Spicy Stuffed Zucchini Blossoms – Low Carb, Gluten Free

I’ve been a bad girl. I’ve been sorely neglecting this poor blog. You would think with school not being in session I would have more energy to post, but it seems like forces are conspiring against me. We went downstate for a wedding at the beginning of the month and ever since then it’s been harder and harder for me to even get out of bed – and when I do, things like my duties in the lab and taking care of my family have taken precedence.

Sharing a computer has also proven to be a challenge, as my husband likes to hover over my shoulder and comment as I write while he waits for me to get off so that he can go back to playing his video games. I find this incredibly disrespectful and annoying so I just stopped. I ended up getting so sick that I went out and bought myself a cheap tablet so that I can go back to having a quasi-social life online and with every intent of keeping this blog up.

I will also readily admit that I have been distracted in my garden. I returned from vacation pleasantly surprised that not only had my plants not died, but they were thriving. My sugar snap pea plants that I had left as small scraggly things had grown to not only have flowers but have a few pea pods and I was able to harvest several baby carrots in the process of thinning. My zucchini plants have also been thriving in the two weeks since my return, much to my delight as I love me some zucchini.

These plants have been blossoming like crazy and I had remembered reading recipes online that actually used the male blossoms. I figured, why not try this out? I had tons of male blossoms, may as well give it a shot. So I picked a few, leaving one so that my female flowers could be pollinated and started by simply deep frying them. Which ended up being hands-down one of the most delicious things I had ever eaten. They taste much like zucchini, except sweeter and more delicate. I was also delighted to discover that they’re not only quite low in carbs, but also very high in vitamins. A win-win, if you ask me.

I’ve been picking them religiously every day now, along with hand-pollinating my female flowers as I haven’t seen too many bumblebees nor butterflies and I’m concerned about them being pollinated by traditional methods. I’m relying on this zucchini crop to keep me supplied with zoodles for the next few months and it’s crucial that the plant produces good fruit. But I do leave at least one or two flowers just in case. I have still been able to get roughly 3-5 a day though, and after a bountiful harvest of 6 yesterday and another 4 today I decided that it was time to try something new.

I had been contemplating stuffing the flowers for quite some time, having only just battered and fried them previously. I had some pickled jalapenos in the fridge as well as a block of cream cheese, and thought “why not do a sort of jalapeno popper with these?” A bunch of things got thrown into a bowl, and the spicy stuffed zucchini blossoms were born.

This post admittedly also provides me with the opportunity to express my love for Susie Gibbs’ Keto Crumbs. These things are a game-changer, my friends, and incredibly simple to make too. I confess I use the Parmesan cheese in a can, but us spoonies sometimes need a few cheats in the name of convenience. The mix comes together incredibly quickly and keeps well – I keep mine in an old Parmesan can as suggested by the author as it makes sprinkling easy. You need these kept in your fridge at all times and you need to go make a batch right now.

Seriously, now. I’ll wait.

The reason you need these is because not only do they make for a wonderful oven-fried chicken, they are also the breading I used for this recipe. I debated between traditional deep frying and oven frying and went for the latter for one simple reason: I was running out of spoons and baking is just easier. I’m glad I did, as they came out wonderful. I also made the wonderful discovery that this is another three-part recipe and that all three steps can either be done in one day or split up into several days – as a matter of fact, I would recommend allowing the filling to sit for at least a couple of hours so that the flavours meld together. I ended up stuffing them and then letting them sit in the refrigerator for about five hours and they came out perfect, and I would wager that they can even be kept there overnight.

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And then they got put on a plate, sat in the middle of my now blossomless forget-me-nots so I could take pictures.

In the end, they came out a touch on the spicy side and I would heavily recommend serving them with ranch. If spicy really isn’t your thing, feel free to reduce the amount of jalapenos. Alternately, one whole diced jalapeno pepper can be used as well. We keep pickled jalapenos because not only do they last longer, but they are seemingly spicier – just how my husband likes them.

