Wednesday, August 27, 2014

The Ghost of a Suicide Attempt

I have spoken of my asthma numerous times. I have had people brush off the severity I attempt to describe, until they see my asthma in action. I have been denied admittance into a severe asthma study for my asthma being too severe. I sometimes get wheezy and short of breath if I chew certain kinds of gum. I can't breathe through my nose, even if I am not stuffy.

Some of these things don't make sense for asthma, and that is because it turns out I don't have your run-of-the-mill asthma. I have a type of asthma called Samter's Triad.

I have said it over and over in my head since I got my brand new diagnosis, not even 12 hours ago. "I have Samter's Triad" I have tried saying to myself. I have imagined scenarios where people ask me what's wrong with my lungs, and I respond "I have Samter's Triad", and they would say "What is that?"

To which the only response I can think of:

"Eight years ago I tried to kill myself by swallowing 90 aspirin, and apparently I had an adverse reaction to it that has been haunting me since 2006. I have severe asthma, paired with nasal polyps and an allergy to aspirin, and other chemicals. Really, it's just like asthma with two bonus complications, and a ghost of a suicide attempt that will haunt me for much longer than I ever anticipated."

All day, the words "Samter's Triad" have been plaguing me, but it's not my "new" asthma that is plaguing me. In fact, I'm happy I have a different diagnosis. Knowing exactly what it is will help me manage everything better, and I will be healthier than ever. So why, at 4:00 in the morning, was I sitting on my couch, staring off into space thinking "Why am I so discontent about this?"

Because it's not the new diagnosis, it's the fact that I tried to kill myself eight years ago, and I thought I had shrugged the whole thing off, when really, my suicide attempt has been running my life since then. Even now, as controlled as it is, aspects of my asthma still run my life. It feels like there has been a shadow following me for 8 years, and now that I finally see it, all I can think is "How did I miss this before?"

I have never been one for regrets. I have always (ALWAYS) said that I have no regrets, because every stupid decision I have ever made has turned me into the person I am today. I didn't even regret my suicide attempt until I learned what it has done to me, my lungs, and my peace of mind. It is now the one thing I regret.

The other reason I regret it now, is because my life actually fell into place. I have a job I love, a fiancee I can't say enough wonderful things about, my paychecks are growing, my waistline is shrinking, I have enough money to do all the martial arts I want to keep me sane, in a place where I have made wonderful and supportive friends. I get to be myself every single day, and make my own decisions, and do every single thing I wanted to do when I was 17, but couldn't, and was driven to try to kill myself because of it. I tried to end it, and a mere 8 years later, everything has become just the way I wanted it.

Now, what I'm saying is not "Finally! Eight years later, things are looking up!" No, it only took 6 months after my suicide attempt for things to start looking up. I am saying it took eight years for EVERYTHING to line up perfectly. Eight years to go from not being allowed to close my door in case I tried to kill myself again, to spending everything single day wishing it would never end, while simultaneously anxious for the next day to start because tomorrow is going to be just as good, if not better. That is not a lot of time for that much improvement.

There are ups and downs, but they pass, and I have more supportive friends around me than I could ever ask for, and a brilliant fiancee who listens to me talk, and express every single one of my feelings for as long as I need him to. My overwhelming amount of emotions has always felt like a curse of sorts, and I actually found someone who can lift the curse by letting me empty my cup of emotions, even if it will be full again hours later.

It got better, even my asthma is manageable, but it made my road harder. If I had never swallowed 90 aspirin, maybe I could have gotten through the last 8 years with mild asthma (or no asthma), and no weird allergies to foods and pain killers, and maybe I would have been able to go my entire life without having to Google what a polyp is. My suicide attempt made my road harder, and my path eventually got me to the place I wanted to go anyway, so why did I put up 1,000 hurdles in front of myself, just to go down the same road and get to the same place, but with more effort and trouble? Especially for something that settled itself out a mere 6 months later.

It gets better, I promise.

Sunday, June 1, 2014

The absolute weirdest thing about weight loss.

