I’m back

It’s been a long time. Hopefully I can get back into the groove here pretty easily as I (hopefully) start to feel better in the coming weeks.

Since last I posted, I seem to have fallen pregnant. I’m eight weeks today and due the very beginning of August. Fatigue and nausea have been kicking my ass. Minor complaints, since I am so grateful to be expecting another! We always said, before we even married, that we wanted two and now we are expecting our second. Wow. We are so blessed!

Merry Christmas to you all, and I hope to be back posting at least semi-regularly soon!

loaded red potatoes recipe

These are not necessarily healthy… at least not with the amount of cheese and bacon we put on them tonight… but if you scale back on those (and sour cream) they should be a doable indulgence. And even if they don’t fit into your plan… they’re worth breaking it. Just this once. Trust me… just do it.

And now I need to stop with the rampant overuse of ellipses. Sorry, guys.

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I don’t include measurements (a lot of times) because I don’t measure, really (unless I am baking). Just eyeball it. Remember to start easy and add more as needed, because it is easier to add than to take away.

Ingredients you need
: Red potatoes, olive oil, salt, pepper, green onion (chopped), crumbled bacon, shredded cheddar, sour cream

How to make em:

Preheat oven to 425. Wash red potatoes. Do not peel, but cut into wedges. Coat with a few tablespoons of olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Roast 30 minutes until tender. (Roast longer if you’d like crisper potatoes.) Remove from oven, add bacon, cheese and most of the green onion, reserving a bit for garnish. Return to oven for another ten minutes. Serve with sour cream and additional chopped green onions.

Truly, these were fantastic. Let me know what you think if you try them, or if you make something similar!

thoughts on the new “carrie”

On Monday I had a very rare opportunity to do something spontaneous (spontanaeity is not easy to come by with a two-year-old). My mom offered to keep Audrey for a few hours so my husband and I could do something kidless for once. We decided to go see the new version of “Carrie”. My brother, his girlfriend, and my sister tagged along.

Does your movie theater have recliners? Like… literal… recliners? Squeee. They are heavenly. Quite literally the best of both worlds… you get to see the movie as it is meant to be seen, on the big screen, but with the comfort of chillaxin at home. I even took my own blanket to heighten the bliss. I would have paid the ticket price just to lay there for an hour and a half sans movie. So comfy.

Ahem. Anyway, so now that that’s out of the way, I’ll get to the point. The new “Carrie” doesn’t suck per se, but it isn’t scary.

That’s kind of a letdown.

I should back up.

While articles about the new version claim it is not really ‘remake’ of the 1976 de Palma film, but more its own thing, it is inevitable that comparisons will be drawn. Being that these films are both based on the same book and will largely contain similar content by default, I don’t think making comparisons is unfair at all.

Let’s take Sissy Spacek as Carrie vs Chloe Moretz as Carrie. Both of these actresses, I think, are a little too pretty to portray Carrie as she was described in King’s book; there, Carrie was chunky with ‘colorless’ hair and quite an acne problem. I don’t think either Sissy or Chloe look the type to be an ‘outcast’ but I found Sissy to be far more convincing than Chloe. It’s true that my personal opinion is that Chloe is more physically appealing, which would typically be fantastic for an actress but does Chloe no favors here as we expect Carrie to be plain or even homely. While it’s true that Chloe’s looks are downplayed in this film, there’s no hiding the fact that she is quite a beautiful girl. While Sissy certainly isn’t ugly by any means, she is not a stand-out beauty like Chloe, and her averageness was really great for her role in “Carrie.”

Looks aside, Sissy continues to be the clear winner in The Battle of the Carries. Even though I have seen the 1976 film a dozen or more times, I still find it terrifying each time. As cliche as it sounds, Sissy really excels at becoming Carrie; she IS Carrie whereas Chloe is a pretty girl playing a plain girl. Sissy is much more convincing as a vulnerable, shy girl and her eyes… her eyes are riveting to say the least. When the blood is poured on her and all hell breaks loose, just the look in her eyes shows the viewer that the rest ain’t gonna be pretty. Chloe’s eyes lack that passion, that pushed-past-the-breaking-point, it’s-all-over-now-motherfuckers that Sissy’s had. Again, it sounds cliche, but it’s all in the eyes and Sissy had it.

Julianne Moore as Carrie’s fanatical mother Margaret White doesn’t hold a candle to Piper Laurie’s performance. Again, the eyes; and Piper was much better at becoming Margaret White rather than just assuming the character as Moore did.

The character of Chris Hargensen was much more evil in the original as well. As a whole I would say the acting in the original is far superior to that of the remake. The one character I was impressed with was Tommy Ross; the actor who played Tommy really pulled off that genial, sweet, compassionate-but-not-to-the-point-of-pity persona that Tommy from the first version perfected.

