Sage is Gone

Sage is GoneSage is Gone

The slightly blurry picture to the left, was my cat. His name was Sage, and I think he’s dead. I got Sage when he was about six weeks old and he had a distinctive “M” on his forehead, as you can see in the picture.

He grew to be a pretty cat. He caught mice and chipmunks outside. He was always very cuddly.

When my maybe ex-husband and I split, he took our dog, which was the dog I picked out, and Sage. At one point, he left me a nasty note that said, “Sage is not your cat.” I hadn’t even seen the cat in weeks.

Not long after this, without telling me, or informing me, my maybe ex-husband, took Sage to the pound, and I just found out about this. He originally told me that Sage had been “given-away” implying that he had found some other home for him, but he hadn’t.

He had taken the cat that I had raised since he was six weeks old, to a pound, that did euthanize animals. So now my cat is probably dead. Maybe someone took him home, but with the amount of animals that go through the facility, and the fact that he was over a year old and male, there is a good chance he was euthanized.

I do not understand how this man could have so little regard for my feelings. He didn’t even try to find a home for Sage. He just carted him off to the pound. He left me a nasty note only to take the cat to a place where he probably died.

The Onions and Eye

The Onions and EyeThe Onions and Eye

No, it’s not a strange pub name or a musical about a woman named Anna who falls in love with a bunch of onions. It’s about me, and how I love onions, or how I hate them, or whatever the complicated relationship is that I have with onions. It’s definitely a love/hate sort of vibe.

I do like onions. I really do. We get along, sometimes. I like onions on my hamburgers. I like onions in soup. I like onions flavoring my various foods. Onions on my chicken. Onions on my steak. Onions in my salad. Onions here. Onions there. Onions everywhere.

Chocolate and onions?

No, never. Despite all the things I can think of that would go wonderfully with added onions, chocolate is not one of those things. Prove me wrong, and you can give me some free chocolate. I’ll even eat it if it has onions in it, as long as it tastes good.

For some reason, the past several years has put me in Onion Hell. Onions have decided that I need torturing, a lot. I didn’t used to have this problem. Everyone gets a little teary when chopping onions, but not full-blown break-up-with-your-boyfriend-in-mustard-gas teary. That’s what happens to me. It’s just awful.

I’ve tried the gum thing. I’ve tried putting the onions in water. I’ve stood on one foot and summoned ancient onion spirits from Japan. None of it works. The tried and true method some people use, keeping your onions in the fridge, helps, but I still cry.

This is what happens. I start chopping onions.

*Chop*

There goes one end.

*Chop*

There goes the other end.

*slice*

There goes the skin.

*Here come the tears.

First, there are tears, a bit of irritation.

Then burning. BURNING! Burning that is so bad I can’t keep my eyes open.

My eyes feel with tears. It’s painful. Really painful. More burning. My nose starts running. I can’t see at this point.

It’s only one to one and a half onions in at this point and I need four.

I blindly make my way to the sink where I wash my hands, without looking, because I don’t want the onion juice on my hands to get anywhere near my eyes. I wash my hands as well as a person who can’t see can wash their hands. I then splash water in my face. I wet a wash cloth to try to wash my face and eyes. I get some relief.

I invariably have to blow my nose.

I get back to work chopping onions, after more hand washing, of course.

Repeat. Seriously. Repeat. I go through the same ordeal, at least once more. If not two or three times more, just to chop four onions.

After a bout of chopping onions, I look like crap. It doesn’t matter if I take a shower or it’s hours later. I look like I was crying over said fictional break-up with fictional boyfriend all night long. I don’t plan to go out after chopping that many onions. I even feel under the weather for the rest of the day as I now have a runny nose.

Onions hate me and I don’t know why.

The last time I chopped onions, I put them in the fridge. I’m going to keep them in the fridge. It does help. It doesn’t make the awful experience go away entirely. I still have to pause my chopping and leave the room for breaks. I still have to rinse my eyes out. I still have to have that wet, cold wash cloth to blot my face and eyes with.

Darn you onions.

Why? Why me? I know everyone doesn’t react like this and I didn’t always have this problem.

So this is the story, or at least part of it, about why onions and I don’t always get along.

At least I still have all my fingers.

Doing all the Cooking at Once!

Doing all the Cooking at Once! Doing all the Cooking at Once!

I live alone.

…except for the two cats, they also live with me. There is also an occasional spider and swarm of centipedes, if centipedes can be said to swarm.