Something about throwing away all of your favorite clothes in a bag is surreal. Throwing away clothes you've collected since you graduated high school, not to mention all the work clothes you invested in over the last year. I am shrinking, and it is apparently an investment. My underwear is too big, my bras are too big, even the rings I seldom wear are slipping off my fingers. I did not ever think any of these things would be a problem. I am swimming in my scrubs, and how awkward is it to have oversized exercise pants? I can't exercise in my exercise pants. Not to mention, the hours and hours (and hours and hours) I spent crocheting clothing for myself, that I can no longer wear, because they are too big for me, too.

I started losing weight last September, and with it now being May, and warm, I went to put a skirt on, expecting it to fit.

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It's also weird to find that my 'interview outfit' doesn't fit. My go-to 'nice clothes' are baggy and awkward. I have to re-invest in every little part of my wardrobe.

Now, please don't mistake this for complaining.

For such a gradual process, I can adapt my everyday things. I can pull the drawstring on my scrubs tighter, I can wear a belt, I can live with a T-shirt that's a bit oversized. It's times when I put things on I haven't worn in months do I really see how far I've come. 

So, what does this all mean? The now-giant bras, the feeling of my favorite clothes becoming relics of a me from the past? The resentment I feel when I see this, and think about how I used to WEAR THAT SKIRT. I have no idea what it means.

I guess it means that despite waking up everyday thinking about how far I have to go, I can see how far I've come.

I think it means that even though I can feel an imminent eating disorder on the horizon, I can stave it off with knowing that I did this much without an exercise addiction, and while maintaining a very (very, very) reasonable diet. Except for that 2 weeks I didn't eat sugar (God, I was tired. So tired.)

It is a reminder that for 8 months, I had the willpower to lose some weight, so I can continue to do it. Although, it's weird how despite consistently losing weight, I feel like I am going on and coming off of diets almost constantly. Despite being on one very large diet since September, it really feels like 20 - 25 tiny diets that I kept screwing up on and having to try something different, or start over. 

So now, at a plateau, how do I move forward?

I've done so much already, I guess I just need to get a second wind and keep going forward.

More work on the horizon, along with the added bonus of knowing I am prone to eating disorders and exercise addictions, and avoiding them (because let's be honest, I don't have time for that right now.) I have a lot of things to figure out, and a lot of ground to cover without being held back by some self image issue, especially when I know I look awesome.

I guess its time to lift some heavy stuff and run really far and kick pads and do a burpee or two and drink more water and stop spending all the money I've earned from my recent raise on pizza.

Oh, the other weird thing about losing weight?

Buying clothes in a size SMALL.

I am considered a SMALL HUMAN BEING, and someday I will be an Extra-Small Human Being, and another blog post will be written about what kind of a mind-fuck that must be.

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Stop telling me not to lose weight.

Even in high school, I didn't like the way I looked. Admittedly, looking back, I looked fine (yes, just fine), I was 165 pounds and 5'7" and under my jeans and T-shirt no one could see the details and the lumps and bumps that I obsessed over. One attempt to lose weight brought me down 20 pounds, but after I started eating actual food again and stopped exercising for 5 hours a day, I was back to 165 before I even knew it. 

Then, as if I weren't unhappy enough with myself, I moved out from my Dad's house in 2007 and decided since I was an official grown up, it would be okay to act on every food impulse I had, and wolfed down pizza and Arby's for just about every meal. In the span of just 6 months, I jumped from 165 to 210, then settled in right around 195 for the next 6 years or so.

Here's where you come in.

Last August I decided to get back into martial arts, and then in September I joined a gym to lift weights. The fact that I started spending a good part of my week at gyms, and a good chunk of my paycheck on working out, it came up in conversations. I would usually say something like "Well, I got back into martial arts because it's awesome, and I figured it would be a good time to lose some weight, so I joined Anytime to supplement that."

The response, from everyone?

"Why? You don't need to lose weight."
"You look fine."

No, I don't NEED to lose weight. Yes, I do look FINE.

However, I WANT to lose weight, and I want to look AWESOME.

My whole life, I have never looked in the mirror and thought "I look incredible." I have never had that moment, I have never been able to take a compliment. I have never had the confidence to wear exactly what I want to wear. There are pictures of me that I don't even know what my face looks like in them, because when I see them I gawk at my own arms and think "Good God, what happened to me?"

