Saturday, January 22, 2011

Picking up the pieces

I've been on short-term disability for four months now. It's strange to consider myself "disabled." More and more, people are uncovering the neuroscience behind mental illness, but I can't help but wonder if this whole mess is just the manifestation of my flawed character.

I'm finally starting to feel okay again. I still have really off-days, but for the most part, I feel more like myself. I've been hanging close to home, mostly to avoid spending money (on groceries, on gas, at coffee and bookshops -- you get the point). I initially felt weird about taking the disability money, but honestly, I'd be so screwed if I didn't. I have no idea how I'd pay for my health insurance. After deductions I end up getting $54.00/week. My husband and I have started doing some seriously frugal living. I now shop almost exclusively at Aldi (although still have a huge weakness for the big bags of organic lemons at our co-op).

Lately our diet has been lots of variations on rice and beans (chickpea masala, moong dal, a north Indian style chili with kidney beans). Yay for soluble fiber! I've mostly stopped buying bread and instead bake our bread. Most of it is from this no-knead cookbook that I am really into (Kneadlessly Simple, by Nancy Baggett). Here's a ciabatta I made the other day:

I've been raiding my stores of slightly shriveled produce and the freezer, and canning a lot (at least for me): blueberry lemon jam, cranberry jam, orange marmalade, applesauce (just apples), and applesauce with crystallized ginger. I am not sure what is up with my jam binge, other than the fact that the other day I went to the store and wanted to buy jam, but did not have enough money. NOW I HAVE JAM. Lots of jam. I will eat it on my bread, and let my toddler smear it on his face, and on the table, and on the windows, and on the dog...

As if this level of cooking tedium were not enough, I decided to venture into the land of craftiness and whip up some homemade play-doh for MiniMan. He has really enjoyed creating little sculptures in the snow, but seemed uh, pretty unimpressed by the homemade play-doh. In the process, though, I found this tutorial on the same website for making lampshades out of parallelograms with little hooks at each corner. This required one template, and then cutting out and assembling what seemed like a gagillion pieces of paper with little hookies (which was oddly soothing). However, now I have this kind of cool lamp thingie:

I was e-mailing my mom and sent her some photos of MiniMan, and some of the lamp. My parents called me a few hours later, and my dad told me (in regards to said lamp) something along the lines of "you're so creative and talented, I hope that you actually apply it to something someday." Uhh. All I could do was laugh.


  1. Haha, my parents are awesome at the veiled compliments too.

    Some of the things they've said to me... *shakes head*

  2. I hear ya... some of the things my parents' have said to me have been life altering. It sucks, but it seems to be really common. At the very least, your dad seems well-meaning!

    The bread looks fabulous. And once I tried homemade jam (specifically blackberry and vanilla), I never could go back to Smuckers.
    These days I'm simplifying what we eat just because of all the processed stuff and now I feel like processed sweetened things have an awful, almost acidic taste now.

  3. what website did you get the instructions for the lamp off of? it looks AWESOME.

  4. *Snort!*

    Classic parental comment.

  5. MedCouple - yeah, my dad usually has good intentions. In my head I was like "um, yeah, I hope so too." Haha. The blackberry vanilla jam sounds like a nice combination.

    Lisa - here's the link to the lamp instructions:

    I ended up using some old scrap booking paper I had stashed in a corner (do not ask me why I bought this..I don't scrap book! I think it was something along the lines of the homemade Christmas cards that never happened a few years ago...)