What's that they say about imitation?

This week's recipe is not at ALL my recipe. This week's recipe comes from the always fabulous Audubon Ron over at Ducks Mahal. Ron has this freaking irrational totally endearing habit of only showing ONE post at a time, and not giving anyone access to his archives. This recipe, much to my dismay, was TWO posts ago.

Because Audubon Ron had gone through all the trouble of taking stunning pictures of his beef stew*, I didn't take any myself. Which sucks, because seriously? You'd drool all over your keyboards.

I'm going to put up the recipe I stole from Audubon Ron, and then you can go nag him to show the pictures if you like.

Yumma Nummy

Dudes, I am not kidding with the Oh My Gods and the I Could Have Dieds. Even my kids loved it. And he's right about the beef; I used 2 thick, fatty steaks and cubed them myself. Mmmm Mmmm Good. Even the kids loved it. Thanks, Ron!

*It doesn't all have have anything to do with the fact that Brainy Smurf lost the battery charger to her camera. Nope, that's not why at all.

It's not the fall that kills you, it's the sudden stop.

The Original Perfect Post Awards 02.08 Ginormous hugs to Hotfessional for nominating my TMI post for the February Perfect Post award at Petroville and Suburban Turmoil!

AHHHHHHHHHH!A few weeks ago, I lost my will to live.

You may have noticed that I have not been very good at getting back to your comments. You may have noticed an extra slice of snark on the blog. It's true, something is up.

It's not my home life, that I can assure you. In fact, home has never been better. Everything, aside from the snot-nosed, bossy, bitchy two-going-on-fourteen year old is sunshine and rainbows. All except one little thing; I cannot function.

It started a few months ago, when something in my body said, "Oh, you know what? Screw this." I went to the doctor, and at first glance there was a very apparent reason for this, and after a slew of tests and scans, I came back perfectly healthy. Good news, right?

Not right.

My doctor basically told me that this shit was in my head and that I needed to move on. Now, if you know me, if you know any little thing about me, you will know why this is exactly the wrong thing to say to me.

First: This shit is not in my head. The fact that I managed to pass a kidney stone last week tells me I was right about something. It's not over yet.

Second: Y'all know that I have some mommy issues, right? You know that my mother was an abusive, crazy, lazy, paranoid hypochondriac, right? Good. You'll need to know that. Well, my mother was chained to her medicine cabinet. She could not function in any small way with any less than five bazillion pills every day. She kept every single empty bottle, for proof. Of what? Your guess is as good as mine. Point is, she was totally whacked in the head and enslaved to her prescriptions.

Naturally, I swore I would never take a prescription for anything. Ever. After a few untreated bladder and/or sinus infections, I softened a little on my resolve.

Wait, I've jumped ahead too far. Backtrack with me for a moment, if you will....

I was a severely depressed child. I was 8 the first time I tried to slit my wrists. I couldn't eat, I couldn't think. I lived in fear, and when that ended, I lived in sorrow. One day I woke up, after years of crying and starving and cutting and twitching and I just said, "Well, ok then. I'm done with that. I hate myself like this and so right now, I am stopping it." POOF. I was all better. Yes, just like that. I willed myself out of some very deep dark depression. I just didn't want to be my mother, you know?

Fast forward to 2005. I was having some wickedly awesome post-partum depression, and things were shaky on the home front, and I went to my doctor. I told her I was tired of the teeth grinding and the nail biting and the general tweaky anxiety. (I am the most anxious person you will EVER meet, by the way. I make people nervous, simply by being. I ooze tension.) Anyway, I told her I felt like I was sinking, and she threw a prescription for an SSRI at me. She knew my history, she knew how I felt about this stuff, and she assured me it would help.

Oh dear god in heaven, how right she was.

I never knew people could be that reasonable inside. I could sleep, I could function, and nothing got too me quite as badly as it used to. The overwhelmed stopped dead in its tracks.

And then we moved to Canada, and then we didn't have insurance, and then we moved back to the States, and then we REALLY didn't have insurance, and I went through some very hard shit drug free, and I survived it all just fine. Cudos to me, huh?

And then we moved back up here, and got insurance, and I got my SSRI's back. And life was good again. But then the prescription ran out. And I didn't fill the new one because I had gone to my doctor about some health problems (this is where the story weaves back in again) and she basically told me I was nuts, and I needed to quit smoking, and here's this prescription for an actual, real-life, hard core anti-depressant.

Oh dear god I am my mother. It's started.

I stared at this prescription for almost two months months. I had the sheet, but I didn't fill it. I couldn't. I could not accept that I couldn't just will myself out of this again. While I was waiting, though, something happened.

I lost my will to live.

I couldn't clean my house. I mean, I couldn't. Really. I couldn't do anything. Every little molehill turned into a huge mountain. The social anxiety that I struggle with every stinking day took total hold of me. I couldn't leave my house. My messy, pigsty house. I couldn't cook or clean or make phone calls or anything. I got really crazy paranoid. I could sleep, but at all the wrong times. I started screaming at my kids. I started snapping at my husband. And then I started doing the one thing I do that lets me know something has gone terribly wrong. I found a razor blade around the house. I sliced off my cuticles. That's where it starts for me, that's my warning.

