Saturday, March 29, 2014

Apparently I CAN bake.

For years and years, I could never bake. My cookies... turned out like big flat muffins. Everything came out half-burned and half-uncooked. Somehow after deployment, everything I've put in the oven has come out tasty as all hell. Okay except maybe the 'anchor' cookies... they were taste alright, but boy did they ever look wrong. Anyways, Since I'm getting back into das blogging, and happened to bake today, tadah, easy blog posting on the books.

I was out of town for about a week, and there was a bunch of bananas on the counter, which I knew no one would eat while I was gone. All that really means for me, is to get prepared to make some sort of banana bread-type yumminess. I wasn't sure if I could find the same recipe I used last time, but luckily I did. Of course, I can't really 'go by' a recipe. I tend to use it as a jumping off point, and then have fun with it. Last time I ended up with dark-chocolate chip oatmeal banana muffins. They were delish. This time, I had some extra apples too, so I set out to combine these theories.

So. Diced apples plus that caramel apple dip, about three spoonfuls, and microwave for a couple minutes. 1.5 cups of flower, a dash of cinnamon of course, and 1/2 cup each white sugar, brown sugar, and oatmeal. 3 mushy bananas. 2 eggs, a generous splash of milk, and some vanilla extract. bake for about 50 minutes at 350. They come out very dense. This recipe will get you almost exactly a 3x6 muffin pan. I'm sure you could make it in a bread pan or whatever, but that's not my style. I use baking spray on a nonstick muffin pan, and I know they're done because when I stick a fork in them, they lift right out of the pan.

AND. Obligatory cute cat photo... Mr. Bill Apollo is learning how to be Maru 2.0, the American Box Cat.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

A 'Grey-n' of Truth

Preface: I'm going to be very vague here, because a ton of [real professionals] have done actual research and said things much more eloquently than I have... I am tired, stressed, and sort of derp-ing. But I was thinking a while ago, and I'm trying to do this thing where I capitalize on thoughts by actually expressing them. Novel idea, huh?

How many times have you heard that old cliche, "Money can't buy Happiness," and just had it sit wrong with you? Well, there has been a lot off study into the field of Happiness in the past couple years, and of course Happiness and Self-Actualization are linked. Point being, there's a grain of truth to the old adage, but it's not as black-and-white as people make it out to be. There's shades of grey, like everything else in life.

Anyways, if you aren't familiar with Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs, it's pretty simple and logical, and I haven't ever really heard any other arguments or alternatives. Don't correct me if I'm wrong--yes, I'm looking at you, Mr. Flagg and Mr. UW-Physics Guy.

So, I mean, it's pretty self-explanatory. You have to have a solid foundation in life, and you can't progress to the next stage until the level below you is stable. Most people get stuck around the Esteem level, but I know some people get stuck even as low as the Safety level--especially these days with the economy and yada yada yada. Not going to sit here and beat dead horses and twist the knife in everyone's hearts, but it's the truth of our world. Bad ish happens to decent people. 

So wait, I started this whole post by talking about Money. How does this tie in? Well if you can't see it completely, let me sum it up for you. Especially these days, we get beat over the head with two conflicting mantras--depending on factors like your family and upbringing of course. The first is, "GO! Make money! Be successful!! This is America and success equals happiness!" The second is a more stereotypically Eastern or Buddhist type view of, "Money is worthless and you should be concerned not with physical objects but with personal goodness." Again, I'm paraphrasing and super-skimming here. As always, the truth lies in the middle somewhere.
My theory is this: Money is a Tool. An agent. Money itself won't "buy happiness," but it can be a factor in the amount of your happiness. If you can't make ends meet and have bill collectors calling and going hungry, yeah, it's going to be a lot more difficult to be "happy." Conversely, if you have all the money in the world and just sit on it, then of course you won't be happy either. There are many TED talks and recent studies that back me up here. I think it was in the film 'Happy' where they theorize that--for modern Americans--an average income of around $40,000 a year is how much it "costs" to be "happy." Point being, anything above that only results in diminishing returns--more money doesn't equal more happiness. But, if you refer back to Maslow's Hierarchy; how, in today's society, are you going to manage health, sustenance, water, sleep, etc., without a certain amount of money? That is why we have a thing they call the "poverty line." The relationship between money and happiness is not linear, but [and again, don't correct me here and now if I'm wrong] logarithmic. See?

