Sunday, February 22, 2015

Awful Birthday #44

Happy Birthday to Moi. Alex got a good
mouthful of the icing before this baby
got cut. He's pretty good at sneaking
up and getting bites out of baked things, as
demonstrated in the previous post.
Today was my 44th birthday. And I realized something as the day wound down, complete with both its moment of smiles and its moment of sadness; I will *always* be disappointed on my birthday. Always.  But it isn't what people imagine. It isn't about having unrealistic expectations of the people I am close to, and I use the word close based on what close is for me. The disappointment stems entirely from me.

You see, I want what I see other people having on their birthdays. A crowd of people giving a person a lovely surprise party that they were completely unaware of. A party that people they care about came from afar for because the person is so valued. I want the warmth and inclusion of normal people. To feel what it's like to be valued like that; the way normal people value one another. But sadly… I am not normal.

Toes cozied up for the crisp cold up the mountain.
Relationships; friendships, romantic connections, family—they are all about investment.  The people who get all the special treatment are the people that invest in their loved ones in a way that inspires that kind of reciprocation. They deserve it. They receive what they put in.  But I, as someone who is chronically affected by depression, and social anxiety, and what is now forming into a type of agoraphobia and anxiety, simply are not equipped to invest that much in that way.

I am just not normal.

Hwy 26. Mount Hood. About ten minutes up the road
from my home.
Normal people get up in the morning and face the day without an inner battle. Normal people are not obstructed by chronic and sometimes debilitating fatigue and lethargy. Normal people don’t have to lean on medications to get them through the day. Normal people do not let emotions rule everything they do. Normal people do cool things just because they can just do them; and don’t have to be cajoled or humoured into doing them, into leaving the house; into going to social events. They face strangers with open smiles and let people into their lives.

I don’t.  I let *some* people in, in the most limited fashion. What I consider close, is a far cry from what anyone with a normal perspective would consider close.  I over-share with strangers, but I only feel comfortable with a few people.  And I let them into my life, and into my house; but I still keep everyone at arm’s length. Not out of spite, not out of anything maligning… but because I just can’t have normal relationships.

So people like me require a HUGE imbalance in our relationships. I hide, and my *close* people have to seek. The burden is on them, mostly. It’s a lot to ask. It’s why I don’t have many friends, and why I have a hard time with relationships. It’s why anyone with the same condition as I have do as well.  To have a lasting relationship, that person needs to care about you enough to WANT to give; to travel; to be the one doing most of the ‘investment’ in the relationship (insofar as ‘investment’ is interpreted by normal standards).  See, I invest too. For the people I care about, going to them takes a HUGE amount of personal strength and energy, but they don’t know that. Showing them the courtesies that normal people show is a massive step out of the comfort zone for a person with social and depressive issues.

Not a huge snowpack up here yet. New England is getting
it all.
If I want what normal people have, it’s like investing fifty times what normal people have to invest; and because it’s not to normal standards, nobody really understands that. They think people like me are willfully being distant and remote.  As an extroverted introvert (yes, that does exist), I both long for the company of my friends and family, but I also dread it; because the cost of it on my emotional being is very high.

Breakfast at the Cascade Dining Room with mom-in-law
and step-father-in-law.
So yeah. I will always be disappointed. I will often expect to be disappointed and I will sometimes even welcome the disappointment, so that I don’t have to be surprised by it. My birthday will never be the vision I hope it will be because I don’t have it in my capacity to make it so. I’m not socially capable of it. And I can’t be shitty enough to expect people I care about to make it special for me even though I can’t really reciprocate that kind of investment.

Mt. Jefferson, saying hi from his layered nest of hills.
It all sounds very selfish in many ways, but it’s difficult to explain. Depression and Anxiety and all those conditions are not selfishness, they are genuine roadblocks to normality.  Finding people that understand that is paramount, and even those paragons you are lucky enough to find who can play that role are prone to get sick of your shit now and again too. They want to feel special too.

