It scares me a bit. A lot, actually. That so much time has passed and yet…
I’m not sure what to say. I miss her. Still. Always.
It scares me a bit. A lot, actually. That so much time has passed and yet…
I’m not sure what to say. I miss her. Still. Always.
I’ve been thinking about this post for a while now and I’m still not entirely sure what to say. Please bear with me while I try to figure this out.
It’s been 6 months since Lucky died. I can’t quite believe it’s been this long. It has gone by incredibly fast and incredibly slow at the same time.
I remember all the details very, very clearly. Maybe that’s because I actually remember. And maybe that’s because I had a very clear vision of how it would happen. That sounds barmy, I know. But I did, for some reason.
When I found out that Goldie (my sister’s rabbit and my rabbit’s sister) had passed away, I knew exactly what fate would befall Lucky. Whether I actually knew or I simply guessed because I’m fantastic at expecting the worst, I don’t know. But I did know how it would happen and it turned out to be so very real.
When Goldie died, it was during the early morning hours. She was not in pain, her heart simply stopped.
I knew right then that Lucky’s passing would be completely different. Maybe my brain was simply suggesting that it would be the opposite, because the rabbits were opposites in every way. Or maybe my brain went immediately to the most extreme outcome. I don’t know.
Goldie and Lucky were a surprise. Not completely, of course, we knew we were getting rabbits, but when we visited the breeder for the first time, we didn’t know that we’d be able to take them home with us already. We thought we’d choose ours and go and get them a week later or so. But the breeder, he was a really nice man and took care of his animals beautifully, said they were already good to go (not nursing anymore and standing on their own four feet), so we took them home.
I don’t remember ever having been so sure of a choice I made. Not before I chose Lucky and not after. It was love at first sight. She was so tiny (the runt of her litter) and so fluffy and so beautiful. I’d never seen her coloring in a rabbit before (they call it blue), only ever the typical black-and-white and tan ones. Obviously, she wasn’t actually blue, but had this lovely dark grey fur that was just the softest thing I’d ever touched. And she’d gotten some of her dad’s Lionhead genes, because she had a little tuft between the ears.
For the first week, we kept them in a big laundry basket, because Dad hadn’t finished building the hutch yet. But when it was done, they moved in and lived happily ever after. They truly did.
We’d thought we’d have to separate them eventually, because they’d fight, but they never did. They’d bitch at each other, but real fights never broke out (and they can get vicious, as we saw with the little ladies later on). They literally lived together their whole lives. Well, almost.
Which is why I thought, when Goldie died, Lucky would follow soon after. I thought she’d miss her and wither away without her. And Lucky did miss her sister. I know that. I saw her sniffing and looking. And I remember how miserable she was when Goldie was sick and had to be kept inside under supervision and we didn’t know if she’d make it through the night. I remember how miserable Lucky was then and that we actually had to take her inside as well so she could be with her sister. Which is why I was worried about her when Goldie died.
But Lucky lived on and did her sister proud. She grew older and older still. Her fur started losing it’s original color and began turning light brown in places. She went blind, one eye first, then the other. But that did not stop her either. She went deaf at the very end. Even that could not faze her.
So it was quite horrible to always have that vision, that premonition of how her death might come to pass. And in the end it was way worse than what I’d imagined.
Some people say it’s good not to know when your pet will die, because you’ll never live with the fear. Some people say it’s good to know when your pet will die, because you can prepare yourself. But as someone who has experienced both, I can honestly say that it’s never easier, one way or the other. It’s never less painful or less of a shock.
When Goldie died, I saw this image…this image of someone going to check on the rabbits and coming back saying that Lucky didn’t look so good, that she was barely moving. It was getting darker outside in that image, so I always thought it would happen in winter. Which I mused would be great because Lucky would have been around to see another summer. One more time in the green grass.
On December 16th, around 5 pm, my brother went to check on our rabbits and he came back worried. He said Lucky, who was always more of a scaredy rabbit and moving around a lot, even when she was already blind, was just sitting there and not moving at all. And that is when I knew. I immediately started crying; just like I am right now, typing this.
My Dad said he’d go look at her and he did. He did not come back. I went out to see her myself and he said her breathing was very labored. He actually didn’t need to tell me this, because I knew. I simply knew. I took her from him and my knees buckled and almost gave out. She had lost weight and was way too light.