Spicy Stuffed Zucchini Blossoms

Per serving (2 blossoms per serving):
Carbs: 4.25g
Fibre: 1g
Fat: 22g
Sodium: 330mg

Ingredients

10 zucchini blossoms (see Notes)
8 oz Cream cheese, softened
1 oz Pickled jalapenos, diced
2 tbsp Onion, minced
1 tbsp Mayonnaise
1 clove Garlic, minced
1 tsp Lemon juice
1/2 tsp Paprika
1/2 tsp Oregano
1/4 tsp Parsley
1 Large egg
1 tbsp Mayonnaise
2 tbsp Almond milk
1 batch Keto Crumbs

Destructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350⁰. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper or silicone baking mat.
  2. In a medium-sized bowl, combine the cream cheese, jalapenos, onion, mayonnaise, garlic, lemon juice, paprika, oregano and parsley. Mix until smooth.
  3. Remove the stamens from the blossoms. Roll approximately 1 1/2 tbsp of the stuffing mix into a ball and gently place into the bulb part of the flower. Twist the petals to close.
  4. In a small bowl, combine the egg, mayonnaise and almond milk to form a creamy mix. Place Keto Crumbs onto a plate. Dip the stuffed blossoms into the egg mixture and then into the Keto Crumbs. Arrange blossoms on baking sheet so that they are not touching, with approximately 1 in of room between blossoms.
  5. Bake blossoms at 350⁰ for 30-35 minutes or until golden brown and crispy. Serve warm with ranch dressing.

Notes

Zucchini blossoms may be a difficult ingredient to source if you do not have a plant. Your local farmer’s market is a good place to look for them. They go soft and yucky quickly and as such aren’t often carried in stores. If you have a local co-op they might be a good place to ask about getting some as they quite often get their produce from local sources and know a lot of the local farmers. They may even be able to get their hands on some for you. If you have your own plants, be sure to harvest only the male flowers. These ones grow on the long, thin stems and have stamens, which kind of look like yellow, fuzzy, pointy swords. The female flowers will have pistils, which look like a group of fuzzy yellow balls and will grow a fatter nub that looks like a mini zucchini. When harvesting male blossoms, be sure to leave one or two on the plant so that your female flowers still have a chance of pollination. I have successfully stored them in the fridge for about 30 hours, and I would wager they might survive for 48. I doubt they would make it anywhere past that though – not that you would be able to go that long without cooking and eating these delicious flowers!

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Male flowers

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Female flowers

Snacky Fix: Looking at Snack Delivery and Salmon Deviled Eggs – Low Carb, Gluten Free

I will readily admit I have mixed feelings about snacking. Part of me feels like I need the fuel to continue to run, another part of me just thinks I’m absent-mindedly stuffing my face because I just want to stuff my face. I am incredibly prone to eating purely out of boredom, which is why most of my snacking happens after about 8 o’clock in the afternoon. Lord Imp plops down in front of the computer to play Hawken and I plop down on the couch to be bored out of my cotton-picking mind eat a dozen cookies (nah, that’s not any better).

In my musings on Twitter I came across a company called Sugar Free Fix, which is a mail-order service where they send you a box of diabetic-friendly snacks every month. If there’s one thing I love more than getting mail, it’s getting food in the mail and I’m seriously considering signing up for a subscription just to try it out. However, it’s still in it’s infancy and doesn’t appear to be taking subscriptions yet. But they do have a contest to win a 6-month subscription so it may be worth looking into.

I will also readily admit to the fact that I do have a little reservations about signing up. I have yet to find a pre-packaged snack that falls into my dietary guidelines and I’m especially super strict about the sweeteners that go into my body. I usually end up making my own snacks when I have the time and energy and it’s served me well thus far (keep your eye out for a no-bake granola bar recipe in the near future, the last batch needed some tweaking and I don’t publish anything that hasn’t met with a stamp of approval). I also realised that many of my snacks are of the sweet variety, and since finding cookies made with erythritol are next to impossible I am stuck making my own. Most sweets labeled “sugar free” contain malitol, which is no bueno for a diabetic as it’s got a GI not much lower than table sugar. I have actually used sugar free salt water taffy made with malitol to treat a blood sugar in the 50s. It works amazingly well for treating lows actually, and the rule in my house is if I use it to treat low blood sugars it does not belong in my regular diet.

