Krissie: work work work

That’s oatmeal and raspberries and splenda brown sugar. One thing I need to work on is finding healthy alternative sugars. But that’s for later.
I was over at Sally’s, writing (cause she’s out of town) but it didn’t work, and I came home and shoved just about everything in my office into a big box and covered it with a tablecloth. Hey, that’s what my sister used to do. So my office is relatively clean (You wouldn’t think so to look at it but for me it’s a vast improvement) because I discovered to my absolute delight that I only have 8k words to do. (at the least). I have to do enough words to finish the book, which will be more).
Easy peasy. I can have the draft done by tomorrow night, then have Thanksgiving on Sunday when Erin and Alex can come, and we’ll have a fabulous time.
I’ll do revisions and get the book off early next week and then I can dance all over the house.
I don’t know why … yes, I do know why I had such trouble with this book. I suffered a major life blow in the middle of it, when my mother died. It’s really thrown me. Someone mentioned yesterday that sometimes the grief is harder when you have a rocky relationship with your mother. I don’t know, I just know the past was very rocky indeed and I’m having a shockingly hard time. Part of which is she’s the last. This will be the first thanksgiving without anyone from my nuclear family — they’re all gone (and Mini-me is in Tahoe).
But I’m not thinking about that, I’m thinking about my office, and then I get to sew.
I think one thing that’s helped through all this is the handquilting. Not that the quilt is worth the effort, but I was with Crusie and she didn’t have a free motion foot. I have several, so I can remedy that (just as I had an extra walking foot for Lani’s bernina). Anyway, I bought this autumn fairies panel at Keepsake a couple of years ago, so last year I decided I had to do something with it. So I took all my extraneous autumn fabric and cut it into 2/5 inch strips and then sewed them together randomly, then cut those into 2.5 inch strips. I cut out the panels and then framed them with a soft green and the multi-pieces strips. I used the walking foot to outline them, but since it’s an autumn quilt that I wanted finished this season (blew that, but wtf) I worked on it down in NJ.
So, off to work. Well, here to work.
The rest of you can probably take it easy this weekend, but for me, I’m in full Maidens of St. Trinians mode.

41 thoughts on “Krissie: work work work

  1. Office Wench Cherry says:

    It’s good to see the Maidens back, they are a positive sign. The quilt is gorgeous. And if hiding all the excess crap in your office gives you the room to write and finish the book then I say go for it. Once the book is off your shoulders then you can focus some energy on decluttering.

    Grief is such an odd emotion. It brings every other feeling you ever had about the person who is gone kicking and screaming into the light and then won’t let go until you deal with them. I would guess that for you one of those hidden emotions is the deep love you had for your mom and how to reconcile that with how she treated you. Please know that I would never say anything like that if you hadn’t been so open here about her.

  2. I am so envious of your many talents. And now to find out you’re a quilter! I have long wanted to learn enough to make t shirt quilts for my children (who aren’t children anymore) with all of their sports and high school memorabilia. I’m taking off on a mighty quest to find you and have you teach me, sensei.

  3. My sister had a rocky relationship with my mother and I would say, a year and a few months after our loss, that yes, rocky relationship = much, much harder loss. My past year has been dazzlingly awful. I still cry almost every day and I miss my mother with an ache that never goes away. But my sister’s got this mix of pain and guilt and regret that’s making her crazy (-ier, really). She’s enshrining our mom now in a way that borders on creepy, idealizing her almost because of her regrets, I think.

    That said, I’d still say that it’s been a shockingly hard loss. My mom would be so annoyed with me for how intensely sad I am.

  4. Hugs, Krissie! My Grandmother Hazel used to say that keeping her hands busy with sewing or quilting meant her mind was free to wander. May your mind wander down happy and productive paths while you quilt.

  5. Kieran says:

    Krissie, I’ve done tons of research on sugars and would love to share with you.

    The only acceptable sugar alternative is stevia. This is what all the most reliable, mainstream experts say. However, there’s also blackstrap molasses, which is loaded with potassium. And there is whole fruit, nature’s own sweetener.