The Oregon Cascades. It was sooo windy and cold up there today.
That is why I absolutely DESPISE my birthday. Because I KNOW for a fact that I will end up in tears at some point. I do it because I am so disappointed in myself for not being normal. And for hoping that the people I love understand that all the time.  I’ve spent a great deal of my life being taken for granted by my family, and having my birthdays forgotten or dismissed as ‘just another day—get over it’. So that baggage is already the looming sword of Damocles that dangles above February 22 every year. Add that and my fucking depression and this confounded anxiety that makes me want to SCREAM, and frustrated family and friends who feel like they can’t do anything right, and it’s just the shittiest day of the year for me. Cake or no cake.

I hate my birthday folks. It’s the one day I want to be important, and I can’t even put in the energy and the investment to make it that way. And so, it sucks, and I hate it. I really do.

The thing I worry about most is my abnormality having an adverse affect on my child's upbringing. His birthdays will always be special. Even if I have to cut off a leg to make sure of it.  He is my horizon. I watch him when everything else feels like it's crumbling around me. As Dan once said: "He is the light in your very dark world." He is. He was the best birthday gift I have ever received (and conceived--meh heh). 

My beautiful horizon. In overalls no less.
...and my stoopid cat. Just because I love this pic of him and his mouche-mole.
/wallowing in self-pity

Friday, February 20, 2015

Cake and Complaints.

Hello, my bloggy world. I'm still here, doin' mah stuff. Today, I'm making Neckbone Stew (I just used some cheap beef neckbones and seared them in butter with salt & pepper, then deglazed that with onions, and added veggies & stock. It's been simmering for hours. That'll be dinner.  I am also making Grandma Georgia's Sour Cream Cake, and I thought I'd blog it, jurst becurrze.

Neckbones R good.
Grandma Georgia is my Hubby's grandma. She's a feisty 90, mostly lost in demetia--suspended sometime in the fifties some days, getting fractious and locking horns with care workers and with other other residents. She even gets into fights. LOL. She's a tiny little bundle of sticks with a fiery soul. She had a little book of recipes, very 50s recipes, full of butter and LOTS of sugar, and she let me copy some down. One of which is the eggy, sugary sour cream cake, which is delish.  So I thought I'd bake some today. Dan comes home from training in New Jersey -- Alex has turned the house into a romper room but heck. Let's bake (and bitch, 'cause I do that so well).

First we start with the recipe.

Add caption (what if I don't wanna?)
Georgia is Dan's favourite relative. She helped raise him while his mom worked, and she loves Dan like nobody else in this world. He is the only person that dedicates time for her. He makes sure she gets her hair cuts and her bags of M&Ms. He takes her to the doctor. His father rarely sees her. His other siblings, even less.

Ready... set... bake!

Ideally, you should let the butter soften to room temperature. Since I didn't,
I cubed it, and tossed it into the mixing bowl anyway (I'm such a rebel)
Georgia has been getting progressively worse, dementia-wise for a while now.  It's hard for Dan to cope with seeing someone he loves so much fading away into a stranger; somebody he never met. She doesn't recognize him very often. She thinks he's other people sometimes.

THREE cups o' sugar, it's a lot, I know.  Just slice it thin. :^D
Regardless of how hard it is, my husband is usually dealing with her all the time. But as a caregiver, it can be stressful. The worst part of it is trying to get other family members involved. It's always a struggle.

I cracked open all six eggs into a little pourey-thing. Yes, that's the techincal
term for it.  It will make adding them easier, and there's less of a chance
of getting egg shells in your cake batter.

Before you put in your eggs, cream the sugar and butter together.
What's really frustrating, is that when people can be persuaded to help with Georgia, you end up seeing shit like this all over Facebook. So ANNOYING!

SO damned irritating.  Anyhoo.... I digress.....

Mixety Mix

Start adding your eggs one at a time. Trust me, they will divide themselves

One straggler to go.

Use real vanilla please. Not the fake stuff. It's just better. I've never used
this brand. Hope it's okay. Dan made cookies a couple of weeks ago and
Alex dumped the whole bottle of my good stuff in the batter.

