Tag Archives: cooking

Here’s To A Zip-a-Dee-Doo-Dah Day

Daily Prompt – Zip Ten years or so ago my Hubby and I took a job cooking at a summer camp. It was situated on Vancouver Island on parkland along the coastline. I must say that it is one of … Continue reading

How NOT To Use A Mandoline

First of all, just to be sure, I am talking about a mandoline, which is a manual kitchen slicer. A mandolin is an Asian stringed instrument! This was the joke of the day on Sunday. Sunday was a day to … Continue reading

Chronic Pain – The Day After…

When I am moderately to overly active one day, I can pretty much write off the next one as a pain day where I am taking extra meds and being totally uncomfortable in any position. Chronic pain wasn’t new to … Continue reading

Foodie Friday – Chorizo!

It sounds like something you might yell at the top of a mountain you just climbed, or in a huddle before a football match in Europe. Cho-ree-zo! However, it is a spicy Spanish sausage. Yesterday at the grocery store I … Continue reading

Pressing the Reset Button

A post-shift sky: January, 2016

The comparative clarity of a  post-shift sky: January, 2016

Warnings: Malcolm Tucker has entered the room … oh, & a sweary song about a dinosaur

The reset button is the neutron-flow polar opposite of the big red button which must never be pushed. It’s the one which, in my opinion, is pressed by sleep, and dreaming. The button which keeps us ticking over: which restores us to – in my case, comparative – sanity.

But sleep doesn’t always come easily: not to those with busy minds, or, as in my case, spocked up schedules thanks to working some day, and some night, shifts.

I am a social soul, but sometimes, I need my own space. Especially after a run of night shifts, or when everything gets too much, for whatever reason. In other words, when that button needs resetting.

Here’s a few things which help me reset:

  1. Listening to music via earphones. When I first drafted this, it was Monday 11 January, and we’re all saying hi to David Bowie.
  2. Writing, including but not only blogging.
  3. Mashing tea. Not just dipping a sad tea bag into any old cup, but making a proper Northern ceremony out of it, with a favourite teapot, spoon, mug, and leaves.

    Teapot selfie, Beverley: Sept 2015

    Teapot selfie, Beverley: Sept 2015

  4. Add some biscuits, or toast. If toast, then the toast rack is a must.
  5. I feel odd saying this, but here goes, and deep breath (no, not that Deep Breath): housework. Specifically, washing up, laundry, taking out the rubbish, and/or sorting out the recycling. But never dusting. Dusting is for people who iron.
  6. Sometimes, but by no means always, cooking. As I draft this, I’m eating home made sag paneer. Stinky food rules okay! (Unless you’re standing less than a foot away from me.)
  7. Nature, birds, bird food, feeding of. The local birds are in favour of this form of reset. Making myself a curry, not so much.

    A reasonably chuffed looking blackbird: Doncaster, June 2015

    A reasonably chuffed looking blackbird: Doncaster, June 2015

  8. Sorting through paperwork. An excellent button resetter, at times. Other times, I can’t be arsked.
  9. Not surprisingly, looking at clips of the Good Doctor and friends on YouTube.
  10. Or Malcolm Tucker, who has an uncanny resemblence to the Doctor.
  11. Or Frasier. Or Black Books.
  12. Reading, though mainly as a way of trying to get to sleep following night shift(s).
  13. Mindless conversation with cats, the rat, the birds, and/or myself.
  14. Looking stuff up on Wikipedia. Sad, I know.
  15. Or the Guardian.
  16. Or lurking on The Straight Dope. I haven’t joined, I’m far too tight for that.
  17. Writing lists. I generally find them several months later, with some items still undone.
A beautiful city: Durham, 2015

A beautiful city: Durham, 2015

The Sharp Pointy Things in Life

Whether you live with a mental illness or not, there are all sorts of events, large and small, that happen in life, that can sometimes come along and poke at the protective bubble you hold around your mind, your heart, your spirit…and sometimes, the bubble can burst.

I have been experiencing quite stable mental health for a briefly extended period, but the sharp pointy things in life today have me feeling quite down.  I have been furiously patching holes and strengthening weak spots and doing the time-honored “keep as busy as possible” routine.  Some days, that is just not enough.

I have been without one of my medications for two doses, without another for one dose.  This might not seem like a big deal, but, to me, it is HUGE.  A few missed doses can send me in a tailspin.  A few missed doses can mean the difference between a productive and upcoming Christmas-ing weekend, and a weekend spent hiding out in my couch bunker.

Still, I’m trying and pushing through.  I had the piss-poor idea to get on Facebook about an hour ago, wherein I learned of the sudden death of a former co-worker, made all the more sad because linked to that page, was the page of the obituary two years ago of her fiance, who I was also friends with at my last job.  He was killed in the line of duty on the police force.  I’m not sure what happened to her.  I know they both had very small children, and I know they both seemed like really nice and special people.

