In a Cookie Cutter World, I’d be a Macaroon…

So. Queenie and I attempted to make macaroons…again. This time it actually worked out (if you over look the fact our macaroons weren’t the color they were supposed to be).

Ever since I spent time in London I have been dying to learn to make macaroons for myself because I live in the middle of no-where and trying to find good non-frozen macaroons in East Texas is like trying to find a rock star at a rodeo. It’s possible, but highly unlikely. I love, love, love macaroons. They’re not just a cookie; their colorful pieces of art–not just a cookie being extra. Each macaroon seems to have it’s own personality and flavor! I tried so many in London, I’m pretty sure I had macaroons almost every day I was there!

Living in Phoenix, I could order them from the bakery down the road from my villa, but out here, most people don’t even know what a macaroon is. And I say most because the bakers in my area know what they are but don’t know how to bake them. And even if they did, they still wouldn’t because no one around here eats them. But in Dallas I hear there’s a bakery that makes them from scratch, by hand everyday and the left overs get taken to the shelters and food kitchens. It may be just a rumor, but I intend to investigate every tea room and bakery I can find regardless.

As for baking them myself….

Our first attempt at French Macaroons ended with a kitchen covered in almond flower, a batch of hopeless crumbling cookie feet and two very sad small town, rookie bakers. This time, however we did our research, bought better ingredients and learned from our mistakes.

I knew the basics, like what it meant to have egg whites hold a peak and what the feet needed to look like. But I didn’t know what to do when the feet stuck to the wax paper, or that you’re supposed to drop the cookie sheet so the air bubbles move to the top. There’s all of these baking secrets that no one tells you so when your faced with the traumatizing issue of your beautiful double chocolate macaroon feet sticking to the wax paper you frantically toss them in the freezer hoping they’ll magically pop off like their supposed to.

Reality check: I have never gotten anything to not stick to the cookie sheet, wax paper or glass dish. Fortunately, this is the 21st century and we have google.

I’ll link the recipe we followed down below with the pictures I took of our adventure.

This time we opted for Italian Macaroons and not French Macaroons because the recipe was said to be fool proof. I read so many cooking/baking blogs that said it took them years to perfect the French Method. Well, I don’t have years. Anita and I move in less than a month and I need to have the macaroon recipe perfected for our Sunday Brunch/High tea dates out on the balcony.

We have it all planned out, I even picked out a bistro table!

Any ways, tip for making macaroons: pay attention to what side of the wax paper you put them on, buy a rubber template, and invest in gel food coloring if your not using the natural color. We wanted our vanilla macaroons to be purple so we mixed red and blue… some of the batches turned out to be an ugly grey color and we were sad. Also, if you’re a spoonie like me–get a mixer. All the hand beating and folding brought me to tears and Queenie had to take over because my hands were hurting so bad.

Also, even with all of our preparing, the feet still stuck to the wax paper. Here’s what we did:

We took the wax sheet with the feet on top and placed the sheet in warm water. We used a separate cookie sheet with warm water covering the bottom of the pan.

And for god sake whatever you do, DO NOT LET THE MACAROONS GET WET.

It’s not that hard to set the wax sheet ON TOP of the water, or at least it shouldn’t be. We however had tried to pry a few off with a spatula, so there were holes in the wax paper.*le sigh*

Once the paper sat there for a few minuets the feet popped off like they were supposed to! It was like magic! Only it wasn’t… it was an accumulation of college ingenuity and a lot of frantic googling.

We will be experimenting with flavors now that we have the basic recipe down. We made vanilla macaroons with a chocolate ganache (google that if you don’t know what it is) and they were AMAZING. Enjoy the pictures below of our Macaroon adventure part 2.

The Recipe: http://sugarywinzy.com/basic-macarons-italian-meringue-method-with-raspberry-curd-filling/

Have a wonderful week WildeKats!

OXOXO

Kat

Conversations with Video Game Characters Part 1 

So, I restarted the ME trilogy, you know, for kicks and giggles. I’m playing as a real paragon this time and everything–no more kicking mercs out the window for this Shepard–at least for now. 

Aside from the non stop working and apartment hunting, playing ME has been very therapeutic. Except for the part where I decided to play on insanity because I needed the challenge. I usually play on Veteran or Hardcore. But no, I kicked it up a notch and it took me an hour to get through the collector ship trap thing and since I’m a paragon I couldn’t tell the Illusive man how I really felt. But for the first time ever in all my playthroughs I kept both Miranda’s and Jack’s loyalty so there really is an upside to the chaos. 

