31 August 2009

sordid

Why did my delusions become more veridical when I talked about them? When I didn't talk about them? What the fuck why isn't this working why did you hurt me why.

drunk dialing the psychologist (not really)

I am sorry that you never told me that people often experience psychotic symptoms as a trauma. I couldn't infer that. I am sorry for being rude. There are a lot of things that you weren't very articulate about.

For instance: what was all that talk about me being nurturing? I could only think that you were saying I was diseased, and then of what my kid might look like, and how I don't know enough about people to be able to take care of her, so that her life could be happier than mine.

My cat is well. His giant tyrannosaurus claws have become cat sized with scratching, and his hips seem fine. He hops around for the fun of it and plays. He is the happiest creature I know. He is very sweet and mellow.

I feel as though I have lost the will to live and to move forward. Dr Adams makes me visit her every two weeks and doesn't try too hard to bond with me. I miss you. I am crying now. Bye.

30 August 2009

and the handset drops

My sister will not talk to me. She is "taking this weekend for herself," as she has taken the past several years to herself. She has a high level of interpersonal stress and a low level of interpersonal sensitivity. I feel as though I have done something horrible to her, i.e. killed her pet hamster, dumped pig's blood on her at her grade eight dance, pointed and laughed while she was sexually abused. That is how I feel when I talk to her, that I should fuck off and die so that she can finally take a breath.

She hasn't really spoken to me since she came home from the hospital, aged 17, and screamed obscenities blaming me for everything that hurt her until I left again months later. Did my parents ever intervene to say this was wrong and irrational? No.

26 August 2009

poo account

We have our morning coffee and catfood date, during which the cat surprises and gobbles low-fat "natural" cat food with visible veggie chunks. I clean the litterbox and replace the litter, replenish dry food and refill the water dish. The cat purrs loudly and tests everything out to be sure it is still working. Then there is a horrible smell. There is much scratching. I need to leave the room. If my cat were a man he'd be taunting me with, "what did you DO that's what you get for feeding me new age garbage." But he is my sweet cat and does no such thing. He builds a great dune, pushing all the cat litter into one big pile and when I return three minutes later the smell is gone.

25 August 2009

picked the cat up out of the rose bushes

Loneliness rushed in and filled the place where my ambitions had been.

to ziprasidone or not to ziprasidone

My doctor wants me to try a new medication. I researched and then sat down beside the cat to regain my equilibrium. I have been on a very low dose of antipsychotic [not ziprasidone] for five weeks now and have not been paranoid. I checked my archives and judge how I am feeling to be an improvement over where I was this time last year. I may not be as quick, but I'm not irritable in the way I was, not showing the kind of cognitive bias that becomes so all-consuming when I am ill (attributing to others my own exaggerated perceptions of negativity, poor self-awareness). I know how bad it can be when a drug makes things worse. I may or may not be writing longer sentences. I'm working on sentence length, ok? My short sentences are energetic sounding, whereas these things don't sound so hyper in my head. In my head I have edited my experiences down to their most enjoyable parts and relate only those. It helps mask the digressiveness of my thought process, which is always cluttering things up.

This slowing down is welcome but it might be a sign that I am gradually getting worse. It could be a sign that I am more stressed, or less stressed without the psychologist trying to rearrange my thought processes while I struggle to make sense. I wonder what it would have been like were he not so empathetic, had I had to try more to 'be with' someone, had I not liked to be with him so much it became difficult to try in any effective way. I'm trying to be kind to myself as I write this, trying to join up the ideas, to think about how I might want to present myself. That is either new or an old and established part of myself I've missed or a reworking of anxious thought patterns into something more helpful. Possibly the reason I like writing when tired is that my annoying little anxious tics become just that, and so easy to delete.

I've done the stupidest things I've ever done on this medication, but right now it feels like I might be getting on with my life.

24 August 2009

I exchanged comments with a psychotherapist of a different theoretical orientation than my good doctor. Made me think, in a good way. Kaleidoscope eyes and all that.

23 August 2009

I was terrified. It's difficult to say why.

21 August 2009

I have been trying to capture summer and preserve it in the freezer. But since the lovely Sunday has been writing about summer dreaming, I have been thinking of my own. I would like to go swimming in the ocean.

16 August 2009

green curry

In a food processor, blend roughly chopped
1 cup shallots
1 tbs ginger (galangal)
1 tbs garlic
1 tbs lemongrass
2 thin green chilis
4 tbs lemon juice
with 1/2 can coconut milk and decant to a bowl.

