Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Eating Like a

So, this weird new diet going around-- Paleo.

When I first heard about it, I thought it was a crazy idea. Of course, when I first heard about it, it was presented as more a "you shall not eat anything but rabbit food" sort of idea... However, after looking into it more, I rather like the idea of it.

For those of you who don't know, Paleolithic eating is pretty much eating like you're not in the modern world. No processed foods, a lot of them cut out grains and dairy even, and (dun dun dun....) no sugar!

However, I found that part of the Paleolithic eating style is the fact it's flexible. Some Paleo eaters eat grains, some eat dairy, some don't, some don't eat meat. As long as you're not making processed food a part of your diet, you can term yourself a Paleolithic eater.

Now, even though I thought this was pretty cool, at first I had another concern about it:
Uh.... MONEY??

I mean, fruits and vegetables and beef are pretty much the most expensive things in the grocery store. Could a diet be anymore expensive?

Well, I'm not sure if the "purist" Paleo people would view this as proper, but I realized that frozen fruits and vegetables are a lot less expensive. And you get get a much bigger variety-- I mean, you can get a bag of stir fry mix for just a few dollars, and it has baby corn and peas and carrots and all that yummy stuff in it! And frozen fruit? Can we say SMOOTHIES?

Also, when you think about it, Paleo eating doesn't necessarily add to your grocery bill... because you're buying certain things instead of the processed stuff you used to buy. So yes, it probably will still be a little more expensive, but you also have to think of all the stuff you're cutting out and not spending money on anymore. Like... four dollar Starbucks coffees... with those four dollars you could buy a thing of beef that could last a few days...

Anyway, in case you hadn't gotten the idea yet, I decided to try out eating Paleo. My take on it is this:

1) Fruits and vegetables and meats = Okay, obviously.
...Except for those yummy frozen chicken patties... and other handily frozen meats that are super processed like that...
Since I don't have tons of time for making lots of food, I also decided that the no preservative, minimally processed lunch meat is okay, because I'm at work or school half the time, so I need something easily packable.
2) I also decided I'm very much not cutting out dairy, because Greek yogurt.
3) No sugar (so *plain* Greek yogurt, not the fancy flavored stuff...). Which is probably the hardest so far, but Stevia is okay, so I have hope.
4) I decided that whole grains are all right, in moderation. So no white bread (not that I ate that anyway) or white pasta or white rice, etc.etc.. But whole wheat bread is good because packable sandwiches.
5) My beloved peanut butter is lapsing into the natural, refrigerated stuff that has a weird texture. Meh.
6) To help me stay on track at first, I'm allowing myself one "free" meal a week. This will probably change to one free meal every other week, then once a month eventually.

So far things are going good! In that I haven't failed. I have been fantasizing about sugar and fried food though. The second one is weird because I don't even like fried food. But oh well, I'm sure my brain will get over it eventually.

Also, it's forcing me to actually 1) EAT, and 2) Eat foods I normally wouldn't because I don't like them and would fill up on other foods instead.

Oh, and something I'm finding helpful is to keep a log of what I eat on one of those calorie/health tracker things, so make sure I'm getting enough of what I need to be healthy.

So far so good!!

-The Raven

Sunday, July 6, 2014

Insomniac Raven

Apparently my body doesn't know how to sleep.

Because this is the I-don't-know-how-many-th time I've laid in bed until ├╝ber late, then finally given up and decided to write a blog post instead.

Okay then. That's fine. It isn't like I need to go to work or anything tomorrow. Or later today technically.



What about a random update-ish post? Since I can't really think of anything else to blog about and usually after blogging I can actually fall asleep? Maybe I should rename this "The Insomniac Raven's Blog"....

Okay! So, writing-wise, I'm working on a novel titled "Rising as we Fall" which is about nephilim and such and is shaping up to be really spiffy, if I do say so myself. What's making the writing process with this particular novel interesting is that my muse absolutely refuses to cooperate whenever I face a computer screen, so I literally am writing this story completely by hand in a notebook. 

... I really hope I don't lose that notebook.

But yes. Spiffy nephilim story is spiffy.

Also, I wish that characters would slow down with the whole showing up and demanding I pay attention to them thing, because as much as I absolutely adore charries, I absolutely adore them too much, and therefore get sidetracked from what I'm supposed to be writing when they show up.

Seriously, guys (charries). Stahp.

Hm. It's striking me that perhaps writing a rambling blog-post when I'm sleep deprived isn't a good idea. I have the most certain feeling that when I wake up tomorrow, I'm going to vigorously facepalm at myself.

Oh well.

What else?

Still doing the college thing. Psychology, emphasis in Behavior Analysis, minor in Criminal Justice.

