Sunday, May 31, 2009

Heat Depression

It's that time again.  Not time for summer fun, but time for my summer-related depression.  It happens every year, and it started when I moved to Arizona.  As soon as the temperatures rise in May, I start to get moody, more easily agitated, and depressed.  It feels like the sun is keeping me hostage.  I am caged in the house, even though I think of myself as an outdoorsy person, and it feels like it will be forever until the weather is acceptable again.  The heat is downright oppressive here, ask anyone who has spent a summer day in the "Valley of the Sun."  When opening you front door feel like opening an oven, and people can be seen handling their black steering wheels with oven mitts, you know it's bad.  Personally, I sometimes sleep with my feet on a cold pack and I put away my thick blanket for the summer in favor of a thin cover that is scarcely more than two bedsheets sown together.  Anything else heating my body will cause me to get up in the middle of the night and dowse myself with cold water.  In fact, when I first moved here, I used to take an ice-cold shower with my pajamas on in the middle of the night to cool down.  That way, the cold water stayed on my skin longer.  As it is, I can't go to bed without slathering my arms, legs and feet with lotion to maximize the ceiling fan's cooling effect.  Sigh.

This problem really isn't something I can explain to anyone who has ever felt this way.  My husband is no exception.  As much as I love him, his "suck it up and deal with it" attitude isn't helping and may be making it worse.  He thinks it's all in my head and that thinking more positively about my life in general will make these feelings go away.  I wish it was that simple.  I really do.  But the truth remains.  I hate living here.  I hate that the landscape is brown, not green.  I hate that 6 months out of the year are summer (and hot, nasty summer at that!)  I hate that the only family I have that lives here can't wait to leave either, and that my family in California rarely visits because of how much it sucks out here.  I hate that my house doesn't have a large shade tree in the front or backyard.  I hate that I can't grow a lot of the fruits I love out here because the heat will kill them.  I hate that there is a real danger of my kids becoming couch potatoes out here because I wouldn't blame them for not wanting to get off the couch in the summer  I don't either.  I hate that it's too warm to bike or walk, even in the evenings.  I hate that I can't open the windows to let in a tiny bit of fresh air because AC is so expensive.  And most of all, I hate that no one else wants to be here, either.  Anyone with the funds to do so either leaves for the summer or leaves permanently.  Who can blame them?  I'd do the same if I could.  It's nobody's fault, and I wouldn't want anyone to stay here just for me, but it does add to the effect.  Summer here sucks because I'm stranded here, and many of my friends are gone.  I have a husband with a wonderful job he loves in a good company.  We own a house and have a child.  I can't go anytime soon.  My hubby would have to have at least 5 years of experience in his job to make a move feasible.  I'll be three years in July.  

I do feel better at having written all my thoughts down.  I will make a genuine effort to make the next post a more positive one.  Maybe I'll write my next post after taking a cold shower.  Just a thought.

Friday, May 29, 2009

I'm 30!

I turned 30 two days ago.  I don't feel any different, except that now I feel the need for daily exercise, which is probably a good thing.  To be fair, this started a couple of weeks ago, not just with my birthday, but I am really getting concerned about my body staying healthy and flexible so that I can hike, climb, dance, and just play with my kids as they get older.

It's weird to think about the goals I once had for myself by this age.  I was certainly going to be done having my four children by now, I was going to be a successful veterinarian who had graduated from UC Davis, I would be happily married and living in an awesome house in Pacific Beach (in San Diego) with my husband, and of course we were both going to be thin and fit beach-goers who surfed at least twice a week when the waves would permit.  Crazy, huh?  Yeah, I know that NOW, but I was raised to believe that I was capable of anything I set my mind to.  I also had a mother who had given birth to 6 children by the time she was 30, so I figured it wouldn't be hard to have 4 children with a decent amount of time spaced between each.  Sigh...naivety.  

So, I made myself a corn-free triple chocolate birthday cake that turned out pretty yummy.  I think I'd change the mousse filling next time and make it sweeter, but my best friend disagrees.  She thinks the richness of a whipped dark chocolate ganache is perfect.  Anyway, here's my yummy recipe for a delicious, moist chocolate cake.  Bonus: it's a one-bowl recipe!  I love making tasty food with minimal clean-up!

One-Bowl Moist Chocolate Cake

2 c. white sugar
1 3/4 c. all-purpose flour
3/4 c. unsweetened cocoa powder
1 1/2 tsp. baking powder (I use Featherweight brand so it's corn-free)
1 1/2 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt
2 eggs
1 c. milk
1/2 c. vegetable oil (use canola, soybean, or another non-corn oil)
2 tsp. vanilla extract (I use my homemade vanilla.  Recipe on bottom)
1 c. boiling water

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C.)  Grease and flour two 9-inch round pans.  In a large bowl, mix all dry ingredients.  Add eggs, oil, milk, and vanilla and mix with mixer for 2 min.  Stir in the boiling water last.  Batter will be thin.  Pour evenly into two pans.  (This makes 6 cups of batter, for those of you, like me, who have only one 9 inch round pan that you have to clean and re-use to make a layer cake!)  Bake for 30 minutes until cake tests done with a toothpick.  Cool completely before frosting.