    The stevia comes with caveats:
    1) no more than three servings a day of ANY alternative sugar
    2) it comes in various forms–liquid extract and powder, I believe. Get the one least concentrated so you get less of it per day.
    3) any alternative sugar, including stevia, is not completely vetted as being totally without risks, which is why they say limit it to three servings a day. But stevia is the least likely to cause any sort of biological harm.
    4) the problem with ALL alternative sugars is that you’re setting up your brain for a failure of sorts. it will no longer be able to appreciate the sweetness of natural foods, such as fruits. We’re not meant to “need” so much sweet…the brain, if given the chance to be weaned off the excessive sugar hits we provide our taste buds on a daily basis, will be perfectly happy with the sweetness of fruit.

    For example, if you weren’t supplementing your diet with real or artificial sugar/sweeteners, your oatmeal and raspberries would taste sweet enough without Splenda brown sugar.

    It takes a week–heck, I’d give it a month–to get past the pangs of “I need that extra sugar hit.” But once you do, it’s like a whole new world. You start tasting sugar in everything, and it’s cloying. It’s no longer a great pleasure. I used to love M & M’s, and now I don’t. I avoid them. I moved to super dark chocolate, which I couldn’t bear. And I even sorta hated people who liked it. (I tend to hate everyone who runs, too–I’m a mean, bitchy, jealous woman at heart, jealous of everyone who is healthier than I am and more successful; all of that comes from my own insecurities, of course, and then I tell myself not to fake-love them but to do what I have to do to get myself out of that kind of funk, which is inevitably doing something difficult I’ve been avoiding).

    But anyway, back to sugar (grin), when I got the dark chocolate with sea salt and almonds, it became the food of the gods!

    Sugar sucked!!!

    Now, I’m exaggerating a little. I still keep honey and drizzle that occasionally on something, but I always use my teaspoon to measure it.

    I love my daily oatmeal with raspberries and a tablespoon of peanut butter.

    Krissie, the truth for me is that everyone I know struggling with a weight problem loves sugary drinks–real or artificial, it doesn’t matter. And when I suggest to them that they drink water instead, they don’t like that. At all! So I then suggest sparkling water–I love Perrier with lemon or lime, and I also love Pelligrino, which I drink in honor of Blake Snyder, the awesome screenwriting coach who conquered his alcoholism and got onto Pelligrino instead. I always think of him, every time I drink Pelligrino instead of a Coke.

    As Blake taught me about writing and life, there are options. Always!!! So come over to the dark side…abandon sugar as best you can. Forego the need for so much sweetness in your life. Try water. Experiment with other sensory experiences.

    Re-frame. I think of you in the world of the acerbic anyway. Jenny, too. That’s a compliment. You gals are too substantive to give way to the siren call of sugar.

    Delete this if I’m being incredibly annoying.

  6. Jane F says:

    I happy to hear that you feel more in control!

    I think the box idea could actually be helpful with decluttering (once you are ready to begin again.) It gives you space to move and sort through what remains out. Then you could sort through what’s left in the box. Of course none of these steps should be an all at once marathon.

  7. Kieran says:

    I meant to add that this morning I had pumpkin pie and Cool Whip for breakfast, so I don’t believe in total astringency at all. I think if you stick to a healthy frame of mind 48 weeks a year, you’re gonna do great!!!

  8. @Sarah: I understand. I imagine my mother watched me during the hard time of my grief with her arms crossed and her foot tapping. It was about 2 years before I felt I was functional again, and that was just a few months ago. But it’s still there in the background. Grief certainly doesn’t go away quickly or easily.

  9. You sound good, which is great to hear. Bring on the maidens of St. Trinians! Good to hear you are almost done with the book, too. Very, very good for you. You rock, Krissie, and don’t you forget it.

