Friday, April 30, 2010

changing professions

so i currently do tech support for shaw, where i am treated like a stack of numbers and spend my day being told to do things that are not my job while they take away are tools to do so. i tell idiots how to make their televisions and porn work and if i succeed they get to rot their brains. i hate the very concept that my job exists and believe i am actively harming society every day i go to work, yet i do it because it pays the fucking bills. this is a whole new level of job dissatisfaction.
enter what i want to do, which is healing. i already do a fair amount of it instinctively, i can't help it really. i am already a trained (if new) doula and ofa 3 first aid attendant and i have a pretty solid base on my own in aromatherapy and herbal healing as well as many years of energy healing and counseling (which is ironic since i can't find a therapist for myself). i would really like to make my living doing what i love: healing and art of various types. this is not an easy transition. most, if not all of these are self employed professions, which is part of why i like them. it also means trying to slowly start doing more of my own stuff and eventually making the leap and leaving my day job. that's really scary but it would be less so if my day job wasn't so soul sucking and/or allowed me to cut back my hours gradually (32 hour/week min if i want my job, and they call it part time?). at the same time i feel that if i had a day job i didn't hate as much i might be comfortable staying there longer and not taking those steps to what i really want. and on the other hand (you have more fingers, yes i have three hands here) maybe if i was generally happier it would be easier to reach my goals since attitude is really important in such things. i don't know anymore and sometimes i think i'm just making excuses for feeling like a failure and demeaning myself by working for *shudder* those people. i get through my more stressful days by remembering that i am better then that place and it is beneath my dignity as a healer to care what any of them think.

the beltane indulgence

i suppose it's officially tomorrow since it's 1am. i've discovered that most formal rituals in this group lack the solemnity or power to feel meaningful so i've taken to doing more like western family holidays with food and merriment among loved ones. course being pagan our holidays and traditions are different from others. beltane being the fertility festival of early spring we are reveling in sensuality with lovely food and massages. i'm hoping it doesn't end up so drunken that embarrassing hijinks will ensue but i do have red wine to go with the good cheese and chocolate, rose wine because everyone likes it, champagne for mimosas, and we created an evil concoction of lavender lemonade and vanilla vodka that tastes like liquid summer so we just HAVE to make a pitcher of that. i'm going to try to compensate by getting smaller bottles of red and champagne. course i am also tempting fate by having fruit with a bowl of whipped cream to dip which often becomes licking cream off fingers instead. i'm hoping i'll be in a good enough head space that i can accept a massage from someone. i desperately need one, my back and shoulders hurt so much. i get in this vicious circle where i'm depressed so i don't let anyone within 3 feet of me, so i get touch starved and more depressed. well anyway i can probably handle the hot rocks as that's less contact but plenty of people seem to have been invited that i wasn't expecting so we'll see how i feel. the plan is to pile all the pillows and blankets in the house onto the living room floor, pile food on the table, put on the zen cd or sound machine and neroli in the nebulizer and chill out with conversation and massages. oh i hope this goes well!

oh for fuck sakes. i should not have to tell people that if me or my roommate did not invite you, you are not invited. if i had wanted you there i would have asked. drama should never be a part of a chill holiday. it's a sensual event where we will be drinking and trading massages. i WILL NOT have people there that make me uncomfortable participating in my own event in my own house.

well overall it went ok. nobody got insanely drunk and embarrassed themselves. i didn't sink too far into depression, and no one unwanted showed up. silly disorganized impromptu ritual was fun and there was much merriment had by all. sleep deprivation made me very cranky this morning but everything has a price. didn't manage to let anyone within 3 feet of me for a massage but i wasn't really expecting to be able to.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

fresh greek foccacia bread

difficulty level: Rrrrgh . . . . Burns . . . .
i've been making this foccacia with just lots of dried herbs and sometimes cheese for years. this is the recipe that taught me to make bread, through much less trial and error then my previous attempts. i really think the best way to learn to make bread is by standing next to someone who does it but i didn't know anyone who did it. there's something about the time honored tradition and the way it makes the house smell. the history of child learning from mother or aunt over hundreds of generations. the warm silken pliancy of the dough, like shaping flesh with alchemy and massaging it into a healthy whole. anyway, this time it's all about the fresh beautiful ingredients and i think it's going to turn out lovely. it's rising now