Corn-free Vanilla Extract

one 750 ml bottle of potato vodka
2 vanilla beans

Put the vanilla beans in the potato vodka and wait at least 3 weeks.  I waited 6, and mine tasted great!  It will not be as dark as the vanilla extract you buy in the store, but it tastes fine and it's way cheaper.  No one has noticed a difference in my house!

My birthday was fun, even though it happened midweek and only a couple of people could join me for cake.  My son was unusually well-behaved (unlike now...he's hanging off my shirt and pulling on me as I type,) and my husband and I (sans child) ate at The Keg, which is a really tasty steakhouse.

Warning: TMI ahead

My 30th birthday had one surprise left at bedtime.  Let me just say that this has never happened to me before, and I thought that if I could do such a thing that I would've discovered it before now.  I'm one of those women who is blessed with vaginal orgasms.  I can have amazing, multiple orgasms with penetrative sex, not just oral.  It's nice.  In fact, I didn't know that not all women were like me until my mid-20's.  It made me sad to think that not everyone could do what I took for granted.  Anyway, I have to say that the one thing I was thankful for, besides said orgasms, was that I was not a female ejaculator.  Those women, rare as they are, have to deal with the most unpleasant part of sex for a man: the messy clean-up.  So, surprise, surprise, I received an interesting gift that night.  Yes, I squirted.  It was lame.  I was not pleased.  More than that, I was really shocked and so was my husband!  I thought that the women who did make such messes only did so for an extraordinary orgasmic experience.  Not so.  I mean, it was good.  It was really good, in fact.  But it wasn't the best, not by a long shot.  The best orgasms I've ever had are still from my second trimester of pregnancy.  Those were mind-blowingly incredible!  This was just an 8 out of 10.  Weird.

In short, I think the universe has a strange sense of humor.  Happy Birthday!  Now go wash your sheets.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

I can pee in my own bathroom again!

Until Sunday night, I was without a bathroom.  The plumber ripped up the entire floor and the wall behind the toilet (thus removing the toilet from use) and charged us $600 to fix the leak and leave the bathroom a wreck.  It was a great deal, since we knew my brother could fix it up and make it look nice, but the weekend project extended to a 9 day bathroom renovation.  So, I now have a new vanity, sink and faucet, medicine cabinet/mirror, paint on the walls, tile on the floor, and vanity lights.  My bro still has to put in the new shower doors and finish he walls with those little floor boards along the corners, but I can use the toilet, sink and shower in the meantime.  It looks fabulous, although I hope our next renovation is a little less spontaneous.  

Spring cleaning came late this year, mostly because I'm lazy but also in part to the need to remove the thin layer of dust that settled on everything during the remodeling of my bathroom.  I just finished the living room today and I feel a little bad at having laughed at my son while vacuuming.  He's terrified of the vacuum, so I try to comfort him and make it less scary.  I set everything up, plugged in the vacuum and then remembered I forgot something in the other room.  While I was away, I heard the vacuum turn on, followed by a blood-curdling scream.  I laughed, knowing exactly what happened.  My son has never seen a red button he hasn't wanted to push...until today.  I laughed the entire time I cuddled him.  I couldn't help it.   He deserved it after the hundreds of times he's shut off the dishwasher mid-wash or turned off the DVR right before I set something up to record.  

My last little giggle for the day came from Oprah.  I'm a Dr. Oz fan.  I just love him, and today was Oprah's farewell show for him, since he's getting his own show.  Hopefully it'll push that travesty ("The Doctors") off the map.  Anyway, Oprah was highlighting all of Dr. Oz's best moments on her show.  One of them was his experience during Hurricane Katrina when he helped a tiny baby who was on death's door survive.  It was really touching.  Then Dr. Oz said he's tried to track down this little boy ever since, but with no name to go with the face, he had no way to find him.  Of course, Oprah surprised him with the boy and his aunt.  There it was, a Kodak moment with Dr. Oz walking up to the now three and a half year old, ready to hug him with tears in his eyes...and the kid swings his teddy bear at him nailing him in the face.  I just about fell off the couch.  Funny!  That's a child's gratitude for ya.

Friday, May 1, 2009

This Beltane sucks

Normally I love Beltane.  It's my second favorite pagan holiday, just behind Samhain.  Oh, I also love Ostara and Yule, but there's just something about Beltane.  Even though the good weather is over in Phoenix by Beltane, I still usually count it as a great day.  

Not this year, though.  My house has some major leak in it, so a plumber is here dissecting my bathroom to try to find it.  The car is late on both registration and emissions testing, and my husband was already pulled over for it, so it's gotta get done asap, which means today.  We're also woefully overdue for our optometrist appointments, and today is the only day available for like a month.  Oh, and every possible event seems to be going on today, so no one's available to celebrate.  

Happy Beltane everyone.  Hope your holiday is better than mine.  Of course, if you're not spending it awaiting a huge plumbing bill, waiting at the DMV, or getting that annoying pupil-dilation thing done, then I can almost guarantee that it is.