learing a new skill set. The time to rest properly. Excercise. Good clean food. Depression saps a lot of your life away. I can't stress this enough. It allows you to let the little things in your life crumble and deteriorate because you just can't muster up the will power to CARE. My teeth, for instance, I hadn't had them cleaned in well...years. The poor dental hygeinist when I finally worked up the courage to go in...I owe her some baloons or something. "Depression mouth", like "Meth Mouth" only...caused by atrophy of the soul.

So, I bought myself a bike. A "cruiser" for comfortable riding since my 5'4" frame is sporting a LOT of weight still. Slow and steady is how I intend to start this venture, enjoying the views I've previously missed and taking in the air. Being joyful and playful with my son, my sisters and myself. Being a part of life and the great world outside!

Of course this venture could end in the ER with broken bones but...whose thinking like that?

Friday, March 23, 2012

Living la vida loca

Previously I attempted to low carb via Atkins and was met with minimal results. YES, the food was good, YES I counted my carbs...mostly diligently, but I shed only a few pounds then stopped. So, like with so many other diets I gave up. And in giving up I realized just how much my stomach REALLY LIKES eating lower carbs. Yes, I went back to some of my previous obsessions (sourdough bread anybody) but I started to feel like crap again, joints aching, belly in tremendous distress for no apparent reason, feeling run down...

Naturally, being the astute and observant person that I am....I didn't link to two together. Rather, I continued to be in denial and went about my way eating the crap I wanted and suffering. It took my mom suggesting we try to low carb again in prep for HER upcoming gastric by-pass surgery to get my started. I really want to do the surgery myself, for a number of reasons, one being I'vd had IBS (irritable bowel syndrome) for as long as I've had depresssion and I don't want to borrow more trouble for my stomach by adding a whole new mix of potential pain causers. The other is, I'm 31. I've already had a hysterectomy and I'd like to leave my body alone for a while.

But I need to start treating it better. Like I love it. Like it's a precious gift from the Goddess/God and something to be cherished. Because it IS. I just have forgotten that in the evils of a depressive mind.

So, back to Atkins I went. This time, I'm doing it BY THE BOOK. Which means...I keep my measuring cups handy. I limit my intake of sweetners. I DRINK WATER. I added in excercise. The results? Three weeks and 17 pounds gone. That may seem like a HUGE amount but really, it's not. I still have well over..ahem...100 pounds to loose. Really, I'm that big a girl, but you weren't shocked were you? Big girls blog too!

I decided to share some of my newly learned Atkins tips, since it's not exactly the worlds easiest diet to follow. Hopefully they'll help somebody else who is going for the low carb solution:

1. Find substitutes you can live with. I am a coffee lover. Dr. Atkins strongly frowns upon caffeine because it can cause a raise in your blood sugar, even without cream or sugar. Decaf is acceptable but I find I can't stand the taste of coffee with sweetner. And I can't drink it black, (IBS belly...heartburn....I just can't). So I kept playing around and finally I came up with tea as my alternative. Black tea (it's not decaf but it's lower in caffeine...) with REAL CREAM and stevia. Tea doesn't seem to have so much of an aftertaste with the stevia like coffee does and it's a warm, comforting and "coffee" like hot beverage that meets my emotional need for a cup o' joe.

2. If you can have it, HAVE IT. I love cheese. I mean, LOVE it. I could spend hours in the cheese shop, fondling the brie, sniffing the gorganzola and getting starry eyed over the stiltons. Fortunately for me, cheese is perfectly acceptable on Atkins. Yes, in limited quantities during induction but the quantities are plenty! Trust me, my cheese addiction/love is quite happy with three 1oz portions a day! This is my treat, a bit of cheese on my salad, a slice for a snack with veggies, a bit shredded on my eggs. This helps me to be happy with this diet and oddly enough, cheese does not throw my stomach into fits of rage like it does on a sandwhich. Which makes me think it was the BREAD and not the cheese that my belly would react to....a gluten intolerance, not a lactose one. But this isn't limted to cheeses. Butter is allowed and encouraged, so use some to cook your meat in, along with a bit of olive oil. Mayo is groovy so scoop a bit into your salad with tuna fish and onion. Avocados are fine even during induction so have a half of one with salt. Trust me, you can indulge in all these things and you will STILL LOOSE WEIGHT, if you are doing it correctly. At least, I am. And the odd thing is, I track my carbs on Fitday.com and find that my calorie intake for each day is at the reccomended 1200-2000 kcal/day level. Yes my fat/protein/carb ratios are different from a good 'ol ADA diet, but that's the idea.

