Kitchen Sacrifices For Feeling Out Of Sorts

We went out for Thanksgiving dinner. I think that messed up the world.

Everything has seemed slightly off since Thanksgiving. I’m having one of those mornings where my perception of reality has taken a dark turn and I can’t tell if life is really as harsh and brutal and cold as I suspect, or if it really is more puppies and kittens and baby angels on unicorns.

I feel this anxiety and my mind goes to some dark places and I wonder, is this really my mental illness or is this when I see life more clearly?

Randy pointed out recently that I’m happier and less anxious if my hands are occupied. I’m calm when I embroider or bake or write or paint.

Other than write, I haven’t done much of that other stuff since Thanksgiving.

I didn’t cook Thanksgiving dinner and my hands need to be occupied.

It’s Sunday morning and I’m making a full blown turkey dinner today. Instead of sacrificing a goat, I will sacrifice a frozen bird and try to set my world right again.

Randy is making bacon jam and keeps interrupting me while I’m writing this to ask what’s next on his recipe. It very nearly turned into an argument, but we traversed it.

I’m baking oatmeal, peanut butter, chocolate chip cookies for dessert. We’re listening to music and my kitchen smells amazing.

Our dishwasher is broken. The repairman has been waiting over a week for a part. That didn’t stop us from embarking on this enormous cooking day. Poor Randy, he’s going to have dish pan hands before the day is over.

I’m waiting my turn at the stove and doing some prep work. We didn’t argue over the bacon jam, but bacon jam disgruntlement still hung in the air, so why not talk about cell phone service?

We need to switch cell phone providers and we wind up in the same place every time we have this conversation. Sooner or later, we’re going to have to melt away this impasse. Our service ends at the end of next month. He gets his panties wadded up over contracts. We need cell phone service no matter what, so who gives a fuck if there’s a contract or not?

I don’t have to worry about that today. I have to roast some almonds for green beans and decide if going to the store for dinner rolls is worth it.

Randy is right about the being occupied thing (he’s definitely not right about the phone thing).ย I started chopping onions and apples and potatoes and world made a few motions toward settling into it’s place. The place where I’m not always out of sorts and worried. I accept that I’m a worrier. I always have been, but it would be motherfucking nice if I could stop being theย mostย worried when I have nothing to worry about.

I will continue to find ways to keep my hands moving so that my mind is too occupied to slide down those dark alleys.

Plus, I’m going to have some really good leftovers.





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  • Doing things is certainly effective where the internal demons are concerned. Making things is better. Think about the fact that the world will be at least a teensy bit better after you’ve added more cookies to it ๐Ÿ™‚

  • It must be something in the water, I started feeling “off” on Sunday and immediately wanted to bake cookies. What is it about homemade baked goods that can set the mind straight? I have today off from work so I’m going to bake some peanut butter cookies and hopefully that will free my head from its funk.

    • I hope they turn out! Mine were flat. I used a new recipe. They tasted alright, but they were really flat. I think the recipe called for too much butter.

  • I’ve much been feeling the same way. I lost my knitting mojo awhile back. Quite awhile back.
    Just before Xmas, to deal with the angst of holidays and dealing with Narcissist dad and the angst of what to get my mother (stroke victim, wheel chair, nursing home care) I just decided fuck it all and knit her a little cowl in some very expensive stash yarn as her gift, along with two airplane sized bottles of Ice Wine that she can have when at home for dinner and…some sugar free “turtles”. I felt so much better with busy hands and decided to give no f*cks about what Narcissist father would say/complain about her gifts (he’s returned 90% of her gifts from me since the stroke 5 yrs ago…but I won’t go there now).

    Lately I’ve been sourdoughing…I found some languishing potato water starter in my deep chest freezer and resurrected it …I fed it and cuddled it an named it GEORGE! (Tiny Toons reference). Because it takes time to feed, make dough, bake it off…it’s been a great distraction for my brain.

    I’m still having worry issues (thanks to a raccoon who keeps waking me in the dead of night by trying to eat our roof off) and am toying with the idea of a “Debbie’s mental health emergency box” for when I get this way. I’ll keep some quickie projects like crocheted dishcloth, sock yarn with an assigned pattern, a small embroidery project, emergency chocolate, a list of writing prompts for short story writing….stuff to make me do something other than take chunks out of my heart worrying over things.

    • I’m a newcomer to this site and I’m having a marathon read (fucking AWESEOME!!) today because today has been sucking and I’ve been in such a wandering, lost rut for weeks…THIS right here helps! And I swear to god that reading that you named your sourdough starter George has made me the happiest I’ve been all day. ๐Ÿ™‚ xo


  • The more stressed I get, the more manic I get. Until I get to shut down, which is really, really bad. Making things is often enough to distract me from the road to shut down, though. Hope it works as well for you!

  • If my husband tries to cook something while I’m cooking something, that is a GUARANTEED argument.
    Plus, I cannot write while I’m cooking.
    Cooking, like writing, requires focus, for me.
    So, that pretty much makes you SuperWoman…who’s going to end up in an argument with Super Randy.

  • I want so badly to come over to your house right now. I’ll even take the job of washing the dishes, saving Randy the trouble. Or he can wash and I’ll dry. Or vice versa. My wife and I haven’t had a working dishwasher the whole time we’ve been married. We have a system. She cooks, I wash the dishes. I cook, I wash the dishes. Slightly imbalanced but it works.