While the 1976 version is the superior film by far, the fact is that it’s dated and it shows. This is where the remake really shines, in that it will likely be much more appealing to today’s youth than will the older film being that it is set in the modern era. And the anti-bullying message is still there… it just doesn’t shine as brightly as it did in its predecessor.

Carrie is getting (mostly) awesome reviews, and to my surprise I was the only one in my group who preferred the older version. I expected this with my younger companions (22, 21 and 18) but my husband, who is several years older than me (he is 34, I’m 27) preferred the new version as well.Would I recommend seeing this movie? Yeah… chances are you will enjoy it. It’s a little unnerving but not what I would call scary; perhaps that it is more tame will allow it to appeal to a wider audience. If for nothing else, it deserves a view to remind us of its enormously important anti-bullying message, which if valid in 1976 is more than relevant today.

biggest loser challenge update

This week, I brought it. -3.2 pounds. Yes! I’m in second place right now, but I’m in it to win it. 😉

death & emotions

Recently I posted about how my anxiety has skyrocketed lately. It has been… to say the least… disconcerting.

I didn’t see the WHAM coming. I didn’t see the I-can’t-take-it-anymore coming.

I can tell you what spawned it, though.

Last week someone I knew casually years ago died in a car crash. She was in her thirties and left behind a fiance and teenaged son (and a multitude of other family members and friends). Tragic, to be sure, but you are probably thinking, …so? People die all.   the.   time.    … it happens.

Why yes, yes it does. And I used to be okay with death (my own, at least). Sure, death was something scary that I could never really prepare for… but it was that way for everybody. When you know you are dying, it is scary because you do not know what to expect. Some die instantly or slip away unaware which is scary in other ways.

But, I thought, it would be okay if I died. I didn’t want to die, but it wouldn’t be earth-shattering if I did. I was saved by Jesus Christ, my husband would grieve but move on, and so would my family and friends. It would be a sad thing to happen, but when it came down to it, it would be okay for me to die.

But then I became a mother.

It is my firm belief that no one can love a child as a mother does. Obviously this is not true in every case as there are some mothers that are total crap and don’t deserve the honorable title of ‘mother’, but a good mother who loves her child with all her heart is truly indispensible.

Suddenly I was irreplaceable. I had this baby, this little girl, to live for. This suddenly huge, overwhelming responsibility to stay alive and not leave her motherless.

Perhaps if I were to die my husband would go on to remarry and my daughter would have a stepmother. But that woman would not be her mother, because her mother is me.

Now that I have Audrey, my own life is much more important to me. I am more valuable to myself. I matter more.

Because of her, I matter more. She needs me. I cannot leave her.

But things like car crashes happen everyday, leaving husbands and wives widowers or widows, children fatherless or motherless.

These things happen. I have to accept that this is true, and that any moment could be my last… yet, with this knowledge, I must also go on living without dwelling on this sad fact, lest it consume me completely and ruin me.

I can’t let that happen. I’m taking the Buspar and am yet to feel any real relief, though it has been only a few days. I’m hoping that it starts to help me reach calm again soon.

Somewhere in the bible it says to ‘not worry about tomorrow, because each day has enough troubles of its own.’ Whether or not you believe in the bible, my oh my is that ever a true statement! I do believe and readily confess that Jesus is Lord. I expect the Buspar to help, but I expect that ultimately Jesus will help me conquer this crippling anxiety and this fear. I need to get back into church, into the bible, into prayer…

I need Him.

Lord, calm me. Comfort me. Soothe my fears. Help me to be the mother you called me to be.

Amen.

biggest loser = big fat FAILLL this week… & stuff

A few days ago I posted about how my workplace is doing a weightloss challenge called the Biggest Loser and how I was going to do the Military Diet the last three days of the week to boost my loss.

Unfortunately… didn’t happen. I got distracted by other things. I took the day off work yesterday and didn’t weigh in. One of those “eff it” things… but I needed to do that.

Being bipolar is a real pain in the ass. I’m grateful that if I have to be bipolar at all, at least I am type two, which is ‘soft’ bipolar. That is not to say being of the ‘soft’ variety is easy. Manias are more mild than in classic bipolar, but at least in my case, the lows are devastatingly low… to the point where I cannot get out of bed much less function even in a robotic, going-throug-the-motions manner.

The last few weeks have beent tricky.

I’ve been getting out of bed, which is good.

I’ve not been depressed, really… which is good. But I’ve been feeling… off. Not quite right. Panicky, anxious, nervous. All. The. Time. And for no good reason. Beginning to get afraid that this was the start of a descent point straight down. And oh… once down, is it ever hard to get back UP.