Last night, during the adventure on the collector ship, I decided to take Grunt out of timeout. He had been very ugly on Illium but I needed a tank so naturally the Krogan was my first choice. And as usual he kept popping off morbid comments, here’s how the conversation went. Keep in mind this is a video game and he can’t hear me. 

We get off the shuttle and Grunt says: I’ve never seen ship like this before. 

Well no shit, you’re a tank grown baby Krogan. I’ve never seen a ship like this and I’m a seasoned N7 operative and a spectre. But I of course kept my mouth shut. 

Garrus: Looks like a giant hive, rachni maybe? 

EDI proceeds to tell us some techy information on the ships parameters and signature. Then tells us it’s the same ship that we saw on Horiozon. 

Shepard: Maybe the defence towers softened it for the Turians. 

Grunt: Maybe the missing humans are here, or maybe their dead. 

Me: Shut up Grunt, remember what we talked about? 

We find a damaged collector pod. 

Garrus: This is what the collectors used on Horizon, but these are empty. 

Grunt: *with a bit of smug glee* small, like my pod. I bet they begged for mercy. 

I glare, but keep myself from saying anything as we press on to find a pile of bodies. 

Garrus: this looks bad. 

Me: really? I had no idea. 

Grunt: That’s a lot of dead meat. 

Me: That’s is! Back to the ship! Do you know what happens to pre right of passage tank grown Krogans who disobey their space moms and pop of morbid comments like that? They go to the naughty corner. EDI send me someone else!

Of course you can’t do that right now so I mumble some choice words and tell Grunt he’s headed for the naughty corner when we get back. 

Some things were said about using the bodies for testing and how these ones obviously didn’t pass. We continue into a bigger area filled with pods. 

Garrus: They could take every human in the galaxy and still not have enough to fill these pods. 

Me:that’s a cheery thought. Thank you for that, Archangel: bringer of justice. What a lovely sentiment. 

The rest of our journey went a bit like this. Me, being horribly sassy when my companions make comments or do stupid things. Garrus died like a million times, Grunt kept walking in front of my shots and my game glitched and I got stuck ontop of some box thing. Needless to say I knocked the difficulty down to hard core for a bit after I kept dying. 

Last night was anything it therapeutic but it was funny to say the least. 

Yep. Don’t worry, Anita is worse. 

Attitude, Insomnia, and a Whole Lot of Waiting.

So, I’ve been struggling. Not really sure why, I guess it’s just one of those weeks. Pain has been fairly manageable–except for those three days where my entire left arm was in so much pain it was rendered useless. That was a nightmare. I think the fatigue is getting to me. I sleep…but I always feel like I can never sleep enough. A routine hasn’t done me much good. It’s been two months since I started my daily routine and I don’t feel any different. I am by no means giving up…but I yearn for the summer months already.

Apollo (my computer) is being his normal moody greek god self. With all the attitude he’s giving me I’m beginning to question his name. I should have gone with Zeus, or Hades even. My liquid cooling system pooped out after only three or four months. Got a top of the line Cooler Master and I ended up having to take out two memory plates just to make it fit. That’s cool, I’ll just upgrade to two 8 gig plates instead of four 2 gig plates. No big, right? WRONG. Apollo now is no longer reading the hard drive or the raid card. I was so mad last night I abandoned him for Corvinus the PS4. Together, Corvinus and I watched netflix until two AM because…insomnia.

I have another wedding coming up. And I’m moving soon. Also I’m in the market for a new car. I’m trying to save every ounce of money I can in the next few weeks for a decent down payment so that the loan officer may over look certain credit discrepancies. I actually don’t know what my score is…I had a panic attack the other day when I tried to find out. It’s one of those things I think I’m okay not knowing for now.

My doctor told me to ease off the yoga–which I haven’t been doing–and try water aerobics.

Hon…I live in a rinky-dink small town. What is water aerobics? I don’t even think I’ve seen a heated pool here. Supposedly the hospital has a life center, but I can find literally ZERO info on whether or not I even have access to it.