So, why am I rambling and ranting on about this now? Well, I've recently stumbled into a great deal of happiness. The real kind, the type that money can't buy. Although my personal finances mostly maintained, or got maybe a little tighter, my environment and reality vastly improved. And for some reason, I have this irrational fear that people [especially the ones important to me] will misjudge my intentions and emotions. So I strive really hard--and probably overcompensate--to prove that as a whole, money isn't really important to me. With that being said. I am about to be a part of a two-income household for the first time since 2011. And I can hardly explain how much stress this concept takes away from my daily life. There are so many less things [that's a terrible phrase] for me to worry about. On the graph above, I would have been hovering right around 'Survival.' Now, we are about to hop on up to 'Comforts.' But, since we both tend to have fairly simple and straightforward wants, for us, 'Comforts' and 'Luxuries' are placed a lot closer together, if not synonymous. So I was working on a combined budget earlier, and for the first time, it was comforting. It didn't cause me more stress than ignoring my finances. There is hope, and together, we got this. But at the same time, whatever little voice someone long ago planted in my head... I feel the need to reassure both of us that yes, that will all be nice, fine and dandy like sour candy... but truth is, it's all just icing and candles on the cake. It's not even the desert, and it's sure as hell not the entree. It's like, an afterthought for me. Sure it's on my mind a bit more than usual right now, but that's because my life is gradually changing quite a bit. I'm working on that blue triangle, but stalled out dealing with the green bar. With the support I have now... Maybe I'll get there. 

Parting thought: I don't think I expressed my conclusion as well as I'd like to. Here is the truth. 

And life is just a goal of building your niche after laying ^^^ THIS ^^^ foundation.
I thought I had it. But turns out I built my foundation on a swamp of lies and the house had to sink halfway to the second floor before I decided to climb out the window, escape, and rebuild. Now, I'm building on rocks. It won't be a mansion by any stretch... but it will be comfortable, and stable. Which is more than I can say I've ever had before. I am very excited and very much looking forward to the future. 

To my karma... remember, apparently "we deserve each other." 

Monday, March 24, 2014

A $20 Bill for Two Cents That No One Asked For.

"...should a person continue to be “fun and zesty” when their partner stops showing them love, attention, respect? Should a person consistently lay aside their personal needs to maintain a “FUN AND ZESTY” front so that their partner isn’t driven to cheating out of boredom? It takes two people to allow a relationship to grow “stale and monotonous,” and rather than running out for a replacement piece, why not focus your efforts on rebuilding the half that you let disintegrate?"
--Kate, as published on Thought Catalog

I am so frustrated right now that I don't even know where to start.  This hit so close to home that it's really hard for me to turn my back on it. The rage is growing. It's not in my head though, it's more of a body rage. I guess I'm starting to be able to separate emotional thinking and logical thinking a lot better than I used to. Emotionally I am furious. Logically, rationally, I know there is no point in letting this get to me. But also, I am feeling a little bit of self-loathing at the moment because I'm fighting The Blerch today and very much losing. I know I should run. I know I should find out where the gym is and go torture myself for hours. I need to. I have a deadline. But there's some self-defeating core inside of me that thinks, "Nah, you'll be okay. Besides, to hell with it, if you fail the weighin, you'll get out of the military and still get your GI bill because it's been over three years." I hate to justify things like this, but... I really don't want to run. And I hate dieting. Being so concerned with my weight because I have to sucks all enjoyment out of anything physical. I have such a rebellious nature that I'm more likely to stuff myself with fried anything and cheesecake until the weigh ins than do the 'right' thing just because it pisses me off that the demand is coming from an outside source.

Anyways, that was a helluva tangent. But I've got these two topics swirling around my head and intermingling and I'm frustrated with the world and fed up with myself, and usually when I start feeling that way the best thing I can do is take a nap. Or smoke and eat chocolate. The above article, and that quote in particular, means way more to me than it should. I need to stop and focus on the good things in my life right now. Must remember.
"I used to think that letting go meant losing something. But one day it was explained to me, that letting go just means making space for better things."
I miss my Karma. But I'll be home soon enough. And home is a good place to be now.  

