Saturday, June 12, 2021

Potluck Saturday - Queijadinha

Today, I was a little adventurous and went with a friend and co-worker to a co-workers house for an outdoor party.  I was able to see people I work with that I hadn't seen in ages. It was nice to see them. It was a potluck party with a Latin American theme.

I brought a Brazilian dessert treat called 'Queijadinha' which are essentially little custard type tarts/little cakes.  The traditional version has butter and cheese but I found another recipe without those elements. I had never made them before and they turned our pretty well.

I had thought of making Brigadeiros or Pé de Moleque (Peanut Brittle) as the recipes weren't too complex.  I did make an attempt last weekend to make something called Paçoca but that did not come out well at all.  It was a simple recipe but I had issues from the get go.  Someone asked me why I made a Brazilian dessert and my response was that my favorite skateboarder - Bob Burnquist - happens to be from Brazil. 

It was interesting to watch the facial expression because it was clear they did not know who Bob was. Given the crowd I was pretty sure no one had any interest in skateboarding or cared and I was fine was that. I never go to parties as I don't have a good time typically and I hate crowds.  This wasn't bad at all. I managed to last 3 hours before pulling the plug.

I can't say I was happy to see people but it was nice to chat with people and catch up a little. I'm just not one to socialize this way.  Being around people is kind of draining for me and I'm very much the type of person to go somewhere by myself.  I can be around people for a while and then I need to go away to recharge myself. 

The past few weeks have been a bit hard because I hit a patch of a few days where I questioned why I was even here.  I have no reason to stay here.  I'm just wasting space and don't feel I have anything more to contribute.  I did get a bit of a knock on the head when my brain decided it would be funny throwing suicide into one of my dreams.

Here is the thing...during my years when things were very dark for me, I'd have frequent dreams of killing myself by jumping of a building. I'd always wake up the next day feeling better.  A psychologist I once saw suggested that I was killing off parts of myself that I did not need in my dreams as a way to find myself. I haven't had these type of dreams in for a looonnnnnnggggg time.  When I had this most recent dream I did not freak out about it as I didn't jump off a building.  I was talking to another person but I knew in dream land it was just a representation of a part of myself.  I was explaining that I didn't want to kill myself but that I had no reason to really be here and for them to understand that.  It was a moment to internally vent to another part of myself how hard it is to deal with this dysthymia crap all the time. 

Oddly enough, this internal dialogue must have needed to happen because the next few days I felt good. I don't want to say happy but I was in decent spirits. It was like something was resolved and I could enjoy things around me no matter how small. 

When I explained this all to a friend, they said I never fail to amaze them in my abilities to look at the situation and understand what is going on.  He said I could have easily freaked about the dream but the fact I was able to recognize it was not like my previous dreams was very telling.  I was definitely proud of myself for looking at the situation.  When it comes to my dysthymia and my past of multiple suicide attempts, I have continually over the years tried to understand it and not be ashamed of it. I have tried to look at the ugly side of it all which a lot of people don't want to do. Let's be honest, does anyone? 

Okay. That's it for today folks.  A little adventure and a little learning about myself.

Today's musical treat is an acoustic version of "Here Comes The Rain Again" by the Eurythmics. Enjoy!

Rock on!


Sunday, May 16, 2021

Can't Remember What It Feels Like Not to Be Depressed

 I cannot tell you when I last remember being happy. I cannot tell you what it feels like not to be depressed. This is one of the lovely parts of having dysthymia (aka persistent depressive disorder (PDD).  While dysthymia is not as severe as major depression, it is a chronic condition. With major depression you can remember a time when you were happy, there is a baseline, you can be diagnosed with major depression if you have symptoms for a least two weeks.  With dysthymia it's two years. 

What sucks is to have dysthymia and then throw depression on top of it and have what is called double depression. Been there done that. Being in that mental state is horrible. I know all too well to what it's like to swim in the muck. When I was a teenager there was a time period where I was in such a dark place that I tried to take my own life. 

I didn't try once or twice. I tried seven times in a four year time period. I was never institutionalized because no one ever knew. It was a journey I walked all alone. It was dark, isolating and painful. I did not understand what was happening to me or that I even had a mental illness. Back then, you didn't talk about mental health like you do now.  To even mention that you tried suicide was taboo.  I have to say even now, there is a still a kind of distance.