When you live alone, a lot of things are easier. Keeping the house clean is definitely easier. I cannot tell you how much of a difference it makes for a man to vacate the house as far as cleaning goes. You can walk into the kitchen and know the only mess you’re going to find is the one you didn’t, or did, make. It’s not going to be a mystery pile of dishes, with mystery food crusted on, with mystery smells to gag the things that prey upon maggots, if those things exist…in our nightmares. Maybe you know a man who likes to keep things tidy.

My cleaning time went from a giant production on the weekends, to a little here and a little there. It was a relief. Honestly, it took me several weeks to clean up the mess my maybe ex-husband left behind when he moved out, but, once I got it clean, it pretty much stayed clean. Hooray!

Now for the cooking. If I buy food, it generally stays these days. It doesn’t magically disappear. In my house, before the maybe ex-husband moved out, there was always a problem with food and finding it mysteriously gone.

Me: Where’s this?

Him: I ate it.

Me: Where’s that?

Him: I ate it.

Me: Where’s that thing that was at the back of the fridge?

Him: I ate it.

Me: Where are my leftovers from delicious restaurant?

Him: I ate them.

Me: But they were mine.

Him: I ate them.

Me: I was looking forward to eating those.

Me: Where’s the peanut butter/ketchup/oatmeal/etc.?

Him: I ate it all and we’ve been out of it for a while.

Me: You couldn’t have told me we needed some or went and picked some up?

You see how it was.

I make a lot of my own food. While buying food for one is definitely cheaper than buying food for two people, one of which eats like three people, it can still be expensive. When there’s only one person around, who is going to eat all of that? It’s not going to be me. I just can’t eat that much.

I have now taken an approach to cooking for an extended period of time, on one day, and then portioning that food out. Some people call it once a month cooking, but I honestly don’t know how long my food is going to last. It’s the first time I’ve ever portioned all my food out like this.

Doing all the Cooking at Once! I decided to get a lot of cooking done in one day. I chose a Sunday for my cooking day, but bought all my supplies on a Friday evening after work. That grocery bill was not something I was used to. It was on the expensive side. I left the grocery store, $70 more in debt, but hopefully with enough food for several weeks.

What was on the menu?

  • Chicken Soup (a staple for me)
  • Beef Stew ( A rarity, as beef is expensive)
  • Gluten Free Sausage Biscuits(These are from this website)

To start off, yes, I am gluten free. It’s not a phase or a fad on my part, nor do I have Celiac Disease, but I do have a gallbladder problem. If you have a gallbladder problem, cut the wheat out of your diet, you’ll thank me. It makes life livable.

Doing All the Cooking at Once!I cooked for hours.

I mean, hours. I was in the kitchen for a while. I got hot and sweaty. I cried at the onions. I used my crock pot and my blue stock pot, and baking sheets.

I finally ended up with food. I let things simmer for a while. I cleaned up the kitchen. I did laundry. I reorganized my pantry. I gave the cats a bath. This is all way too much adventure for a Sunday, but finally, it was done.

Doing all the Cooking at Once!WP_20150913_17_51_08_Pro

I put my food in some reusable, BPA free, microwavable containers
that I bought from my friend, Amazon. I put my biscuits in plastic freezer bags. All of this went into the freezer. This is my first time trying this, so we’ll see what happens.

I was actually hoping to get more food out of the whole thing. I only got seven bowls of chicken soup. Just seven. I guess I should have made a bigger pot of soup. Oh well. I’ll know better next time.

The Gluten Free Sausage Biscuits are delicious by the way. I substituted things. I used yellow cheese instead of white cheddar. I used chicken apple sausage instead of whatever was suggested in the recipe. They still turned out great.

I like the idea of going to my fridge/freezer and pulling out something that is already portioned out for me to eat. It’s a great idea. It’s convenient. No more wrestling with ladles the entire week.

If Your Pants are the Wrong Color

If Your Pants are the Wrong ColorIf Your Pants are the Wrong Color

There are sometimes situations in my life that seem unchangeable. I look for solution and I come up empty. One of those recent predicaments was a lack of brown pants.

I love browns. Brown is a great color. It’s earthy. It goes with a lot of things. It reminds me of nature. It’s not the harshness and darkness of black. It’s a warmer and friendlier color. Unfortunately, though, I did not have a pair of brown pants. It’s not that brown pants don’t exist, because they do; the problem is that I couldn’t find brown pants that worked for me.

I went to the store. I tried on brown pants. One pair was way too tight, even though it was a size up from what I normally wear. The other pair hung down from my butt and was incredibly baggy in the back and made me feel like an elephant. Keep in mind that these were the same size of pants.

