An End In Sight?

Well, today was spent napping, mostly.  I slept late, woke up and read email, fell asleep in my chair, woke up for lunch and to pick Murphy up at school, came home and napped on the couch.  I feel like maybe I might feel human soon.  The pain has calmed down to a reasonable level, although the cold in my toes and fingers never seems to get warm.  Tonight, having accomplished NOTHING today, I don’t feel as exhausted, so maybe there’s hope for tomorrow.

Though that’s not really true, that I accomplished nothing.  I did manage to finish the first mitt of the pair I’m knitting.  As usual, I already want to make changes in the pattern but that would require knitting another, so I plan to finish this pair as written and then rewrite for the next pair.

So off I go, to start the second mitt.

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Frustrating

I really want to blog regularly, but on days like today it’s very difficult.  I don’t really have much to say other than complain about how much pain I’m in, and even I’m sick of that.

So, what did I do today?  I did three loads of laundry, including all the Thanksgiving linens.  It’s a good thing that laundry is one of the chores I enjoy.  I did four loads yesterday; how much laundry can three or four people generate?  Apparently a lot.  But I love hearing the machine going, I love folding the clean warm clothes.  Especially when I manage to get to them just when the dryer stops; the heat feels so good on my pained fingers.

I cleaned my toilet.  I can’t tell you how bad it was, but even Murphy said “Mom, you NEED to clean your toilet!  When the 10 year old boy notices, it’s bad.  So it’s lovely clean now, and that feels good.

I made a homemade turkey pot pie for dinner. It was pretty good, but I always screw up my first attempt; next time I’ll know to put it in the small rectangular pan, and maybe par cook the potatoes, they were a little underdone.  Overall though, it was pretty good.  Murphy didn’t love it; too many vegetables.

I got my very last newsletter done for the guild and forwarded the files to the new person. I really enjoyed doing it for a while, but my brain fog makes it hard to focus and meet deadlines.  I’m glad I gave it up before I screwed up badly.

I archived some knitting patterns and started a new pair of mitts. Mitts are on my mind because of the cold pain in the fingers.  I’m supposed to be making things to sell, of course, not things for me, but whatever.

Tomorrow I need to work on a labeling system for the things I want to sell.  Again, the brain fog makes it hard to focus, but I’ve got to get it done.

Off for a cup of tea and bedtime.  Good night, Moon.

Post Thanksgiving

Okay then. Third time is the charm, right?  I’ve written this post twice and had the computer crash twice, losing the entire post. So this is the final attempt; if I crash, I’m done.

I’m taking longer than I expected to recover from Thanksgiving.  I’m exhausted and hurt all over.  My poor darling hubby isn’t doing much better; he has a very worrisome cough and he’s hurting too.  I’m grateful we don’t have anything going on this weekend so we can heal up.

Anyone who follows me on Facebook may have noticed something strange on my profile pic; a spoon.  I’m a Spoonie.  Christine Miserandino came up with the “Spoon Theory” while trying to explain to her friend what it’s like to live with a chronic illness that doesn’t show.  You can find her essay on her website: But You Don’t Look Sick. It’s a great resource for anyone with chronic illness or anyone who knows someone and wants to understand their life better.

I’m too tired to do much pontificating; I’m just grateful; grateful that my best friend’s life seems to have calmed a bit, grateful that my husband loves me and is so good to me, grateful that my children are healthy and happy and loved, grateful that there is so much good in my life.  So I’ll keep that good fortune in my heart as I go do the laundry and then perhaps, take a nap.  And post this before it crashes again!

Thanksgiving

I haven’t posted in a while, obviously.  Hubby and I have been doing a major revamp/cleaning of the house in preparation for Thanksgiving.  It was a lot of work, but the house looks so nice!  We trashed so much stuff (and there’s still way more to go!) and took a toothbrush to the corners and crevices.   I even tackled that broom closet in the kitchen (where we found a lovely black widow spider that Eric took as a pet) and got it all cleaned, so now we have a place to put the brooms and mops and such into.  So the entire house (with the exception of my room and the back room) is lovely and clean and organized.  So lovely!