Of course, that also got me thinking about my former life working in the women’s prison, and working in mental health in general…and there was a pang in my chest and a tear in my eye and I clicked all of that mess shut and shoved it under the figurative bed.

Sadness, angst, horrific things on Facebook.  Sometimes I wonder why I belong.  Sometimes I wonder why every sad animal abuse story is on my feed, or why I pay any attention to the news.  It is distressing often, upsetting frequently.  And then there are the people, and the things they post, and the fact that I am often just shaking my head, thinking, “Hmmm, why do I even ASSOCIATE with these people?  People that could say these things, do these things, are interested in these things.”

I really think sometimes that Facebook brings out the worst in people.  I do find great inspirational sayings and funny things often, but the negative…wow, sometimes I think it really outweighs the good.

People often say, you must be careful what goes into your head.  This is why I don’t read certain books, don’t read certain magazines, listen to certain types of music, speak with certain people (at least very often).  I am, in general, very vigilant about what I feed my brain.

Except Facebook.  I let it in, every time, even when it punishes me for doing so.

Today has not been the best day.  I have fought all day to get a few prescriptions filled, and have had just ridiculous anxiety about the fact that I can’t seem to get them all taken care of.  The sharp pointy things of the day have deflated my balloon.

I’m not getting ready to go burrow my head in the covers and cry for my mama.  Instead, I’m sitting (as prescribed) in front of my sun lamp, and then I’m going to go to my aqua exercise class.  After that, who knows.  We baked a ham today, and the house smells good.  I am going to focus on that.

I am going to say:  Rosa, how can you possibly be in a bad mood when your house smells of finely roasted pig and you have family that loves you and a boyfriend that would do next to anything to make you feel better?

How, indeed?

Filed under: Life Worth Living Tagged: anxiety, bipolar disorder, cooking, death, depression, dying, Facebook, funerals, insurance, mania, medication, mental illness, mental-health, mixed episode, social media, stress

Mid-June Check Up

june 2015

Hard to believe it is the middle of June, but here is the round-up of my activities from my template.

EXERCISE: I did 20 minutes one day. Yes, you should be laughing. I did, however, buy some hiking shoes. I hope I get some use out of them. We are planning a short walk tonight when the air gets cooler. I’d give myself an F here.

GETTING OUT OF THE HOUSE: I did this 11 days out of 14. This is a HUGE improvement. Just getting up, getting dressed, and having a shower every few days is pretty good for me. I’d give myself a B here.

WATER: I am not drinking enough specific water. I should be drinking at least 4 big glasses a day. I am doing more like two. My Jenny Craig gal says 72 ounces but gee, can you drink that much? I’d give myself a C here.

COOKING: I cooked or made arrangements for dinner every night this month. I may take this off the template. I think this is a habit now. I’d give myself an A here.

DEVOTIONAL: Eleven days out of 14 here. This is getting to be a habit…maybe another month on the template? I’ve earned a B here.

STAYING ON MY FOOD PLAN: Did this only one day out of 14. This plan may be unrealistic, but I need this many calories to lose one pound a week. I just need to quit cheating. I am tired of being fat. Definitely an F here.

SHOWERING: Have been showering every three days or so. If I don’t go out may go four days but that has not happened this month. Got my hair cut shorter so it is easier to manage. I think another two months or so on the template. I’d give myself a B on this.

I am a little worried about my overall appearance. I have been going with minimal make-up and hair style. I’m also fat. I don’t spend the time getting ready that others do. I’m not sure if I need to perk up my look or not. Part of me just doesn’t care.

NO CANCELLING/ RESCHEDULING: I cancelled a lot but I rescheduled everything. So I did get it done. But I cancelled a whopping 6 days out of 14. This is seriously ridiculous. I just wake up and panic and can’t go through with everything. And I need to stop scheduling more than one or two things per day. I just get too tired. I’d give myself a D on this.

FOLLOWERS: I set a goal of 1000 followers on the blog by the end of June. I am picking up about one per day. At this rate, I should have my 1000 at the end of July. After that, I figure I don’t much care how many followers I have. Not that I don’t welcome new people, but the numbers don’t matter too much. I’m okay on this goal.

WEIGHT: I weigh exactly what I weighed at the beginning of the month. This isn’t bad considering my best friend came over for a long weekend and I ate everything that didn’t move too fast. I wound up gaining 4 pounds but then losing 5. I’d give myself a D here, but it is HARD to diet on vacation. I still am shooting for losing a pound a week.

VISITING BLOGS: My goal is to visit 7 blogs per day. I just started this goal so we will see how it goes.

CHURCH AND SEEING FRIENDS: I’ve been to church twice and missed once because of being out of town. An A there. I’ve gotten together with three friends so far.

I have not been to my women’s church support group, but it is sparse in the summer. I will try to go when I am off vacation.