I filled the damn prescription already.

It has been a little over a week, maybe a week and a half, on actual, real-life, hardcore anti-depressants. And not the small dose. The kinda big dose. It was the hardest thing I have ever done. It was the biggest leap of faith I have ever made.

I am trying to learn to accept that some of the parts of my mother got slapped onto my genes, and I am looking for acceptance with that. I can't help where my DNA came from, but man oh lordy, I can help how I deal with it. I am really afraid of these pills, of needing them, of needing anything. I have attachment issues that reach all the way out to small white tablets. But, you know, the way I see it, I have two choices here. I can take the pills, and accept what I am made of, and try to do something pro-active about it and help it, or I can sit here, wallowing, worrying, in a filthy house.

I can be my mother, or I can NOT be her.

I always thought that taking the pills meant I was surrendering, but I think that maybe, just maybe, taking them is fighting back.

Right now, my house is clean. My dishwasher is unloaded. I went to a PTA meeting last week. The laundry is all washed. I haven't folded it yet, but baby steps, you know? I can't really sleep all that well, and I have almost completely lost my appetite, but I have actually cooked my kids a meal or two this week. We have had groceries in the pantry and the bills are all paid and I have taken a shower every single day for a week and a half.

Is it worth it? Time will only tell. For now, though, I am proud of myself for taking the leap. I am proud for being able to take the next step in growing, in moving forward, in recovering. I get cocky sometimes and think it's all done, that time and distance have healed those old wounds, but the fact is that this is just a part of me, and I have to face it, and I have to deal with it realistically. I am not Superman, and whether or not I want to admit it, sometimes I need help with ME.

13 Things I wish I knew

One day, you might find yourself pregnant with a boy. Or maybe, one day some time ago, you may have found yourself pregnant with a boy and today you find yourself parenting a boy. They will tell you a lot of things about boys. They will tell you how to keep a wanker clean, they will tell you about puberty, and damp sheets, and football. There are things they will not tell you, though, and these are the things you need to know. There are classes that should be mandatory for every parent of a boy to take so that they will be adequately prepared. Here are a few I recommend.

  1. Mathematics. Get a degree. They couldn't make fourth grade math more confusing right now if they tried to.

  2. EMT Training. Because brother two is bound to slam brother one's hand in the car door at some point. Or boy one will try his hand at flight. And fail. Boys try things, and most of those things end in broken bones.

  3. Chemistry. Trust me on this one.

  4. Genealogy. Because one day, your kid is going to come home from school asking about his heritage, and take it from me, American is not a sufficient answer. And Big Macs do not count as artifacts from your culture.

  5. English Doctorate. One day, your son is going to find out about Mad Libs. And when you sit down to do them, with the Old School glimmer in your eye, and your almost 10 year old cannot define a VERB, you know you've got some work to do. (PS: An Adverb* is an adjective ending in LY. You know, in case they ask)

  6. Engineering. There are so many reasons every parent needs a degree in engineering, I couldn't even begin to list them.

  7. Video Game Design. "Mom, why can't I get Zelda to go into the Cave of Perpetual Blingy Noises?" "Mom, Mario won't jump over the mushroom; he keeps eating them!" "Maaaawwwm!" Learn your games, parents. Learn them well. Or be ready for grey hairs to start popping up.

  8. Seamstress. Because the more expensive the jeans, the bigger the hole in the knee.

  9. Historian. Forget "Where did babies come from?" Try, "Where did Golf come from?" At least you know where babies came from.

  10. Banker. Lest your child's entire allowance be spent in 5 minutes at the corner store on Jawbreakers.

  11. Nutritionist. It is much easier to get a kid to eat carrots if you tell him WHY he should eat the carrots.

  12. Carpenter. If for nothing else, to build the splint to heal the broken bones. See #2.

  13. Athlete. Boys play sports. Period. You can't fight it. And if you don't know the rules, and you let them make up their own, be prepared for war.

See other Thursday Thirteens right here.
*An adverb is actually more than that, but in the context of 7 year olds, that description will do just fine.

Every day is a chance to learn and grow

If the question is, "Do I go digging through the laundry for the granny bra or just wear the hoochie-snap-in-the-front-with-the-clear-straps-push-up-stripper bra to the PTA meeting?" and the answer is, "Oh, screw it, I'll just wear the scanky one, because it's clean," then maybe you should throw on a hoodie or something before you go to the meeting.

If the question is, "Is this lovely halter tank top showing entirely too much cleavage for a PTA meeting?" and the answer is, "I guess I'll find out," then perhaps it's not the world's best idea to sit next to the President of the PTA, who also happens to be the minister of the local church, at the meeting, in the preschool room, in the 5-inches-off-the-ground chairs.

If the question is, "Do you really want to explain to people you don't know who Peter Griffin is in a family friendly setting?" and the answer is, "Not at the PTA meeting while I'm sitting here next to the PTA president who just also happens to be the minster of the local church, because you think he might be seriously traumatized from the amount of boobie you just accidentally shoved in his face," then maybe it's in your best interest to just set the ringer of your cellphone to vibrate, or at least change your ringtone for your husband to Amazing Grace or something, because you know he's going to call you while you're there.