3. Water water water. Nobody wants to drink it plain but everybody should. Add some lemon and drink up baby, it's important! I like mine iced super cold and I find that drinking with a straw helps me to drink more. This is because I have sensetive teeth. A small trick but a HUGE one. Just switching to using a straw had me increasing my water intake by three.

4. KEEP SNACKS ON HAND. I can't stress enough how important having something to grab is! Cut up veggies ready to eat! Have cheese sliced! Have eggs boiled and/or deviled! Keep jell-o made up! If you don't do this, you'll grab the bag of cookies somebody bought "for the kids" and that'll be the end of your ketosis as you know it. Don't cave! Reach for your pre-made snack pack and enjoy! I really like jell-o mixed with a dollop of cream. Or hot chai tea in the evening (Decaf in this case). Pork rinds and a bit of ranch dressing make a nice "popcorn" alternative. (I'm a popcorn addict...that was a hard one to give up!) My mom tried making "cheese crackers" by frying up slices of cheese in a non-stick skillet. They were...interesting, but I'll stick to plain ol' lovely cheese. GOOD cheese too, for me it's worth it. But if you're not particular, keep some string cheese sticks on hand!

5. Start in with veggies and keep them spread out throughout the day. According to Dr. Atkins in his book (not the new one written after his death), you're allowed 2-3 cups of salad veggies and 1 cup of other approved veggies a day. This is actually a LOT of vegetables when you really look at it. More than you'd think. More than likely most of us eat in a day. I find that I feel better if I spread the veggies out. This keeps my carb intake (since most of the carbs you're eating come from veggies, if you're following the plan correctly). So I start the morning by slipping some into my eggs or served on the side. It doesn't have to be a lot. Today I scrambled two eggs with 1/4 cup of  leftover spinach and 2 tbsp of parmesean cheese. Lunch nearly everday has been a salad of some variety, with tuna or leftover steak or chicken on top. Snack on pepper slices with cheese. Dinner with cauliflower (cheese sauce acceptable if you really don't like cauliflower!) or steamed brussel sprouts. Or roasted brussel sprouts cooked in bacon grease before hand. Now that's one to try! Very very tasty!

All this being said, there are still times that are hard. I can't tell you how much my sense of smell is suddenly tuned into CHOCOLATE. My son will be in another room, having a reeses cup and I can smell it. But I have to keep reminding myself that it's TOXIC for me, the sugar in excess, the wheat, the bad carbs. They cause me pain, they cause me humilation. I can't continue to be a slave to them. I have to keep at this or I will be, ballooning out even more in weight until I die, likely from a heart attack or stroke or diabetic complication. I can't and WON'T let myself live my life that way. It ends here and now!

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Just a beautiful day!

Okay, I forgot that when I'm not using Livewriter by windows to create a blog post, but writing it directly into blogger, I need to use the "compose" section and not the HTML section or it won't be formatted right! Sorry for the last couple of posts being one giant paragraph! My bad!

Today I spent the entire day out of the house with the fam. We took a LONG drive down to Lancaster in order to catch a movie on the Imax screen vs regular old 3D. Why? Uh...because, it's cool. And really, it WAS cool. I found myself flinching, a lot, thinking that I was going to be consumed by fire when objects came flying at my face. Not sure if that's a good thing or not, but it sure was entertaining. Sadly, it was a very expensive experience, at $29 for two tickets (a child and an adult). WOWEE, I could've bought like...four tubes of paint for that! (Okay..probably not. Paint is also expensive! WHY? Why must it all cost so much??)

It was a  good day. We ate at a diner for lunch, greek salad for me since I'm once again back on the low-carb diet. (It kills my conscious but my IBS belly, LOVES it. Go figure.) We shopped some in Harrisburg for shoes for the growing boy. I scored some discounted derwent pencils which made me happy....good day!

Tomorrow we start out on our container garden. We decided to do this because it was extremely painful for my mother to participate in gardening,with the garden being located down at the end of the yard.) My mother suffers from severe scoliosis and her back is literally crushing in on itself, which has often left her pretty nearly unable to move.) I hope what the container garden will let her enjoy it, since everything will be just a couple feet from the house. We're starting small this year, some tomatoes and maybe some cucumbers down in the garden proper. I want to do some flowers and an herb garden also. My dad doesn't think we can get more veggies than that in the four containers we bought, but I think we can! We still have to wait a bit until we can plant, since it's technically still to early...but I'm raring to go! I got out my book on container gardening to try to figure out how to talk dad into some peppers with our flowers.....or maybe some pole beans up the deck? This could be great fun or an epic fail! I'll keep you posted!