I approached the people behind Sugar Free Fix via Twitter about my concerns over malitol and they said that they would look into it, which I greatly appreciate. I do still plan on trying them out though, and I really like their idea. The fact of the matter is, we’re a snacking society and having a box of hand-picked snacks delivered takes a lot of the effort and guesswork out for some. I think it’s a really good idea and I look forward to seeing what comes out of it.

And then as I was writing this post and looking at my Facebook feed, right up at the top of my feedwas an announcement for a delivery service called Keto Delivered. It’s set up by Craig over at Ruled.me and it looks to be more in line with how I like to run things. The boxes look to be more of ingredients as well as a snack or two thrown in, which is good for people like me who like to cook. It’s set for an August launch and there appear to be perks involved for people signing up to their list early. So go ahead and check them out (I will warn you though that I get brownie points towards discounts if you sign up through my link – however you will be given your own personal link to refer people to sign up and earn your own brownie points).

This box looks to be geared more toward foodies who like to cook and who are interested in finding new ingredients with minimal effort. I am always about finding new things to try and coming up with recipes so I think that I would greatly enjoy this box as well. I look forward to this launching and plan on trying it out.

However, until these release I am still stuck with the conundrum of finding things to stuff my face with when I’m bored to tears in the early evening. These deviled eggs are one of those face-stuffers. I tend to get bored with traditional deviled eggs and I like to spice them up a bit. (boredom being the theme of today’s post, apparently). So upon rummaging through my fridge I came up with these little beauties. They are a good thing to keep on hand in the fridge for whenever the mood strikes and it is also a classy way to jazz up deviled eggs for parties. It just kind of dawned on me that I should really get a new SD card for my camera so I can take some pictures, I’ll get right on that. But in the meantime, I will be munching on some salmon deviled eggs.

Salmon Deviled Eggs

Per serving (2 per serving):
Carbs: trace
Fibre: 0g
Fat 11.75g
Sodium: 208.7mg

Ingredients

6 Eggs, hardboiled and peeled
1 Can salmon
3 tbsp Mayonnaise
1 tbsp Spicy Brown Mustard
1 tsp Dried chopped onion
1/2 tsp Celery seed
1/2 tsp Dried chopped garlic
1/2 tsp Dill
5-6 drops Liquid stevia drops (optional, to taste)
Paprika

Destructions

  1. Cut eggs in half and scoop out the yolks into a bowl. Place the whites on a plate.
  2. To the bowl with the egg yolks, add salmon, mayonnaise, mustard, dried chopped onion, celery seed, dried chopped garlic, dill and liquid stevia drops (if using). Mix until combined.
  3. Scoop egg yolk mixture into the egg whites. You will be able to heap them pretty good as the salmon gives extra bulk. Sprinkle with paprika and serve chilled. Makes six servings of two each.

The Spoonie’s Guide to Low-Carb Living

Life is tough when you have a chronic medical condition. It’s even tougher when you have multiple chronic medical conditions. It’s intensely tough when you have multiple chronic medical conditions and want to maintain a healthy low-carb lifestyle.

There are surprisingly few pre-made foods out there that are low carb and aren’t filled with questionable ingredients. And when you feel like you’ve been nailed by a Mack truck all you want is a quick TV dinner and bed. You don’t want to grocery shop, you don’t want to stand up and you sure as heck don’t want to cook.

However, sometimes you have to. Sometimes you have a medical condition that requires low carb eating. Often you think that eating well just might make your life a little better. And all the time you just want to feel better.

I would be lying to you if I told you that low carb living was easy. I am not lying to you when I say that it can be done. It just takes digging your heels in and making it a priority. But, these few tips and tricks just might help.

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1. Plan, plan, plan

If there is any piece of advice I give you, take this one. Plan your meals out in advance. I will plan out lunches and dinners for four days and I write them on a whiteboard I keep in my kitchen. This has several benefits:

a. Grocery shopping will be easier. Why? Because you have just planned out your meals for the next few days. You can now build your grocery list off your plans.

b. It takes the pressure off of figuring out what’s for dinner because you have already decided. As an added bonus, when someone asks you “what’s for dinner,” you can point them to your list.

c. It will help you keep on the low carb track. If anything, because it takes too much effort to change plans.