I knew the time had come to keep the promise I’d made to her the very first time I’d seen and held her. The promise to keep her safe, to keep her away from harm and to never let her feel pain or distress. I told her it was okay and to not worry about me.
And then we took our very last trip.
Whether you believe what I did was right or wrong, I do not care about. I firmly stand by my decision. I did right by her and that is what counts. She took her very last breath with me there, by her side.
We buried her in a beautiful, handmade little casket, in a shadowy corner in the garden, next to her sister. Laid down flowers and lit candles.
I’ll often sit with her, just like I did when she was still hopping around. I’ll talk to her, sometimes. And sometimes I’ll simply be there, in the moment. And remember my beautiful girl.
Brought her flowers today. They were blue-ish roses and the most extraordinary of all of them. I thought they fit perfectly.
The worst part, I think, is that I’ll never feel or smell her again. Sometimes, when it’s really bad and grief is a real pain, I’ll cuddle Minnie, who, as you might know, came along right before Lucky passed. And she’ll sit there and let me, almost as if she knows, because she’s really not that much of a cuddler. And then I’ll sit there and cry.
The crying has gotten better, I think. I’ve never really dealt with grief before, at least not at this level and I was surprised at what it brought along. In the beginning I was crying every day. And then at random moments. I’d just break out into tears.
And the anger.
I already deal with anger issues, but I’ve never felt it like this. I didn’t even realize this was caused by grief until I watched someone’s video about what grief feels like to them and that’s when it hit me.
The anger has gotten better as well, I think. I don’t feel so unstable anymore.
It’s still painful, obviously. But after almost twelve years together, that’s to be expected, I believe. And warranted.
We recently renovated their graves, so to speak, and made their little resting place into a beautiful stone garden. I’m currently looking for a way to engrave stone, so I can make her a little headstone, or something like that. And I’m on the hunt for a 4-leaf-clover plant. Because, as you probably know, they’re lucky.
There’s this song that I heard on one of my favorite shows. I played it at her funeral. It’s called Fare Thee Well (Dink’s Song) by Oscar Isaac and Marcus Mumford.
<< …I remember one night, a drizzling rain
Round my heart I felt an achin’ pain
Fare thee well, oh honey, fare thee well… >>
It fits, I think.
It’s been six months. I can’t believe it’s been six months.
This is the second installment to my series about low spoon cooking and it’s about using the no machine/no knead methods to your advantage.
Often times, “no machine” is used in the context of making ice cream. Regular ice cream recipes require a machine in which the cream mixture is frozen while being stirred. These machines can often be quite expensive and the process of making ice cream can be tedious. Which is why there are recipes that don’t require you to cook the mixture and then churn it (see below for my recipe of choice).
But I also use the term “no machine” in the context of not needing a standing mixer (like a kitchenaid) to be able to prepare something. Standing mixers, like ice cream machines, can be expensive. And not just expensive but also fairly bulky to keep on a kitchen counter. Plus: unless you bake a lot (or prepare very extensive recipes with a lot of steps to them), a standing mixer is not really necessary.
In fact, I had my first experience with owning a standing mixer/food processor combo about 12 years after my mom started teaching me to cook and bake; we only ever had a handheld mixer, which is something you don’t even need for the majority of recipes I’m going to be mentioning in this post. Most of them are using the “no knead” method, which is another step down from the “no machine” one, because “no knead” recipes add time and subtract the work part.
If you have a bit experience with yeast doughs (or even if you don’t), you might know they need love. The more love you put in through kneading, the better your dough. But let’s be real: even if the dough is relatively easy to handle and forgiving, kneading isn’t something everyone is always able to do. Or wants to do, for that matter. I like making a nice yeasty dough, but kneading is often the part of the recipe that makes me say “nope, not today”. And this is when the “no knead” method comes in, which uses less yeast than most regular recipes and adds 10-14 hours more rising time.
The only work you really actually do, is mixing the wet into the dry ingredients and only so much so that there’s no floury bits left. All ingredients have to be saturated. And that is it. Then you let it rise/ferment. (All recipes I mentioned feature videos that show everything step by step.)
Here are some recipes I love.
