Socialworkerish Sunday

 

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Jessi’s snapstory¬†today (Yes, I asked before posting!) was my inspo¬†to write since this has been on my mind too!

We all know social media is basically the devil, yet we all keep on comin.’ A year or so ago I attended a lecture discussing one of the dangers of social media being how we tailor our newsfeeds to match our beliefs. I struggle with this because I allow myself to get so worked up about some people’s posts because I genuinely cannot wrap my head around their statements! For example, someone recently posted that if I am ok with abortion, I also have to be ok with mass school shootings. WHAT EVEN IS THAT!!??? I ABSOLUTELY understand, and even respect, that some people have religious or moral beliefs against abortion. What I DON’T understand is the leap to drawing a parallel between the abortion and school shootings. In my head that is like saying, well if you eat peanut butter sandwiches, you obviously have sex with farm animals as well.

 

I have been listening to Oprah’s Supersoul Sunday podcast lately and there are a lot of discussions about cultivating happiness and peace within yourself. With these discussions in mind, I stopped listening to the news all the time. From there,¬†I went on to delete the Facebook app from my phone and reduce my time spent on Facebook. I’ve had limited success with this because I have no self-control, but I HAVE stopped posting things other than Instagram and Blog post shares.¬† And I went on a “hiding” spree.

But is that the right thing to do? Honestly, at this point I think I have more people “hidden” than not.¬† If I am surrounded only by people who agree with me, sure, I don’t get all pissed off every day and that’s healthy for me as an individual, but at the same time…. Conversations can’t happen if we all stay in our own lanes!¬† But… nobody is changing anyone’s mind about anything on a social media post. We aren’t there to have discussions and open minds. We are all there to grandstand and thump our chests in¬† proclamation my “rightness” over your “wrongness.”strauss-bird-flightless-bird-big-bird.jpg

I don’t know.¬† Stay on Facebook, see it all, and stay in-the-know about everything? Hide or unfriend all the people you don’t agree with and live like an ostrich with your head in a hole (Is that real? Do they really do that?) Quit social media completely (omg I can’t!)? All I know for a fact is that my husband, who also has strong feelings about topics and is glad to discuss them face-to-face, stays off Facebook for the most part and seems much more content. Of course, he is also an introvert……¬† but that is a WHOLE ‘NOTHER blog post!!

 

Wednesday Wonderings : Parenting- The good. The bad. And the step.

Lonnie and I did lots of driving and talking over our long weekend getaway. One of our topics was parenting. We started by musing about “good parents” and “bad parents” and how people who achieve the most success in life so often seem to come from bad childhoods. It almost seems like hands-off parents (for whatever reason…self-involved, substance use, emotional issues, hyper career-focused, etc.) build children with greater resiliency and ability to overcome adversity. So what does that mean!? We didn’t figure it out.

 

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LOL, He’s actually just focused on driving, but if the pic fits…….

 

We discuss parenting a lot. Probably because we have never, and will never, raise a baby of our own and therefore never worked through the trials and tribulations of co-parenting as equals. I think equality is the main difference between step-parenting and raising a child together as biological or adoptive parents. No matter what your “arrangement” is, or what you PRETEND it is, one of you is “the real parent” who holds the power. It’s a rare person who can come into that scenario and put their¬†ego aside for the greater good of the family. Lonnie comes very, very close. And I work hard to make sure he knows I value his input and opinion when it comes to decisions about the kids. BUT, while it is never really said out loud, we both know at the end of the day, they are my and my ex’s kids and we have all the decision power. Because Lonnie and I are humans, that does cause us some “issues” (pronounced isss-YOUsssss) from time-to-time.

I am fairly certain I would suck as a step-parent and when I divorced, I vowed¬†not to enter into a step-parenting situation. It would be so hard to have no true parenting power coupled with the awareness that everyone involved, including the kids, knows it. There is no built-in bond like there is between a parent and child; so that bond has to be painstakingly cultivated while at the same time establishing a sense of order in the home.¬† Not everyone is willing, or able, to create that tenuous balance. In fact,¬†I would even bet MOST people aren’t able to make it happen because there are so many emotions and factors at play. There’s a reason “You’re not¬†my dad!” has legendary meme status!

