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Turned Off [On Feeling Frustration]

When too many things go on in life, sometimes it feels easier to give up.

What if I just stopped taking all my meds?

What if I just washed everything out of my body?

It would be a lot easier. Just being and not doing anything.

I mean obviously not doing anything is the answer.

Sometimes a person is just tired.

I will admit this tiredness is only an option because I’m entitled.

I’m able to take time off to struggle through this state.

I’m lucky because I have access to all the medication I need, food on the table that I can actually eat, and an endless supply of moral support.

However, I’m still tired and I’m still grumpy and frankly I’m don’t feel the need to apologise for it.

I have learned that if I don’t face my feelings on the bad days they will bottle up and fester. Dealing with the emotional remains becomes a lot harder than just addressing it head on.

Moral of the story: If you’re having a bad day don’t actually turn off.

Get mad. Scream. Write a nasty letter to your body. Have a good cry.

Feeling frustrated is normal…

You’re just having another Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day.

 

Pret Time

Learning to let go: The need to care for oneself

Life is very busy.

It gets even busier as time goes on.

Responsibilities increase as we age and more is expected of us-both from ourselves and from those around us.

In order to take on increasing responsibilities, I have always relied on the feeling of being in control as a way to mitigate stress. Well, it only mitigates stress in my mind…

Whether that’s actually the case or not is more apparent to my loved ones.

A facet of control, sometimes good sometimes bad, is the incessant need to plan for everything. Every action, every moment, every second is accounted for. If Plan A doesn’t work, Plan B will. Of course, I’ll have three more back up plans just in case.

What happens when you are required to pause?

Not stop, but pause. Freeze in your tracks and attend to something you didn’t plan for. Sometimes it’s easier to ignore it and just proceed with life. However, how productive does this turn out to be in the long run?

In that moment:

I can get through this. It isn’t a big deal. I’ll just address it later. Later when? Umm… Clearly before the next challenge. 

The next challenge:

So now? Well, it’s not that bad… Later. 

After reaching a particularly debilitating junction:

I don’t want to stop my life. It isn’t stopping… It’s pausing.Whatever, it doesn’t fit in with my plan. Meh meh meh… 

We can always make excuses that it is the wrong time to deal with an issue. This can be any issue ranging from a toxic relationship to the giant mess in your attic. Nevertheless, resistance is not the answer.

For me, it was admitting that I had been going through a Crohn’s Disease flare up for the past two years. It was coming to terms with the fact that I needed to change my medication to something stronger. It is realising that I still need to stay back and let my body heal.

Sometimes… I still struggle with this.

Struggle with what? Letting go.

I struggle with letting go of my resistance. I struggle with letting go of my need to control the situation. I struggle with letting go my fear that I will not succeed professionally by taking these necessary health breaks.

Struggling is okay, but it is important to make the effort to let go. It may seem like an easy fix to just let life happen and stick to the plan, but if you don’t empty out that overflowing cupboard you will have no space to fill it in with new experiences.

You can not truly take care of yourself until you deal with the impending issues that are holding you back.

As the the first month of the new year comes to a close, I urge you to sit down and think about what you should have left behind in 2015. If there is anything you should have dealt with yesterday, don’t let it hold you back. Free yourself and tend to your needs.

Because NO ONE…

And I seriously mean NO ONE…

Can take care of you, like you can take care of yourself.

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The One with the Brownie/Cookie/Cake Thing

ME WANT COOKIE:

For the past couple of weeks, I’ve had a hankering for cookies.