For all the recipes above you only need a bowl (I prefer glass, but that is definitely your choice) and a spatula or wooden spoon to bring the dough together. You can also use your hands, but due to my sensitivity issues I sometimes cannot stand the sticky dough, which is why I use my favorite wooden spoon. Then, you’re also going to need cling film (Saran wrap/plastic wrap) or a lid for your bowl, plus a towel or two to protect the bowl the dough from drafts.
All of the recipes are from ladies who also have youtube channels, so you can also check out the videos on their sites to follow the recipes visually step by step.
Next up: more recipe ideas, including basic ingredients like pasta and how to use them in different meals.
Thank you for reading and happy baking. 🙂
I have often thought about creating a blog post like this, though not in this context. Let me start at the beginning. A few days ago, my best friend (who is about to move out and live on her own) asked a question on twitter that I’ve been dealing with for a very long time; “what are some easy meals I can cook that don’t require a lot of spoons?”.
Now, this might seem like a somewhat odd question since every kitchen should at least have a few spoons. That’s not the kind of spoon she was talking about however. She was referring to “The Spoon Theory” which was written by Christine Miserandino. It details what it is like living with illness (in her case it was a physical illness, but it also works if you’re explaining a mental one) using spoons as a means to explain it, ie “you only have a certain amount of spoons to spend on doing daily activities and when they’re gone, you’re done/cannot go on, so you have to pick your battles and what you spend your spoons on”. If you have never read it, I would highly recommend it, as it is a brilliant way to describe living with an illness, which can be a very abstract subject to explain and understand. You can find it here.
As someone who is dealing with this issue (“do I have enough spoons for this?”) every single day due to several mental illnesses/disorders, I have picked up a few tricks. Especially since I am actually a fairly independent person (aside from living at home), life with an illness can get tricky, to say the least. Cleaning, doing laundry, that’s something that can be left for the next day or the day after if need be, but cooking and taking care of yourself is not. So here is where we get back to the actual question: if I don’t have enough spoons left, what do I cook? And if I cook, will I then have enough spoons left to be able to eat it?
I love to cook. I love to bake. But sometimes I am just not able to.
Tip number 1: Meal preparation. And I am not talking about “meal prep” as in “what bodybuilders/athletes often do to control their food intake”. I mean meal preparation in the sense of cooking/baking on a good day and conserving/freezing it for days where you can’t (or just don’t feel like it/are lazy, which is also a valid reason).
BUT let’s be real. Even if you do all these things, like I do, sometimes it just doesn’t cut it. I’m very conscious of what I eat and that I eat food that is mostly healthy, which is why I started cooking homemade meals and freezing them, or preparing foods that would only need a couple more steps to make them into a full meal, but even I, who loves to cook, can’t deal with “a couple more steps” sometimes. Sometimes, it is just too much and I don’t want to care about watching a pot boil. Not to mention that it usually doesn’t. So please take this advice as serious as anything I said before: it’s absolutely fine to use short-cuts. Heating up store-bought soup? Fine. Throwing some bought, frozen fries in the oven? Great. Making a frozen pizza? Awesome. Don’t beat yourself up because of that. People will tell you it’s junk and you shouldn’t. So maybe that’s true. But you know what else is true? You had dinner. Something to eat on your plate. And you made it yourself. So maybe you didn’t cut the potatoes and salt and pepper and drizzle them with oil, but you put them on a baking tray and you baked them and you took them out and then you had food on your plate. Let’s just take the win, okay? And don’t put yourself down because that happened a few days in a row. It’s fine. Better cooking and baking days are coming. I had fries, frozen, store-bought ones, on Sunday evening, Monday evening and Tuesday evening. And then I had enough spoons left again to make pasta with sauce on Wednesday. And you know what? That’s awesome.
So don’t beat yourself up if it doesn’t work out one night. Or four nights in a row. It’s going to get better and then you’re going to cook up a storm.
Be proud of your achievements, even if it is just throwing some instant soup mix in some hot water. Because sometimes life is tough and dark. Take your wins for what they are.
Thank you so much for reading.