Still doing to work thing. Piano teaching, librarian-ing, waitressing.

Ooh, there's a topic. Waitressing. Let me tell you, that gets interesting. My coworkers are actually pretty cool for the most part. There are a couple I sort've very much dislike working with, and one that makes work rather... eventful... but for the most part, they're nice people otherwise. The people that come in to eat are usually pretty chill, too. In that none of them have yelled at me or left me nothing for a tip or something of that sort yet. Of course, there's always those few customers that leave me wanting to kindly drop a plate on their head, but thankfully those don't occur every day. And I've also never indulged in that impulse. And don't intend to either. That would be rather disturbing...

The weirdest thing has been the scheduling. I'm a very schedule loving person. Not in the "every moment of the day must be planned" kind of scheduling, but the "I work (or attend classes) these days, these times, regularly" kind of scheduling. Which is not so with serving. I get a schedule for the week, this is true, but it is different every week. Which very much messes with my sense of time.

My sense of time that is currently and absolutely non-existent at the moment. Which is somewhat distressing. Call me odd, but I rather like to know what day of the week it is without consulting a calendar, or having to think for a prolonged period of time to figure it out.

Ah well. All the same, it is a job, offers enough challenges to keep me occupied, and I get to meet interesting people.

I just collapse into a mostly incoherent heap and watch mindless tv shows when I get home afterwards.

Hey, it works.

Well, my eyes are finally starting to act as if they'll stay shut now, so I'll bid you all goodnight!

- Raven

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

In Which I Rant About Love'n'Stuff

Just as a disclaimer (in case the title wasn't enough), this post is sort've going to be a rant. About something that has frustrated me for a while, and so I'm finally going to just write a post about it and perhaps get it out of my system.

It has to do with "love". What it really is, peoples' notions about it, etc.

I'm going to start out with a very specific scenario. When there are two people, and one of them is in love with the other, and the other is not in love, and makes such clear. And so the one that is in love says something like, "Well, if you would just give me a chance!" or, "But I love you!" or, "I think it would work if we both just tried!".

All of these I have either been told, or heard used on someone else. Also, they all annoy me, whether they're being used on me or not. Why? Because none of them are valid arguments to get someone to love you.

Saying that a person would be in love with you "if you would just give me a chance"? There are two instances where this is used:

1) Between friends, when one of them wants to be more than friends. All I have to say to this is, "If you two are friends, what is going to change if you two have the label of 'dating' tagged on you? If a friend doesn't think a romantic relationship will work with another friend, telling that friend to give you a chance is... well, it doesn't really mean anything. If you're friends, you already know each other to some degree, you've already been hanging out, so how has the person not been giving you a "chance"? Just because the two of you haven't been labeled a dating couple doesn't mean you haven't been "given a chance". People are "given chances" just getting to know another person as a friend. And much of the time, you can learn enough about another person as a friend to get a fairly good idea of whether or not the two of you would be a good romantic match.

The other instance this is used in is between people who hardly know each other. And I'm not sure which of these frustrate me more, because with the friend-to-friend thing, it suggests that the other person is closed off completely, and therefore belittles the relationship they have allowed to be built up.

This second one suggests that one person is entitled to a relationship, whether friend or more, and therefore belittles the one being addressed. I don't understand why people who barely know the other would say, "Well, if you would just give me a chance," as if they know beyond a shadow of a doubt that they know best, despite neither of them knowing the other very well at all.

Anyway, both of these suggest that the other person's opinion and feelings toward the subject don't matter.

Then there's the "But I love you!" argument. Probably the weakest one.. I mean, really, why would you try to convince someone to love you with that? Just because you consider yourself in love with someone doesn't mean that they are bound to return those feelings, or that you should try to guilt trip them with, "But I love you, so if you don't return those feelings, I'll be so, so sad...". If anything, it just sounds beyond selfish and manipulative.

Finally, the, "Well, I think it would work if we both just tried". Sure, this could be true in some instances, but if the other person doesn't want it to "work", then why are you trying to convince them with this? If someone isn't in love with you, then where do you have the grounds to tell them that they should try to make it work anyway?

All of these suggest that the other person's feelings on the subject don't matter. All of these arguments have to do with, "Well, but I..." They have to do with what makes the one apparently in love happy. Anyway, since when is trying to convince someone to love you a good idea? Or a fulfilling one? If someone doesn't decide to love you on their own, without a bunch of argument and persuading... doesn't that sort've defeat the idea?