I didn’t want to bake cookies from scratch and I didn’t want to rely on my friend Nestle Tollhouse (Yes, I need you to read it like Phoebe Buffay would).
After checking out so many (and I mean soooo many) recipes online I was like
Hey… Maybe I can bake cookies from a box of cake mix…
From all my research, I had surmised that, at a bare minimum, I needed to add 1-2 eggs & 1/4-1/2 cup of either oil or butter.
But what about after that?
I wanted these cookies to taste good.
Yes, I wanted the real deal… but not too sweet.
I read about adding instant pudding mix, but I was more interested in adding a cup of readymade pudding (mostly because it was already in my fridge). Yes, I know, as evidenced by the picture, it was sugar free, but beggar’s can’t be choosers.
So Anyways…
Being the Curious George I am, I thought to myself, ‘Challenge Accepted!
I realised that since every quantity of cake mix is different (aka the companies have starting giving people less bang for their buck… Don’t get me started on Corporate America…) I would have to wing the recipe to a certain degree.
I know… ‘Uh oh’.
Thus, the following section will be the story of all the things that went wrong when trying to attempt these ‘easy bake’ cookies. However, feel free to skip a section to just get the recipe and the materials needed.
______________________________________________________

WHAT YOU SHOULD PROBABLY NOT DO:

So I started out dumping the cake mix into a large bowl. Then I dumped about 3/4 of the cup of pudding in. I picked up a whisk. This is where my trouble began. Use a wooden spoon ladies and gentleman… Trust me.
This caused me so much grief. I followed by adding a couple drops more than 1/4 cup of canola oil. And then I pre-whisked an egg and added it. I was having way too much trouble trying to transfer the dough back and forth from my tablespoon to my whisk. I even pulled at a prong of the whisk and had to reassemble it. Shhh don’t tell my mommy. Anyways I ended up resorting to wo-manhandling the dough with my bare hands. Don’t worry I washed them in between every step… You’re not the only germaphobe. Think atta gunding for roti making (English translation: kneading the dough).
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Next, I meant to add a teaspoon of vanilla and ended up dropping an indiscriminate amount into the bowl. Oh well…
Then, I added some chocolate chips and mixed.
Refrigerate for 20 min (to make easier to work with)
And that’s when I noticed the box with a cookie recipe on it… SAY WHAAAAAA?!?!?
It even tells you to use a wooden spoon. The recipe is different and has a different temperature recommendation than many of the sites online (which usually recommend 350 degrees). So I ended up settling for the 360. I know… Clever.
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After I pulled out the cold dough, I decided that I wanted to sprinkle some dark brown sugar on the cookies cause hey why not…
So I attempted making shapes.
First, I just scooped out globs covering my tablespoon and then started flattening them.
Then I decided… Nah, probably too big. Next, I made squares akin to the ‘ready to bake’ Nestle Tollhouse cookies.
Finally, I decided to scoop out half a tablespoon, roll them into little balls and flatten by making a pound sign with my fingers.
Luckily they weren’t sticky. Why?
Because they were refrigerated.
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Last but not least, I sprinkled some dark brown sugar on top and BAM!
Done Son!
Although I kinda ended up baking them too close together... Oops.
They smelled like brownies though…
And they tasted like them too.🙂
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RECIPE: BOXED CAKE BROWNIES (shaped like cookies)

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Materials:

  • Box of cake mix (I used a chocolatey one that was 16.5 oz)
  • 1 Egg
  • 3/4 cup readymade pudding (I used a sugar free chocolate one made by Jello)
  • 1/4 cup + 1 tsp oil
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • Handful of semisweet chocolate chips
  • Handful of brown sugar
  • Large Bowl
  • Wooden Spoon
  • Tablespoon
  • 3 baking trays
  • Wax paper
  • Plastic wrap
  • Oven
  • Refrigerator

Directions:

  1. Add the egg, pudding, and vanilla extra to the large bowl keep stirring until properly mixed.
  2. Slowly add the cake mix to start creating dough. Don’t stop stirring until all the mix has become dough.
  3. Add the chocolate chips and mix well.
  4. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 15-20 minutes. This will ensure the dough is easier to work with.
  5. Preheat oven at 360 degrees Fahrenheit. Prepare baking trays with sheets of wax paper to allow for easy clean up afterwards.
  6. Pull out the chilled dough. Scoop out about heaping half tablespoon, roll into a ball & flatten by imprinting a hashtag with two fingers. Repeat this process to create between 25-30 cookies.
  7. Make sure the cookies are evenly spaced so you don’t get smushy sides like in the picture above.
  8. Bake for 8-12 minutes. Among other things, bake time will depend on the altitude of your location and the strength of your oven. So just watch after the 8 minute mark, for nice brown edges.
  9. Once you remove the tray, let the boxed cake brownie/cookie thing cool for about a minute. And Voila! HAPPY MUNCHING!!!🙂

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Revisiting Childhood Christmas Parties

When my boyfriend brought me loads of extra Dairy Milk for Christmas, I knew what had to be done…

CHOCOLATE COVERED OREOS.

Background: As a child, I would look forward to christmas parties at friends’ places, solely for the prospect of 1) getting to hang out with my friends 2) getting to do hands-on activities 3) eating loads of junk food.

On the rare occasion, that we got to melt chocolate, dip treats into them, and anxiously wait until they dried, it was a combination of all three. Basically, every child’s dream.

 

Present Day: For the past couple of days, I’ve been super excited at the idea of doing this at home all on my own…

When I was younger, I wouldn’t really be encouraged to do things in the kitchen, mostly because I was clumsy. I haven’t lost all my clumsy, but I think the consolation prize for my parents is that I can clean up messes on my own. In my mind, I’m a grown woman and I do what I want.😉

So although many of you have probably accomplished this in your lives, it doesn’t hurt to share my experience doing it. Now does it?

 

What you need:

  • a sheet of wax paper
  • 4 oreos
  • Quarter of a chocolate bar (i.e. 8 squares from a 200g Dairy Milk)
  • a spoon
  • a bowl
  • a microwave

 

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Directions:

  • Break up the milk chocolate into the smallest pieces you can manage
  • Place chocolate in bowl
  • Microwave in 12-15 second spurts & mix well after each stint until chocolate is completely melted (I only had to do warm it up for a total of 45 seconds)
  • Drop your oreo in the bowl and swirl it around.
  • Flip it with the spoon.
  • Spoon chocolate to cover any sides that have been missed.
  • Take the fully chocolate-covered oreo and stick it on the sheet of wax paper.
  • After you have completed all of the covering, either be patient and wait for them to dry, or stick them in some tupperware and pop that in the fridge.
  • When the chocolate is solid, ENJOY!

 

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The Antithesis to the ‘Cherry on Top’

Almost fourteen years ago, I was diagnosed with Crohn’s disease, but throughout all my struggles I think my worst foe has been the various insurance companies I have dealt with.

It’s a given… People with poor health require high cost services. Thus, they must rely on insurance companies to ‘save’ them from bankruptcy.

So while insurance companies are theoretically supposed to ‘help’ you to basically ‘stay alive’ (depending on your condition) and to not make you absolutely destitute in the process, it’s quite surprising that the trade off is a constant battle. I thought these things were given when I signed the contract? Why is it still a problem? Do I not have a right to a full and healthy life, because of something I can’t control?

I have been faced with everything from ‘you’re not eligible to be covered’ to ‘we have two files on system for you, one says you’ve paid and the other says you’ve not’. I’m sorry, isn’t organisation your department? How many times do I need to send you a copy of my receipts?

Being hospitalised and in constant writhing pain for extended periods of time, does not compare to the mental anguish caused by having to call your insurance company  at least once a week for misquoting your benefits to a physician’s office. Sometimes it equates to five hours out of a week passing messages back and forth between doctor’s offices and the insurance company itself.

Currently, in mid-flare, it’s frustrating to think that in such trying times, I am faced with even more stress. Stress aggravates autoimmune diseases, so really they’re just costing themselves a bigger payout. See the Catch 22?

What is your story? Do you have as many problems as I do with insurance companies?