It Is What It Is

Some would say I lead a charmed life. I have a wonderful husband, who works hard and makes enough money to keep us comfortable, and so that I don’t have to work outside the house. I work at home, generally at my leisure, and spend the remainder either reading, baking, or catching up on some tv.

I’m not one for hiding behind facades. I’d rather tell someone what’s going on so they can understand it, rather than pretend I have a perfect life. Because it’s not. I have anxiety. General and social. Sometimes one is worse than the other and it makes it very hard for me to do the things that I’d like to do. Even something as simple as going to the theater, is an issue for me.

I remember when I was a kid, when we had big family get-togethers at my grandma and grandpa’s house, (and we had a big family!), I would always go hide somewhere to get away from everyone. It’s a coping mechanism that I still use today. Back then I didn’t know that it was social anxiety causing it. Up until a year or so ago I had no idea what anxiety even was really.

It wasn’t until I started reading The Bloggess that I finally realised what was going on. I was like “Hey! I have that! I don’t feel so weird. Maybe I’m not just anti-social!” It was a revelation that I was finally able to put a word to what I was feeling.

About a year or so ago it started to escalate and get steadily worse. I didn’t want to leave my house, be around family or friends, or do anything at all really, other than stay home and read or cook. I’m basically a shut in. It’s always been manageable as long as I don’t do anything out of my comfort zone, and I try very hard to stay within those confines.

Lately, not so much. This month, we had plans to go to a concert, one that I had been looking forward to for months, and when it came down to it, I just couldn’t do it. It was crippling. I had never experienced an anxiety attack like that before, where I made myself physically sick, and was barely able to walk from the car to a building. I knew it was completely irrational, not to mention embarrassing, but I was helpless to avoid it. Something that was supposed to be so fun was completely terrifying to me for no real reason.

I’ve decided to go see my doctor about it, because clearly, the way I’d been dealing with it before is just not working anymore. I’m hoping he’s not going to be one of those doctors that says “If you think positive thoughts, it will all go away.” Ha!

Until then I intend to try to avoid things that will cause any anxiety. Thankfully, there’s a new tv season coming up, which means lots of new shows to record and catch up on! That should keep me busy.

 

Excuse My Bitch

Something’s been bothering me for a while now, and I really feel the need to get it off my chest. For weeks, maybe even a couple of months, I’ve felt so ignored, (and it doesn’t help the fact that I’ve been in a depression for weeks on end that I’m thankfully finally coming out of).

I don’t know what it is about myself that elicits being ignored, but it’s obviously there. Friends will text me, and when I answer back I get no response. Even private messaging on social media gets no results from friends or family members (I’m looking at you mother).

I understand that people are busy with their lives, what with kids/jobs/responsibilities and such. But is it really that hard to write back a one word answer? Preferably within the same day, and not leave it until I either call you out on it, or decide to just let it slide yet again? I really don’t think so. I know I’m not perfect, I’ve let someone’s text slide and not answer back, but generally it’s because I don’t think it needs a response. Not for an out right question!

I find it not only incredibly, and painfully rude, but hurtful. There’s no reason for it. No excuses.

I am so, so done.

Hello Gorgeous!

Bacon. The candy of meats, I may have a huge tiny obsession. When I was in Seattle I went to Archie McPhee’s and bought bacon mints and toothpaste. They were really quite gross to be honest. I figured it’s mostly because it’s simulated bacon flavour, and not real bacon delicousness.

For years now I’ve been dying to try chocolate covered bacon. Everyone thinks I’m crazy, but I think it sounds crazy good. I’ve tried candied bacon and it was amazing. You really can’t go wrong with bacon and something sweet. It’s like dipping your bacon in syrup. Pure win!

So when I came across this recipe from NPR, I jumped at the chance to try bacon in cupcakes. I mean what’s not to like? Bacon, good. Cupcakes, good. Maple, good. Bacon maple cupcakes, gooood!

The cake itself is a strange texture in my opinion, for a cake. It’s almost like a muffin in texture, but the sweet and salty combination are such a nice change from a regular cupcake. I cut my bacon up fairly small but left it still a tiny bit chunky so you could really get a good bite of it in the cake. There’s also a lot of perfume from the bacon infused into the cake and it really adds to the whole experience.

The maple cream cheese frosting is good as well, but it’s quite sweet. I added the whole 6 cups of icing sugar that it called for but It was very dense, and I had to thin it out quite a bit before it was spreadable. I would have gone with maybe 4 cups, which would have also cut back on the sweetness.

Over all it’s a good recipe, and I’d make it again with a few tweaks. Afterall, you really can’t go wrong with bacon.

Grandma’s Cinnamon Buns

When I was a kid, I loved going to my Grandma’s house. I had the best Grandma ever. She was everything a Grandma should be, soft and warm and perfect for cuddling, she was constantly cooking/baking, and her house was constantly permeated with the smell of yeast and rising dough.