No, this is not the media getting to me. This is not peer pressure. Don't tell me I "don't need to look like a model". Good. Because I don't want to- I wanna look like Lucy Lawless and Sylvester Stallone had a super muscular love child. I don't aspire to be THIN, I want to be strong, and confident. This is why I kick things and lift weights, and why I don't spend my days eating lettuce and running on the treadmill. I am happy for the actresses and models with thin frames and flat bellies, but please trust me, they are not the reason I am doing what I am doing.

I am doing this for ME, and you telling me I look fine does not mean anything to me. If I was doing this for someone else, I would still be 195 pounds because I know I looked fine at 195. Unfortunately, I didn't FEEL fine at 195 pounds, and as I shrink, I feel better and I feel more confident, and I love how my clothes fit and that I can buy clothes I WANT and not settle for clothes that 'flatter my body type.'

Sitting here now at 164 pounds (31 pounds smaller than I was in August, and back to square one, my high school weight), I feel GREAT, but I do not feel AWESOME. People are still telling me I don't need to lose weight, and I believe you. I look good, and I'm happy with how I look, however, there are things I am still not happy with.

Why should I settle to be this weight? Because where I sit now, that's what the media and a lot of people I know are trying to get me to stay at. Every thing I look at nowadays is about how girls should be curvy, should have some meat on their bones, shouldn't be too thin. Well, again, I am not doing this for anyone else. I don't need to get the attention of men, and I don't need to impress any women. You know what I need? I need to look in the mirror and know that I have not settled. I would not settle for anything else in this world, so why would I settle on my being, on my self? It is so important for my confidence and my self esteem, and the world around me is trying to get me to listen to them. I only have myself to listen to, and when I look like a Chun Li action figure, you will see that I am not trying to be Kate Moss. I am not doing this for sex appeal, or to impress someone, or to model clothes. I am doing this for me, and me alone. 

The media doesn't want me to be too thin, too fat, too weak or too strong. I can't please the media, but I CAN make myself happy, and as long as I'm happy, what does it matter what size I am? Please stop telling me not to lose weight, and instead, wish me luck, and tell me that you are happy that I am trying to become a healthier, happier, better version of myself. Tell me you are proud of me for working so hard to lose weight. Tell me you are excited for me to get stronger. Tell me that you support me in whatever I do, as long as I go about it in a a healthy way. Ask me questions if you need to find out why I want to lose weight, even if I look 'fine', but whatever happens, please don't try to decide for me what size I should be at to be happy.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

A Humble Guide To A Summer Writing Journey.

Writing endeavours are a lot like long road trips.

At first, you're so excited and full of energy, you can't even comprehend being bogged down by things like writer's block (the writer's equivalent to getting stuck behind a slow old lady only 20 minutes outside of the next state line).

Usually the start of road trips start with clean cars, coolers full of fruit punch, iced coffee, and all the beef jerky and gummi worms a human being could want. By the end, it's water bottle full of 80 degree water you found under the seat, a persistent sunburn peeling away, a case full of CDs you've heard 20 times, and so many fast food and candy wrappers in the backseat, you can't actually be sure if your luggage is back there or not.

Writing is the same way. The key to succeeding at both road trips and writing is to be prepared. The key is to have realistic expectations about how things are going to happen.

I think summer is the best time for writing. A lot of people prefer to go outside for picnics and walks, but there are bugs and bears out there, and I'll stay here in my air conditioning, please.

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If you're going to spend the hot (or rainy) summer days taking on some writing you've been putting off, here are some tips to stay inspired, cool, and energized.

1. Munchies (Not pictured, as they are hidden in my desk drawer. This also prevents me from eating ALL THE GUMMI WORMS in 2 seconds).

If you've ever taken a roadtrip, you know how boring it can get  with your hands on 10 and 2 for 16 hours. Sometimes you might see a deer, or a tornado, but eventually your travelling companion falls asleep and you're left to listen to the one Beatles CD you haven't gotten sick of yet, and you need something to do.

Enter: munchies.

Maybe eating isn't the best way to deal with boredom, but everything is good in moderation. I'm not suggesting you open a bag of chips and eat the whole thing before you get to chapter two. All you need is a little something to keep your hands busy for a minute so you can look up at your ceiling and decide whether or not your main character is going to lose a pinky finger or not.