  10. Marilyn says:

    Amen to the no sugar or substitutes! I read about anti-inflammatory diets and then decided I could do anything for three weeks. I stopped all sugar and sugar substitutes for three weeks. The first few days was hard, and then I stopped craving it. Also – for oatmeal, a spoonful of cinnamon makes a huge difference. It tastes fabulous and you don’t miss the sugar at all. However, I’ve had some sugar over the holiday, and that sweet flavor is a seductive bitch! Now I’m craving it again. Back on the wagon today!

    Your quilt is gorgeous!

  11. I’m stuck at the day job waiting for someone to pick something up getting quite peeved. I called him about it THREE hours ago. (Guess this is my WTF Friday?)

    Shuffle things around and get that book done! I sent my first ever edited MS off to my editor today so it’s back to the WIP. Though I’m considering a dive into the Black Friday ocean of insanity when I get out of here. Wish me luck.

  12. Kelly S. says:

    One like wasn’t enough for me on this post. Love this comment! I too am a stevia person and am slow weaning off that too. And I am jealous of those who have knees that allow them to run. Chocolate gives me headaches so, Kieran, to me you have a special ability that I wish I could do – eat chocolate!

  13. Kelly S. says:

    I spent the morning shopping. Hit up Joann’s fist and now have the stuff to make a bag with excellent lighting (an outline was a door buster). A new coat has already come in handy as it is 31 F degrees here and SO windy!

    Now for a nap before visiting the aunts and uncles. Home tomorrow!

  14. Kieran says:

    Kelly S., I’m thinking of something else for you that gives me a special “treat” feeling–how about a cafe au lait–coffee, decaf coffee, or chai tea with hot milk? It’s basically a half-and-half proportion of tea or coffee to milk. We used to serve cafe au lait at the patisserie I worked at in the 80’s before Starbucks was invented. You don’t need a fancy steam machine for the milk. Heat it on the stove.

    Can you do caffeine? Does chocolate give you migraines? I mentioned this recently–something else that feels kind of treat-like is a slice of tart apple with a sliver of fresh parmesan, or apple slices and a dollop peanut butter.

    Anything that involves ritual and presentation can fill that need in us for “treats.” That’s one reason people like cocktail hour besides the cocktails. It’s the ritual–it’s always 5:00 somewhere, right? And afternoon tea serves the same purpose. You can make your own special ritual every day with really simple things–even water with a fresh-sliced lemon that you slice only as you’re about to drink the water from a beautiful glass. Wrap the lemon up, and slice off a wedge per day, a perfect circle. Make it a Zen moment.

    Mary Stella, I read this about Nectresse. I don’t know how reliable this source is, but apparently the article was derived from information on the Nectresse website. It makes me skeptical that it’s any different from the other alternative sweeteners out there:

    I’m looking forward to hearing from Dr. Ann Kulze and Dr. Oz what they think about it. It appears that monk fruit is only one ingredient in Nectresse and not even the primary one.

    It would be great to find the perfect sugar replacement and while we’re at it, the cure for the common cold and for cancer. These fixes would be awesome. But meanwhile, we have to live with what we’ve got. My dad has been eating several packets of Sweet-n-Low a day for as long as saccharine has been around. And he’s eighty-years-old. I think saccharine is really bad for him, but guess what? He’s still alive and kicking.

    All of these little decisions we make about nutrition…they do add up. But we can also destroy our peace of mind if we focus on them to the point of obsession. I like to stay informed, but I also like to live a balanced life.

    So I recommend to anyone who may be worried about their health: take one, giant step back and look at your whole life first. And if you’re in pretty good shape, mentally and physically, then playing around with a new sweetener is no big deal. Play around, see how it makes you feel using it no more than three times a day, and if Dr. Oz or the AMA comes out with a strong warning against it, stop using it.

    If you don’t like risk-taking, then take another step back and see if you can find a way to replace the sweet tooth. There’s a fine balance between self-denial for health reasons and self-denial because you have a psychological need to punish yourself. Make sure you’re not the latter type. You’ll know if you are because you won’t bother trying to find a replacement for the sweet tooth. You won’t examine what you get out of it. You’ll just stop it and suffer.