2. Cook when you feel good so you don’t have to when you feel bad

Making a casserole? Make a double batch and freeze the leftovers. Do it on one of those super hefty paper plates so that all you have to do is take off the plastic wrap and throw it in the microwave. It will be a homemade TV dinner, and much better for you than the ones you find in the grocery store.

3. Make your freezer your BFF

To follow up on the previous tip, make extra and freeze it. Buy meat in bulk and freeze it because it’s cheaper. Frozen vegetables are just as good as fresh. I have even stocked up on butter when it was on sale and frozen it. I would recommend though organizing your freezer better than mine is…because I often hate opening my freezer for fear of having a long-forgotten bag of flax seed falling on my face.

4. Invest in a good slow cooker

A slow cooker is a spoonie’s best friend. I am not exaggerating when I say I use mine all. the. time. I haven’t made a roast or baked a cake in the oven since I got mine. My slow cooker of choice is the Hamilton Beach Set-And-Forget. It comes with a temperature probe that you can jab in your roast then program the cooker to cook the roast until it hits the temperature you set and then will automatically turn to ‘warm’ so that you don’t burn the meal. It takes all the guesswork out of whether or not your meat is cooked all the way through – and when you’re immunodeficient like I am, that is huge. It also makes the most moist roast chicken you will ever have and your cakes will be amazingly rich. I don’t normally use them since I’m a little eek about cooking plastic, but use a slow cooker liner to keep cleanup to a minimum.

5. Keep a whiteboard (or two) on your fridge

Those locker whiteboards you get in the school supply section of Wal Mart (dirt cheap in late August, at that) have been a godsend. I keep it on my fridge so that whenever I realise I need something I can just turn around and jot it down. Before I go to the grocery store I take a photo of it and then load it into a drawing app so that I can cross off items. Super simple and saves trees. I also use whiteboards to calculate nutrition facts for quick meals that I want to eat immediately.

6. Grocery shop online

Online grocery shopping is seriously a thing now. And it’s awesome. It makes life a lot easier for the spoonie. No getting up and going out. As an added bonus, you can help bloggers support their activities by buying items from their stores so that they can keep bringing you free recipes. Many recipes contain affiliate links. Seriously, click on them and buy your almond flour through them. I have a suggested list of things I keep in my kitchen regularly available through my store. It’s a work in progress and updated somewhat regularly.

7. Make cooking fun

Cooking is a chore for a lot of people. You have to stand up, think, mix, source ingredients and ultimately clean up afterwards. But there’s an element of fun to it, the thrill of things coming together to make something delicious gives me a high.

Maybe I’m just crazy. But food highs are WAY cheaper than drugs.

The key to happiness is to find joy in everything. Sometimes it takes a bit of effort to find a minuscule amount of joy, but it’s there. If you can focus on that itty bitty bit of joy in cooking, you will be happier. Sometimes all it will be is the smell of a comforting meal cooking – and often, that is all you really need.

8. Clean as you go

I spent a very long time working fast food. Longer than I want to admit, and long enough for me to realise that it sucked and it was time for me to go back to college. But I did learn several valuable lessons working fast food that I don’t think I would have had the opportunity to anywhere else. While the big one was “be nice to your server, no matter what,” the one I want to talk about now is “clean as you go.” I spent a good chunk of my career closing, often not getting out until 3 in the morning – and sometimes 4 when the kitchen was trashed. Those nights were not fun and they could have been easily avoided if we had simply wiped things down as we went, did dishes when we had down time and kept the floor swept. Taking home those habits is crucial for the spoonie – it takes minimal extra effort to throw trash out or quickly wipe down a counter. Keep a large bowl in your general vicinity to throw wastes in so that you only have to walk to the trash can once when you’re done. No one wants to cook in a dirty kitchen, and keeping it clean is crucial to wanting to cook. Cleaning it in small increments instead of all at once helps make what could possibly be a daunting task a little easier to handle. In that vein, however, be able to proritise which chores need to be taken care of immediately and which ones can wait a little bit. I often leave the dishes for my husband.😉

9. Break up larger, more labour intensive recipes into smaller, more manageable tasks done over several hours – or even days.

