LAFF: Thoughts in Quarantine: Day 14……..#CoronavirusDiaries

It’s been 14 days since I’ve been in self quarantine for the COVID-19 (corona virus) global pandemic (both Chad and I are healthy, but there is a stay inside order for Indiana currently). 

Anyway, I think my brain is really starting to go. Like, I’m getting a bit worried. 

Because the other day as I was eating dinner, I looked at the package of vegetables I was eating and couldn’t believe my eyes. 

I have been enjoying this vegetable all my life. It’s my favorite and my favorite way to prepare them is to put them in the oven with olive oil and salt and bake them for 25-30 minutes at 250 degrees until the outside is crunchy. 

But it turns out I’ve been mispronouncing this vegetable my entire life. 

Turns out it’s Brussels Sprouts NOT Brussel Sprouts. 

Um, what?? 

I guess I shouldn’t be so surprised. I sort of have a history of mispronouncing and misremembering things. 

Like, I legitimately didn’t pronounce the elephant puppet from Sesame Street correctly till I was in high school. And I only found out about it because someone took pity on me, took me aside and told me the correct way to say it. 

It’s Snuffleupagus NOT Snuppleupagas. 

Weird. 

And don’t even get me started on how I sang, “Jesus Loves Me” wrong for like 10 years, even as a church kid, until my sister called me out and corrected me. 

So I guess in a way I should have expected this. 

But it was definitely still jarring. 

Am I the last person to notice this? 

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Lulabelle Cooks without a Net: Cherry Cola Cobbler……

I finally presented Chad with his valentines day gift at dinner tonight. Because we think it’s dumb that anyone dictate when we celebrate love (and I just couldn’t get it together this year in time for the 14th).

So when I asked if he wanted me to make chocolate chips cookies or cherry cobbler, and he chose the latter, I knew I’d blog the results.

This recipe is inspired by one of my favorite pies from Grand Traverse Pie Company. Every fall they put out a cherry pie with Vernor’s ginger ale baked into the filling. This gives the pie a wonderful zing and enhances the flavor profile of a normal cherry pie.

So I decided to try my own version. And of course because it’s me, I decided to add another ingredient.

Cherry cola. Why? Because.

As always, my cobbler’s start with sugar cookie dough you can make yourself (Why though?) or buy in the refrigerator section of the grocery store.  As for the filling I did the following:

Empty two frozen packages of cherries into metal bowl. (EDIT: I went a bit overboard with the amount and had leftover cherry mixture that I put into a Ziplock bag and froze for another time) 

Pour cherry cola over cherries until covered.  Stir quickly to combine.

Watch cola absorb and freeze into the cherries, making them more frozen. #Science

Stick mixture into the fridge as you tear the kitchen and living room to shreds looking for that jar of ground ginger you swear you have.

Let cherry mixture sit in the fridge for another 3 days until ground ginger is purchased.

On day 3, stir in ground ginger to taste. Now I will warn you, be careful. I used 2 teaspoons of ginger and that was probably too much. Ginger is a tricky spice and there is a very fine line between “Oh, that’s delicious” to “Oh, that is DEFINITELY an industrial strength cleaning product!”

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To assemble: cut dough into two pieces in a 3/4th to 1/4 ratio. Take the 3/4th section and spread it into the bottom of a rounded non stick pan. Pour in cherry mixture with a measuring cup, being careful to not pour in too much of the liquid (to avoid overflowing the pan and causing a mess in the oven.)

Take the smaller section of dough and plop it in dollops around the top of the cherry mixture and bake at 350 degrees for 40 minutes. 

Bon Appetit, Ya’ll!! 

LAFF: The One Where Lulabelle Sarcastically Responds to a Stupid Meme Found on the Internet…….

A few weeks ago I stumbled across a meme on Facebook that made me cringe. It was a list of phrases some people with disabilities hear on a regular basis. Today I thought I’d share them as well as my sarcastic responses. Feel free to use them the next time you are faced with any of the comments below: 

“You’re pretty for someone with a disability” Apparently you’ve never seen me first thing in the morning. 

“You’re so lucky you get to drive a wheelchair all day” Yeah. The tendinitis in my thumb from years of spinning my wheels, that can sometimes feel like I broke a bone, makes me feel like a bright and shiny bowl of sunshine!

*“I only see the person, not the disability” So what you’re saying is you see me coming at you from an elevated sitting position with nothing underneath me? Creepy. 