I had been planning on saving my weekly post for the spoonie essentials box which I ordered exactly a month ago and still have yet to receive it. We were told they’d be shipped a little later this month, but with the past two weeks being as rough as they have been, I’m not going to lie, I am a little disappointed it’s not at my doorstep.  I’m excited none the less, and I will get a membership profile if it’s the last thing I do! I had planned on beginning a month to month subscription after I received the first box and was instructed to email a person about the membership profile that I never got. I’m not sure if it’s just because I only ordered one box or if they just haven’t gotten around to it yet, or what. Doesn’t really matter. They’re just like me, and if their weeks have been anything like mine, I will not judge. Even if I have to wait until next month. I will be grateful. I’m beyond excited to see what’s in the April box. I promise I’ll do a reveal. I have something excited planned for it!

Any who, I just wanted to pop in and say hello. I’m working on some things to post. Maybe I’ll post them…maybe I wont.

Love always,

Kat.

A Social Stigma

I have this friend, a fellow WordPress writer and spoonie. In this blog you know her as Elsa. We went to school together. She is, to put it lightly in southern terms, a hoot and a half.

Yesterday while we were having a much needed girls day, she brought up an interesting topic. It’s not uncommon for sooonies to suffer from mental health issues. I myself struggle with anxiety and mild depression. Elsa has been struggling with hers for a lot longer than me and boy is she a BAMF.  But it took her a long time to open up to me about her mental illness. She’s not really afraid to talk about it. But sometimes, talking about it can trigger symptoms. Sometimes sharing her struggles doesn’t relieve tension, it can cause it. And that’s okay. For me I’m the opposite, talking and writing about it helps a lot. Elsa writes poetry; beautiful words weaved together in structured stanzas that represent her feelings and experiences. This is how she copes. It’s hard to write sometimes, but poetry is her way of telling the world about herself.

While we were getting Chinese food, Elsa was reading me some tweets from a feed she follows. They were discussing depression and how they deal with it. One person said that when they’re in an episode they can’t do anything because it’s too difficult. This prompted an argument between the tweeters on the feed because the original tweeter was offended when others tried to comfort them and offer suggestions. This hit me kind of hard.

I know the struggle. I know how hard it is to get out of bed when you’re in a bad place. But putting that information out there, whether you’re asking for help or pity–is it really necessary to argue with people who only want to help? I know everyone is different. And I know that you can’t please everyone. Which is why I’m such an avid preacher of self care and love. If you don’t want to do anything to help yourself, fine–you don’t have to patronize anyone else.

Why is there such a stigma on mental illness? So many people struggle with even mild forms of mental illness. Why do we retreat within ourselves when we should be out shouting it to the world? Why are we ashamed of our struggles and illnesses? Happy healthy people are a facade. They don’t really exist. Everyone struggles, everyone. Don’t be ashamed to ask for help, and please don’t be ashamed of yourself. No matter your illness, no matter what your struggles are. You are beautiful and perfect. Always.

So how do you deal with an episode? Anxious, depressive, manic? Me, I surround myself with comforting things. Music, friends, family. When I’m really low I go to my moms and spend time with my sisters. Yesterday Elsa and I comforted each other, we got our nails done. Had a quiet dinner, she wrote and I killed things on the PS4.

Today I’m struggling physically but I’ve had a stressful week at work. I hadn’t slept, I hadn’t really ate. Elsa was just depressed because she had been doing nothing but working and hadn’t spoken to anyone other than coworkers and her husband in weeks. So she reached out, knowing I was stressed and I suggested a girls day. Some days I can’t handle other people so I hibernate in my room. But I take it upon myself to never have a negative attitude. I laugh about my illness. I find it comical how I shake sometimes, and my friends tease me about all the pill bottles I carry around in my purse. I don’t let my illness get the best of me, or at least I try. And I NEVER let it keep me down or spoil my spirits.

So there you have it. My Sunday morning, flare day rant.

I’d very much like to know what you do to help yourself through hard times. Do you surround yourself with family or friends? Or just one person? Do you colour, have a TV show you watch to make you smile?

Have a wonderful Sunday my loves,

OXOXOX

Kat

Two Spoonie’s Go To Comic Con 

It’s no secret that I’m a hopeless nerd. And what’s the ultimate goal of a nerd/geek? To make it to comic con! 