So, what is the answer to harmonious step-parenting? Well, we DID figure this one out!! There is no answer because there is NO SUCH THING! Humans are built to interact and have conflicts and “issues” and power struggles and trials and tribulations and “discussions” and ARGUMENTS! AND ALL of these seemingly negative interactions are actually positive because they are how we learn from each other to grow as people and enrich our relationships.

Have you mastered step-parenting? Failed epically? Kinda-sorta got the hang of it? Think I am way off base with anything here? I love a good discussion… argument… power struggle….

EMBRACING THINGS!

 

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As I do not have a selfie of “44 years old.” please instead enjoy this snap Sean sent me while I was away LOL

EMBRACING 44 –Let’s start with the fact that today is my birthday.¬† I woke up feeling like 44 feels much different than 43. It’s so much closer to 45, which seems like basically 50. But as with most things, I am (mostly) blessed with the ability to embrace change rather quickly. This morning I woke up and forced myself back to sleep thinking a crippling depression in my now old age may be fun. An hour later I woke up again and for about 5 minutes continued to wallow in the sorrow of being elderly before getting bored and up and at ’em, sneakers laced up, and back to working out after 2 weeks of slackery!

 

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EMBRACING RUINED PLANS — Last week we had to cancel our yearly trip to Mexico for numerous reasons (drug cartels, ferry bombings, the US govt warning against travel to playa due to a ‘credible threat’), but the nail in the coffin was a blizzard canceling our flight 2 days in a row.¬† So in typical Colleen style, the day we ended up canceling due to the flight issues, I took an extra long mopey-sulky¬†nap, woke up, and embraced it by taking control of the situation, canceling the trip and planning a new one!

 

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While appreciating this photo, consider the time taken to ensure full bubble coverage.

EMBRACING THE TRASH WE ARE —¬† If going to Whole Foods and stocking up on wine, craft beer, cheese, crackers, & macarons and then spending a couple days mostly locked up in a steamy motel room eating, reading, and watching Law & Order and Modern Family reruns, while in a hot-tub full of bubbles and lush bombs appeals to you, have I got the place for you!! Our new trip was to a motel we have been to several times on Old Orchard Beach. It’s a clean, family-run place we love because it’s right on the beach, there is a jetted tub for two RIGHT IN THE ROOM by the bed, and in the winter they offer a buy-2-nights-and-get-one-free deal. It’s kinda trashy while trying to be classy and WE LOVE IT BECAUSE SO ARE WE!!! It’s called the Seacliff Motel and we highly recommend— unless you are Mr. or Mrs. Fancy-schmancy Pants.

 

On the drive down…….

Me: “OMG HONEY!!¬† On the way there, I want to stop at TJs and get some margarita glasses and we can make margaritas and I can take a super cute Instagram pic and be all, ‘Heyyyyy….. Margs on the beach, y’all'”

Him: “Ok. You want me to swim with one too?”

2 hours later…..¬† IMG_20180315_182339_160.jpg

A perfect illustration of my life….¬†Super cute big plans. Mediocre¬†follow through, AND I EMBRACE THAT!

 

Crushed.

Did you know you when you die you can have your ashes crushed into a diamond? I am SO IN. I live for the day (ok, I guess I die for the day) this goes down:

Random person to Jessi “Ooooh what a pretty ring!”

Jessi: “Thanks, it’s my mom!”

Random person: “Oh, you mean your mom left it to you?”

Jessi: “No. It IS my mom.”

Random person: …

I also told Sean he needs to make me into a pinky ring.¬†¬†Because¬†the thought of him sporting me as a pinky ring makes me laugh.¬†Do you think if I stay kinda fat, they can get at least 2 rings outta me? Hmmm….¬†it’s probably¬†more about the bones, huh?

I did (not do) a Whole 30!!

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I have been wanting to do a Whole30 for a couple years now, but the timing was never right, and there were always things I didn’t think I could give up. Coffee with cream and sugar, and cheese were my main concerns. And oddly enough, those were the least of my problems, as from the title, you can probably see that I didn’t complete the program. My timeline went something like this.

Day 1 -SO EXCITE!! I am DOING THIS!! Went to the grocery store to shop for stuff and learned 1. All bacon has sugar in it. 2. Most EVERYTHING ELSE has some form of sugar tucked secretly away in it and you have to be a detective/scientist to successfully grocery shop. What have I done?