It is not uncommon (AKA I do it all the time) for me to start getting things prepared for supper after breakfast. This is when I have the most energy and am able to get the most things done. Often, supper is nothing more than just throwing a couple pork chops on the grill and serving sliced vegetables, but I will usually rub down the pork chops with my seasoning blend of choice in the morning and then slice the vegetables after lunch. I have taken three days to prepare a casserole (this is where planning meals in advance has an advantage): Day 1 I will chop up the vegetables, Day 2 I will make the sauce and on Day 3 I will throw it all together and put it in the oven. Planning in advance makes it so that I can easily break up tasks, that way when life throws me a sudden knock-me-on-my-butt event I can still put supper on the table with minimal effort or  even have my husband do the final bits for me.

10. If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again

The amount of times I have heard people tell me that they often won’t try making a recipe again because they failed the first time makes me sad. For every good thing I have made and goes into the “must make again” rotation, I have likely had 5 or 6 failed attempts, ranging from “meh, could be better” to “ohmygod I’m eating baby vomit.” I take these failures as lessons and will immediately think of ways to make the end result meet my taste expectations. There are very few recipes I use where I haven’t tweaked to meet my personal taste preferences. Never be afraid to alter a recipe, even if it’s not your own. And if it doesn’t work, don’t be afraid to try again. Tomorrow is another day, after all.

Low carb living is not easy. But with a little work, a little planning and a lot of kitchen time you will be able to do it. Just don’t give up!

Low Carb Oatmeal Cookies. Or: How I Learned to Stop Slacking and Love the Fat

It’s been a really rough ride these past few months.

First, I fried my laptop. In a computer science class, of all places. It was working just fine, then I went into class, tried to boot it up and…nothing. Except for an awful sound coming from the fan. It had been overheating in recent months (like, the past year) and I figured it was on its last leg…but couldn’t it have waited until AFTER I was done with a class that I actually needed it for recitation?

My health has been meh lately too. I’ve been completely worn out, dizzy and unable to function – and no one can figure out why. My thyroid has been fully checked twice, I got the most half-assed adrenal check ever and a “mostly normal” brain MRI that landed me in a neurologist’s office. The “minorly abnormal” part happened to be nothing more than some serious sinus congestion, odd considering I haven’t been stuffy, but a report was forwarded from the neurologist to the immunolgoist to see what he wants done about it. Since it’s been two weeks and I haven’t heard back, I’m going to assume that he just doesn’t care. Which, given the vibe I got from him, wouldn’t surprise me in the slightest. CVID is such a boring disease, after all. A second MRI was done with contrast and at least from a brain standpoint it looked normal, but if those sinuses are still clogged methinks I may be headed toward a sinus surgery. Good thing I have an appointment scheduled with an ENT next month and she can access the MRIs herself. We’ll discuss it then.

Then there was the binge I went on a couple of nights ago. We’ll start this story talking about the discovery I made yesterday that with my whole-foods low-carb everything-from-scratch diet I don’t get anywhere NEAR the daily recommended 2300 mg of sodium for women. Even when eating a tuna casserole made with homemade alfredo (AKA sodium city) I still was at 1800 mg by the end of the night and had to eat some cheese to get myself up. Now that we’ve covered that, Tuesday I was craving pretzels. BAD. So, I ate them. A TON of them. Which included me shooting up (blindly, might I add) 8 units via syringe with the intent of eating half the bag. What happened was a blood glucose roller coaster that I have no intentions of ever repeating again. I started at 319 mg/dL (a result of my previous pretzel binge – which was adaquately covered by insulin, BTW). An hour later, I found myself at a delicious 32 mg/dL – and by my estimation, a good 10 units of active insulin. A 20-oz bottle of cherry Coke and half a bag of pretzels later and I was at a whopping 72 mg/dL. Which became 519 mg/dL by 3 in the morning.