fresh greek foccacia bread:
3 1/2 cups flour + more for kneeding
1 1/2 tsp salt
3/4 cup chopped kalimata olives
3/4 cup light goat cheese, crumbled
2 Tbs fresh chopped dill
2 Tbs fresh chopped basil
1 head roasted garlic
1 1/2 Tbs instant yeast
1 1/2 Tbs sugar
1 1/2 cups warm water
1/4 cup olive oil + a few spoonfuls for coating
-if you don't keep roasted garlic around you can easily make it by trimming off the top of a whole garlic bulb, just enough to expose the cloves, make a little cup around it with a 6 inch piece of tin foil, drizzle a spoonful or two of olive oil into the exposed cloves, wrap it up and bake at 375f for some 45 min or until soft. it makes the house smell so good and makes it so easy to add lovely healthy garlic to everything i often keep a head in the fridge. just squeeze out of the skin and you can do whatever with it.
-mix yeast, sugar, and water, set aside till it starts bubbling suspiciously. if your yeast is really fresh keep an eye on it or it will bubble over, you want it to just start bubbling so all that rising power goes into the bread itself. btw, yeast should be kept in the fridge in an airtight container once opened and not for more then 3 months or it wont rise properly anymore. i'm testing what happens with longer term storage in the freezer.
-mix the flour with the herbs, olives, cheese, garlic, and salt in a big bowl
-add the yeast mixture and the oil to the flour mix and stir till a soft dough forms. it'll be really sticky at first but that's ok. try to keep it mostly in a lump and not on your hands. sprinkle with a few handfuls of flour and kneed until it's pliable and elastic but still soft.
-let rise in a warm place, covered with a clean towel until doubled in size (about 45 min to an hour) if my house is cold i sometimes turn the oven knob just until the burner clicks on-not even to 170f which is our lowest, let it heat while i kneed the dough and clean up and then turn it off before putting the bowl (totally wrapped in a towel in case the racks are too hot for the plastic) in the oven and leaving the door closed to keep warm. i've also had good results with setting the bowl on the burner the oven vents out of with the oven on a low setting and a pot holder under the bowl but then my cats can get into it.
-once it's risen punch down the dough and kneed a little more, you might need to add a bit more flour to keep it workable and not too sticky but don't add so much that it becomes hard to kneed. it takes some practice to get the feel for the texture thing but this is a fairly forgiving recipe so don't worry about it too much
-divide in two and form into two smooth, round loaves about 1 inch thick, coat in a bit more olive oil and place on a greased cookie sheet, remember that they'll double in size again so give them room to expand. if you want you can freeze the dough at this point and when you thaw in the fridge it will do it's second rise at the same time
-let rise to double the size again, be aware that the second rise sometimes goes a lot faster then the first and heavily over-proofed bread ends up with large air pockets that collapse after baking.
-bake at 325f for 30 min or so or until it sounds hollow when tapped gently. if it's getting too brown turn the temp down to 310f. when done they should be just golden.
-let cool for 15 min or until you can handle easily. if you want a soft crust instead of a crispy one you can brush with a bit more oil after baking. this is a very soft bread so use a serrated knife to cut (ala sawing) and try not to press down too hard or you'll crush it,
-serve with butter or a shallow dish of olive oil and balsamic vinegar.

i wasn't paying attention and over proofed them a bit on the second rise. this turned out fluffy and soft and lovely. the goat cheese flavor gets lost a bit, next time i might leave it in bigger chunks or lightly kneed it in just before forming the loaves. would have been great with fresh oregano but i couldn't get any. overall i definitely call this a win. could also have added more olives, more herbs, and maybe some feta. this was mild, fresh and decadent.