Women’s clothing sizes and inconsistency is a whole other rant.

I felt a bit defeated because I really wanted a brown pair of pants, a nice pair of brown pants that I could wear to work. A person can only wear black pants so many times before getting bored.

I decided that I would tackle this issue on my own. I am stubborn. If there is not a ready-made solution for a problem I have, I will fix it on my own. A person can’t let something like this get in their way. You find a way to make it work. That’s exactly what I did.

If Your Pants are the Wrong ColorThe picture above is my dye box. I have assorted dyes and supplies in this box and it has helped me find solutions to many problems. I knew that I had dark brown dye in this box and I knew I could use it to solve my problem.

I happened to have a pair of grey pants, which fit fine, unlike those pants I tried on at the store, and I didn’t wear the grey pants that often, so I decided they were a good candidate for the brown dye.

The grey was a lighter grey and it would take the dark brown dye fairly well.

Below are quick dye instructions:

  • Get the item you’re dying wet, with hot water. The entire piece of fabric should be soaked.
  • Put the piece of fabric in a pot, or the sink, full of hot water.
  • Add the dye. How much dye you put in depends on how rich you want the color and how much the fabric you’re dying weighs.
  • Agitate the fabric. I use long dish-washing gloves so I don’t get dye on my hands. I have another story about how my hands were green for about a week, but that is another story.
  • Add salt to the water for cotton.
  • Let the fabric sit in the dye for a while.
  • Make sure to stir it every so often.
  • Drain the water and rinse the fabric with cold water until it runs mostly clear or clear.
  • Put the fabric in the dryer until dry.

If Your Pants are the Wrong ColorThe picture is my pair of now-brown pants next to my black pants

I am a DIY-er at heart, because I’m an artist, but DIY-ing things has helped me through many binds, not that not having a brown pair of pants is that big of a deal, but even small problems can cause stress and I don’t need any more stress on top of all the things I’m already dealing with.

If it doesn’t work, make it work. If there is a situation that causes you stress, make yourself a solution. Life is just too short to stress over not having the right color of pants.

It’s a Hard-Knock Life

Waves off cape Hedo photo by Ashe ArterberryIt’s a Hard-Knock Life

Life is never easy. If it’s easy, you’re probably doing it wrong, or at least, missing out on a heck of a lot. There are going to be a million and one difficult things that happen in your life.

You will fall down in front of a crowd. You will mortally embarrass yourself at least a hundred and fifty times. You will be heart-broken. You will develop an ailment or health problem. You will lose a loved one. It all ends when you finally die. Maybe life killed you and maybe you had enough, either way, at some point it stops, but until you get there, there’s a heck of a lot that can go wrong.

My life hasn’t been easy. It just hasn’t. In trying to boil down why my life hasn’t been easy I’m going to suggest several things. For the heck of it–let’s use bullet points.

  • I come from a broken family. I grew up without a father. My mother had to leave my father, terrible things would have happened otherwise. Then when I was not even ten, my father died of cancer. I only remember seeing him once before he died.
  • I grew up in poverty. I wasn’t dirt-dirt poor, but I lived in government assisted housing for a while as a child. My mother was later able to secure a house using a loan program for lower income families. I still never had the advantages a middle-class child would have had growing up.
  • My home life was awful. With the advent of my mother’s second marriage, there was constant argument in the home. I was never subject to physical violence, per se, but there was a lot of contention in the home and it was highly stressful.
  • I have suffered from depression my entire life. Seriously. The entire thing. I remember being young and just wanting to be dead and not really knowing why. I later found out, through a lot of research, that depression was pretty much a given considering a medical condition I have.
  • Moving on, I have an autoimmune disease. I was born with it and it’s brought several ugly friends along with it to ruin my life. This autoimmune disease has probably been the thing I can blame the most problems in my life on.
  • I may be getting a divorce. Marriage isn’t easy, but it’s especially not easy if someone makes you feel like dirt and seemingly doesn’t care that they do this to you. There are other things that make marriage difficult, but this one is the worst.

These are the biggest failings and trials in my life. There have been other things that were difficult. I worked full-time and went to college full-time, if you don’t think that’s difficult, go move to your own island and be away from the rest of us, because it’s incredibly difficult. I’ve had work problems. I’ve had money problems. All of it pales compared to the points I mentioned.

These have been the things in my life that make it Hell.

The idea is to now become awesome and better despite all of that, which is honestly what I’ve been trying to do my entire life, but I feel this period in my life is a real test. This is a make or break period in my life, so I have to come out better in the end.