Thankfully I was able to get it down and woke up at 82 mg/dL in the morning. But I awoke with a new mission to get things under control. My neurologist had dropped the words “autonomic neuropathy” at my last appointment and had suggested getting a blood pressure cuff and keep an eye on that as well. After Googling “autonomic neuropathy,” I thought it would be a good idea to monitor EV-UH-RY-THING. So, I have a notebook monitoring EV-UH-RY-THING…and that was how I discovered that I don’t eat anywhere NEAR enough sodium. I also noticed that I feel dehydrated ALL the time despite drinking very close to a gallon of fluids a day. A result of the lack of sodium? Perhaps. Further investigation is required…the four words in a journal article that translate to “we’re putting off doing the research so that we can have another publication. Because publications = grants.”

Which brings me to the reason I actually plopped myself on the desktop despite the toddler I have walking around dumping my pencil case all over the living room floor…

Another thing I have been craving lots of have been sweets, and in particular my mother’s oatmeal cookies. But I really had yet to find a recipe that I felt could even come close to matching the deliciousness of them. They’re moist, tasty, not too sweet and all-in-all absolute perfection. And then I came across this recipe from Low Carb Yum. These cookies, friends, are a game-changer. They taste just like your carb-laden chocolate chip cookie and you need to go make them. Now. However, when I say they taste just like a carb-laden cookie that means I found them a little TOO sweet and I found the erythritol a little strong in it. Knowing that the erythritol was a major component in the cookie dough being actual dough and not a puddle of nut butter, I thought about what I could add that would give them the structure they need while cutting back on the erythritol? The answer: shredded coconut.

Shredded coconut has become the darling of the low-carb cookie world. It makes for a wonderful substitution for oats in baking as the texture is pretty similar with only mildly noticeable coconut flavour. You can find dozens of low-carb fauxtemal cookie recipes using unsweetened shredded coconut. But even with my tweaks, I couldn’t get any of them to taste like Mama’s.

Until now.

No, this is not generally a food blog but I’ve been spending a lot of time in the kitchen and have note cards up the wazoo with my creations that I think I am going to share. Because I’m excited about them. Get excited with me. At 1.18g net carbs per decent-sized cookie you should get excited. And without further ado, the low carb oatmeal recipe you have been waiting for, inspired by Lisa at Low Carb Yum.

Low Carb Oatmeal Cookies

Makes: 24 cookies

Per cookie:
Fat: 7g
Sodium: 31mg
Total Carbs: 2.12g
Total Fibre: 0.94g
Net Carbs: 1.18g

Ingredients

1 C Walnut halves and pieces
2/3 C Pecan halves
1/2 C Cashew halves and pieces
1/2 C Erythritol
1/4 tsp Liquid stevia drops (it’s roughly about 15ish drops, to taste)
1 Large egg
1/2 tsp Baking powder
1/4 tsp Salt
1 tsp Pure vanilla extract
1 tsp Pure almond extract
1/2 C Unsweetened shredded coconut

Destructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350ºF. Line baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. Place the walnuts, pecans and cashews in the bowl of a food processor and process until nut butter is formed. It will first get grainy, then clump together, then it will become a smooth nut butter.
  3. Stop the food processor for a second and add the erythritol and liquid stevia. Pulse until combined.
  4. Add egg, baking powder, salt, vanilla and almond to processor and pulse until combined.
  5. By now it should look like a runny cookie dough. Remove processor blade and add coconut. Alternatively, you can transfer the dough to a bowl and add coconut. I just hate dishes.
  6. Roll into balls about 1″ in diameter. Place on cookie sheet and press gently to flatten.
  7. Bake in oven for 12-15 minutes or until golden around edges.

I’m Not Dead…Yet.

I just haven’t been able to do anything except study and squish fruit flies.

I haven’t even been to church in…forever.

That’s big.

I’ve struggled to get out of bed, struggled to keep going, struggled to do everything that I need to get done.

I just want to sleep.

All.

The.

Time.

My throat is also slowly progressing to an unable-to-swallow level.

I just want one day where I feel normal.

ONE.

DAY.

But…I’m not dead.

Yet.

