Today I did something different

standard April 4, 2019 Leave a response
Photo by Clever Visuals on Unsplash

In 2012 my father had a double lung transplant from which he never really recovered. He passed away less than three years later after spending most of those years in and out of the ICU.

A few months after my dad passed away, we discovered that my mother had a form of frontal lobe dementia. Some weird rapid progressing type. 6 months or so later, we discovered that she had metastatic breast cancer. Terminal, metastatic breast cancer, as if there’s any other kind.

So, in short, and not to be crass or cold about it, for the last seven years, I’ve had a parent who was dying. Which is horrible, and sad, and all the things that you’re supposed to feel, but also absolutely utterly exhausting. Because of all the waiting for bad news, waiting for “the” call, waiting for grief to start even though you’re already grieving.

I could go into all the crazy mixed-up feelings I have about all of this, but you don’t want that, trust me, and frankly, I don’t want to, which, in a round-about way, brings us somewhat to the point of today’s post.

For those last 7 years, longer really if we also take in the disastrous experience that 2011 was, I have used books as a solid form of escape.

Because, duh, books. Other people’s lives, other people’s problems, other people dealing with them. The ultimate escape. Especially when they so kindly wrap things up neatly in the last three chapters leaving you feeling like some things DO have nice tidy resolutions.

Only I’ve taken it further. Way way further. I fell HARD into the bottomless pit of magical fantasy. Werewolves, vampires, witches, warlocks, magicals, faeries…you name it, if it was the focus of a book, preferably a very long rambling series, I dove in headfirst.

Because you know what’s even better than escaping into someone else’s scripted reality? Escaping into a reality that in no way at ALL could possibly ever resemble mine and therefore force me to confront any of the zillion complicated feelings that I so desperately don’t want to feel or even acknowledge. (Oh, how glad I am my therapist doesn’t read my blog or I know exactly where our session would be starting next week…)

Oh, you’re a witch given up at birth because your parents knew how magically strong you were and wanted to protect you from the evil magical council overlords? Sign. Me. Up.

A werewolf pack with an unusual pack member? Tell me more!

Evil heartless fairy discovers he has a heart? Please go on…this has potential!

Vaguely interesting sounding series about a vampire boarding school that has 25 books in the series. OMG, could there be anything more perfect?

And then last night I finished a book in a series (Demi-God meets super strong magical abandoned at the age of 3 if you must know) and I found myself opening a realistic fiction novel.

Picking up a realistic fiction novel feels momentous to me. Like I’m finally ready to crawl out of my safe little cave and face the world and possibly my own feelings.

This novel is about a woman whose husband walked out on her and their kids and has just reappeared in their lives. So not too relatable for me, but it’s a start because the focus of the book is on how she spends her summer rediscovering herself and, frankly, that’s what it feels I’ve been doing since we moved last July.

Beyond just hiding from my feelings, I’ve spent the last two years putting off “figure out who post-40 Jessica really is,” figuring that I’d better get through the process of grieving my mother before I even bothered. Because, remember, I’ve already done the dead parent thing and I know first hand that grief is this unwieldy monster that can’t be tamed and must rather be endured or rather waited out. Back in 2015, grief took over my life and stole months of it away and I just know that’s what my not-so-distant future holds for me.

But sometime in the last couple months I realized that I’ve spent the last seven years waiting for grief to wallop me upside the head and derail my life. And, to be fair, it did for a while, but then I just went right back to waiting for it to do it all over again.

Seven. Years. 1/6th of my life. Putting me on hold because big bad things were coming.

I can’t do it any more.

‘Taking back my life’ is a process that is starting small. I’ve started investing in my physical health. Paying for a fat loss plan that’s actually working, partly because I’ve stopped being defeatist about my weight and partly because the plan is awesome*. (If you follow me on Instagram you can enjoy my endless gushing and raving about it.) Paying for a yoga studio membership, because spending a couple hours each week breathing deeply and actually being in my physical body rather than my mind is good for me in every way possible.

I’m not sure what comes after that. Reading more realistic fiction and less fantasy fiction for sure. Possibly diving into the edits of the last two NaNo Novels I wrote. Maybe, gasp, figuring out what I would do if I ever granted myself time “off” from homeschooling, working, parenting and running a household (I’m open to any and all suggestions!).

I remember once hearing a joke about a guy who lived in an apartment. The guy who lived right above him and the terrible habit of coming home late at night and stomping into his room where he would take off his heavy work-boots and drop them on the floor. Every night, the neighbor below would bitch and moan about jolted awake by the loud THUDS and, in the morning would go upstairs to complain loudly to the offender.
Then, one night, the upstairs guy came home and clomped his way to his room, took off one boot, dropped it, and suddenly remembered to put the other boot down gently. Three hours later he was jerked awake by a loud pounding on his door. As soon as he opened it, the downstairs neighbor yelled “OH MY GOD, JUST DROP THE SECOND BOOT I CAN’T STAND THE SUSPENSE ANY LONGER!”