Day 2 -What do you mean I can’t cook with wine or soy sauce or Worcestershire? Literally everything we cook has either one or the other. Not cooking with wine is stupid. The alcohol is all cooked out so it’s basically juice and juice is allowed. Fuck you guys, I’m cooking with wine. And soy sauce. I’m not buying your stupid $10 coconut aminos. It’s a racket and I would bet money there is a conspiracy there that I don’t have time to dig up right now. I can give up the Worcestershire. I can’t even pronounce it properly anyway.

Days 3-9 were a blur of exhaustion, emotions, painful headaches, inexplicable constipation despite eating LOTS of fruits and veggies, and wondering why I am even doing this. I had no “why.” The friend I was doing it with has great “whys” which certainly make it easier to stick to the program. My only “why” was “something to do” and maybe weight loss, but weight loss is never supposed to be the focus of the program.

Days 9-13 were a roller coaster of feeling amazing and full of energy, to feeling literal exhaustion to the point of falling asleep in the middle of the day and still needing to go to bed at 930, and continued headaches. I also couldn’t exercise like I usually do because I felt so drained, which led to more ‘why am I doing this?’These days the program also started to affect the rest of the family and I could tell my “diet” was a pain-in-the-ass for everyone around me, even though it didn’t really affect them. When people are eating yummy food and having adult beverages, having someone around who is abstaining from those things is annoying—even if the person isn’t making a display of it. Everyone can just feel it. Also, Lonnie does a LOT of the cooking for the family and he is watching his carbs and mostly sticking to whole foods as well, but having to know and cook by the whole30 rules was a stressor he was not enjoying.

So I decided to ‘kinda’ stop. I say ‘kinda’ because I am just going to loosen up a bit but still stick to no processed foods. I also won’t go back to putting sugar and cream in my coffee. I actually like the cashew-almond milk I’ve been using and it has more calcium than milk. This morning I was worried I would go off the rails with food knowing I was done with Whole30, but when I got on the scale for the this morning (weighing yourself is not allowed on whole30) and saw that I’ve lost 9 pounds, any of those concerns went out the window. Excited to learn to live my life mostly eating this way and keep seeing the weight come off and my energy come back!

Confession: I did eat a big cookie today while working at the hospital. And you know what? It was too sweet and I felt gross afterwards for couple hours. There is something to this thing for sure! Healthy food! WHO KNEW!!??

Also…. I haven’t even missed the cheese I was so worried about.

L-I-V-I-N-G with Seasonal Affective Disorder. In Maine.

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LOOK HOW FUN!!!! Winter is JUST THE BEES KNEES, RIGHT!!!!??? Uh, no. Actually, I have a long history of winter blues that subjects those around me to endless complaining about feeling cold, and not wanting to do anything except snuggle under a blanket on the couch. This year my ‘winter blues’ seemed worse than usual (…..perhaps there is a connection to my father dying the weekend before Christmas… just a theory ūüėČ )
So I took a quiz. And it said I had Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD). But then I noticed the quiz was on a ‘phototherapy light’ website, so I figured they probably diagnose everyone with SAD to sell more lights! So I searched for more appropriate diagnostic tools and found another, more lengthy, test from a more legitimate source. And it said I had Seasonal Affective Disorder. To which I thought, “Meh, it probably says everyone has everything.” So I took a test for depression, and then one for anxiety. It said, “No ma’am. No depression or anxiety in that little brain of yours. Ya just got the ole SAD.”
So what are the “textbook” treatments?
Drugs: No thank you. And thankfully, my home remedies have been working so I don’t even need to consider that route!
Exposure to sunlight: CHECK!! Even though they are INSULATING and keep the rooms warmer, we decided natural sunlight was worth the little extra we may pay for heat this year.
Light therapy: Open to it if needed, but I think I’m good!
Psychotherapy: All set thanx.
My treatment regime prescribed by myself, and Google…
After lots of reading and, previously learned knowledge having been in the mental health field for over 20 years now, I know the importance of exercise to mental health. I also know how few people actually follow through with this, so it’s important to me that I practice what I preach. So I exercise almost every day.
Several articles discuss the importance of engaging in activities, particularly winter activities, to find enjoyment during winter months. So, I stopped saying (aka whining) “No… it’s too cold and yucky” when Lonnie says, “Hey, wanna go _______?” We started Friday night board games, a new tradition I am LOVING!!!! I have PLANS to see Black Panther Friday night with friends and I WILL GO EVEN IF IT’S COLD OUT!! (I said it here so now I have to!)
  • I’ve hiked!
  • I’ve snow-shoed!
  • I’ve cross country skied (for about 6 feet)!
  • I’ve walked the dogs!
  • I’ve shoveled!
  • I’ve started a gratefulness/21 Days of Happiness journal
  • I’ve stopped listening to news all day
  • I’ve STARTED listening to Oprah’s Soulful Conversations instead of news! (Amazingly inspiring and thought provoking!)
  • I’m watching what I eat and drink and even doing a Whole30 (or 20) (maybe 8) (I’m on day 8 ūüėČ )