The Chivalry Murders

Feminism has murdered chivalry.

Yup, I came up and said it outright: women, in our quest for equality and independence, we have taken a blade and stabbed that knight in shining armour right between the ribs on his left side and straight into the organ that is kinda necessary to circulate a reddish fluid.

My opinion came after reading this opinion piece talking about how you may be sexist without even knowing it. It talks about microaggressions – small, often unintentional actions that perpetuate sexism. While I don’t disagree entirely with the premise and a few very good points were brought up, an example was given and discussed at length that made smoke come out of my ears: chivalry is a sexist microaggression.

Well my dear Ally Boguhn, you now not only got people screaming at their computers that they were trying to be kind, you also got me screaming at your computer that you, my dear, are the reason why gentlemen are retreating into their parents basement to be consoled by World of Warcraft and half a dozen two litres of Mountain Dew. Because you have now gone online and on record and said that being a nice person is a bad thing.

Someone call a doctor, we’ve got a bleeder.

I will admit that I tend to think more along the old-fashioned lines. I like it when men hold open doors for me, I like it when they offer to give me a hand carrying things, and since I’m a hardcore miserly penny-pincher I like it when men offer to buy me dinner cause shit, free food. These actions in my mind are not sexist, it’s the intention behind it – if you’re buying me dinner because you think I’m gonna sleep with you, that’s where it gets into the realm of sexism. But buying me dinner because you’re a gentleman and I’m a lady, that’s not sexist in the slightest. In my world, whoever asks the person out picks up the check – if you asked me to dinner, you had damn well better be throwing down your Amex card for it, same as I would be putting mine down if I did the asking.

Granted, I’m in a position now where it doesn’t matter who pays for dinner since it’s all coming out of the same bank account and I consider myself lucky in that from at least a philosophical standpoint Lord Imp and I are equals. And I think that’s where a lot of issues I take with feminists are in that so much time is spent nitpicking over things being exactly equal that the give-and-take is absent. Yup, I’m at home taking care of the baby and the house right now while my husband is off drooling on a keyboard in a computer lab. I’m making supper tonite, tidying up the house and I may even bake up some cookies. And I will probably be doing it again tomorrow. But I also get days to sleep in and he takes care of the baby while I take a nap. Tonite I get to sit on my ass and knit myself the ugliest pair of socks ever while Lord Imp keeps the baby out of my yarn. Sometimes he fixes supper, and I know that I will get a chance to do my own drooling on a keyboard in a computer lab this week. Is it exactly equal? Nope, sure isn’t, and often I find myself taking on a large chunk of the work that admittedly my busted body can’t handle and I do sometimes find myself angry. But I just spent ten days where I only got up with the baby for three of them and I only cooked two suppers so it does eventually even out in the long run.

There are still grand scheme things that need to be addressed, the equal pay thing being the biggest one among them. But from a purely small-circle standpoint (because let’s face it, the only thing that matters to me is the world I’m in), some of the things the piece addressed as being “bad” are part of the reason a good man is hard to find. We as women, in our fight for status, have ended up shaming and belittling men for being simply nice to a girl. Telling men that you should no longer hold a door open for her or pay for her meal is completely asinine. Don’t drive the nice guys down into the video game abyss, bring them out into the sun.

The article does bring up that people shouldn’t be nice to women because they’re a woman, they should be nice because they’re nice to all people and I wholeheartedly agree with that statement. However, buried after spending a great deal of time belittling men for holding a door open for a woman it kind of got lost in the argument. I honestly had to go back to the article to make sure that a counterpoint was in fact included, hoping that the author wasn’t really as whacked out as I thought. But it begs a question: is it REALLY so bad to be nice to a woman BECAUSE she’s a woman? Am I the only person who likes feeling special for no reason other than my gender? Am I the only person who enjoys being put on a pedestal simply due to the fact that I’m a woman? For thousands of years men were held in higher esteem simply for being men, what’s so wrong about me wanting it as a woman? I honestly see it as a bit of a double standard: you want to be treated equal as a man, but only if it means exhibiting power over men much in the same way they exhibited power over women.