Let us think the unthinkable, let us do the undoable, let us prepare to grapple with the ineffable itself, and see if we may not eff it after all. – Douglas Adams
Life is like an ever-shifting kaleidoscope – a slight change, and all patterns alter. – Sharon Salzberg
I suffer from several (diagnosed) mental disorders. With those often come along anxiety and panic attacks, which I also suffer from. A lot of people don’t understand what that means, what consequences for quality of life it brings and how crippling and disabling it can be. Personally, I don’t really mind them not understanding. It’s a very abstract concept, to be sick and not yet be physically harmed in any way. What I do mind is the fact that people judge what they can’t understand. They don’t take it for what it is or try to understand as much as possible, do research and talk to people about it, they simply judge and express an opinion that they are not qualified to have. They are allowed to have it, yes, but they are not qualified to speak on the topic. Especially when it comes to coping techniques, I have experienced seriously judgmental people.
And I thought I’d explain.
Here are some of my coping techniques and how people have reacted to them. It’s a tale of caution; trying to show my fellow humans to Think, then Speak and not to be too fast to judge someone.
I wear leggings a lot. I also wear them outside a lot. I wear them to go grocery shopping, to run errands. And I’ve seen the stares and the pointed fingers and looks. I’ve heard people say “Oh, wow. She probably had no time to do laundry, as lazy as she looks” or “Looks like a slob, that one”. Now, these comments might already be seen as rude, based on the fact that people judged me just because of my looks. They’re rude because people see the leggings or yoga pants and immediately think of laziness, even though that might not be the case. Maybe I could live with the rudeness. Say to myself “Well, sometimes you are, in fact, a bit lazy. Just let them talk.” But they’re not only rude, they’re also very hurtful to me. You see, there are a few reasons why I wear leggings. 1) Often times, I can’t wear anything else. Because my skin starts to crawl when I even think about putting the fabric on my skin. Because sometimes my skin is so sensitive that anything I wear makes me have itching fits. Because sometimes, my skin doesn’t feel like it belongs on my body and if I were to wear jeans, for example, which can be quite rough and stiff, would only amplify the feeling. Which then usually results in the aforementioned itching fits (scratching my skin until it turns red, raw or starts to bleed), anxiety and general uncomfortableness, like nausea and headaches. My legs, arms and neck are the zones that are affected the most, so I try to wear things that are comfortable to me. Hence the leggings. 2) I have an eating disorder and often feel “not at home” in my body. I’ve had issues with my thighs for years. Wearing leggings, outside, helps me to grow stronger in the belief that I am okay in my body. Whether parts of it jiggle or not. This is not a simple ‘Hrmpf. I wish my thighs weren’t as big, I should work out” life-improving thought. It’s more like a….”I don’t want anyone to see any part of my body oh my god I can’t breathe someone get me out of here” situation.
So yes. Maybe I am lazy sometimes. But I do have fresh clothes at home, I do laundry regularly and I am not a slob because I choose to be a bit more comfortable. This is how I cope and I will not apologize for saving myself.
Another thing that I often do, is listening to music while out and about. I will wear headphones so I don’t disturb other shoppers et cetera and I always only wear one earbud, so I can hear other humans who might be calling my name or saying hello. I also only wear one earbud for safety reasons. To be able to hear the traffic, for example. Now, I’ve often conversed with people wearing my earbud, listening to music. And I have just as often been asked to turn it off, take out the earbud or even had it taken out (ripped out) for me. Of course, these things happen while I’m simultaneously receiving weird looks or angered stares. Here’s my problem: I understand that people assume I am not listening. I understand that people think I’m rude or showing disinterest. I understand that people want my full attention and don’t think they’re getting it. But they don’t understand that the only way I am even able to listen, is by using this coping technique. They don’t understand that I am not showing disinterest but in fact showing all the interest I can, thanks to the music in my ear. They don’t understand that the only way that I am able to give them any attention at all, and without falling into an anxiety or panic attack, is by listening to the music in my ear. Now, you might be thinking “Well, how the hell should I know?” and you are right to do so. So I’d like to tell you that “I need this. Sorry”, if you ask me to stop the music or take out the earbud, like I’ve told quite a few people before. I won’t say more when you ask me during the conversation, for your and my own protection, but I shouldn’t need to anyway. Something I apparently still have to do though is to remind my fellow humans that I am giving you all I’ve got. I’m giving you all the interest and attention that I have got in me when I am talking to you and we’re having a conversation. If I didn’t, there would be no conversation. And now that you know that I’m giving it all I’ve got, please do the same instead of forcing yourself or your societal views on me, making decisions for me by touching my things (‘making me listen to you’ by turning off my music) or touching me. My decisions are not yours to make, my body is not yours to be touched just because it is there and can be touched. The same goes for my things, like mobile phone or mp3 player.