    And I find I don’t need to keep my hands busy, but I do need to keep my feet busy. Walking soothes the troubled soul. It should probably worry me that I walk about two miles a day.

    • Yes!! Walking is good. It’s been nice enough out that Randy and I could walk the past two evenings. It’s gonna be cold tomorrow and it’s back to the treadmill for me…

  • On the topic of bread with dinner, The Kitchn blog has a “no time bread” which you can have finished in like, an hour. With rises.

    And ugh, cell phone providers. We have Verizon, and I hesitate to say we’re HAPPY with it, but we have limited options.

  • It’s hard for me to accept it when (most) everything in my life is going good. I’m always waiting for the other shoe to drop. Like this (life as I know it) could be gone tomorrow. So I can’t just sit here (and enjoy things), gotta be ready for the bad, right?

  • It freaks me the hell out how much we are alike. I baked a damn turkey last Sunday because I am going crazy in my whacked out, fucked up mind stressing about things that are not worth stressing about. Does that tell you anything. Go get those damn rolls I didn’t and it didn’t feel right lol!

  • Hahahaha! Sorry Michelle but I had to laugh at this because it is further proof that we ALL need to let go of something (see my recent blog post for explanation.) Sorry you’ve been feeling out of sorts though…I hope you turkey dinner set things back on course for you both. And keep that mind (and your hands!) busy!!!!!!

  • I loved this post so much. I totally understand. We usually go out for dinner, so in years past I’ve done “smaller” versions of Thanksgiving meals a week or two later, just because I felt the need to. I get it. I’m glad you did it and I hope the meal was wonderful and the leftovers are even better!

    • Thank you! And yes, it was quite satisfying. I did use pepperidge farm stuffing mix instead of making it from scratch, so that was mildly disappointing..but still..not bad.

  • My brother is a complainer. He will complain because it is going to rain, and then complain if it doesn’t.

    My daughter is a drama queen. If everything is going well, she will manufacture a crisis. She has to have drama at all times – preferably with her cast as the victim.

    Those are comfort zones. Pretty screwed up comfort zones, but still comfort zones. And it’s the same with your worrying. Your brain is programmed to worry. When there is nothing to worry about, it starts grasping at straws, which are then turned into the straw that broke the camel’s back. Your mind does not know how to not worry.

    You can probably retrain your brain. Turkey and cookies is certainly a step in the right direction. And leftovers are a bigger step. Cause . . . leftovers.

    Ironically, your therapy gave you one less thing to worry about . . . the vindictive frozen turkey breast in the freezer!

    • HAHAH! YES! It was that turkey breast! The one that wanted to break my foot.

      And yes..I’ve been conditioned to worry for my entire life. I’ve always worried. Always.

  • Mmm…leftovers.
    I know what you mean about keeping your hands busy. Lately I’ve been neglecting my knitting and it’s starting to take its toll on my well-being. Bad Nutty, bad.
    Hope that frozen bird sacrifice works out for ya.

  • What’s bacon jam? ( I had to google pajama jeans too the other day too. Neither exist in Australia.)
    You are creative. Create! Achievable projects with satisfying outcomes are essential to me too. Things I can control that lead to things I like = win win situation.
    Hope you, your dishwasher and your mobile phones ( we don’t say cell phone down here either) are all soon happily busy at minimal expense to pocket and soul.

  • We had vegetarians over for Thanksgiving dinner and I’ve been eating turkey pot pies ever since in an attempt to rid myself of the craving for a real turkey dinner. It never occurred to me to cook one now! I hope I can still find a turkey. I’ve struggled with various levels of anxiety for years and I’ve come to the conclusion that sometimes, it’s not me at all. It’s my sensitivity to the energy around me (the world, my neighbors, my dog, whoever) that catches me off guard when nothing else is wrong. I don’t know if you’ve empathetic like that and are sensitive to energy but I know that once I accepted that sometimes my feelings of anxiety are rooted outside of myself, I felt much better.

  • Bacon jam? Sounds terrifying! I’d prefer the cookies, myself! I have to keep my hands busy too… most often by blogging. But I’ve also taken up baking lately, and made some wicked good chocolate chip cookies the other day!

  • good for you – I think we should all make a turkey dinner on the third Monday in January (cause it is supposed to be the saddest day of the calendar year)….tryptophan can only help. and turkey sandwiches for days…..

  • Yep, I keep myself as occupied as I possibly can, all the time, I still slip slide down that slippery slope into the abyss though. My best songwriting comes from the depths of that abyss though so maybe it has a plus side.

    I think the world is somewhere between the unicorns and rainbows and the pit of doom, not sure exactly though. Cynicism carried from childhood I guess

  • There’s that thing that Oliver Sacks said again, that work and love are the only ways to heal or maintain a human psyche. And your turkey dinner is making me a little jealous; we just rode Paratransit to the Dollar Store, and while we were in the checkout line with our cart full of groceries the power went out. So now Briana is riding her bicycle to get some burritos.

  • I am totally on board here. I find that if I spend a day doing nothing I start to think. If I think too much there is real danger that one day spent doing nothing will turn into many and that’s when my mind goes berserk. Fortunately, I have very little idle time but it happens…and it ain’t good.
    I’m glad you found a way to keep the worry away and I wish I lived closer to you because I wouldn’t have hesitated in getting myself invited over for that dinner!

By Michelle


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