    If you’re the former, you’ll look for ways to satisfy in you the thing that was satisfied by the sweet tooth. You’ll find replacements. That’s healthy self-denial. You don’t forget you’re human and have needs, and you try to meet those needs (whereas the self-punisher will feed off the absence, the suffering, the wretchedness).

    So again, it’s all about balance. Gotta have it!!! And it all starts in your head!!!

  15. I have some of that fairy fabric — though perhaps mine is another season. I’ll have to go check. I love how you framed yours! Mine have been sitting around for years because I haven’t quite figured out how to use them. Thanks for the inspiration!

  16. Lynda says:

    Love the quilt!! I remember the fairy panels, but at the time I couldn’t think what to do with them. Actually I’ve never been very good with panels, but you make me realize that there are all sorts of possibilities. While I would rather have a root canal than face a Black Friday shopping crowd, I just this minute ordered a ton of fat quarters from Connecting Threads, collections that are on sale today for half price. Like I need more fabric.

    Anyway, you’re sounding and looking upbeat and in control. Good for you!! Have a great weekend!!

  17. Now that I’ve had weight loss surgery I don’t eat nearly as much sugar as I used to, so I don’t feel bad when I do succumb to a treat. I didn’t like stevia when I tried it and have been using Splenda for a number of years in my tea or on cereal. (Not eating cereal at the moment either.)

    The Nectresse ingredients in order are: Erythritol, sugar, monk fruit extract, molasses. Calorie count is 0 and the 2 g of carbs come from the Erythritol.

    I’d never heard of Erythritol so I looked it up. It’s a common “sugar alcohol”. The worst that I could find about it is that, eaten in quantity, it could result in diarrhea and gas. I don’t think a maximum of three small packets a day constitute “quantity” but I’ll keep researching.

  18. P.S.
    I heart Dr. Oz. His show’s on at 4 p.m. so I only see if it I have a weekday off. I’m the worst about going online to look at episodes.

    The other week I was home on the day when he covered things like resetting your body, doing a three day detox cleanse, and some other stuff. My weight loss has been a little sluggish lately, along with the rest of my body. (High protein-low carbs can slow you down.) I’ve never done a detox or cleanse but this caught my attention.

    I decided to do it and am now winding up day two. Yes, I celebrated Thanksgiving with different fruit-veggie smoothies instead of turkey.

    I feel good, although part of that is the mental satisfaction from deciding to do this and then sticking to it. I’ll take it on faith that by following the program, toxins are just flowing out of my body.

  19. Eileen A-W says:

    The quilt is beautiful. If nothing else you have created beauty to surround yourself with. Good luck finishing the book. I think the trip to Crusie was good for you.

  20. jinx says:

    This is totally off topic, but I just finished watching a taped episode of the Graham Norton Show. Cameron Diaz, I think, was one of the guests and she mentioned that she’d just finished a film with Alan Rickman which had a good deal of nudity, including a whole bunch of Alan Rickman nudity.

    In case you are interested.

    And he evidently plays the villain of the piece, which is good fun. When you finish the book, you can make plans to go see it whenever it comes out. You might have to go to New Jersey to catch it, though.

  21. Kieran says:

    That’s great, Mary Stella! Good luck with changing things up. I’ve always heard eating lots of protein is really hard on our bodies. We need balance, and if we choose good carbs, we’re doing ourselves a huge favor. Depriving ourselves of carbs is not smart nutrition at all. I get tired of hearing people say, “At least it’s low carb,” as if that means it’s healthy.

    Not. It can’t be kept up. Inevitably, carbs must come back into the picture. Carbs are the gas in our car; protein is the body of the car. What’s the use of owning a skinny-ass car that doesn’t run?

    I Tivo Dr. Oz. Sometimes his show is slow-paced, but it’s worth sticking around for it. It’s a nice daily reminder that we gotta pay attention.