I know, that was a huge stretch, but hear me out. For centuries, men have told women how to act, what to say, what jobs they can have and basic dictation on how to live. And here we are as women, telling men that their thoughts need to be reorganised, anything negative needs to be kept to themselves and they need to reevaluate their mindset. They need to stop offering to give a girl a hand. They need to do more housework and play with the kids. They need to be sensitive and caring and support a woman and her career. How is this any different from the way men have treated women in our society? I feel like in our quest for equality as women, we have found ourselves just as guilty of the same transgressions we tell men they need to knock off. We’ve been telling men how to act and what is appropriate, much like women have been throughout history. Which, in my mind, is totally not okay. Maybe we need to start working with men instead of against them.

So, all you knights in shining armour out there, hold open doors. Offer to pay for meals. Ask her if she needs a hand carrying something. Just don’t do it with a motive, do it because you are in fact a nice guy. And if she refuses your offers, then leave it at that. If she wants to split the check, go for it. There’s no need for you to hide the fact that you’re a nice person simply because it’s an example of “microaggression.” Keep being that person. The world needs more of them.

And women, for the love of God, let them offer. If you don’t need their help then awesome. But there’s really no need to tell these guys that what they’ve been doing is wrong. I get that everyone is different and has a different opinion, but holy counterproductivity Batman. As women, we NEED these nice guys, because they’re the ones who are going to back us up as we rise through the ranks, they’re the ones who are going to be our allies when fighting for equal pay and they’re the ones who are going to get up at midnight because a kid wet the bed again. Telling them that their actions are wrong is only going to put them underground – and we need these knights now more than ever.

So stop murdering chivalry. If anything, because I can’t ride a horse and I sure as shit need help with it.

Invisible Disease Friday

I really needed a day off.

As each day went on, I had been getting more and more worn out, more and more unable to get up when laying down, more and more exhausted. So a couple of days ago, I decided that since one class was done and the other two were doing finals reviews, I was going to take today off, sleep in, be a lazy bum and not take care of anyone but myself.

Instead, I got stuck carrying the baby down the full flight of stairs that lead to my front door to take her to daycare so I could have a day alone. I got stuck going to campus and taking care of some missing equipment out of my drawer in chem lab. And out of the goodness of my heart I made a lunch run for Lord Imp, who is feeling crappy and I knew was going to need to eat.

And now all I want to do is cry. Because I don’t get to take care of myself and only myself.

All I wanted was 36 hours of not doing anything – not getting out of bed, not cooking, not cleaning, not doing homework and not taking the baby. Instead, I got out of bed at 7:30, struggled down the stairs, took care of the baby for a bit, took a nap, woke up and struggled up and down the stairs several times, struggled to get the baby changed and dressed, struggled to get her in the car seat and prayed as I teetered precariously down the stairs carrying her to the car. In the middle of all that, I had to deal with listening to Lord Imp bitching about how tired he was and how he didn’t feel well.

I really wanted to scream this, but didn’t. So I’m going to scream it here:

WELCOME TO MY WORLD.

I am tired ALL THE TIME. It is not uncommon for me to wake up and legitimately wonder if I have the physical capability of getting out of bed. It is not uncommon for me to not be able to move without an exceeding amount of effort. It is not uncommon for me to fall asleep in classes or want to take naps.

BUT I STILL GET STUFF DONE, and with minimal complaining.

I still do laundry. I still do dishes. I still make the baby breakfast and get her dressed. I still vacuum. I still go to class. I still study. I still do research. I still go to work.

EVERY SINGLE DAY. Despite feeling the same way you are (minus the congestion). My head is ALWAYS foggy. I am ALWAYS tired. And I am ALWAYS woozy.

BUT I STILL GO ON.

Don’t EVER mistake the fact that I am still plugging on without complaint as that I am fine. I AM NOT FINE. I am only moving because my options are to keep going or to die.

And I would kinda like to keep going.

The sad truth is, I’ve been taking spoons from the next day for a while now. And today I woke up with very few of them. And instead of trying to regain my spoon count, I spent today spending them.

I sent a copy of the Spoon Theory to Lord Imp. I hope he finally gets it.

</rant>