Saturday, March 22, 2014


Ding! Level 2 at Life. I've had one death so far, but I account that to my duty day. I should have hopped on the web and updated HabitRPG, but I didn't. Oops. But hey, moral of the story, this app is pretty darn cool. I don't know if it's necessarily helping me really get things done and form better habits, but it's fun to use and it kind of helps me stay organized. I have always been a list maker and graph lover, and this turns it all into a game.

Part of the reason I was so productive today is because I'll be heading out of town tomorrow at the buttcrack of 5 am. Semi Sad Face. I will miss home and everyone in it, but I am going off to the dark land of the Navy [read: 'Norfolk'] to learn about antennas and satellites. Fun Stuff. Aside from that I don't really have a whole lot to write about. I cleaned a lot, even though my back blew out again. I've been toying with Gabapentin, and it seems to be helping the nerve pain a bit... but of course, it's not designed to take on 'actual' pain, which I have a bit of as well. 

Sunday, March 16, 2014

+1 to Constitution

So, geek stuff first, then on to plant stuff.

I have some massive ADD. Mine generally manifests internally; I don't so much have the hyperactivity, just the racing thoughts and distractability. I also have a touch of the OCD:  I love charts, graphs, lists, and apps. So, today I found a great way to improve my life while also staying positive and having a bit of fun. HabitRPG is an online tool with mobile app accessibility that allows you to create goals, daily routines, and habits you want to improve upon. It's built off the RPG model, with exp, health, upgrades, avatars, etc. You can also customize rewards for yourself and tag tasks to organize them. I'm still exploring all the functions, but I HIGHLY recommend it so far! I'm actually racking up exp just for writing this blog post. teehee.

Spent most of today browsing really nifty lighting, storage, and gardening ideas. And other cool DIY stuff like this neat up-cycled photo frame. Y'all know I am a geek for photos and old things, so this would be a great way to put up some more pictures... once we have a room for it. I can't wait for this house thing to happen... I am going to go nuts. In the best way, of course.

So, the Plant That Wouldn't Die. Still isn't dying. I got it really close this time, probably partially due to my tendancy to overwater. I still don't know what the hell it is. Almost all of my other plants have gone on to the great greenhouse in the sky, unfortunately, and I've come to the conclusion that right now I just don't really have the time or focus to keep up with gardening. It's a damn shame because I really do enjoy it. But, I have tried to incorporate some 'hardy' plants into my house in hopes that... I won't kill them. The hanging basket is a variation of English Ivy, which I believe is 'Mint Kolbiri'. Also, Orchids are all the rage here, they're for sale in practically every Safeway and WalMart around. I finally caved and brought one home. After reading the care instructions, I am pretty confident that I won't kill it off. I layered pebbles, cactus dirt, and sheet moss in a pretty glass dish to replant it and am quite pleased with the effect. Now if only I had a nice sanctuary in which to set up a zen corner. 

'And what do we say to Death?'
'Not Today.'


I've also added some Lucky Bamboo to my bathroom, a plant I have been dying to buy for quite some time now. Next to that you'll see some dried Eucalyptus, another favorite. It's toxic to kitties, so I have to be careful where I put it. One of my favorite arrangements, or decorations, or whatever you want to call it, is the one below on the right. It's kind of a long story, but it's got a lot of sentimental value. Reader's Digest version: when I was a kid, my dad brought home a 105mm Howitzer shell from work, which I used as a piggy bank. A couple years ago I asked if he could still get them,  and he sneakily and quickly responded simply by sending me one for Christmas. I wasn't quite sure what to do with it, until one day I got the bright idea to stuff it with the Eucalyptus. [Next to it is a shell from the clip for one of the smaller guns used on the AC-130s, but I'm not sure which one]

aaaaaaand, no day is complete without achieving your recommended dosage of kitty cuteness. I wish I had gotten a shot when he first came home because he has grown some, but it will be great to compare when he gets older!