A little bit of salt.

I had to measure out the sour cream 'cause I had a 16 oz container. 

Blending all these beautiful ingredients.
I loved Georgia the moment I met her. In a weird way, she reminded me of my mom. But the good side of mom. The spirited, opinionated, frank part of her that I like. Georgia is sassy, with a slightly softened Southern drawl. I miss the old Georgia. She doesn't even know who I am at all. I can't imagine what Dan is going through, honestly.

Oh, right, I forgot. This is my sous-chef for the day.

He likes to eat raw flour. He likes it.

Try to get it all in the bowl this time, will ya kid?
Add the baking soda in at this time too.

It's so much easier to use a sieve rather than those sifter things that kill your
hands. Just dump the flour in and then shake, shake, shake, and it's done.

Mix it in.

Line two bread-pans with parchment. I
smudged a little butter in the pan to help
the parchment stick.

It's a pretty batter. Silky looking.

Try not to pay any heed to the grime all over my oven display. I'm a crappy
housekeeper. LOL.
I never had grandparents. They were all gone by the time I was old enough to acknowledge them. So I value Georgia a great deal. And I treasure the things she's passed onto us so far; including her butter-rich recipes--even if they were copied from some book years ago.  She loved them enough to write them down in her amazing cursive, and keep them in a book. I'll honour her by keeping them in my book for Alex to have.

Where's the cake, mom? You said there'd be cake!

They took an hour and fifteen for me.
The toothpick test doesn't lie.

I hope you'll try Georgia's Sour Cream Cake too! 
It's wonderful. Nice crunchy exterior, a subtle, not-too-sweet interior. Perfect with coffee or tea. I might try this recipe with a crumble topping on it. YUM!

Caught you, punklet! He was trying to gnaw on the corner
of the nearest cake.

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

What's new, and 365s

Greetings my blog-readers. I am trending towards normal. The meds still make me feel nauseated, but mostly at night, so it's no big deal. I still feel tired ALL THE TIME, but with a two year old, it's not like I have a lot of choices, I simply must function.

I had a blast at the 2015 Wizard World Comic Con. I went there with another author, and shared a table, and behind the table, I felt safe. I also met my first uber-fan, and it was like a jab of energy into my soul.  Nothing inspires like unadulterated flattery. LOL.

I've been revamping the look of my books, and trying to keep myself motivated, in spite of the stress and financial issues we are dealing with. For the third time in fifteen years, my husband was laid off from his job. This time it was because of the falling gas prices; seeing as he worked for a manufacturer that services mostly oil companies, I get it, but man, it just comes as another blow to our already precipitous situation.  He has a fallback job, but it pays quite a bit less, so he's doing his best, and I have been shooting my resume around, but the jobs either pay too little to make daycare justifiable, or they just don't even respond to my submissions. I'm not on unemployment, so I don't have to take the first thing that comes along. I can't afford NOT to be picky--but I'm competing with kids that cost less and that have degrees. It's hard not to take it all personally.  I really could use some structure in my day, and it would be great to get Alex into some kind of day program so he can socialize with other kids. I don't want him to grow up being one of those weird kids LOL. I could really stand to get out of the house regularly. I'm sure it would only do good for my anxiety issues.  But it's not easy finding something that will work.  Keep your fingers crossed for me folks.

In the meantime, I'm here taking my pic-a-day photos.  Here's the last 20 days, picking up where the last post left off.

21 - Cake Tin

22 - Rust

23 - Petals

24 - Portland's Double-Decker

25 - Wristband

26 - Chickadee-dee

27 - Peek-a-boo

28 - Pomme

29 - The apple's demise

30 - A 'thquo' as Alex calls them.

31 - Toyota Texture

32 - Magnificent Steamer

33 - Teddy Train (edible passengers)

34 - Wallpaper

35 - Panes

36 - Beads

37 - Spring Sprunging

38 - Leaves of Metal

39 - Neon

40 - 42


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