For Thanksgiving, I wanted to cook a lot of wonderful things.  That plan needed to be revised, since the cleaning  took so much out of me.  So I cheated when I could; made Potato buds instead of homemade mashed potatoes, packaged pie crusts, and I nixed several of the dishes I’d planned.  So here was the menu:

Thanksgiving Menu

 

Appetizers

Crudite

Sweet Onion Tartlets

Chips & Dip

Olives

 

Entree

Roasted Brined Turkey

Pan Gravy

Stuffed Seitan Roulade

Vegan Gravy

 

Side Dishes

Cornbread Dressing

Butternut Squash

Mashed Potatoes

Asparagus en croute

Sweet Potatoes

Massaged Kale Salad

Cranberry Sauce

Dinner Rolls

 

Dessert

Key Lime Pie

Pumpkin Pie

Apple Pie

Whipped Cream

Ice Cream

Chocolate Mousse with Coconut Cream

Most everything was delicious and there was plenty to go around, for sure!  The turkey didn’t give much juice to make gravy, but fortunately I had bought emergency backup bottled gravy. I cooked the yams, but over cooked them; wouldn’t serve them to guests.  Might have them for breakfast this morning though!  The seitan roulade didn’t quite come out as I hoped.  I’m still a neophyte when it comes to making seitan, and I do not know how to get a pliable dough that can be rolled out thin.  It was edible, tasted ok, but too thick, so not cooked as well as it should have been, and overcooked (because the turkey needed extra cooking!) so parts were tough. I think I’ll try it again and tweak the seitan recipe.

It was a lovely day.  Peru’s sister Merridee and her husband Terry came, as did his cousin Kevin.   It’s really nice spending holidays with people you really like.  It just went by too quickly.  And we missed the Pats game!  It was on so early we were otherwise occupied and missed it completely.  But they won, so that’s good.  And Merr & Terr brought a huge basket of yumminess, which was so sweet and so appreciated.  Kevin brought two pies, a raspberry sugar free one and a pecan pie, which I love, as well as a bottle of cherry syrup to add to our drinks; yum!  I was able to ask for help when I needed it (lifting the turkey pan with the turkey is not a good thing.)  I’m not good at accepting help, sometimes.  Mostly I was grateful to be with people I love and be relaxed about the day.  Peru and Eric did most of the clean up, which was lovely.  I fell into bed around  1 am, I guess, and slept twelve hours, something I haven’t done since college!

Yesterday was a day of recovery.  Rest, nibble leftovers, catch up on email.  I didn’t do one productive thing all day.  Today, I’m feeling a bit more normal, though I still hurt all over.  Just in time to start focusing on “The Birthday Week from Hell™” , the annual celebration of Eric’s, Peru’s, and my birthday.  This is a big year for both Peru and I; major milestone birthdays.  He’s taking it much better than I.  Nothing new there.  Turning fifty is… well, hard.   I’ll get over it.

Time to go make some coffee and get some pie for breakfast. Hey, it’s fruit, right?

Working and Not Working

The not working part is easy; I’m still looking for a job and getting absolutely NO bites at all.  It’s highly discouraging and  very worrisome.

So the working part is trying to get the house together for the holidays, which has required going through a lot of Dorothy’s things.  Which is hard, in several ways.  And amazing. This week my intent is to clean the linen closet, give away all the things we won’t use, and find a home for all the things we do use (which currently take up space in my closet, my bureau, my bathroom, etc.)  I’ve found so many handmade things that are just gorgeous.  Two really lovely quilts in decent condition, and an almost complete quilt I may try to finish.  There are crocheted doilies and tablecloths, embroidered tea towels, handkerchiefs, crocheted collars and pillowcases.  Many of them are stained, unfortunately, but some of them aren’t.  I’m going to try to clean some of the things to be sold or used.  One of the quilts I especially love.  I wish I had the patience to quilt.  I’ve always loved the idea of using a child’s clothing as he grows; take his favorite outfits and use the material for a piecework quilt.   I thought about doing that with Eric’s things when he was a baby; fortunately, I knew my limitations and didn’t start collecting for that!

While fussing with the linens was interesting and fun, it made me miss her so much more.   The more things we go through, the more things we find that I want to ask her about; postcards and letters from relatives, pictures, even the linens; I don’t know if Dorothy made them, or Dagmar, or someone else entirely.  Many of the designs seem VERY old, old enough that perhaps Dagmar did them.  But I’ll probably never know.  I miss her sense of humor and her spark.  She was really an amazing person.