Friday, March 16, 2012

Being a presence within a community

I am a product of the "internet generation". During the 1990s, when AOL was king, I was OL with a lot of my peers, exploring chat rooms and dicking around with making web pages. (Ha...I wonder if any of them are still OUT there?) I played amature HTML coder, signed up for several communities and generally had a grand time being ahem...naughty for a 16 year old...online. I was a presence OL, I could create the identity *I* wanted to present to the world and hide behind the lines of code that obscure my reality. This tendency didn't stop when I reached adulthood. It went through periods of lagging when work/family/school and major depression sank in, but it never really abated. I grew into a fanfiction writer, joining new communities of "fanfiction" forums. (It was actually there I met the notorious GF of previous posts...but that's another story! :-))I role played and started to dabble in photoshop design (ahem..pirated photoshop, I'll admit it.) I became part of new communities and again became a "presence" online. I was CHLOE, Lady or otherwise, my avatar, my alter ego. Writer extraordinaire of RP fiction and fanfiction, daydreamer beyond compare! I lived FULLY in this alterverse and thrived there. I admit, I suffer from mild to sometimes gripping agoraphobia and this internet world is a haven for those who are like me! FREEDOM! Facebook was a bit of a game changer for me. Even in my MySpace world, I was still enslaved to my "alter ego" and facebook demand reality. It was hard to let to of my online moniker and adapt my real name, putting the real me out there in the public. But I did it, and I'm really glad I did. This has allowed me to really...and I mean REALLY start to connect with some of the people I'd been "friends" with in other OL forums. (Not just the GF...LOL, but make real friendships,by being able to see the dimensions of other peoples lives). Wow! I add people as friends on FB maybe a bit randomly now, adding people I don't "know" in person, but would like to based on similar interests. Now I'm exploring the new community of Artists who are there. People whose blogs I like and admire, people whose classes I've taken and whose forums I've joined. I'm still startled and amazed by how freely these people give up themselves, their REAL selves into this community, how they are raw, open and honest to the internet world at large. I want that for myself. I want to be real. I've made a committment to be the REAL me here on this blog, but even that has come in gradual steps. Maybe you noticed the subtle change in names, photos and identifying details I've begun to reveal? Maybe not. It's unconsequential. What I do hope you notice is that in being "real", I'm also trying to be HONEST and sometimes that means I may not be kosher to all readers. That's all part of being "present" and being real. I hope to continue to do so.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Gettin' in the Philosphical Groove

I'm having a hard time getting back into the "groove" of going to school....I know, you'd think after TEN years since being in a class room last, I'd have no problem, right? This time I'm enrolled in an Online program which is enormously attractive to somebody like me. Somebody who is mildly agoraphobic, who works at home already and who lives 45 minutes away from any sort of civilization with a decent college. (Never mind that that "decent college" is Penn State...prestigous much? EXPENSIVE much?) I followed an ad on Facebook and found an RN to MSN program through the College Network and Regis University. Why a bridge program? I want to be done, FAST. And....I hate to say it...I really don't WANT to obtain my MSN (Masters of Science and Nursing). You see, I still don't believe I want to be a nurse, when I grow up. But that's not a practical line of thought. In reality I need to stick to this path of secure employment, good benefits and solid career growth oppurtunities. But I'm burnt out of it. I ADORE children and being their caregiver, but a huge, huge HUGE part of being a pediatric nurse is dealing with the dark side of life. Severely debilitating and painful childhood illnesses. Neglectful or overwhelmed parents who let things slip and slide. Neglected healthy siblings. Child abuse. Death. Death of small and innocent beings who in reality..never stood a chance based on bad genetics and circumstances. Poverty of our most fragile members of human society. The blind eye of just about everybody to the plight of these kids. I could go on and on, but I won't. Needless to say, I get soul weary of it. But it's the RIGHT thing to do. It means my son will be cared for. It means we'll have insurance. It's the right path to take. But it makes my heartache at times. I wish I could walk away from it all and devote myself fully to the whimsical dreams of my youth. Being a concert trombonist, an artist, a WRITER of things other than meaningless blog posts...