“Why don’t you try dating someone like you?” I think at this point dating someone like me would seriously upset my current marriage.  Also, what makes you think my husband and I aren’t similar? We can finish each other sentences. It’s pretty gross. 😀

“I can’t even imagine living your life.” Well, I can’t imagine living life as a balding, middle aged wedding singer who’s recently taken up yak farming, but here we are!

*I’ve found that there are moments where my visible disability enhances my life. This wedding photo is my all time favorite and it wouldn’t be the same without my chair. 

Flying wedding

40 Lessons in 40 Years…….

Last week I turned 40.

4. 0.

I think I’m still kind of in shock, but here we are.

So I decided to make a list of 40 things I’ve learned in this 40 years of life.

And I’m a bit embarrassed that it took me almost a month to compile the list.

But I finally finished.

So if you’d like to glean wisdom from a 40-year-old childless housewife, read on. 😀

40 lessons I’ve learned in 40 years:

1. You will eventually be content with your decision not to have kids.

2. Naps spark joy and may become your most favorite time of the day

3. There is no need to buy a makeup remover unless you are going on vacation and can’t take a whole jug of olive oil with you or you are allergic to olive oil. Cheapest makeup remover on the market.
(EDIT: Apparently waterproof mascara doesn’t come off with olive oil as well as other commercial brands. So, 3A would be, only wear waterproof mascara for very special occasions.)

4. Make sure you have separate jugs of olive oil–one for cooking, one for skincare.

5. Call your grandparents at least once a month or once a week.

6. Butter is always better.

7. Don’t freak out if your wedding night sex/first time sex isn’t that great. You have your entire marriage/relationship to work on that aspect of your relationship
and honestly, figure out what works for you and your partner and, I know it’s hard, but not comparing yourself to other couples is key to being content.

8.Your SAT score is just a number and doesn’t determine your worth as a person nor
how successful you’ll be in life.

9. Take care of your body, but don’t be afraid of growing older. The first
gray hair I got when I was 30 was devastating, but I’ve since learned to embrace it
and call my gray hairs “unicorn strands.” I’m now looking forward to turning into a majestic unicorn.

10. If you ever accidentally get drunk, NEVER drink and drive of course, but also never get on social media. If you think you might, make sure you have a sober buddy to watch and make sure you don’t make that mistake. (Please drink responsibly and only after turning 21 😉 ).

11. Never date someone you don’t like because you don’t want to hurt their feelings by rejecting them.

12. No is a complete sentence.

13. Those lists of “rules” to follow in fashion after a certain age are bullshit.
Wear what makes you feel beautiful and confident.

14. Only have children (by birth, adoption or fostering) if you want them. You don’t have to have children to live a fulfilling, rich life.

15. Wear sunscreen every time you go outside.

16. Pair the sunscreen with sun glasses.

17. Begin monthly breast exams early (preferably in high school) so you can know what your breasts feel like and you can more easily identify potential issues.

18. Pray for the President daily, no matter who he/she is, or what party they come from.
Praying for our leaders is a biblical tenet and shouldn’t be dismissed.

19. There is freedom in doing things that scare you. (Although I need to point out that, although there might be freedom in it, I still don’t have a desire to skydive, go on a roller coaster or repel off a tall building. 😛 )

20. Its OK to have the courage to decide for yourself through study and research what you believe, what are your morals, and what you will stand up for, independent from your parents.

21. If you are in therapy and are not comfortable or happy with your therapist, switch.
Therapists are not one sized fits all and it’s important to find someone you are comfortable with.

22. Embrace you curves. After a certain age, everyone will have rolls and cellulite. True story: the other day I was wearing a new shirt that I purchased online and it’s slightly smaller than I thought so even though I probably looked like a busted can of biscuits. I still wore it out because I love it so much.

23. Never allow anyone to steal your sparkle.

24. You’ll finally understand what that translucent yellow pill was that your parents took every morning: Fish oil.

25. When asking someone out on a date, literally use the words, “Do you want to go out on a date with me?” This will make your intentions clear and both parties will be on the same page. (Maybe it can be your brave thing you do that day. 😉 )

26. Before you post on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter ask yourself, “Will this come back to bite me in the bum in 10 years?” If the answer is yes, don’t do it.

27. If you see two memes for colonoscopies in a 24-hour period, God is probably trying
to tell you something.

28. You truly are your own worst critic. (Yes, I’m 28 items in and am getting trite, but this one is actually quite true.)