Saturday, March 8, 2014

Outer Peace

For the past couple months, "sleeping in" on the weekends means waking up around 7 or 8 am and lounging in bed for a few hours, mucking about the internet and cuddling. Although I always loved sleeping in--sometimes I would sleep well into the afternoon--it wasn't really healthy for me. I get a little irritated now that  7 am on Saturday rolls around and I'm wide awake... but as I sit here in a cuteness sandwich, surrounded on all sides by beings that absolutely adore me, I am very glad and thankful that I am awake to appreciate it. My kitten is non-stop cuddles and purrs, and she is adorable. My new additions are resting and also adorable and cuddly. My home is now a place of happiness and comfort, and it is AWESOME. I never knew what I was missing. I didn't know life could be this way, and I am very happy to be able to experience this. Even though it took some trying times to reach this point, I have had some great milestones along the way, including meeting some wonderful new people. I probably should be 'using this quiet time efficiently' and getting some things done around the house, but I think I'll just enjoy this a little more.

In other news, I am insanely excited for some upcoming prospects... Long story short, in the near-ish future [the foreseable year] I will likely be moving into a large house with amazing people. And the plus is, we won't be renting. So this blog will erupt with my exploits into renovation and DIY wonderfulness. Stay Tuned.

Thursday, March 6, 2014

2014: the year of Renewing, Reviewing, and Revisiting.

2014 is also the year of divorces amongst my people. But aside from that. I've been dealing with a lot of things and going through a lot of changes, and as such, blogginess has sadly fallen to the back burner. So like any good woman, it's time to get back in the kitchen and cook some -ish up before things get charred and burnt [sorry, work joke].

So. There's some things I can discuss freely and some things I can't just yet. But let it be known to the world that I am happy, safe, and sound. And much much better after a period of relative darkness. You know how after a while in the dark, your eyes adjust to night vision, and if you're lucky, you don't even know you're in the dark anymore? That's sort of a metaphor for what happened to me emotionally. However, someone held a lantern up and I saw the light at the end of the tunnel. With a little encouraging, I was able to take a step towards it. Then a giant leap. Now I'd say I'm nearly there, working at a slow but steady pace.

I'm working on it, okay?

So, less metaphorical and more specific. This specific revamping struck me after another small step into my past. [I'll explain that later] I went back to hot yoga. Oh, how I missed it. And I will not say I'm "out of shape" because we all have different shapes, but apt to the venue, let's call it "out of practice." Heh, yoga joke. That made me realize, I'm also out of practice on writing. And I am having so many thoughts and ideas these days that I really should get back into it. Thus, this post was born. Now, it did take me a good two days to get around to writing it, and I hope to remedy this delay in the future. But the next few weeks are going to be pretty hectic and stressful, so it may take a few attempts before I am updating regularly again. [assuming anyone besides my wonderful Auntie is interested in following my exploits, teehee!] case you needed an injection
of your daily dose of cuteness
So. I forget the actual word that's on my mind [PS there's a word for that, too]** But I know it starts with the prefix RE. Returning? It's not retrograde, because that generally has a more negative connotation. But I have been putting a lot of work into understanding myself and my life, and coming up with some answers I spent years ignoring. I am not only adhering to my medication, but also embracing my life as a whole. This means LOTS of previously absent self-care. I lost who I was along the way and became someone I never thought I'd be, and never wanted to. So, definitely something with the prefix re-. I am looking back at the past to the times where I know I was happy [some times, up to 6-10 years ago! Thank you, dysthymia...] and working on getting elements of those times back into my life. Crafting. Gardening. Learning. Writing. Yoga. Running. Gaming. Loving. Cooking. Kitties. Organizing. I have earned my karma... as the saying goes, sometimes "you have to know the darkness before you can appreciate the light."

Some of these you'll notice are not new themes for me. However, I am making them a higher priority now. As someone close to me repeatedly reminds me, "You have to help/take care of yourself before you can help/take care of other people." And helping and taking care of other people does bring me a lot of joy, too. I am much happier now. Exponentially, even.

**PS. For the dirty lexophiles who care, this is that word:

For more free vocabulary lessons, as well as touching, uplifting, and completely depressing thoughts, I HIGHLY suggest you check out Word Porn on Facebook.