where i'm starting from

i suppose i shouldn't say starting. i've been working on this for 10 years. i still feel like i'm just starting though since i don't feel like i've made any progress. i'm tired of being broken inside. i'm tired of feeling that my life hasn't begun, like it's all been worthless and will be so until i repair the damage done to me as a child. at the same time i'm terrified to actively work on these issues because i have a really good idea of just how much it's going to hurt. i've barely scratched the surface and it's already unbearable. i cannot do this with the tools i currently have. i need help and it's a lot harder to press forward when it's not only terrifying but also really hard to find the help. i should not have to make 50 phone calls and beg and plead to have any kind of help with this. it's no wonder our society is in the state it is around child abuse if this is the amount of attention it's paid. even people from fraser mental health or similar either sound like they've never heard of such a thing or speak to me gently and slowly like i'm a wounded puppy. i am not a victim! i am a warrior along with every other survivor! i am strong enough to have gotten this far, i think i deserve a bit of help to get over the nastiest hump.
some days i just don't have any hope anymore. i don't believe that romantic love exists, at least not for me. i look at my facebook friends and realize i don't actually like most of these people. i don't connect with anyone. i don't understand how the rest of the world lives. i'm tired of people giving trite and dismissive answers like "well change your attitude then" or "well if all your going to do is whine about it then you really can't do it". i know that i *can* do it. i'm saying i don't know how! please, if you know then teach me! i feel like i'm screaming at the top of my lungs and no one even looks up. i'm not ok. i can't live like this. i don't know how to fix it and i can't do it alone anymore

Friday, April 23, 2010

the hatred of the chest

anyone who's met me has probably noticed two things about me first: my very long hair and my very large boobs. i'm tired of that. i like my hair but the boobs have got to go. besides being seen as a sex object, they cause me a large amount of physical pain, prevent me getting involved in a lot of activities, and make it impossible to find clothes that fit. i've taken to getting everything custom made off etsy (yay etsy!) because a shopping trip for new clothes takes me approximately 4 hours to find each article. twice that for bras. and each of those hours makes me more and more cranky and frustrated and hating of my body. although it has now been postponed due to work schedule twice, i do have a consultation booked with a plastic surgeon to see if msp will cover me getting a breast reduction done. worrying things include the fact that this consult was referred by my not-sure-if-i'm-keeping-her doctor who's office and practices seem straight out of the 50's and the allergist she recommended for me was even more of a time trip (has exam chairs in stained-yellow/cream curvy vinal, uses a typewriter instead of a computer). also that his name is dr boyle which is not at all confidence-inducing for a plastic surgeon. my recent forays into the bc medical system have read like a book of cliches on socialized medicine and i'm not impressed. if this guy strikes me as remotely like "my" personal doctor or my decrepit allergist there is no way in hell i'm letting him cut up my tits. i'm walking out without a word. course then i'll be back to stage one in finding a doctor who has both a brain and a heart and i'm beginning to think med school tends to surgically remove one or the other or both. *headesk*

after the recent forays into dental surgery and such it's really come home for me how violent western medicine is, especially compared the the kind of healing i do with others. there's a very "ends justify the means" and "oh suck it up already. here take these drugs and stop bothering me" kind of attitude. on the other side of that coin is where does it become necessary? oh a regular basis now i'll lift my breasts to try to relieve my neck and back pain for a moment and realize i can breathe a lot better when i do that! my breasts have actually gotten heavy enough that they are restricting my breathing! between having about half of them removed and having to quit smoking for the surgery i wouldn't be surprised if i no longer have asthma after this and can actually lose the 50lbs i'd like to because it wont hurt like hell to exercise. i really do want this done but i wish there was a better way.

this song is stuck in my head

also, testing embedding youtube videos:

experience points: rarrgh dental work!

so i had a wisdom tooth pulled yesterday which is part of why i'm spending today fiddling around online and (should be) cleaning my house. my cheek feels like i was punched in the face and i can't eat normally. my dentist hit the vasculature while searching for the nerve to put in the freezing and made me scream a lot. i don't recommend that. the whole thing felt really nails-on-a-chalkboard horrible and i'm really glad i only have one more wisdom tooth and a crown to go. i was without dental care for some ten years and consequently have had the following work done over the last two years: 18 fillings, three extractions, one root canal, and lots of scaling. when all is said and done i'll have a $10,000 smile. i'm very glad most of the damage was far enough back to not be visible. i'm considering having professional whitening done but for now will content myself with the annoying box kits (hint, the crest ones don't work). i slept for some 16 hours after yesterday's surgery and drugs so now i can't claim sleep deprivation for a few days. i guess i'll go get things done.