I’m tired of being tired, tired of waiting and putting my life on hold while I brace myself for the news I know is coming. My mother is still dying. She could pass away tomorrow or in six months. No one knows. Her doctors are frankly baffled that she’s still alive. That call is coming whether I brace myself for it or not. I might as well live my life instead of keeping it on ice while I wait.

*This is an affiliate link. If you click it then sign up for the FASTer Way to Fat Loss, I will receive a small commission. That commission will in no way impact the amount you will be paying.

Avocado Toast with Hash Brown Potato Waffle

standard February 21, 2019 1 response
Hash Brown Potato Waffle Avocado Toast
Mmmm… so much avocado goodness
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You know it, I know it, everyone knows it, avocados are the thing right now. I live in California so to us, they’ve always been the thing, but apparently the rest of the world has caught on (thank you Keto craze!) and have made the avocado prices soar, uh I mean, have made avocados crazy popular. Especially in toast form. Which, I will admit to not quite “getting” at first. I mean, I love toast, don’t get me wrong, but I like it with excellent butter and some first rate jam. amirite? I used to really enjoy my avocado on burgers and the like, but then I started the FASTer Way to Fat Loss* and had to go gluten free for a bit all while radically increasing my avocado intake and, well, suddenly avocado toast didn’t seem so unappealing. Except, gluten free = no actual toast.

Enter the magical potato waffle. Take some hash brown potatoes, mix in some egg white and a couple spices and poof, you have a delectable toast variation to do your avocado justice. Doing the FASTer Way to Fat Loss or tracking your Macros? This is a great source of good carbs, healthy fats, and protein. Perfect for both regular and low macro days.

(Welcome to the first It’s My Life… recipe. If you’re new here, be sure to subscribe so you never miss a recipe or post. If you’re a regular, I hope you’ll stick around and enjoy the new developments around these parts! Got recipes you’d like me to share? Leave a comment below or message me. And please, do me a solid and click that “Pin” button below!

Hope today is delicious and wonderful in every way.

*Please note: this FASTer Way to Fat Loss link is an affiliate link. If you click it and decide to sign up for the program, I will receive compensation. If you click through and decide to sign up for the program, please let me know. I’d be thrilled to help you in any way I can!

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Hashbrown Potato Waffle Avocado Toast
These hash brown potato waffles are ready in just minutes and make the perfect base for some tasty gluten free avocado toast.
Hash Brown Potato Waffle Avocado Toast
Prep Time 2 minutes
Cook Time 8 minutes
Servings
Ingredients
Prep Time 2 minutes
Cook Time 8 minutes
Servings
Ingredients
Hash Brown Potato Waffle Avocado Toast
Instructions
  1. Plug in your waffle iron and turn it to the highest setting. Allow it to warm up while you prepare your potatoes.
  2. If using frozen hash brown potatoes, defrost using the microwave in short bursts. If using regular potatoes grate and wrap in a clean dish-cloth to wring out as much water as possible. Don't be afraid to squeeze hard!
  3. Crack one of the eggs over the potatoes, letting about half the egg white pour over them. Put the rest of the egg in another bowl.
  4. Add finely chopped green onion, dash of salt, pepper, garlic powder, paprika and TJ's Everyday Seasoning and any other spices that appeal to you. Mix well.
  5. Spray the waffle iron with non-stick cooking spray and spread the potato mixture out on the bottom of the waffle iron. NOTE: The potatoes will NOT spread like regular waffle batter would. You MUST spread it out. Cook for 8-10 minutes until crispy. The waffle iron WILL steam. This is totally normal.
  6. While the waffle iron is doing its thing, place the bacon on a cold skillet and turn the heat to medium, high. When the bacon is about half cooked, push it to the side and add the eggs to the skillet.
  7. Remove the potato waffle from the iron and top with avocado, bacon and eggs. Enjoy this amazing treat. Repeat tomorrow and every lunch hereafter.
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Life is hard: AKA the reason I haven’t written much in a long while

standard February 19, 2019 Leave a response

The other day I came across a Facebook post meme that said “Life is hard? Compared to what?” and I’ve been mulling that over ever since.

Because life is hard. No one will contest that. Life is relentless. Which, I guess is a good thing? Maybe? In some ways?

But also, utterly exhausting. You get up and a million little details instantly demand your attention. Mental notes start crowding your brain before you even have a chance to open your eyes.

I should remember to wash the sheets today.

Where did those curtains I meant to put up end up getting put away.

The cat’s breath stinks. I should brush his teeth more often.

Did I remember to buy milk for the teen who literally won’t eat anything and gets the bulk of her nutrition from it? I should really figure out other acceptable foods.

Then you get up and your brain keeps trucking along, racking up a to do list that will never ever get done. And then the outside world starts to weigh in.

Toothpaste is almost empty.

Bathroom could really use a good scrub.

It’s raining. Again. Grraaaaaaa.

And then the family chimes in. Questions ranging from the asinine to the life changing. All being fired at you as you’re still trying to sort through the crap your brain is vomiting.

Exhausting and that’s before any of the really challenging stuff starts to take a toll.