So all the work hauling bags of  linens around has caused a return of pain. That’s always fun for everyone in the family.  I’m trying to not let it get the best of me, trying to work a little, take a break, so it doesn’t get too bad, but usually by evening I’m exhausted and hurting.  Thank TPTB for medication that helps, at least I can sleep most nights because of it.

I have to be careful, because Thanksgiving is looming, and I need to make sure I start off at a decent level, or no one will eat.  Or, we’ll eat pizza.  I did find a website that has a phone ap to help with my organization; it’s called Toodledo and it is pretty helpful, though there are some bugs for me to figure out.  The best parts of it require a monthly fee, which obviously is not going to happen while I’m not working.  I have started several lists though and my Thanksgiving planning has started.  Gotta figure out how much I can do ahead.   While the main intent is to see the relatives and have fun I also want show them how good vegan food can be; so I’m choosing my recipes with care.  I’m hoping to have all the dishes  (besides the turkey, of course) be vegan, which for most side dishes just means Earth Balance instead of butter.  There are a few dishes that may take a bit more adjusting too.  I’ll try to get a menu on here later.

I did get my website store up and running.  Homespun Dreamings is where I sell homemade items and vegan baked goods to order.  I’ve been knitting furiously to get enough things up on the site, and to have when I vendor at “Alpacas and Beyond” in December. If you need holiday gifts, check it out!

I’m off to knit some hats!

Posts are getting fewer

I have a mental problem.

I am aware that for many people reading this, this is not news.

The particular mental problem (one among many) I address here is the problem of paralysis.  I am easily overwhelmed by the number of tasks I know I need to get done.  I’m unable to prioritize and end up like a deer in the headlights, unable to  move at all.  Sometimes this is due to the Hashimoto’s/CFS; there are days when the mental acuity to remember my own name is in doubt.  Then there are the days when my brain is doing fine, but the pain is such that I don’t want to move out of my lounge chair.  The days that I’m mentally sharp and have the energy and stamina to accomplish much are not common.

My asbestos friend Barbara is fond of making lists.  I make them, then can’t remember where I put them.  So I think I may use a gadget on my sidebar to list and prioritize things. At least I won’t loose it there.  And who knows, maybe it’ll help me blog more regularly.

I’ve continued my experimentation with seitan.  I made a double batch this past weekend, and I think I’m getting better at it.  For one batch, I used this recipe (just the seitan portion), simmering it carefully, and for the other, I used the white seitan recipe from Viva Vegan, and steamed it, as recommended.  Then I breaded steaks from each seitan recipe, using the recipe from Vegan Yum Yum above, and did a Chikn Fried Seitan.  It was awesome!  The entire family loved it.  I made this gravy, which was amazingly good.  I did find that the steamed seitan was not as good as the simmered.  The steaks were way too thick, and perhaps steamed at too high of a temperature.  They were super firm and slightly rubbery.  The simmered ones, however, were tender, juicy and wonderful.  I was very careful about the temperature when I simmered them; kept them at as low a simmer as I could manage, and I think that made a huge difference.  It was one of my favorite meals of recent days, and even the leftover fried steaks were good the next day, toasted in the oven.

I’m planning for Thanksgiving now.  I think there will be about twelve people. I want to do as much ahead of time as I can, to limit my exhaustion that day.  It will be mostly vegan, but I will cook a turkey.  I’m also going to try the seitan roulade from Vegan Yum Yum; it looks amazing, and I think I can make it ahead and freeze it.

Yes, Vegan Yum  Yum is one of my most favorite sites. Her recipes are fabulous, and her pictures are amazing.  I really appreciate how she takes you through step by step, so someone like me,who is really learning to cook vegan, can be successful the first time.  It’s a shame she’s no longer blogging. I hope she returns soon.

So I’m off to find a way to make my list gadget, and work on my broken website, and comb that alpaca fleece that’s been drying on my treadmill (at least it gets used for something!) and cook brunch for my family and plan dinner (anyone have a vegan meatloaf recipe they love?) and work on those socks, oh yeah, and that beaded scarf that needs to be done for the festival, and keep checking Craig’s list for jobs, and tagging finished items, and oh man, pay the property taxes, and shower, I need a shower, and find a place for all the stuff we decided to keep, and reorganize the linen closet, oh yeah and call the Mission to pick up a truckload of crap donations, and crawl into bed and pull the covers up over my head cuz there’s too much….

I think this is where I came in…