It’s nice to hear from someone else who’s bipolar–at least now I know I’m not crazy. (LOL) It’s nice to know other people are going through the same things, too…even though I wish you didn’t have to deal with it, either.
I’m a little luckier than you are in choice of geography–California doesn’t allow insurance companies to exclude pre-existing conditions, so if I can buy insurance at all, it will cover bipolar disorder. Equally fortunately, I’m eligible for membership in IEEE–and if you’ve belonged for two years or more, you can buy their group health insurance. Hot dog. I can get insurance.
But the frustration for me has been having to struggle with this all by myself. I’m thinking of joining a support group, at least temporarily.
Along happier lines, this has been a really productive week for me–I just started a new medication (Abilify) that has FINALLY got me back to something like my previous self, energy-wise. (Not to mention allowing me to sleep–the previous med gave me such bad insomnia I turned into a zombie.) So it has been a productive week, and the best news is that I’m un-stuck on the book! I’ve started transcribing interviews and am feeling thoroughly un-guilty about starting back to work on it. (I had been consumed with guilt for not having gotten it done yet–ridiculous, I know, especially since I’ve been contending with severe bipolar attacks the last two years–but if you’re pretending to the entire universe that you don’t have an illness, then you can hardly make allowances for it, can you?)
I’ve also made two batches of apricot jam, one regular apricot-orange-blossom-honey and one with a vanilla bean thrown in, and some vanilla yogurt. (I’m lactose-intolerant, so I have to make my own yogurt.) If you’re detecting a vanilla theme here, you’re right. When I was at the cacao symposium, one of the stops was at a vanilla growing farm. We got to see vanilla orchids growing in pots, with green vanilla beans sprouting off the vines, and they served us lunch with vanilla in almost everything. The vanilla lemonade was FANTASTIC!
Anyway, they suggested trying vanilla in lots of different dishes, and since the price of vanilla is going down (it was at $160/lb wholesale for awhile–and not even for the good stuff!), I figured I’d try using some of my carefully hoarded stock. I had bought a pound of Tahitian vanilla beans back when they were still cheap, and my, they’re heavenly.
So now I’m experimenting with vanilla in lots of different things.
I’m also considering making my own chocolate! I had thought you needed lots of really expensive equipment to make your own chocolate, but it turns out that for about $1000 you can get a complete setup for making your own chocolate. See Chocolate Alchemy for details.
Now, $1000 is still a sizable chunk of money, but having looked at their stuff I think the only thing you *really* need is the Santha Wet Grinder, to conch the chocolate, and that’s only about $250. I have a few sources for raw cacao beans (not least of which is the 2-3 lbs I brought back from Belize), so now, hmm…
I’m seriously thinking about it. I can’t afford it for another month or two at least, and I have no delusions about being able to create the next Valrhona (’tis blasphemy even to suggest!), but I’ve always wanted to try making my own chocolate. I also think it would be interesting to try flavored chocolates–for example, one can add vanilla to chocolate simply by adding chopped-up vanilla beans during the conching process, and letting the grinders break it down into the chocolate. What if you did the same thing with dried sour cherries? (Drying it down really dry beforehand, so it didn’t introduce excess moisture.) Hazelnuts?
At the very least it would be fun to experiment with different roasts, varieties, etc. of chocolate And I could make my own milk chocolate! I have found a source of non-deodorized cocoa butter, so I could make my own version of El Rey’s Icoa (white chocolate). It’s just too bad I can’t think of a way to get lactose-free milk powder. (I can only dream.)
So that’s the creative stuff for the week, and I might add, that is the upside of the bipolar disorder–when I’m my regular self, I’m slightly hypomanic and I get a lot of stuff done. It’s just the rest of the time that’s the pits.
Life is pretty stressful this week as work is preparing for a massive reorg accompanied with mass layoffs–if the rumors are accurate, about 20% of the company is going to go. I’m pretty nervous about whether I’ll be one of them–I know, I know, they just rehired me, but things have changed again.
I’m not sure it matters, though, as I’ve been pretty unhappy with the new structure and am seriously considering bailing on the company. Of course, a lot of other people are in exactly the same boat. I just wish they’d get their reorg-and-layoff done with, so we can all go back to work (or jobhunting).