Sometimes just something to do with your hands for a minute to look away from the screen will help get you through the next half hour (or more) of writing.

A glass of water is also a nice thing to have nearby, since there is no chance of overdoing it, and drinking a lot of water forces you to get up every so often in order to force yourself to stretch your legs and contemplate character quirks and motivations.

2. Coffee!

Coffee is essential to every roadtrip, and writing endeavour. Coffee needs no explanation. I think a lucky mug is also a bonus. As you can see, my lucky mug is my extra big Monogrammed mug.

My boyfriend once told me that coffee with a little bit of Bailey's in it is awesome for any kind of artwork, since the coffee ups your energy, and the little bit of alcohol lowers any tendency to criticize yourself too harshly, and you can write/draw in peace without feeling worried that you are doing it 'wrong'. This is not recommended for road trips, though.

3. A notebook.

Notebooks are freeing, because they are not your word document. They can have silly things in there, quotes you like, fragments of sentences, random ideas, or writing exercises. They can be snippets like "What if Miranda was a fire juggler in college?" or "Maybe Eric should have a moustache." No one will see these notes unless you want them to, and they never even have to make it into the Sacred Word Document. They are an opportunity to 'get off the road' for a minute to look at your map to see if there is another way to go, and to just take a breath of fresh air.

4. Books.

Reference books, dictionaries, thesauruses, vocabulary books, or even books your character might be reading at the time are awesome things to have on hand. These are the License Plate Games of writing. They are a way to continue writing, while doing something fun. It's essential to keep your eyes open, and it can be extremely refreshing to learn about chinchilla bathing habits, tarantula anatomy, a thing or two about your character's favorite physicist, or find out if the tarot card spread the fortune teller in your story is doing it right or not.

And personally, finding out that I used a big word correctly, and it sounds natural, is comparable only to punching your older sister in the arm as hard as you can at the sight of a bright red punch buggy.

5. The right music.

This seems like a no brainer, and it kind of is. Just be careful to not set your music on your Norwegian Black Metal playlist for your fight scene, and then forget to switch it over to your Indie Folk Playlist for the 'First Kiss' scene. It happens to the best of us, and sometimes switching to a new CD can make or break the next hour of your drive through Bumblefuck, Nowhere.


1. A fan.

Do I need an explanation? Summer is hot, and fans are refreshing. I have a small one that plugs right into my USB drive so I'm set for my entire summer writing adventure.

2. Outlines and edits.

I have a really awesome group of friends I meet with twice a month who tell me what I'm doing wrong (and right, of course). These friends give me edits and suggestions, and I like to keep them out as reminders to not make the same mistakes. It's also a way to have rough drafts of previous chapters available to me so I can look down and go "If she reacted poorly to that situation, then how would she react to this situation?" or "Oh yeah- I forgot that I gave her a pet fish in chapter 2...maybe I should mention that again?".

I also have (Not Pictured) Ready, Set, Novel! Which gives me awesome ideas about where I could go with my plot or my characters in case I get stuck, or wanna introduce someone new. These are like your travel brochures, maybe they're not completely necessary, but your trip will be a lot more enjoyable and well rounded if you have something to tell you where the cool places to go are.

3. Rain

Because, in my opinion, thinking, writing, and driving are all the most interesting and thought-provoking with the pitter-patter of rain to keep you company.

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4. A Day Off.

On your day off, gather all the necessary things, and hide in your room or your favorite coffee shop to lose yourself in your own world.

Always remember while driving and writing, that life is about the journey, and not the destination. Sometimes, what it all boils down to is rolling down your window, and laughing at the sky.

Friday, May 31, 2013

What I've Been Up To: Hair, Feet, Pancakes, and Other Junk.

It's been a strange month or two since I posted. I got a new job as a caregiver (it's awesome). While I've been the happiest I've EVER been, it's left me very little time or energy to do the things I like to do, especially with the 50 hours weeks I've been pulling for almost the entirety of May. However, in that time, I've done a few things that I wanted to share with you all.

1. Hair!

My job is pretty fast paced, and the ponytail I've been wearing for the last 10 years just hasn't been able to keep up with me. My hair is a few feet long, and doesn't feel too great sticking to my neck while I'm spending most of my time in an overly-heated building to accommodate all my newly-acquired, but very old, friends. I found a couple things that keep my hair up without actually having to put any work into it.