If you're really in love with someone, doesn't that mean you want the best for them? Doesn't that mean that you should, oh I don't know, listen to their concerns? And by listen I don't mean, "Oh that's what you think? Well you're wrong.". I mean actually listen and take seriously what they think. It means that if they have specific concerns, you don't just brush them off and say that it doesn't matter because you're convinced things will work out, as if you have all the answers and can tell the future or something.

And it also means that even if they don't have a specific reason, and it's simply that they don't feel the same way toward you, then you don't keep probing around for a specific reason. Newsflash: Some people just aren't going to be attracted to certain other people. It doesn't mean there is something wrong with either of them, it doesn't mean that the person is harboring some horrible secret reason, so if you really care about the person, you won't drive them insane asking, "But whyyyyyyyyyyy?" like a disgruntled three-year-old who just got told, "No" in the toy aisle.

Finally, lastly, if you really do love someone, your wanting the best for them will run over into not causing a huge scene and drama. It means that if the other person clearly says that they aren't interested in you that way, you back off. You don't moon after them, go stalker (because really, that's not even cute in movies), emote on Facebook (passive-aggressive or not), or otherwise refuse to let go of your feelings.

That's right, I said "let go of your feelings". This might come as a shock to people, but you actually can control a lot of your emotions. Yes, sometimes life happens and stress is stress and depression is depression, but when it comes to love, you can, and if you care about someone enough, you will, reign it in.

I've actually had more than one shocked, "That's just impossible!" reaction when I give this opinion, but I would submit that yes, it is very possible, you just actually have to decide to look beyond yourself. That may sound unfeeling, but it's true. I'm not saying it's an easy thing, or that it happens overnight, it's something you have to intentionally work toward consistently. You have to intentionally not think about someone a certain way, you have to intentionally tell yourself, "No, that is not happening". Yes, it means a lot of self-control, mixed up emotions, even tears, but if you decide a friendship is worth the struggle, in the end it is worth it, because then you'll be freeing both yourself and the other person in a way.

Erk. This is super long, and I didn't mean it to be. Anyhow, there's my three cents on the matter. And I didn't even cover every topic I meant to. Ah well...

Kudos to those who actually read all that! (and more kudos to everyone who read all that and didn't come away with the impression I'm an unfeeling hermit who has never fallen in love and kills little animals in her free time)

Peace out!
- Raven 

Sunday, April 13, 2014

The Romanticization of Illnesses

Let me ask you a couple questions:

When was the last time you thought that having a cold was cute?

How about the last time you thought a case of influenza was adorable?
What about the last time you thought pneumonia was endearing?

I ask these because I've noticed something for a long time, and it bothers me... And the other night, I had it really driven hope for me:

Several nights ago, I had a nightmare-- a nightmare that I had Multiple Personality Disorder. I was in my body, "conscious", but I had absolutely no control over what I was doing. As dreams go, I have no memory of what I was doing exactly, only that it scared me, a lot, so much that I was sobbing (in my dream), and asking over and over again what was happening to me, and, if I recall correctly, begging for it not to be real.

Now, that was sort of a wake-up call (no pun intended....) to me. Being a writer, I've been guilty of thinking it would be "fun" to have MPD, because hey, I'd be able to get to know my characters even better that way! That'd be great, right? Of course, I never seriously wanted to have MPD, because "cool" as it sounded, I also knew that it wouldn't actually be as cool if I had it.

Obviously, the dream I had really hit me over the head with that reality. When I woke up, I felt a huge surge of relief, and thanked God that I did not have MPD. Despite that relief, I was so afraid of having that nightmare again, that I couldn't fall back to sleep for an hour.

Now, obviously, I'm sure that what happened in my dream isn't an accurate description of what it feels like to have MPD. However, I would submit to you that we do need to reevaluate the way we look at mental illness and disorders, and stop glamorizing them and making them desirable to have. No, we shouldn't go to the other extreme either, to the point of looking down on people who have disorders, or treating them as inferiors. No no no, I don't mean that. There are two extremes, and going off either end is damaging.

Now first, I'll give it to you, media does often make disorders look cool, or cute, or endearing. Take Monk, the OCD, everything-aphobe who bumbles along touching fence posts, avoiding handshakes, being terrified of just about everything, and having to have everything perfectly in order. I will say that the show does reveal the bad side of what he is going through sometimes, but at the same time, those very things endear Monk to us, and make us say, "Hey, I want to be like Monk because he's cool! Guess what!  I'm OCD now, because being OCD is cool!".

