You might remember her from this post, or from any other post I’ve made about this a mysterious person called Desiree who may or may not be able to make people disappear and lets me bitch about people in the gym even though she’s at work.
She also has a cute puppy. His name is Mac. Well. His full name is General MacArthur and I expected nothing less of a name from Desiree.
This morning I started a post about how to feel better when depression is getting the best of you. But that felt hypocritical to write, because I feel like shit.
Depression and anxiety sucks. It makes everything awful, and it’s one of those self-consuming things where even though you want to feel better, you don’t want to make yourself feel better. It almost feels self-indulgent to wallow in those awful feelings.
I hate feeling like this. I feel useless. Everyone I went to high school with is growing up, getting married, having real adult jobs, and I’m still on an academic schedule, living with my mother. I’ve accomplished nothing in the five years I’ve been out of high school. I babysit for a living. That’s a job for middle schoolers who can’t find a real job. I feel like everyone is moving on with their lives, without me.
Maybe it’s all the shit that is somehow my responsibility. My brother and I are going to India in June and I’m in charge of getting the visas and everything and the website is unhelpful and confusing and I’ve had to start over six times and I just want to scream. I have screamed. I’ve had tantrums over a goddamn website. I hate how whiny I sound but I’m so sick of everyone delegating things to me. I’m sick of being everyone’s secretary. I’m sick of having to postpone things I want to do because every time I try doing something for myself, someone needs me to do something for them, and that things is clearly more urgent than whatever I’m about to do. I’m sick of feeling like I don’t matter.
And I can’t talk to anyone about it, because growing up, my family was very take-two-motrins-and-get-over-yourself. Being hurt, feeling bad, there was no room for that. My parents got a divorce when I was eight. It was messy. I had to be happy and upbeat for everyone else. I had to pretend nothing was wrong with me because there was no room to be upset. Being upset was self-indulgent, was selfish, and even now I can’t talk about how I feel or admit to anyone that I’m less than absolutely fine because that feels selfish. I feel like I’m not worth worrying about. I hate it, and half the time, I hate myself.
Even here, on this blog, I force myself to write happy, upbeat things. Recipes peppered with funny-ish jokes, silly stories from when I was a kid. On Facebook, I only post happy things, stupid jokes, weird things my cats do. Instagram is even worse. You have to be happy on the internet. Whenever I admit I’m upset, I feel so selfish. So goddamn melodramatic. Whiny. I can’t be happy all the time though, and more often than not, I’m not happy.
Someone I used to trust told me that I shouldn’t measure myself by someone else’s progress. Great advice, sure. But it’s hard not to do. I feel like I’m stagnating, getting stale, wasting my life, when everyone around me is moving forward.
I wish I had a clever, poignant way to end this post. I’m not sure if I’ll even publish it. But I’m not clever and poignant, and I just want to go back to bed.
So as you know, I’ve been trying to ages to make macarons. Something always goes wrong. But Friday I managed to make a decent batch of red velvet macarons. I was so excited. Then I got distracted with making tea masala, and then had a fantastic idea.
What about masala chai flavored macarons?! I mean, it’s not too far off from the red velvet. Instead of adding cocoa powder and red food color, I just need to add tea masala and tint the batter brown-ish. Easy enough.
I started with a basic macaron recipe, found here, and then added a tablespoon of tea masala to the dry ingredients, plus a teaspoon of loose tea leaves that had been ground into a super fine powder. To the meringue, I added a tablespoon of very strong tea, mostly for color (Very strong is subjective. My mom thinks I make tea and coffee too strong, I believe that if you’re not twitching after half a cup it doesn’t count.)
And guess what.
It actually worked.
I was so excited. And they taste amazing. The frosting I used was the same cream cheese frosting for the red velvet ones, and that recipe is here.
You can buy tea masala in any Indian store, but since I only needed a little and had the ingredients on hand, I made it myself. For this recipe it was about five cloves, two cardamom pods, a teaspoon of ground ginger, a teaspoon of ground cinnamon, and a pinch of black pepper, all ground up and sifted to a very fine powder.
Guys, I have nothing against cookies. I really enjoy baking. I really enjoy macarons. So I wanted to bake macarons. It doesn’t look like it would be too difficult. Egg whites, powdered sugar, almond flour, done. But wait. The egg whites need to be aged. And if you try grinding almonds into almond flour, you’re just as likely to end up with almond butter, which, although just as delicious, is no good when you’re baking cookies. And once the very finicky batter is made, the cookies need to be piped out exactly, and they need to rest. The cookies need to rest. The goddamn batter circles need to take an hour long nap before they can go into the oven and become cookies.