This is an "Up Zing" by Scunci. It's beads strung on elastic, with two combs on each side. I braid my hair, then put it in an elongated bun, then put this over it. I look snazzy, and it's yet to fall out! I got the medium, though, and with all the hair I've got I think a large might work better, since after a couple weeks it started to kind of start pushing into the back of my head (Ouchie.)

I'm kinda dumb, and forgot what this thing is called, but it's basically a wire spiral. You put your hair in a bun, then spiral this thing onto it, so it makes a neat and twisty looking bun. I haven't worn this one to work yet, because it's not as sturdy as the Up Zing, however, it works well enough for days off during summer, to keep the hair off my neck while I'm doing things outside.

2. Feet!

I've always liked the idea of barefoot sandals, but I'm really not the 'barefoot type'. My Dad's Girlfriend, Tracy, is though- and with her birthday coming up on the 8th, I figured a few pairs of these would be the perfect, quick gift for her. They are, of course, a great warm weather project, too, since the materials for it are so light, and the project is really small. They look great, and I think after making these for her, I might just take a little time to make a pair for myself!

The first pair I made were the Barefoot Sandal by Lion Brand Yarn.

These are just a small mesh triangle with a small band that closes with a button behind the ankle. I think these are kind of cool, but not my favorite. I think they're kind of plain, and fastening a button behind your ankle sounds a lot easier than it actually is. If I made these again, I would instead make the strap about 4 feet longer so that they can be wrapped and tied multiple times around the ankle instead of buttoned. As far as barefoot sandals, and gifts, go- these took about an hour (maybe less), and are a perfect super quick last minute gift. They might also work with flats!

The second Pair I made were the Crocheted Barefoot Sandals, a Free Ravelry Download. 

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 Despite how they look, these sandals are only 2 separate pieces, not 8 motifs. Working all as mostly one piece made them a lot easier than they look, and I think these might be my favorite. I love the color I chose, they remind me of cherry blossoms! I think these are prefect for spending a day in the backyard reading and gardening.

The last pair I made for Tracy were the Goddess Barefoot Sandals, from Gleeful Things.

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I love finding small projects to make with thread, and I think this one turned out beautifully. These are another pair that I think could work nicely with a pair of flats. I love how Feminine they are, and the Indian influences on the motif make them very elegant. The size 10 thread makes them the lightest of all 3 pairs, and with only 6 rounds, they came together a lot faster than you would think.

3. Pancakes!

My favorite restaurant out here in Madison, WI is a place called Monty's Blue Plate Diner. I have completely run it into the ground. Every time someone asks me where I want to go, Monty's is ALWAYS my answer. The funniest part? I only order one thing when I go there: Zucchini Potato Pancakes. I have ordered them every time I've gone since 2010, and I have yet to get sick of them. They are one of my favorite foods in the world, and I usually finish my entire plate in a few minutes.

So, imagine my excitement, when I went to my local library the other day and found the Monty's Blue Plate Diner Cookbook. I'm genuinely surprised I didn't pee my pants when I found the recipe for these pancakes in there.

These pancakes are incredible. Savory, flavorful, indescribable. If you're looking for something different to make for breakfast, lunch or dinner, these went from sliced to served in under an hour, and were absolutely addictive. With a little bit of sour cream, you can't go wrong. My batter looked so strange when I was making it, but I absolutely could not stop eating them, they were so incredible. 

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Green Pancakes! This isn't how they look at Monty's, but they managed to taste the same way.

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I wish this picture was scratch-n-sniff, so you could understand how amazing they smell.
Got an hour, and about $7 for ingredients? Make your own:

Zucchini Potato Pancakes


  • 4 medium zucchinis
  • 2 large baking potatoes
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 3 eggs
  • ½ cup flour
  • 1 tsp. Salt
  • 1 tsp. Black pepper
  • 3 TBS vegetable oil
  • 8 oz. Sour cream
  • 8 oz. Apple sauce


  • In a food processor or with a hand grater, grate the zucchinis and potatoes. Mix these with the diced onion in a bowl.
  • Make small handfuls and squeeze out the excess moisture. You may be surprised how much water is squeezed out.
  • In a separate bowl, combine the vegetables with the eggs, flour, salt and pepper. Mix thoroughly.
  • Scoop 2- to 3-oz. portions of the pancake mix and flatten with a spatula. In a large non-stick frying pan heated with vegetable oil, fry over low to medium heat for 10 minutes. When one side is browned, flip the pancake and fry the other side. The edges should be golden crisp.
  • Serve immediately with sour cream and applesauce.