This is sometimes the only way to be able to have human interactions, carry out conversations or exchange niceties. I’m giving it my all and I am not being rude. And even if I was by your definition, I’d rather safe myself and be rude about it than drown in my own anxiety. This is how I cope and I will not apologize for saving myself.
Sometimes, I don’t drive. Sometimes, I only go grocery shopping or run errands when someone I know is with me. I have often heard things like “I wonder why she doesn’t drive, you think she even has a license? Old enough, though”, “Think she lost her license?”, “I know she has a license but it took a long time till she got it. Maybe she’s afraid?”, amidst laughter and funny looks. Not to mention the comments I’ve heard about going shopping with my Mom or Dad. “D’you think she still lives at home?” “Maybe she has no money.” Here are the facts: I do drive. And I drive very well. I’ve never had a ticket, never been stopped for speeding. I always obey the law and traffic regulations. I don’t speed. I’m great at parallel parking and I often manage reversing into a spot in one go. It’s true that it took me a long time to get my license – nearly 2 1/2 years – but that’s because of my illnesses – not being able to go to classes, take driving lessons, having to cut driving lessons short. And you know what? It doesn’t matter. Not to me. Not to my parents. It didn’t even matter to my driving instructor, who is very good at what he does and was an enormous supporter of taking it as slow as I needed to and taking the decision when to drive into my own hands. And believe me, he was there for it all. He was right there in the passenger seat when I suffered from panic and anxiety attacks or had a nervous breakdown or broke out into a crying fit. I appreciate him, his support and his patience. Because he taught me that driving a car comes with a lot of responsibility for myself and others and the feeling of not being up to it, whenever it may creep up, should not be treated lightly. So even though it took me longer to get my license, I do drive and I drive as well as anyone could, to be honest. I’ve never changed any habits learned during the lessons. I crawl through the zones that even the police are too impatient not to rush through. So there. Not driving doesn’t mean that I am afraid of driving. Or that I can’t do it right, that I am bad at it. It means that I have learned, through years of therapy, when to say that I am not feeling well and need help. So I might need someone to drive me to the drugstore or wherever, but at least I don’t drive with brainfog or a severe panic attack and am endangering others. I think that’s a pretty good thing.
Now for the part of going out with mental support; Mom, Dad, Sis. Yes, sometimes I can only go out when someone else is there with me. That has nothing to do with the fact that yes, I still live at home or how my monetary situation is. Not to mention the fact that that is a sore spot for me since I am not, in fact, even able to work or move out. But they don’t know that the reason I sometimes only go out with a companion, is that I’m often in such a dark place, that literally anything could throw me into a panic attack or itching fit. And I want someone there to help me out when that happens. I want someone there who sees the signs and will get me out of there as fast as possible, even when I might already have frozen in terror. Which is another facet of learning how to ask for help, courtesy of years of therapy.
So while you might say I am not grown up or independent enough, I’m answering with this: I am independent enough to ask for help and I think that’s a pretty grown up thing to do. I am independent enough to look for ways to live an adult life under the looming darkness of a crippling illness. And I think I’m doing pretty well. And if you’re still not convinced that it’s maybe a good idea for me to have someone with me, just imagine me saying this: it’s not my job to make you more comfortable with something you’re not suffering under. It’s my job to make myself comfortable. And if that means going shopping with my Mom or having my sister drive me somewhere, then so be it. This is how I cope and I will not apologize for saving myself.
I would like to mention that this is not an attack or a war cry. It’s an explanation for my fellow humans. I felt like there were a few things that needed to be said and explained. Thank you for reading this far. I appreciate it.
At this point, I’d also like to thank my friends Mel and C. who never push and never pull. Who see that I sometimes need to take the day second by second and never tell me to do it differently. Who support me and catch me when I fall. Thank you. I love you, guys. ♥