So I looked up a million different recipes, and watched a million different YouTube tutorials on how to make these mystical cookies, and thought I had it down. I made a meringue. I sifted the flour mixture. I let the cookies rest. I propped the oven open with a spoon so they would be dry enough.
All for naught, because my first batch came out flat and lumpy.
My second batch came out tasting like chalk.
The third didn’t make it past the rest, because the batter spread and everything got gunky.
Then I bought a macaron mat off Amazon, thinking that that was my problem.
The fourth batch, I don’t think I filled the moulds on the mat properly or let it bake for long enough because the shells came out hollow.
The fifth batch is resting now, and I am praying to every god that it comes out nicely because I really want pretty macarons!!!
I feel like these damned cookies are going to age me prematurely. My first grey hair will be because of a damn cookie.
But I am stubborn. So maybe by batch 49 we’ll have a decent cookie.
UPDATE: As of late last night I made not one, but two successful batches of macarons out of the oven. I am so pleased with myself.
By all accounts, I am a super picky eater. When asked, I joke that it’s easier to list what I can eat than what I can’t. Because for real. This is ridiculous. And I feel awful when I’m out with someone or at someone’s house and I have to ask a million questions about the food and then can’t eat it. The super apologetic pantry-raiding the host goes through to find something I can tolerate just kills me.
I can’t have: wheat gluten, meat (I can’t eat beef, don’t like most chicken, turkey, or pork so I put a blanket ban on meat), lettuce, bell peppers, sprouts of any kind, or milk. But some cheese is okay. Exhales.
And sometimes, I encounter those people who insist it’s all in my head and decide that since I don’t have full blown celiacs, I’m just being a princess and try to slip me gluten anyways. They say that I couldn’t have just “suddenly” become gluten intolerant, and that I’ve eaten wheat my whole life. But they don’t realize that I’ve had these food issues my whole life. And then I eliminated things from my diet, and my problems basically disappeared. But no, they insist I’m trying to be one of those trendy girls who call for attention with food issues. Those people are awful and I have no qualms about vomiting on something they love. I had a colonoscopy and goddamn endoscopy (which I woke up half way through, panicked, and choked on the camera in my throat) when I was twenty-two, and I didn’t do it for fun.
But what do gluten, meat, lettuce, bell peppers, sprouts, and/or milk do to me? Well. Digestive distress is the polite way to put it. If I have any of those things, I have to be within sprinting distance of the restroom for the next few hours, until it’s completely out of my system. And after that, I’m miserable and achy for the rest of the day. My skin breaks out worse than it ever did when I was a teenager, and I just feel like my brain is itchy.
So yeah, I’m a picky eater. And more often than not, I don’t like going out to eat. I have to prepare my food at home, by myself, carefully measuring everything, and making sure the food doesn’t touch. No medical reason for that. I just don’t like when my food touches. I’m allowed to have one princess problem.
Now that my semester is over, I find myself hauling around a lot less crap. However, I did realize that when I carried a bigger bag, I carried more stuff. But I didn’t need more stuff. And I didn’t want to carry a big bag. So after a couple hours of babysitting, I had saved enough money to buy this super precious bag. After a few hours of intense debate with Desiree over whether or not this bag would be totally ridiculous (we decided it would not be), I skipped off to Francesca’s to buy it, because they were having a sale on handbags.
The thing is, this bag is tiny. Well. Tiny in comparison to anything else I’ve carried. So I seriously have to focus on keeping it tidy and make sure I’ve only got what I need in it.
This is basically all I can fit into my bag.
1. My wallet
This is the biggest thing in my bag. I actually had to switch to a smaller, soft wallet to get it to fit into my bag. This cute studded one I got from my cousin for my birthday.
2. Hand sanitizer
This is one of the seventy million ones I’ve got stashed away from previous Bath and Body Works excursions. I’m trying to get through my stash before I go buy more. This Fresh Picked Strawberry scent is one of my favorites. I was so excited to find it in the store that I bought maybe five, and also three or four of the strawberry scented foaming hand soaps.
3. Lip Balm
This is Love & Toast’s Gin and Lime lip balm. It’s made with extra virgin olive oil and a variety of good-for-your-skin butters, and it’s surprisingly light and not greasy. It absorbs quickly, and keeps my lips soft and nice even when I’m all dehydrated. I like it so much that I bought Desiree a matching one in Vanilla Chai, and drove five hours to give it to her. Well, I was going to see her anyway, and stopped at Ulta on the way, and ended up stuck in traffic for an extra two hours. But still.