Serves 4.

4. Other Junk!

With Father's Day coming up, I got my Dad's present bought and wrapped. I liked the way I did it, so I thought I'd share it here.

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What I did:

- Red gift Bag (Walgreens: $3)
- Houndstooth Tissue Paper (Walgreens: $2)
- Moustache Duct Tape (Got this as a present, but I've seen it at Target, Wal Mart, Walgreens, etc.)

Very manly :)

What I bought him:

- 5 Samples of Berres Brothers Coffee (Highlander Grogg, Caramel Chocolate, French Vanilla, Red Velvet Birthday Cake and Hazelnut Creme). Berres Brothers is a local coffee company out here in Wisconsin, so I suggest you all move to Wisconsin and drink their coffee. Highlander Grogg has become a staple in my house (It's a caramel, butterscotch, hazelnut coffee that smells and tastes like heaven and rainbows).

- Earl Grey Vanilla Rhubarb Jam (My Dad mentioned once that he always sees Strawberry-Rhubarb things, never JUST rhubarb, so when I saw this at a Farmer's Market, I picked it up for him.)

4.5: Other Junk Part 2!

You guys know what's awesome? Sailor Moon. You know what else is awesome? Ebay? So what happens when you combine these two things?

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...You can get 10 Sailor Moon CCG Booster packs for $10.

Anyone wanna play with me? :P

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Orange-Nutella Layered Cheesecake

My Dad and I have birthdays that are exactly two weeks apart (his being March 20th, and mine being April 3rd). Since he lives about an hour away, we usually celebrate our birthdays together, and this year the deal was that he would pay for dinner if I supplied the cake.

He told me this about a week or two ago, and I spent some time looking through recipes on my bookshelf, my Pinterest, on baking blogs, and everything else you can think of. Everything seemed either too expensive, or just not quite right. I pretty much knew I wanted to make a cheesecake, but not much else.

After enough searching, I decided that I wasn't going to find the right thing.

My mind kept, for some reason, going back to a day in December when my boyfriend made us some hazelnut hot cocoa with orange peels boiled in, to make a delicious and rich orange-y, chocolate hazelnut goodness. Something about the combination of these things really stuck with me, so much so that I decided to make a cheesecake that would combine these flavors.

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My 2nd inspiration for this cake was a cheesecake recipe on I used the recipe for their rainbow cheesecake a little over a year ago for my friend's birthday. I loves combining colors and making layers, and it seemed like orange and brown would go really well together (although, there was no dye in this cheesecake, so it's actually a brown and off-white, but a girl can dream.

I made this cheesecake, and it went over SPLENDIDLY.It's very rich and creamy, and the layers look beautiful stacked on top of each other. The orange compliments the subtle hazelnut flavor perfectly, and it's just right for a spring birthday.

Most of the credit for this cake comes from this recipe at, I pretty much just added the orange and nutella flavors. The guys over there really know what their doing, because this cheesecake is seriously gigantic and delicious.

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  • 2 cups finely crushed graham crackers
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 pinch salt
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened

  • 4 packages (8 oz each) cream cheese, room temperature
  • 1 1/3 cups sugar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 1 pinch salt
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 (13 oz.) container of Nutella
  • 3 TBS orange juice concentrate (thawed)
  • Zest from one orange


  1. Preheat oven 350 degrees. Before you get started with the crust, make sure your 9 inch springform pan is water tight. I do this by carefully wrapping a few layers of foil on the outside of the pan, so water cannot get into the pan. Be careful not to rip the foil or water will get into your cake and ruin it!

  2. Mix crushed crackers, 2 tablespoons sugar, the cinnamon and salt together in a bowl. Then mix in butter with your clean fingers, until crumbs are pea sized. 