I’ve only checked my friend list once this month. I plan to do that today.

I did two activities my husband wanted to do that I did not: had dinner with his sister and went to a rock store.

I did get a massage.

I have not seen my therapist (who is now $60 a visit as she does not take Medicare) or my psychiatrist, but I have them both scheduled for June.

I had set a new goal this month of doing something alone with each of my three kids. I have tea scheduled with my daughter, but need to do something with each boy. That is a goal for June.

BTW, Danny has a 94 in his summer school biology class. We have had him type his notes each night and then we quiz him on them. He’s had 2 exams and three quizzes and has sailed through. I realize this is micro managing a college kid. However, I think it is showing him some good study habits. It is also giving him self confidence since that disastrous last semester.

Anyway, that is the update. Opinions welcome!


Man I Feel Old Today

I’m only 46 but today is my daughter’s 30th birthday and it’s making me feel so much older.

My mood has been pretty steady. I had a couple of days of depression but I accidently missed a dose of my pills so I think that is to blame.

I am still spending a great deal of time cooking, cleaning and hanging out on the computer. I am also trying to get in at least a mile a day, the exercise seems to also be helping with the mood. I don’t know if it’s chemicals or because I am accomplishing something.

I’m down 28 pounds now! I am only creating goals of 5 pounds at a time so that I don’t get overwhelmed, at least the scale is finally going in the correct direction.

I am thinking of applying for a work from home job. I think it would be good for me to do something with my time and bring in a little money as well.

Time for me to make more positive changes.

Cooking Helps!

This might seem to be a strange post for a blog entitled Bipolar1Blog, but really it is not. Cooking is a great way to stay in the now, thereby avoiding the drama which leads to high emotions. Staying calm is one of my primary goals in managing my bipolar 1 disorder. Not only do emotions run rampantly out of control when I am manicky or depressed, I think maybe not managing my emotions properly also leads to mood episodes. So anything that keeps me calm and out of the drama in my head or the astronomical amounts of anxiety I sometimes experience, is GOOD! I think that is also why Art therapy works when people are not feeling well. Their mind is occupied with the task at hand and isn’t flying around in clouds of drama, anger, depression, mania or in the past or future. It really is well tethered to the present and at peace. As such, cooking helps me stay in the Now! My mind is silent, I am concentrating on the task at hand in the now, the egoic mind is not trying to brew up some high drama or dragging me along to voyages in the past or future. When I am cooking, there is no next moment or past moment. I am chopping in the Now, sautéing in the now, boiling in the now. And then I have a wonderful meal that I eat in the Now :-)

(I am reading the rest of The Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle. When I am done with it and done with deciphering it, I will post about it. It is an absolutely revolutionary, incredibly instructive book on how to live a life in the Now!)

We had breakfast for dinner tonight.

IMG_5087    IMG_5092

An omelet with organic eggs,


hot green peppers, and oodles of fresh, chopped cilantro,IMG_5089

tomatoes, onions, (sorry forgot to take an onion picture…)


all cooked in olive oil.


I also made some potatoes with cumin seeds, onions, and dried red hot chili peppers.


And served it with a Blue Dog baguette,

IMG_5083  IMG_5090

and some Sauvignon Blanc.


A lovely, simple dinner. Here’s to the Now! Cheers.


Chicken and Dumplings

I’ve been meaning to share this recipe for a few weeks now. It’s one I made up because hey, cold times of the year are a great way to fill one’s belly with deliciousness. It’s a comfort food, and while I’m low-but-good, comfort is definitely a Good Thing™®.

Chicken and Dumplings

Ingredients (soup base):

  • 2 chicken breasts, thawed
  • 8 cups of chicken stock (8 cups of water, 5-6 chicken stock cubes)
  • 1 can of cream of chicken soup
  • 3 large carrots, chopped
  • 2-4 stalks of celery, chopped

Ingredients (dumplings):

  • 2 cups flour
  • 4 tsps baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 3/4 cup milk


  • Celery salt
  • Pepper
  • Onion salt (or powder)
  • Garlic salt (or powder)


1.       Take chicken stock and put in pot on stove.

2.       Take chicken breasts and cut into small strips. Add to stock; bring to a boil. Reduce heat and leave to cook for half an hour covered.

3.       Add dash of celery salt and vegetables. Stir, cover again, leave for another 20-30 minutes.

4.       Mix ingredients listed for dumpling. Shape to preferred size (I do this by hand), and drop into hot soup. Do not stir – cover and leave for another 20-30 minutes.

Note: If dumplings are too runny, add more flour. If too stiff, add a tiny bit of milk. You want them fairly stiff though.

5.       Add pepper, onion salt/powder, and garlic salt/powder to taste, stir. Leave another 10-20 minutes, then serve. Serves 4-6, depending on how hungry you are.


Eat in good health!



The post Chicken and Dumplings appeared first on The Scarlet B.