In the last year we decided (on a whim) to sell our house where we had lived for 6 years and move to the beach. In four days we had packed up our lives and moved out of our home. We settled temporarily in my in-laws’ vacation home and waited more or less patiently for our home to sell so we could buy our next forever home and start the arduous task of getting settled. Just for funzies, we also decided to homeschool our children for at least a year so, theoretically, we could travel.

To say that this has all been a Big F*ing Deal for everyone in our family is putting it lightly. This move literally rocked our collective worlds. We took our kids out of the only community they’ve ever known and turned their lives completely upside down.

Do I regret it?

Not in the least. We love our new home (only took 3 months for our house to sell and another month until we could move into the house we finally found). We adore our new town. The kids have taken to homeschooling like ducks to water.

But I am Ex.Haus.Ted. Mentally and physically. And not just because of the move. Also, because while all of this has been happening, my mother has been steadily losing more and more of herself to dementia and more and more of her body to metastatic breast cancer. (Yes, for those following along at home, I went from dealing with my father being terminally ill to my mother being terminally ill and on the other side of the world.)

All that to say, there’s always a lot going on in my head.

And where does that leave me? Other than making mental lists about what to get at the store? It leaves me hungering for more. Something more than the endless mental litany. Something greater than the endless grief and stress.

I keep trying to launch new things, explore new avenues, but the mental drain makes it feel like I’m walking uphill through sludge.

Life, man. It’s just hard.

But life is also amazing and rewarding. And I’ve decided to challenge myself to embrace the journey instead of waiting for things to get easier. Because we all know now that they won’t. Another situation will come replace the current one as soon as it is resolved. Waiting hasn’t gotten me anywhere, so I might as well get a move on despite it all.

Some of you might have noticed that I haven’t blogged much here in the last year. It’s true, I’ve been busy writing here and here instead. But I’m coming back.

Full disclosure: things are going to be a little different around here. I think I’m mostly done writing posts about myself and my thoughts on life. Instead, I’m going to be posting recipes and Essential Oil DIY posts. If that’s not your thing, I totally get it. Feel free to unsubscribe. No feelings hurt. But if you like good food, stick around, it’s about to get tasty all up in here.

Funky Beach Home

The new home that took 4 months to find.

I’m having a love affair with essential oils and I’m not ashamed to admit it.

standard January 15, 2018 Leave a response

My love affair with essential oils all started with a book club meeting.

Wait, that’s not entirely true. It all started with the lice situation years ago.

That’s when I first bought an essential oil. Considering the fact that the lice thing happened 5 years ago, I think I should get some serious kudos for resisting the lure until now.

Because, yes, I’m done resisting. As I said earlier, it all started with a book club meeting that was held at a friend’s house. When I walked in, book in hand, a full day’s stress and worries resting on my shoulders, a delightful smell greeted me. Five minutes later I realized that I was completely relaxed. I turned to my friend and raised a questioning eyebrow. She gestured to the diffuser quietly working on the kitchen counter.

It wasn’t until the next time we met at her house for another book club event that I finally started asking questions about what she was diffusing. With a bit of a glimmer in her eye, she told me and invited me to take a couple samples home. The samples wooed me. I spent much of my winter break researching essential oils, Young Living, and everything related to it.

You see, I’ve spent years thinking that essential oils are all about the smells and the act of believing in them. Basically, thinking that if you believe something enough, it’ll work to a certain extent. I’m not too proud to admit that I affectionately, possibly a little condescendingly, rolled my eyes at the friends who were all in.

But one of the samples that my friend sent me home with was Thieves, the Young Living blend designed to help keep the user healthy. C, my oldest, lives in fear of getting sick and was starting to ask for hand sanitizer to take to school with her. That’s a road I really didn’t want to go down, but I figured it couldn’t hurt for her to take a little Thieves to school.

Long story short, her sister and I caught a nasty bug flying to Chicago for Christmas. She, didn’t even get a sniffle. So I dove in.

And now I’m all in.

I’m loving learning about the different oils and their various properties. It’s fun to research healthy alternatives to things we currently use. I’m using Frankincense to try to reduce some nasty scars that are the result of a surgery I had a couple years ago. I’m diffusing some Stress Away at night to help M and I sleep better. I’m using Lemon to make the house smell fresh and clean and to boost my motivation in the morning. And, of course, I’m diffusing Thieves to keep this house as germ free as possible.

Oh, and clearly, I’m all over the business aspect of this. Because, have you met me? I love starting new businesses, especially when it’s about something I find fascinating and it gives me the opportunity to learn. And I’m SO getting a kick out all of the people who are reaching out to me via messenger or text to ask if I can recommend an oil or a blend for this or that.

So, of course, I now have a new website and a Facebook page.

But, don’t worry. I’m not turning this blog into an essential oil blog. I’ll be posting oil related things on the new website and doing my usual sporadic posting around here.

That said, if you’re interested in joining me on my exploration journey, you can

  • Like the Facebook page. I do some Facebook lives, share information as I discover it,
  • Sign up for my essential oils newsletter.
  • Check out my website. It’s chock full of helpful info and is where the oils blog will live!
  • Email me with any essential oils questions you might have! Whatever is ailing you or worrying you, there’s probably an essential oil that can help. It would be my joy to research it for you!

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