Oh, and how about Sherlock? The "highly functioning sociopath"? He disregards everyone's feelings and property, is super smart, and throws out smart quips. Everyone loves Sherlock! And why not? Problem? The hype of, "Oh, I'm a highly functioning sociopath, because I'm antisocial and really smart, like Sherlock". First of all, no, you're probably not a sociopath. Sociopaths are not defined as "antisocial people who don't like people", they are people who have a long history of disregard for other people, often to the point of violating other peoples' rights, and think themselves above everyone else. They do not care, and possibly are incapable of caring, whether or not they are hurting other people. People are there to be manipulated and used, in their opinion. And as far as emotions go, it's a narrow spectrum-- they do not feel a lot. Does that really sound like who you want to be identifying yourself as?

Yes, yes, some people are just joking around about it, sure. But there are some people out there who are serious-- they're not joking when they say, "I'm a high functioning sociopath!" and are simply going off of things they learned on Sherlock and various sources on the internet. There are people who want to be high functioning sociopaths, because it's COOL!  Like SHERLOCK! Duh!

So.... wrapping up this somewhat long post...

Mental illness is not something to be glorified. Sure, I joke just as much as the next person about, "Oh, I'm OCD because it drives me nuts when my books aren't straight, hahaha...", but at some point you have to realize that there is more to OCD. It's not just a, "Yeah, I feel uncomfortable if my books are out of order". It's a, "I HAVE to keep my books in order, or else something terrible is going to happen!". It's irrational, it's damaging, it is life-consuming. It actually noticeably affects the quality of your life.

And having to keep things in order? That is just one aspect of OCD, did you know that other aspects of OCD are having certain recurrent thoughts and images that are horrifying, and you cannot/have trouble with repressing them? Imagine laying in bed at night and having wave after wave of terrifying images flooding through your mind, or horrible thoughts like, "I'm going to badly hurt so-and-so!". OCD isn't cool.

So there you have it. A long, rambling post that may or may not be coherent because I'm writing this at one in the morning because my brain wasn't settling down for sleep yet.

- The Raven

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Funny Old Thing, Life...

Wow, so first, since when did I get seven followers? Yay me!

Second, wow, it's been a while. More than a year? I'd say it's high time for a post.

Right then. Well, quick update:
I started college, majoring in Psychology with a CJ minor (Criminal Justice). I also started working at a library (one of my dream jobs!) and teaching piano out of an arts studio, which I like a lot better than teaching independently, even if I do make less moolah that way. Thusly, with my full-time college-ing and two jobs, my writing has plummeted deplorably. I've been devoting more time to world building than actual rough draft creation or second draft revisions to anything, though I'm still puttering away at a couple projects when I have time/energy/motivation. Hoping to do more writing over the summer, maybe do a sort of NaNoWriMo thing to get some stuff done, because my characters are going to drive me insane if I don't get some of their stories written, but we'll see about that... Working full-time over the summer might take it out of me to finish a lot.

That's about it... and sort of prefaces what I wanted to make a post about, so that worked out smashingly!

It's been hitting me that life is an odd thing. Try as you might, you really can't predict it. One can say, "I'm going to attend college for four years and graduate smart'n'stuff", as many of my college friends have said, and then culminations of things send them hurtling in a completely different direction. You also make and lose friends, be it from a large differing of opinions that causes more damage to each other than anything, or loss of proximity, like good college friends moving back to another state.

Jobs get lost and gained, grades go up and down, weather storms and shines. Few things, if any, are certain. Really, unless you want to go insane, you just have to learn how to roll with punches and be at peace with the fact you cannot control things.

Very odd thing, life.

There will be days when you feel you're on top of the world, when you don't see how things could get better. Also, try as you might, there will be days when you can't see how things could get worse, when all you can do is just curl up in the corner and shake. It's strange to think that no matter how happy you are one day, you will eventually have that bad day. But there is also the opposite-- no matter how bad a day you have, you will eventually have that amazing day. There is good and bad, but the bad doesn't necessarily cancel out the good. Life goes on, life continues to happen.

It's odd. But good: when you can realize and be okay with the fact you can't control life. Sure, there's some things you can control, like whether or not you eat healthily and exercise so you don't get fat and sick all the time. You can control your mindset, and how you handle things. You can control what you say and, to an extent, how you impact people around you. But overall, you can't change the course of life.

It's a little unnerving, but also exciting. Because in that unpredictability, there's predictability. Because you know life will always keep going. You know that there will be twenty-four hours in the day, that the sun will rise, the moon will go through the sky, the stars will come out. New days will come. There will be Spring, Autumn, Winter, and Summer, leaves on trees will turn colors and fall off at a specific time. Like clockwork. People are born, people grow up, get older and wiser, and one day move on to the next life. Clockwork. Unpredictable, predictable clockwork.

Very odd thing, life. But so beautiful.

Enjoy it, you all.  =)

- The Raven