Now when I nerd out. I nerd out HARD. I’m talking cosplay, meeting celebs and going to every Q&A I can make it to. I’m also very out going on my good days. So naturally I make loads of friends at these places. This year however, I’m afraid I didn’t go all out like I normally do. With my recent diagnosis I wanted to take it easy. I did dress up but my costumes were pretty laid back compared to my past costumes. I went one year in full eleven armour! 

This year, my friend, and fellow spoonie, Anita and I booked a hotel room in Dallas, stocked up on pedialyte and crackers, packed our bags and drove three and a half hours to Dallas where we had the time of our lives! Sadly some of the celebs we had wanted to see didn’t come out but we made loads of new friends. 

I was surprised at how energetic I was. I was hurting, yes. But I think with everything going on and all the excitement the pain was put on the back burner. We went prepared for the worst. And although the first day I got HORRIBLE blisters on my feet–I was relatively okay. I did have one small panic attack Saturday when I got swept away by a crowd. But I found a quiet corner to decompress in until the crowd thinned. 

So for day two I wrapped up my feet, stuffed them in my standard issue federation boots and pushed on. I went as an original series star ship captain for day two. Then a gender swapped eleventh doctor for day three. I met Jennifer Hale, Hillywood, Alex Kingston and a few pro cosplayers. I spent more time going from booth to booth talking with vendors. I finally found someone to make me a custom corset! It will be reversible so I can use it for two costumes! I also found someone who showed me how to make ME armour from Eva foam. That will be my next project. 

Aside from the major crowd and the feet blisters, Anita and I were please with the Dallas turnout. In past years it’s been disappointing (especially since I’m used to Phoenix and San Diego Cons). 

Here are some pictures of awesome costumes we saw! Maybe even a few of me 😜 


I wish I would have taken more pictures.  But I’m sure you can find loads on the Dallas Fan Expo Website. 

Untill next time my loves 

As always, 

Oxoxo

Kat

Life Update: Fibromyalgia and Pain Management

Well WildeKats…

Looks like I officially get to be apart of the surprisingly large group of people who call them selves FibroWarriors. Do I get a pin or something? Chronically Fabulous maybe…or Sick Club? Fibro Chic? No? Okay then…

Spent the better part of the day at the Rheumatologist. I had a pressure point exam, ultra sound of my wrist and fingers and some other lab work done as well as a very informative lecture about Fibromyalgia–mostly stuff I already knew because of my dad’s ex-girlfriend has Fibro. Also a lot of you spoonies have Fibro and have been wonderful in my diagnosis journey.

I’m a little relived that they’re leaning away from Lupus but also a bit nervous and depressed because there are less treatment options for fibro than lupus and other autoimmune diseases. My internist didn’t want to go the fibro route because I’m young, fairly active and I don’t have all the symptoms (no IBS–yet–thank God!). But the Rhematologist is almost positive its fibro, but she is ruling out everything else before making a final diagnosis. Fibro would account for my widespread pain and chest pain but I’d rather her rule out everything else first.  She also told me to do some research, look into a yoga class and also for a physical therapist. The sad thing is, they’ve stopped looking at pain reduction and are now looking into pain management. And this is why:

Fibromyalgia is a pain disorder, not an autoimmune disease. Now this doesn’t make me(or any of you) any less of a spoonie than before. It’s still a chronic illness, just not an autoimmune illness. The fatigue, horrible pain, allodynia(did I spell that right?), light and temperature sensitivity are awful things to live with–which is why some people make major life style changes because of this.

I used to run, dance and weight train in my early college days, not to mention I was working retail and tossing around fifty pound bags of dog food every day. But as the symptoms got more intense I sort of fell out of my routine because it hurt so much to even stand. Supposedly, if you stick with it your body gets used to it and the pain actually improves so I guess its worth a try, right? I’m also looking into vitamins to help battle the fatigue since I’m probably going to have to weed caffeine out of my diet. *sobs*

I don’t exactly eat healthy…I mean…I don’t eat junk food. But my eating habits aren’t healthy. When you’re in a lot of pain, food is the last thing on your mind. I usually get nauseous when I hurt really bad so I rely on peanut butter, bananas and string cheese to get me through the day. That’s not a lot of protein. Apparently loosing thirty pounds in nine months with no noticeable life style change other than my no meat rule isn’t healthy either. This prompted my doctor to recommend me to a blood specialist–just in case. I also received a lecture about making sure I eat properly.