Then blend
1 large bunch cilantro
1 smaller bunch mint
and a good 1/4 cup basil

Prepare lengths of green beans or spinach, being sure to pick out any nasty rotten bits.

In a few tablespoons sesame oil, fry the shallot mixture. Add
1 tbs fish sauce
1 tsp dried mango powder (amchoor)
1 tbs brown sugar
3 lime leaves
the other half of the coconut milk
and fry for 5 minutes.

Add pieces of snapper, or prawns, and cook until delicately poached and underdone, 5 minutes or so. Add the vegetables, if you're using them. Add the green mixture, and cook another 5-10 minutes to marry the flavours. Add a bit of salt. Serve over rice.

Also a nice sauce, fresh or for fish: 1 granny smith apple blended with 1-2 chilis, 1 bunch cilantro and 1 bunch mint. Optional: cook a sliced onion in the pan first. Padma Lakshmi said so.

15 August 2009

thought

I am essentially a praying mantis.

i grew tomatoes in a odd purple shade


They taste good in sauce or Madhur Jaffrey's curry. The ones in the front broke their vine.

stopping time

Amidst slow morning 'coffee and cat food' with the little one, I thought to myself, Chemical Factory has been making something. Click.

13 August 2009

question of the day

Why do pills contain magnesium?

overheard in the hallway

"A flourless cake and a tailless cat."

"I know, what kind of crazy place is this," I said.

Italian chocolate-almond torte

1/2 cup whole almonds
3.5 ounces unsweetened chocolate
1/2 cup sugar
1 tiny pinch salt
1/2 cup egg whites (4 large)
1/8 tsp cream of tartar
powdered sugar or unsweetened cocoa powder for dusting

6 inch springform pan

Position a rack in the lower third of the oven and preheat the oven to 350F. Grease the sides of the pan and line the bottom with parchment paper.
Combine the almonds, chocolate, 1/4 cup of sugar and the salt in a food processor and pulse until the almonds and chocolate are very finely chopped but not completely pulverized. Set aside.
In a clean dry bowl beat the egg whites and cream of tartar until soft, moist peaks are formed when the beaters are lifted. Gradually add the remaining 1/4 cup of sugar and continue to beat until the egg whites are stiff but not dry. Add one third of the nut mixture to the egg whites and fold in with a rubber spatula until nearly incorporated. Fold in half of the remaining nuts, then fold in the rest of the nuts.
Scrape the batter into the prepared pan and spread it evenly. Bake until the torte has risen and is golden brown on top and a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean, or with a little melted chocolate, 25-30 minutes. Set the pan on a rack to cool for ten minutes. Remove the sides of the pan and invert onto a plate. Remove the bottom of the pan and then the parchment liner. Turn the cake right side up and cool completely (you really must). Cover or wrap tightly and storefor up to 3 days at room temperature. To serve, top with powdered sugar or cocoa and a dollop of whipped cream if you like.

1/2 recipe from Alice Medrich, Pure Dessert (2007), after Claudia Roden.

12 August 2009

hyssop

This is my kind of drink.

double ik

New brand of almond milk tastes like a health food store smells. Will be reverting.

11 August 2009

ik

Morning newspaper ruined my appetite all day long.

Tomorrow though, a new brand of almond milk.

good grief america

Adults can hit kids at schools in twenty American states and 'Disabled Students are Spanked More'. I'll skip arguments about trust, safety, and modeling social skills, and just say that smacking vulnerable young people around at school works against what have been shown to be the most basic elements of therapeutic success. By science.

Thankfully there are people capable of restating this problem so as not to naively recapitulate its logic of oppression.

10 August 2009

a little cloud

I hurt my back carrying a stack of books home from the library. The books were about psychosis because I am trying to make some kind of meaning of my experience (I know, pull up my socks and move along please, people do sex and drugs for the experience of altered consciousness). The truth is probably something like this: psychosis has made me lazy and more dependent than I ever was. People and conversations move too fast for me and I am quick to give up when a task becomes difficult. If I keep on I get paranoid, and if I keep on too long (an undefined measure) I take a while to come back. Being at work provokes psychosomatic nausea. More medication and I want to die because I can't think. Less and I think I'll work in a hotdog bun factory in order to avoid anything challenging.

09 August 2009

need a cat?