29. Forgive yourself for past mistakes. Acknowledge them and move forward. Once you know better, be better.

30. Don’t be afraid to question things you don’t understand.

31. When traveling on an airplane, always pack your medicine, pair of underwear and any other important medical supplies in your carry-on luggage in case your checked luggage gets lost or there is an overnight delay.

32. Be humble enough to apologize to children of any age when you’ve wronged them in some way. 

33. Lists will save your life.

34. Take occasional breaks from social media. It can be quite refreshing. (Ok, at this point my list has somehow turned into some sort of intervention. 😛 )

35. Reward yourself for tiny tasks with a TV show, YouTube video or snack.
Did the dishes? Watch an episode or two of FRIENDS. With a bowl of ice cream. (Or whatever you think is a good treat.)

36. Don’t rely on one source for all your news. Consume at least two or three sources to get the full story.

37. Be open-minded enough to realize you aren’t always going to be right.

38. When you apologize, be sincere.

39. Before you go on vacation, do some cleaning around the house. My mom used to do this when I was a kid and I never understood why because it’s not like we’d be home to  enjoy the cleanliness. But as an adult, the few times I’ve done this, I finally understand. It feels SO good to come home from vacation to a clean house or at least a clean living room.

40. When you discover  a toxic person in your circle, do not be afraid to distance yourself from that person. Your mental and emotional health will thank you.

Cheers!

 

Good Luck…..

This took me several weeks to upload because I wanted to be sure I was taking the right angle by getting the real story. As accurate as possible. Also our professional life took a pivot around the same time as I started writing this, and I found myself with zero time to blog.

So although this particular story may be a bit outdated, the topic of mental illness never is.

With that said, here we go:

Last month Andrew Luck, quarterback for the Indianapolis Colts, abruptly announced his retirement from the sport.

And some Colts fans lost their minds. Luck was actually booed off the field after a preseason game as word spread of his impending announcement.

And that really pisses me off.

Some theorize that there was booing because the commentators made the announcement prior to Luck’s official statement slated for after the game. So the booing could have been directed at them.

While others theorize that fans were angry that he chose to no longer be on the team and that will hurt the Colts and put them further away from the Superbowl this year. Or that the Colts had done him dirty by never letting him have adequate coverage.

The facts appear to be that Luck has been so injured in the last few seasons that it was starting to affect his mental health. And so he made the choice, instead of earning millions of dollars playing football, to retire and spend time with his family and let his body truly heal.

The issue of mental health is not something that is regularly discussed in the arena of professional sports. The emphasis is mostly on one’s physical health and the ability to win games. So the thought that Luck is retiring to focus on his mental health is groundbreaking.

And I’m here for it.

For the first time that I can remember, and I may be forgetting a few instances, a professional athlete is walking away from the sport and job they love to concentrate in part on their mental health. Although it’s entirely possible that reason has been buried under the guise of, “stepping back from my career to spend more time with my family.”

And it’s sad that the real reason is hidden due to the stigma mental illness still has in our society.

But I get it because talking about mental illness isn’t fun. It’s messy and awkward and uncomfortable. I know because I’ve been living with mental illness since high school. And with anything in life, there are highs and lows.

At one point recently when I was between jobs, I experienced a mental breakdown so severe that at one point I had to be monitored for 24 hours. And I’m not a high profile person, so I can’t begin to imagine the amount of pressure and stress Luck was under.

And making the choice to quit the sport and job that you love is bad enough, but when it’s met with boos and criticism, that makes things even harder. And can actually have the opposite effect of pushing the person further down the spiral of mental illness to the point where they want to end their life.

Because they aren’t meeting up with others expectations.

And that can make some people spiral back down to the pit of depression and suicidal thoughts.

So maybe instead of booing Luck off the field, we all need to stand up and applaud. Applaud his decision to forgo millions of dollars to work on his mental and physical health. Applaud his decision to focus more time on his family. 

And wish him good luck. 

Cheers!

LAFF: Things I’m Loving in 2019….

I love reading “favorite things” lists on the internet because I love to discover new products, music, and food. So today I’m writing my own. Enjoy! 