We (speaking of “we,” having a super-supportive partner who isn’t afraid to tell you when you need to get your shit together and your ass off the couch doesn’t hurt!) are in full-on SAD battle mode and it’s WORKING!!! I feel great, and when I don’t, I recognize it, and FREAKING DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT— SEE ABOVE!!

::::Drug commercial tagline alert::::I may have SAD, but it doesn’t have ME! LOL Had to.

I like big spicy butts aka How to make Pork Carnitas

Caution: THIS RECIPE IS A PAIN-IN-THE-ASS. If you don’t actually enjoy cooking and spending time in the kitchen, you will hate this unless you can get someone else to make it for you.

We became addicted to carnitas in Mexico, and waiting for a year between eating it is not an option. Hell… we barely make it a week before we make it again. It’s even whole30 friendly only by using riced n’ spiced cauliflower instead of my usual rice bowl. Or a lettuce wrap instead of a tortilla.

THE MEAT:

It HAS to be a butt or a shoulder. Trust me. Sale prices have encouraged us to try every cut out there. Butt is my favorite. I like big butts and I can not lie.

Cut your butt into 2″ish¬†chunks. Season with salt and pepper and brown em up REAL good. BROWN them up. not GREY them up.

If you are totes adorbs like Lonnie and I and are cooking as a couple, while one of you browns the meat, the other can make the sauce.

Into the blender goes:

Juice of 4 limes, 2 oranges, 1 lemon

1 onion

2T cumin

2T chili powder

1T Mexican oregano

1t (or more if you like it super spicy) cayenne

Note: Sometimes we use 3 chipotle peppers in adobo sauce instead of the cayenne, or we use rehydrated guajeo peppers, but we live in Maine and finding the dried peppers called for in so many recipes we want to cook has been next to impossible (Yes. I know we could just order some.)

Spread your browned meat into a 9×13 or roasting pan. Pour the sauce all over it and squish it all around. Cover and bake low n’ slow, about 3 hours at 250.

At this point, you have 2 options. 1. Uncover, turn the heat up a bit and cook it more to reduce the liquid or 2. (Which is what Lonnie always does) Transfer it into a REALLY BIG frying pan to cook down the liquid. Your goal here is to cook down the liquid enough to then brown/caramelize the meat so it gets some DELICIOUS CRISPY BITS! It’s nearly impossible to do this with all the meat at once –in our kitchen anyway, so we usually cook down the liquid all in one giant pan, and then as we serve, we crisp the meat up in a separate¬†pan.

THE WORST PART IS OVER!!!¬† You now have several days worth of AMAZING carnitas to use in rice bowls, tortillas, with your eggs for breakfast… whatever your is your jam. You do you, man!

Lonnie’s jam: Corn tortillas, and garnished with red onions pickled in red wine vinegar,¬†pineapple, radish, and cilantro (This is usually how carnitas are served in Mexico. He’s a purist)

My jam: Rice bowl (or currently– a riced, seasoned (onion powder, salt, cayenne, cumin, chili powder) cauliflower bowl), topped with guacamole, radish, maybe some scallions. Sometimes (when I’m not whole30ing), I go with the typical, shredded cheese/sour cream/guac business/black beans and corn business that Chipotle has taught us to love.