Contact information available upon request. This is not my cat. But she would qualify.

inspiration

Simone Weil

biscotti

Preheat your oven to 350F

In a medium bowl, use a fork to combine
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1/3 cup butted, melted
2 tsp vanilla
1/2 tsp almond extract
1 1/2 tsp grated orange rind

Add
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
3/4 cup whole almonds (or hazelnuts for mom, and with the addition of a sliced up chocolate bar added for dad)
and run your fork through the flour mix the dry ingredients. Then stir to combine. I sometime add a few teaspoons of flour extra, but the batter will stiffen up if given a few minutes.

Drop the dough into two long logs on a baking sheet. If you'd like things to look very nice you can brush the dough with a egg white. Bake for 20 minutes. Remove from the oven, let sit for five minutes or so, and remove your cakes one at a time to a cutting board. Slice (diagonally for longer cookies) 3/4" wide. Return to the baking sheet and cook for 20-25 minutes longer. This recipe will not make very dry cookies but they will be hard and crunchy and they are our favourite.

putting it in writing

Today I am going to write an essay.

06 August 2009

sofa..

I miss the psychologist. I miss the crispness of his logic, his kindness, openness and enthusiasms, and his organizing way of asking questions. This missing becomes acute at three week intervals. I sit down with the cat and strategize.

05 August 2009

little bit country

The cat likes to sit in the dirt of large potted plants.

food for thought

I love chickpeas with the devotion of a zealot.

granola

Preheat oven to 325F. In a medium bowl mix together
3 cups large flake oats (long cooking)
1 cup ground flax seed
1/2 raw almonds
1/2 cup raw cashews

in a pyrex measuring cup mix together
2 tablespoons olive oil
3 tablespoons + 1 tsp apple juice
3 tablespoons + 1 tsp liquid honey
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp vanilla
dash salt
microwave 10 seconds, stir, and add to the oat mixture. Spread on a baking sheet lined with parchment and bake 30 minutes, until dry, or until you can clearly smell the toasted oats and cinnamon.

Remove from your oven and sprinkle with
1/2 cup dried apricots, chopped
1/2 cup dried mango, chopped
1 handful dried currents
Turn the oven off and put the pan back in for 5 minutes of to avoid gooiness from the fruit. Let cool and do as I do, store it in a plastic bag twisted and tied shut like a bellybutton.

04 August 2009

pickling

For a variety of reasons (poverty, war, a certain sensibility that seems more demanding than convivial or bon vivant), every family tradition I know of* has to do with food. This afternoon I participated in one such key event, in my kitchen, alone. Next year I invite cousins.

*EDIT: every family tradition I know of, except for unfortunate names.

style cues


My hair is hot.

03 August 2009

fun!

panforte (medieval nut cake from Siena)

preheat your oven to 325F. line a 10 inch round cake pan with parchment.

in a large bowl combine
1 cup dried pears
1 cup dried figs
3/4 cup dried currents
1/2 cup candied orange peel, cut in long slivers
1 tablespoon orange zest
1/2 tablespoon lemon zest

lightly toast
1 cup almonds
1 cup hazelnuts
1/2 cup walnuts

and add them to the mix. add
2/3 cup flour
3/4 tsp ground cinnamon
3/4 tsp ground coriander
1 ground nutmeg
3/4 tsp ground pepper
and half as much ground cloves

in a saucepan over medium-high heat, combine
1/2 cup honey
3/4 cup white sugar
stir with a wooden spoon until the mixture reaches 250* on a candy thermometer. pour over the flour and nut mixture and stir to combine. press in to your pan and bake for 30-40 minutes, until the top is dry looking. wait 15 minutes to cut around the edges of the pan and turn out. keeps a good long while in an airtight container in the fridge, and can be dusted with icing sugar for decoration.

If you want, I can tell you how to candy citrus peel.

supplementary reading; nuns and starving virgins

hm..

Once again contemplating funny titles to add before my name, this time in subscription to the LRB.

02 August 2009

on the telephone

Grandma with the six kids making fun of me, in a subtle way, regarding the beets. My mom was barely out of her teens when she got married and had me. Grandma got going later.

01 August 2009

these days

I eat for estrogen in foods. This seems to be having a positive effect on psychotic symptoms. It has in fact been studied - usually in post-menopausal women, although when I looked at the research there were long term patients taking several times as much medication as I am who experienced dramatic improvements with added estrogen. I avoid soy and when left to my own devices eat very little meat. It is always a balancing act.

report

My borscht is now ambrosial. The two beets I used in it stretched a long way. Other additives: onion fried with caraway seeds, vegetable bullion and one teaspoon of dill once the whole mess was removed from heat. Kefir.

indochine

Breakfast

rye(ish) toast
spread with chestnut butter
and
scrambled egg
with mango on top.
Salt and pepper.