I get it. What do you even say to someone who has made an attempt? I don't have the answers for that. I wish I did but I know it's hard for both parties. I often felt misunderstood and the worst part I didn't know how to explain how I felt.  I didn't have anyone to confide in either. It was a very solitary journey and then for a moment in time it wasn't.

It's hard to ask for help when you don't know what kind of help you need.  I remember in college when the school counselor told me that no one could help me until I helped myself.  It never made sense to me and kind of irritating since I was in her office every week. The whole point of me being there was for her to help. Insert the eye roll here folks.

I have mentioned my friend Sean on here from time to time. He left a lasting impression on my life and being friends with him was not easy. Sean helped me get my life back, or at least helped me reach a better place in the world. Sean was the first person that I opened up to about my suicide attempts and how I felt.  He did not run away but stood with me. The reason why my darkness did not scare him as it did to so many others was because he had been there too.

Sean was my brother in darkness. He understood the world, the path, the journey. It felt nice to know I wasn't so alone in that world. I can't remember a time in my life when I was not depressed but I can remember a time in my life where I had someone who understood the darkness, understood the pain, the negative thoughts, the inner saboteur, the struggle of trying to make it to the next day. Sean gave me hope that I could have a life that while dark, didn't have to be as dark as it once was.  

I hope all of you out there who may be struggling find your own Sean.  May you find someone that helps lessen the darkness for you. 

Rock On!


Friday, May 14, 2021

If You Don't Have the Right Tool - Improvise!

I'm starting to think the world is incapable of problem-solving. I run in to it a lot at work with those younger than myself. I have encountered some around my age or older but what is it with people in general not being able to problem-solve? They don't take the time to look at the issue and figure a way to solve it. They rely on people like me who have the answers to their problems.  From a work perspective sure, tap the person who has been there 22 years but seriously, I shouldn't have to serve up answers on a platter.  No one bothers to read the training guides or videos, they just want you to give them the answer. 

When something breaks there is usually a tool to fix it but sometimes that tool might not be available. You have to get creative and think about the issue and come up with an alternate plan. You have to improvise, get a little crafty!  

As a viewer of Bucky Lasek's Buck Yeah channel this came up when he had to do an adjustment to the fenders on the car he was driving as part of One Lap of America. He mentioned in his video that the tires were rubbing against the fenders a bit and needed to fix it.  There is a tool for that but given Bucky's location he had to improvise. So many people gave him grief for it, so much so he had to pin a comment to the video. 

I understood what Bucky was doing and it was pretty ingenious if you ask me. If people hadn't been so singularly focused on him not using the right tool, they would have realized Bucky had just taught them an alternate way to bend fenders so they don't rub your tires.  Bucky improvised.  He took his knowledge and experience of building cars, racing them, etc. and came up with a way to fix the issue.

If there is ever a zombie apocalypse, I'm fairly certain all the people who were butt hurt over what Bucky did will die first. If you can't problem-solve and improvise then you're screwed. 

My dad was able to create anything out of junk. He was able to fix just about anything and was good at working out a solution to a problem.  Sometimes, I'd ask him what he was working on and together we'd work it out or I'd come home from work with potential solutions. 

I hope once people settle down from their mild butt hurt from Bucky's video that they'll come to understand what he did, why he did it the way he did and realize that they just learned something new. 

I hope my co-workers will take the time to figure stuff out instead of constantly just emailing me or calling me because it's easier. I'm happy to help people but I'm not a help desk. Let's be honest, it will probably never happen. One can hope though, right?

Even with my dysthymia, there are coping strategies that over time quit working and I have to adjust and adapt.  I have to find new ways to keep going. I have to improvise but whatever is going on I find a way to move forward.  I can't fix my dysthymia but I can learn more about it, about myself and give myself the chance to be better than the day before. I may not always have the right tools but I know I simply can improvise.

Today's music treat is Within Temptation's - 'Whole World Is Watching' featuring Piotr Rogucki.  I'm more familiar with the album version of this song featuring Dave Pirner but a little change is a good.

Rock on!