  3. Press all of the graham cracker mixture into the prepared springform pan. Press it down firmly in the pan.
  1. Bake the crust for 10 minutes on a low oven rack. Remove from the oven, and cool completely before continuing. Turn oven temperature down to 325 degrees.
  1. To make filling, cut cream cheese into pieces and add to a mixing bowl. Whip until smooth, maybe 4 minutes. Then add 1-1/3 cups sugar, and continue to beat until smooth again, another 4-5 minutes. Next, add vanilla, salt, sour cream and heavy cream; beat until smooth. Add in 1 egg at a time, beating briefly between each egg.
  1. Once the mixture is well combined and very smooth, divide evenly into 2 bowls. In one bowl, add the orange zest and orange juice concentrate and mix well, set aside. In the 2nd bowl, add the nutella and mix well.
  2. Starting with whichever flavored batter, pour some directly into the center of the cooled crust, then a little more of the opposite flavor. Continue alternating batters by pouring them directly in the center, this will create layers so each slice has equal(ish) amounts of both flavors. Then, to make my design I just ran a butter knife across the top a few times to give it the 'spiderweb' effect
  3. Place cheesecake into a baking dish on oven rack, and fill baking dish (or a deep frying pan!) with boiling water about 1 inch up the side of the springform pan.
  4. Bake at 325 degrees in the water bath for 1 hour and 40 minutes to 1 hour 50 minutes or until set but still jiggles slightly 2 inches from the edge. If cheesecake begins to brown on top, cover loosely with foil during last 5 minutes of baking.
  5. Turn off the oven, open the oven door a crack, and let the cake cool in the oven for 1 hour. The slow cooling will help it not crack.
  6. Loosely wrap the dish in foil so the foil isn't touching the top of the cake and refrigerate for at least 4 hours.
  7. When ready to remove cake, run a clean narrow knife around the edge of the dish, remove the foil, unlock the spring, and carefully lift off the outer ring.

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Friday, April 5, 2013

Two Hundred Fifty-Two - A Poem

Last year, I was a part of a writer's group that had a writing challenge. The challenge was, in 250 words or less, write anything involving a wish.

My wish was to have more than 250 words, and I wrote a sonnet, where technically, that wish was granted (although maybe I should write a 3rd sonnet about how that wish was not granted as much as it was earned).

I spent the last hour re-writing, rewording, and putting the finishing touches on it. I liked it enough to share it, and since it's the first sonnet I've written since high school, I thought maybe making it public would give me more incentive to write more of them. I know it needs work but it's been - Oh Dear God - 10 years since I have written one.

(Also please note that this rough draft was written last July, when Scott Walker had just shrugged off a recall election, and we were in the middle of a terrible, terrible drought up here in Wisconsin, to explain the few lines that aren't synced up with current events.)

Two Hundred Fifty Two
Pam Gabriel

Before me lies a toil, one so daunting
To search the depths of my own weary heart
To solve one thing in this world that's haunting
Only two hundred fifty words, to start

And in those few words, find my greatest wish
Something grand, and above all else, perfect
Bring back a loved one I so dearly miss?
Or help a suff'ring friend I'm desperate to protect?

Bring them back to where I feel they belong
Let them wake up, without hunger or pain
Though something so farfetched feels so wrong
I sudd'nly won't awake with powers gained

Instead of taking Godlike leaps and bounds
Perhaps I should keep my feet on the ground

So many problems I could write about
In less than a page I must express them all
Wish for some rain to end this scorching drought
Or for another chance to get Scott recalled

With ideas so vast, and words so few
To say it all would be fiercely tough
What I would like the most is more words to use
Even a second page would be good enough

Then I could say it all, express my plight
Tell you my woes, 'til my voice disappears
Stand upon my soap box, all day and night
A thousand more words, I'll be rid your fears

Desperately I wish a miracle to bring
It will sweep through and solve every little thing

Even if I could, it would not come true
But this one did, with two hundred fifty two!

I'm a clever gal, ain't I?

(You don't have to answer that)

In other writing news, It's Camp NaNoWriMo, and I'm hoping to write more poetry (maybe something less structured), as well as maybe some short stories or screenplays. We'll see if they actually end up here or not. April started almost a week ago, and this is the first thing that resembles writing that I've done, so we'll see.