I had an appointment scheduled with my diabetes doctor yesterday and decided to see if he could help me with this new, crippling anxiety. Currently I was taking only Effexor, having stopped Lithium last December. Since December, this is the first time I have felt a possible episode coming on. Because I struggle with my weight I wanted to avoid mood stabilizers if at all possible, so the doctor prescribed me Buspar to help with anxiety, to take in conjunction with my Effexor. I’ve started the Buspar so am hoping to start feeling better soon, so I can start functioning normally again. I’m so glad that I was able to recognize this before it got really bad… because it’s been really bad before and that is just a terrible, horrific nightmare. Truly.

Other health stuff; had blood drawn. Thyroid med needed boosted up a touch (what else is new…), triglycerides are the same as last visit (adding fish oil). (I’m also going to start taking cinnamon capsules to help with both PCOS and diabetes; not something necessarily recommended by the doctor as I didn’t think to talk with him about it, but something I’ve decided to do after researching health benefits of cinnamon on my own.) Weight is down a little, which he was pleased about. I got my a1c results as well. In a normal, non-diabetic individual the a1c is 4.5 to 6. When I was diagnosed in April, my a1c was 7.8 and it is now 6.3. I’m happy with that. It’s improved a lot. But there is still room for improvement, and I will improve.

And as for the biggest loser?? … this week, it’s ON!

christians & pagans can be friends

I met Jordan in junior high at the tender age of thirteen. She was the girl in the locker room with the biggest boobs. Later, we started talking at the bus stop and passing notes in class. A friendship was forged.

As it so often happens with these friendships of our youth, we lost touch a few years later. In the early autumn of 2011, I noticed that she was friends with a mutual Facebook friend, so I sent her a friend request. A few weeks after we became Facebook friends, she told me she had a ‘present’ for me and invited me to pick it up from her at her workplace, a local hotel where she worked overnights on the front desk.

So, I did. The ‘present’ was a beautiful portrait she had sketched of my infant daughter. I was in awe of her talent and touched that she spent the time to make something so beautiful for me, a near stranger. That night we spent several hours talking and laughing, reminiscing about the past and learning about each other’s lives now.

I love the photo below of Audrey and Jordan! Audrey was sooo excited about the chocolate cupcakes Jordan made. This was at a picnic in the park that we took our girls to earlier this month, October 2013.

audan

It turned out that we had a lot in common. We were both married with baby girls; we both liked crafty stuff and cooking; we had a similar sense of humor and many of the same views on various aspects of life. However when religion came up and I learned she was pagan I was not sure what to think, being a praying, bible-believing, church-going Christian.

It is not that I am against people of other religions, gays, etc. I think there are many, many ‘Christians’ who give Christianity a bad name and I am ashamed of this. I am not, nor will I ever be, one of these ‘Christians.’ Instead of drawing people nearer to God, people who proclaim to be Christians and spew hatred and judgment only serve to push people further away from the belief system they are advocating  and I fully understand this. Were it not for my personal relationship with my dear Jesus I would be put off by Christianity as a whole myself. If you are reading this and are a ‘Christian’, please do not represent us this way. If you are reading this and are not a Christian, please don’t believe that we are all hateful, evil mongrels. There are some of us who are sincere in our belief that God is love and try to show this same love to others.

Ahem. Perhaps that was off on a tangent a bit but it needed to be said. The reason that I was somewhat wary at first was not so much because of this major difference between Jordan and me, but ashamedly because of what others might think of me being friends with a pagan, and close friends at that.

My husband and various other people warned me that this relationship might be harmful to me by tempting me to stray from my faith under her influence. I was outright discouraged from being her friend by a few, and others told me to tread carefully.

I did not and do not think of her as a ‘bad’ influence. If I am being completely honest, I would love if she were a Christian. I am not saying that to put down her beliefs, but at the same time I think it is normal and natural to want others close to you believe that what you believe is the truth. However, despite our vastly different religious beliefs, our friendship has not only grown but flourished. We care deeply for each other as sisters, sharing information that does not go beyond our crazy little duo, sometimes laughing (and dancing…) late into the night as you can only with someone with whom you are supremely comfortable. We can talk to each other about anything and everything, and I always find her advice sound, her words caring and thoughtful. We encourage each other and I believe our relationship makes each of us better.

Recently we have enjoyed watching our girls, Audrey (mine) and Kaylee (hers) forge their own little friendship. It is so fun to watch them run around together, chase after each other, share snacks, hold hands. I think it would be wonderful if someday they became as close as their mommies.

As for the religion thing? We’ve agreed to disagree, and that’s OK. I’m not any closer to being pagan than I was in the autumn of 2011 nor is she a Christian. Pagan or not, I will always be proud to call this woman of character and strength my friend. She means so much to me, and I love her!