Saturday, May 1, 2021

One Lap of America and Legends League Game of Bike

I learned something new last night. There is a motor race called "One Lap of America" where people team up in their cars and race across America.  If you're familiar with those old 'Cannonball Run' movies with Burt Reynolds, Dom DeLuise, Sammy Davis Jr., Dean Martin, Farrah Fawcett, etc. it's the same idea as "One Lap of America".

I learned about this from Bucky Lasek.  I follow his YouTube channel but Bucky hadn't mentioned it until I took a peek at his Twitter account. I was curious and decided to check out was the race was about.  If you're into this type of stuff you might want to check out the One Lap of America website.

You can follow Bucky Lasek on:  InstagramYouTube - Buck YeahTwitter

When I checked this morning, Bucky and Texas Dave his partner in crime in the car were in third place for their division but 20th overall in the standing out the 73 cars in the field. I have yet to find an interactive map to show where cars are as that would be fun but I imagine that would be hard to do.  It looks like there are checkpoints and it would be cool to see live footage of cars coming through.

Update 5/1 1:21 EST: You can catch live feeds when they do time checks at certain points on Facebook: Tire Rack One Lap of America - Home | Facebook

Speaking of competitions, I turned into the live stream of the Legends League Game of Bike Cory Berglar vs. Morgan Wade press conference that Scotty Cranmer put on yesterday.  Today's the big competition day. Check it out here: Game of Bike  The press conference was pretty funny and the most amazing surprise happened - MAT HOFFMAN!  He is a legend in the BMX community and to find out he'll be the referee is pretty exciting. 

I like watching BMX, sometimes, depends on if it's a contest or something else.  I tend to lean more to watching skateboarding. I've never watch a rally race but I like Bucky and he was one of fave skateboarders growing up.  Happy to lend to support one way or another. 

Today is one of my better days in dealing with my dysthymia although I wish the pounding headache would go away but that's due to weather and the rain we've been having. I'll be happy when we have sunshine and warmer weather here in Vermont.

I wish you all the best and go explore!  If you like expeditions of our oceans then check out NOAA's Ocean Expedition feed.  They have two live feeds right now as they are on an expedition mapping the ocean floor.  They do underwater dives with an ROV from time to time but not sure if their current trek has it planned. I watched some live feeds a couple of years ago and it was pretty cool to see all the different type of fish and other sea animals they discover. I have to say there are some pretty ugly fish in our oceans but some really beautiful ones too. Scientists and the operators talk to help identify what you are seeing so that adds to it. It's really calming to watch. Seriously, if you need stress relief, this will do it. 

I'm out of here! Go enjoy yourselves folks. Do something fun today.

Rock On!

Wednesday, April 28, 2021

When the Universe Smacks You Upside the Head

I'm in one of my moods although I'm always in a mood. I have dysthymia after all.  Subtle humor there, folks. Turns out I can make fun of myself after all.

From time to time, I dig through the internet to learn more about dysthymia and all the crap that goes with it our surround it.  As of the late, the feeling of being lost has been present. Understandably so given that I’m burnt out from work, it’s been raining for nearly a week and I feel tired and unmotivated. Even though I feel all that and then some, I function. I’m robotic at this point but I have my moments where I work on a craft project and feel good.  What I wouldn’t give to go wander the aisles of a craft store right now.

In my digging, I found this quote:

“The desire for more positive experience is itself a negative experience. And, paradoxically, the acceptance of one’s negative experience is itself a positive experience.” - Mark Manson, The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck: A Counterintuitive Approach to Living a Good Life

The funny thing is, the book this quote is from is sitting in a pile in my office waiting to be read.  I guess the universe decided to smack me upside the head.  Sometimes it has to do that.

I have to admit that being in the “darkened forest" is a familiar place.  It's okay to visit but not a place to stay too long.  To give more context.  I see myself sitting on a fence.  On one side, the darkened forest where my depression, past suicide attempts and all the dark things live. The other side of the fence, is a beautiful meadow with a little cottage near cliffs by the ocean. The majority of days I sit on the fence and from time to time I'm either in the meadow or the forest.

As much as I want to be in the meadow feeling happy and good, it's uncomfortable at times. Like I don't deserve to be there.  When I visit the forest, I feel at home. I recognize it and know what to expect. It's messed up but it's me and I know how to navigate this world. 

I leave you with a Chris Joslin compilation of two runs he did in SLS. Enjoy!

Rock on!