  1. Internet Things-Pets with captions. Specifically Tucker Budzyn-a 1 year old Golden Retriever.
    I’ve never met this dog, I don’t know him personally, but let me just tell you–this dog makes me smile every day. Follow him on Instagram and Facebook @TuckerBudzyn. Also, I recommend this video of his: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sjFAx5jPFN0
  2. Internet Things #2-Philip Defranco-I’ve been watching this channel on Youtube for about 3 years and I really enjoy it. It’s a news channel that gives you a 15-20 minute show every day on news topics from the US and globally. The main reason I enjoy this show is that it’s heavily researched and it’s independent and not beholding to anything. There are times I agree with what he says, and times I disagree.
  3. Internet Things #3-Lavender and Lemons Shoppe-Full disclosure? This Facebook page and blog is run by a friend of mine since college and focuses on disability, advocacy and health related content. And unlike other much larger platforms who don’t pay their writers, L&L seeks submissions and pays a small amount when they are able to. If you’d like to contribute to help fund writers, go to this link: https://lavenderlemonsshoppe.wordpress.com/?fbclid=IwAR0I6rWyHgPKZy5QW6_04VH99m_PCEw8M39XN5zeApPzRu0Mtr0cR81L9WA
  4. Tillamook Mint Chocolate Chip Ice CreamI’m a lover of anything mint chocolate chip. The reasons I love this particular brand of ice cream is that first of all, there is no artificial dye in the ice cream itself. Unlike most other brands of MCC, this brands ice cream is white, not green. It still packs a delicious minty flavor without the dye. Also, the container comes pre-sealed so you can be assured that your ice cream does not come pre-licked by anyone trying to gain clout on the internet. (Dear Jesus, what have we become?? 😛 )
  5. My Favorite Human-My husband. (To be fair, he’s been my favorite human since 2008)
    This summer my husband and I celebrated our 6th wedding anniversary. We’ve technically been together for over 11 years. We have seen each other through job losses, property moves, grandparent deaths, many many miles spend on the road and we still like each other. He’s super great and I believe that everyone needs a Chad in their life.

    me-laura-valentine

  6. Favorite Politician-………………………………………(Yep. I’m sick of all of them and wish we could scrap them all and start over. Blech)
  7. Favorite Morning Devotional AppOur Daily Bread. I read these in booklet form starting in college and they were just long enough to keep my ADD attention span. In the era of smartphones, you can download their app in the Google Play Store (or whatever the iphone equivalent is) so you have a daily devotional delivered to your phone every morning.
  8. Favorite Ringtone-On a related note, when I procured this phone, I went in and looked at my ringtone options on ZEDGE. One of the artists that I plugged into ZEDGE’S search bar was Rich Mullins-the late contemporary christian artist. And I found a song by him-The Love of God. Then I put this as my ringtone. Now every time I hear my phone ring, I hear this song and it reminds me of how much Jesus loves me. I’ve also noticed I’m calmer in my everyday life since I’ve made this change.
  9. Favorite Music-Anything by Taylor Swift (Yes, I’m almost 40. Just let me have this, Ok, Linda? 😛 ) I am currently obsessed with Taylor Swift’s Lover Album (which dropped yesterday) and I’m listening to it as I write this. This album is not only Swift’s latest project, but marks the 1st album where she actually owns all the songs. #GirlPower
  10. Blueberry cobbler-Chad and I are at the age where having normal blood pressure levels is a good thing. We discovered that berries help to lower high blood pressure and have gotten into eating frozen blueberries. Tonight I put them into a cobbler. If you need the recipe, you can refer to it here, swap out the peaches for blueberries and omit the cinnamon. 

#CommunityForCODA

**If you or someone you know is in a domestic violence situation and needs help, you can call The National Domestic Violence Hotline at: 1-800-799-SAFE (7233) or 1-800-787-3224 (TTY) or The Council on Domestic Abuse (CODA) at: 800-566-CODA (2632)

All calls can remain anonymous.

I’m not even sure how to start this one, so I’ll just make it simple: The domestic violence shelter in our town needs your help. Due to a lack of available funding, The Council On Domestic Abuse (CODA) residential home will close September 14th unless $150K is raised to cover funds. And because of the financial crunch, 8 staff members will be let go from their jobs this Friday, August 23. 

This is a devastating blow to our small town, a place where many already live on or below the poverty line. Without a shelter for domestic violence survivors and their children, those living on or below the poverty line are left especially vulnerable.

But you can help.

CODA has set up online donations to try and raise enough money by September 14th to keep the residential facility open. You can donate funds here.

If you are not able to donate, you can still help by calling and emailing Indiana Congressman Larry Buschon’s office to ask what he plans to do to address CODA funding. 

Congressman Buschon’s office: (812) 232-0523

Email: https://bucshon.house.gov  (Click the “contact” button on the page)

Thanks!