She would always have some sort of treat for us, whether it was curly buns, tarts of all kinds, if the Cheese Wolf had come, or even cinnamon buns. Cinnamon buns were my favourite, and Grandma’s were the best.

After I got married and moved into my own home I started baking. Grandma’s cinnamon buns were always a scary thought to try to reproduce, but try I did. And failed. Miserably. I swore I’d never make them again! Then I did. And failed again. It took me four tries to get the hang of it and get them perfect. It wasn’t easy, and I don’t take failure well.

Grandma’s cinnamon buns are like her, soft and sweet, and a bit crusty around the edges. They’re sticky and buttery, and full of perfumey cinnamon. A perfect combination of deliciousness.

Freshly Brewed

There’s nothing quite like the smell of freshly brewed coffee. Maybe the taste. I started drinking coffee when I was around seven. My grandpa would give me cups filled with cream and sugar and a splash of coffee. Thus started my love affair.

Eventually, I omitted the cream and sugar and just started drinking it black, as I got older. Then I omitted the coffee altogether. No real reason, but I just up and quit one day.

I still, however, love the taste and smell, and when I have something sweet, I need the bitterness of coffee to cut through it.

Lately I’ve been baking a lot. Not cakes or cookies, but more sweets, and bars. I’ve somehow gained a sweet tooth over the last few months, and constantly need something sweet in the house.

I was on Pinterest again the other day, and stumbled upon this pin for S’Mores bars. They looked so delicious, that I had to make them.

The recipe calls for an 8×8 or 11×7 pan, but all I had was a 9×13, so that’s what I used. I used an extra chocolate bar and got by with the original amounts for the base and marshmallow.

I think when I make them again I would add another jar of marshmallow fluff, and possibly half more to the base to make it stretch a bit further. Other than that they turned out fantastic.

They’re gooey, sweet, and sticky. Everything you want s’mores to be. Now excuse me while I relax with a bar and a cup of coffee.

The Joys of Pinterest

If anyone follows me on Pinterest you’ll know I love food. I’ve gotten back into cooking and baking in the last few months, mostly thanks to watching cooking shows, and Pinterest. I have to admit, I’m slightly highly addicted to Pinning. Makeup, hair, house hold projects, etc., but mostly food.

There’s something about seeing a beautiful photograph that grabs you, and saying “I’m going to make that!” Often, I don’t make many of the foods I pin, but it’s more like, I want to try them. So it’s a sort of bookmark to save for a later time. But sometimes, sometimes I see something and just need to make it!

Like these Caramel Apple Cheesecake Bars. I saw them and knew I had to make them. The recipe is from The Girl Who Ate Everything, who says the recipe is originally from Paula Deen. (That explains the nearly one pound of butter.)

They were ridiculously easy to make, but it was the waiting after they were baked part that was hard. Drizzling the caramel on top made my mouth water, and I wanted so badly to just cut them up straight from the oven and shove them in my mouth. Obviously that would have been a bad idea, and I impatiently patiently waited for them to cool and stuck them in the fridge instead.

When they were cooled and cut, oh my god were they good! They tasted even better than the photo looked, oozing with caramel, and the crunch from the streussel mixed with the creaminess of the cheesecake, made for a little bite of heaven.

While I may not make these very often, I’ll definitely be making them again. I think they’d be perfect for a party or even a potluck. A little goes a long way with these.

2011: A Year of Photos

As many of you may know, I recently completed the 365 Photo Challenge for last year. It wasn’t easy, but I did it!

Over the year I discovered I like taking photos of things and not so much of people. A fact which I knew before, but was solidified in this challenge. Candids of people are ok, but I’d much rather take a photo of something inanimate.

There were days during the challenge that were very trying. It was quite hard to come up with something to photography each day, and often I found myself buying things on a grocery run, just to photograph them.

There were days that I loved my picture, and days I hated it. Once I almost forgot to take a picture, and had to scramble in the evening to pull something out of my ass, but I did it!

Overall I’m very pleased with my accomplishment, (even the days I hated), because I learned from it. I learned how to use my camera, that I love my macro lens and that it wasn’t a waste of $600+. I learned that if I decide to do something, that I’ll follow through. I learned that I like to shoot in the mornings, when the sun has just come up, and not in the harsh afternoon light. Also, that I prefer natural light over flash, and I’d rather have a grainy, noisy photo than one with flash spots.

So thank you to everyone who supported me in this project. Everyone who had to listen to me say, every day for a year, “What am I going to take a picture of?”, “I have to take a picture today.”, and “Shit! I still need to take a picture!”

Thanks for all the comments and follows, both on my 365 blog, facebook, and flickr. They all mean so much to me. And for those diving into the 366 2012 project, good luck, and I’m glad I didn’t decide to wait a year and have that extra photo to take. ;)