  22. Lynda says:

    I just checked, and the movie is the new version of GAMBIT. Alan Rickman, Colin Firth, Cameron Diaz, Stanley Tucci. From the trailer it looks like fun, although with very little resemblance to the original classic. Alan shows up nude in the trailer, but the image is tastefully pixilated.

  23. Well, I certainly won’t go that far (enshrining her). She was completely narcissistic, never protected me, spent a lot of time batshit insane and downright mean. But she was still my mother. I think calling her Moo (for Moomaw, her grandmother name) was a way of distancing her. We called her that for the last forty years. Before that she was, in fact, Mummy. Not Mommy or Mom. I did call her Ma in later years too, because that wasn’t her mother name.
    The pure viciousness of the story she sent me out in Ohio will keep me from ever putting a halo on her head. But the shock is, I did love her.

  24. I do use Pellegrino with a twist of lime. I didn’t know that about Blake (hell, I hadn’t even realized he died so suddenly). I love recovering alcoholics with a blind passion.
    And I do like flavored seltzer waters. I’ll work on going that way. Fortunately my sugar fit is over. I have a bowl of Reese’s Christmas Trees with white and dark chocolate (I only like white chocolate). I ate white ones on the drive home, but since I got here I haven’t touched them.

  25. Susan says:

    In regards to your grieving process, I think sometimes we are grieving what we didn’t have as much as what we did. So perhaps, now that she is gone forever, you know definitively that she will never love, support, hold you up how you wish or think a Mom would. At least that’s what I’ve figured out . I’ve grieved the relationship, the unconditional love, the Mom that would always be there, the one who thought you were awesome, not necessarily the one I did have.

  26. Batshit insane — good description of my narcissistic mother. She flipped between being the sweetest old lady on the block and beating my brother with a broomstick.

    Can’t put a halo on her head either — so glad I’m not the only one with a personal experience like this one.

  27. Danielle says:

    Well, Kieran is basically a mind-reader and a genius, to boot! She has essentially summarized 2 years-worth of research and experimentation I have been doing with sugar. I have IBS (Irritating BullShit, as we call it around here) and sugar is a HUGE irritant that must be carefully monitored when one has a bowel disorder. We’re not really designed to eat so much sweet stuff and all the fake sugar just increases our tolerance for sweet food, making us crave more and more in order to quench our thirst for it. That’s what the research is starting to show: that aspartame and other sugar-replacements are actually encouraging weight gain (besides increasing the chances of developing Fibromyalgia, migraines and bizarre cancers).

    You’re better off without it altogether. And Kieran is 100% right: once you get weaned, that oatmeal with taste PLENTY sweet on it’s own. It took me about 4 days to notice this, when I went on my last elimination diet. (8 weeks into it, I ate a roasted beet and just about fell off my chair, it was so sweet. A roasted beet!)

    I was never able to find a good brand of Stevia I could tolerate – it all tasted like aspartame to me (I can taste aspartame the moment a speck of it hits my tongue, which I’ve always been grateful for). My mother swears by it, though. It’s worth trying a few brands and types out to see if you can find one you like.

  28. Jill says:

    It sems to me that our elder family members take out their nasties out on the person who they feel will not abandon them, the person they feel safest with. Unfortunately that makes life hell for the caretaker.

  29. Kelly S. says:

    Hi Kieran – thanks for the encouragement. Chocolate – too much, too dark, when I’m stressed or tired & depending on what else I’ve eaten – will give me migraines. So does cola but not caffeine. I am a big tea drinker and love the chai teas. I use a bit of stevia in them as sucralose bothers my sinuses. I will give adding milk a try. I live Thai Iced Tea but only order it on special occasions since it contained sweetened condensed milk.

    This weekend on my drive to & from WI, my hubby & I listened to the book, “The Power of Full Engagement”. They also talked about rituals and ways to set them up to provide better balance in your life so you have more energy and can be happier. I liked it.

  30. Micki says:

    What a pretty quilt!

    And the Alan Rickman news? Oh my! I just watched Gambit for the first time a couple of years ago. I would love to see what they do with the modern version.

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