I am going to focus more on healthy substitutes for what I call my ‘spoonie diet’. I’m currently on a quinoa and black bean kick, I just I hate cooking. Never fear! I have it all planned out, when Anita and I move in together she will cook all the veggies in the world for me because she doesn’t eat meat either. Together we will make each other healthier. #spooniesunite!

I’m going to get back to my research and morning decaffeinated tea. I’ll write again soon. Promise.

oxoxoxo

Kat

 

Disabled and Cute

Caution: Sensitive subject, ranting inevitable.

This week has been particularly difficult just mental health wise. Some things happened (not bad things) and I’ve finally decided to move out of my dad’s house this summer. Despite the exciting, life changing decision there’s been a few days with noticeable tension in the air that’s been particularly hard to cope with. I’ve been hibernating in my room instead of going out with Mac or Elsa. I’ve also been working non stop so I’ve been really tired but today I saw something on twitter that made me smile.

It was a hashtag. A spoonie/disabled/chronically ill hashtag and it’s beautiful. All around the world people are tweeting selfies and pictures of their disabled/spoonie/chronic life and fellow spoonies are commenting on how beautiful we are. #disabledandcute I’ve never considered myself disabled. I have one of those parking placards but I never use it because I’m not as bad off as someone with a wheelchair or cane so I park in the normal parking spots so others, who need them, can use them.

Call me stoic, courteous, stupid or whatever you like. On my worst days when I need that placard I don’t leave my bed so that only goes to prove that when people see me out and about they see the healthy me. The me on the outside, primped and polished, make up on point and a wardrobe to die for. (Seriously, don’t mean to brag but I get loads of compliments, even on my lazy days. Forever 21 guys…Forever 21…)

But I’m chronically ill. Chronically ill. I don’t think people get the terminology here. True I may not use a cane or a wheelchair–honestly I don’t think I could use a cane, my wrists cant take that sort of pressure–but I do have limits. This illness will never go away, it’s always there even on my good days lingering in the shadows of my happiness. It creeps up and bites me some times, and other times I’m prepared for when it rears it’s ugly head. I’ve managed to keep out of the hospital so far because I take care of myself but I do struggle every day.

Most days you’d never know I was in pain unless you hugged me too hard. Even on the days I feel like I’m dying, I get up…go to work and deal with it if I can. If I cant my boss sends me home. But he knows I’m trying. I cover up the dark circles left by painsomnia, wear loose slacks to hide the braces on both knees. I bite back the pain and blink away the tears to fool even the most important people in my life. It’s hard…believe me… it’s hard. But I manage, and I know my limits.

Does this make me disabled? I don’t really know. I don’t feel disabled, but maybe just because some days I can’t drive myself to work or open my ginger ale bottle this qualifies me for this prestigious club. I don’t have cute hospital selfies because the one time I was in the hospital I wasn’t thinking about selfies–I couldn’t even sit up. But that was a long time ago. Now, if I need medical attention I call up my doctor and fake it till she can get me in. Sometimes I get admitted for a few hours for an emergency IV bag of fluids or a CT but most of the time she sends me home with a prescription and a promise from my dad to keep an eye on me. She knows how much I despise hospitals, so she agreed to help keep me out. This new internist however is amazing, though since she changed my meds I’ve been ten times better.

So you can imagine how deciding to move out was a big decision? I live with my dad for several reasons, most of them being the fact he had medical experience and he keeps me cheerful. I wont be by myself, Anita–another amazing friend from school–will be my roommate and we will have so much fun playing video games in our nerd apartment. Between the Star War’s bathroom, the Star Trek couch pillows and my hundred and one Harry Potter, Doctor Who, and DC collectibles, we gonna be the talk of the nerd community. I’m currently saving for a new graphics card and a mount for the four piece wall screen 😉 Good bye 180 degree view and hello 4K gaming!!

BTW finished the ME trilogy and I’m officially prepared for Andromeda. Gonna play around with Halo and DA:O until March 21st.

So yea… I wouldn’t say this was a rant really.. but I had a lot to say. I’m working on some creative pieces to post. I know I’ve been slacking and left some series hanging. I apologize. I’ve been writing a crossover with a friend and its been hogging all of my attention.

Any ways,

I love you all.

OXOXO

Kat