aah! 4 days post-op and not only does the site itself throb (expected, but why only now?) but my teeth itch! like the feeling of having hard candy stuck in your teeth but all of them, and nothing makes it stop! it's like having your bones be terribly itchy, you can't scratch that! i'm beginning to think he damaged that main nerve when i jumped/screamed during the whole right-through-the-blood-vessel debauchel. how do i make it stop!?

so apparently the itching is a normal part of healing just like a cut on your arm? not sure why it never happened before, then. or why i've ever heard of anyone else having the same issue. he did put me on antibiotics and clean everything out just to be sure. the next extraction healed reasonably normally but now the one that was itching is being strange. the tooth next to it has an odd bony lump coming out the gum line above it! i don't know if i have a latent extra tooth trying to come out sideways or if they fucked up the roots of my other tooth during the extraction but it hurts if i touch it. just what i need. one more strange surgery to add to my collection. i should get trading cards for this. at least then i'd have something to show for it

the test kitchen: tomato mustard pie (a french savory tart)

i was bored with my usual food ideas and i tend to add at least one new recipe per grocery shop. this time around it's french food, specifically this interesting looking concoction from recipezaar.
now this seems to entail first making the french mustard and letting it mellow in the fridge overnight. i have no idea where to get tarragon vinegar so we'll use white instead and add, um... i have no tarragon. ok google, what does tarragon taste like? kind of like anise? but i hate anise. ok so what else might work? people say basil has a slightly anise-y flavor. i don't think so but that's ok. maybe we'll go with a bit of that and a bit of....rosemary? sure, why not. first i need to do something about this mess of a kitchen. will check back later.

the mustard was easier then i thought it would be. it's cooling now. smells mostly like vinegar right now so we'll see in the morning.

right, so that's just a big pile of bitter. even with added sugar and salt and stuff it's just nothing but bitter. i may have damaged my tongue. i think i'll use half regular mustard and half good dijon instead.

and 6 tomatoes don't fit in a pie crust you silly people! how small are your tomatoes? how big are your pie dishes? i squeezed in 3 and now i have a ton of sliced tomato to use up before it goes bad. that really is a *lot* of mustard. i hope to hell they're right and it changes as it cooks or this is going to be really "interesting". at least it smells good cooking. i let it cook a little longer then called for to let all that mustard mellow and had to drain off a lot of liquid after cooking but probably because it's april and tomatoes are out of season. the mustard did mellow out but it's still a lot. half a cup of mustard in one pie? it has no other flavor at all. this is food but only just. i'm beginning to think i just don't like french cooking.

stuff i'm doing: changing my name

so the name change is something i've wanted to do for a long time. i've never felt my old name suited me at all and was never comfortable being identified by a label my bio-family created. in order to shed one name, though, you must adopt a new one. many months of searching baby name books and name dictionaries, making shortlists, asking friends' opinions, and meditating, later i picked something i like (which i'll not be putting up on a public forum). at the spring equinox we had a little ceremony with my real family where they formally renamed me and i've been going by my new name (at least informally) ever since. i went to the vital stats office a week or so ago and got the paperwork, which is not nearly as complicated as i thought it would be. i need to find my birth certificate somewhere in the pile of important paperwork on my bookshelf and go get fingerprinted at the cop shop. after that it's about $200 in fees and we can start the annoyance that is changing over all my id and accounts. right now i'm in this strange hinterland of being known conversationally as one name and officially as another. i decide how to introduce myself by how proffesional my relationship is to that person but it feels really wrong to use my old name now. i'm also getting really tired of explaining to people "yes my id says that but please call me this as i'm changing my name". that inevitably leads to the "oh really? why would you do that?" conversation which is really none of their business, or, if it's someone i've known for a while, the "oh you'll always be XXXX to me" conversation in which i try hard not to hit them, or the "so is the change going to be legal?" conversation which is also none of their business and a crappy reason to not respect someone's life choices. i'll be happy when all of this is finished.

the creation of forest house

this is where i'm organizing my thoughts and pictures and other crap. i already do a lot of that in my notebook (see brain-in-a-book) but i think i have a touch of ocd in the needing to organize and i thought this would be a fun place to keep an archive since i tend to move my notebooks to the shelf when there's no more space and never look at them again. also, typing is faster (if less portable) and easier to add pics, etc. i doubt anyone who doesn't know me will read this so i'll skip the "this is who i am" menifesto. you'll get me as we go. or you wont. whatever.