This is my favorite mascara ever. I keep the smaller size in my purse in case I need it, which is rare. Smashbox Full Exposure Mascara. I like it because it’s not too heavy, and doesn’t make my eyelashes clumpy or thick-feeling.
Even though I keep track of a lot of stuff like hours I’ve worked and blog ideas on my phone, I like having some kind of paper with me to jot things down, like grocery lists or driving directions because I don’t want to have my phone out while driving. This is one of those that you can find in the bins at Bed Bath and Beyond or TJ Maxx/Marshalls. Super cheap, like a dollar or two.
This is a super cute pen. I got it from the dollar bin at Target, for a dollar (duh). It came in a pack of two, the other has pink stripes. I also bought a pack for Desiree and sent it to her in her birthday box. It’s got black ink.
This is the same mirror from my previous post about what’s in my bag. Just a basic mirror from Forever 21, with little flowers and crystals on it. I think it was a dollar or something. Just from the bins by the cash register. I got it months ago. It’s one of many floating around in my various bags.
That’s all I’m letting myself carry for now. As the school year starts or if I travel I’ll have to move to a bigger bag, but for summer when all I’m doing is running errands and babysitting, this is all I need.
PS: That letter tray everything is arranged in is a semi-DIY. Post on that later.
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Sometime in September of 2012, fall of my third and last year of undergrad, things happened that caused a tiny mental break so I decided the best way to cope would be to get a tattoo. Now, I’ve been explicitly forbidden to get a tattoo, by my mother, in a sentence laced with a lot of expletives. Since my mother was 1184 miles away (I checked) and couldn’t get to me for at least a few months (I checked again), I decided now was the time to get a tattoo. I texted Desiree and asked if she wanted to get one too, and initially she said yes, but since her parents were twenty minutes away instead of 20 hours, she didn’t end up getting a tattoo. Sometimes plans are thwarted by big giant plot twists, sometimes by mothers with a big giant paddle.
I made the appointment, and Des agreed to go with me. The studio (Think Ink in Norman, Oklahoma) was nice, painted an interesting shade of green with actual framed art on the walls. The guy doing my tattoo, Brendon, was out front smoking when we got there, and when I said I was mildly allergic to cigarette smoke he put out his cigarette and ran around the parking lot airing out his clothes before he came in he was super sweet during the whole ordeal, even checking like seven times to make sure the needles didn’t have the slightest trace of nickel in them, since that is another thing I’m allergic to.
He started slow, making a few dots that could be cleverly disguised as freckles in case I chickened out, just to let me gauge how bad it was gonna hurt. Not too awful. Not gonna lie, I made Desiree hold my hand. And then when her fingers were bent and bruised, I held her knee. And might have dug my nails in a little. True friends let you claw their skin off when you’re getting ink needled into your skin. It took maybe about an hour total, and afterwards I was a little shaky because I’m a total baby, so Brendon gave me juice and Desiree took me to Orange Leaf to get frozen yogurt.
It didn’t take long to heal, because it was pretty small, and it’s just near my elbow on the inside of my forearm, so unless I’m twisting my arm around, you can’t really see it. Which is great for when aunties are afoot. Half the time I forget I have it, and get startled when I see it out of the corner of my eye, thinking a bug has landed on my arm. I don’t know if I’m going to get another one, but if I do, I’m sure as hell not telling my mother.
I don’t know if this counts as a childhood memory, because I was thirteen when it happened. But whatever.
I was in this musical group, that did musical reviews, which are basically shows consisting of songs from various musicals. The week before the show was tech week, so I would show up at the theater every evening after school, and stay for a few hours rehearsing. I had a ton of homework, and I had to get it done, show or not, so I brought it to rehearsal with me.
I was taking geometry that year, and as such had this huge TI-83 graphing calculator. At the beginning of one rehearsal, I was stretching with my foot up on the edge of the stage, while also doing my geometry work, my books and calculator on the stage as well. As I was stretching, my foot knocked my calculator off the stage, and right onto my other foot. It hurt like hell, but whatever, I was fine.
Until the next morning. My sad little pinky toe was all bruised and swollen, and after prodding it painfully, my mother declared it broken. Unfortunately, since it was my pinky toe, all I could do was tape it to my next toe and keep walking and dancing on it. Which sucked ass.
So yeah, the only broken bone I’ve ever had in my life was because I’m a nerd.