Monday, March 13, 2017

So gritty.

Overtime, I've have been asked by friends to describe my depression since they've been fortunate enough not to experience something like *this*. Plus, I've been battling this for some time...even before my Fathers passing. Years, in fact. The scene with Dormammu in Marvels Dr. Strange summed up, really well to be honest, the FEELING of dark sorrow that depression casts over me. For me, it's this entity that doesn't let go regardless of my efforts because it's so massive and overpowering. Even if it's not right in front of my face, I know it's *there* and attempt to manage it as best as I can to keep it at bay.

It kicks your ass over and over again.

Lemme say though, I am incredibly grateful for those friends who have taken the time to put themselves in my shoes & try to get a better understanding rather than saying "That sucks" once exposed to some of the layers that fuel the depression. Well, yes. Thank you for stating the obvious and that certain things DO suck, lol, but it is what it is and I have to move forward. Splash some anxiety into that chaos and you've got yourself one hell of an Erika on your hands. 

When the anxiety decides it's time to show up, it's perfume is so intoxicating that it makes you scared of everything you can't control / can't fix. What if this? What if that? What if I didn't bring the right papers? What if I forget blah blah blah. What if what if what if..aghhh it's maddening. What if I say the wrong thing? What if I'm not funny? This is the shit that ricochets around my brain! Stupid, right? The minute I'm able to click my seatbelt, engage my Xterra and actually drive away...lemme tell you, the party in my head is bangin'. I'm talking like an epic Belgian summer party (some might get that reference). 

Surly I've seen a doctor. Yup, in fact all they did was throw pills at me, even adjusting the dosages and brands. After several changes in Rx's, I stopped taking them because they made me wanna take headers off of bridges or drive my car as fast as I can into a tree regardless of what I did. Knives would rationalize why it's best if I was gone so I wasn't such a fuck-up and a burden to others. *GASP!* But I have such an amazing husband?! I love my son?!  And my fur babies?! YES, YES, A MILLION TIMES YES. Depression is SINISTER and DOES NOT care who you love. What? Surprised I actually admitted to wanting to kill myself? Or, questioning whether if I've actually tried? I'd rather be blunt and honest than pussy foot when it comes to me, where my mental standing is, and frankly...I'm a fucking human being with limits. Currently, nothing in my life is worth leaving this world for although it's like there's this little gremlin that won't let go and it keeps whacking me because I drudge on. Time is making it weaker, so as long as I keep working on it, it'll eventually give up.

Am I suicidal? NO. Depressed? Yes. Anxious? Yes. Wanna die? Nope. Looking for some cemetery real estate? NOPE. I'm just making that crystal clear for those who are reading this; this is about as black and white as it gets. My husband is so very aware of everything related to my physical, mental and emotional health that doctors are impressed. It weighs on me heavily as to how helpless he feels because he can't "fix" me, but he knows how much I value his love, patience as well as support while remembering this has nothing to do with him or how he makes me feel. He, nor my son have triggered this thing. Again, crystal clear. 

I tell jokes! I giggle a lot. I laugh. Smile. I love telling funny stories from my day. Am I faking all of that?? The majority of the time, no. Are there some times where I have to slap that shit on to make it through another day? You betcha. All the tricks of the trade to mask some stuff I REALLY don't want to talk about. It's not being fake per say, but more so that people stop worrying that they'll hear about me on the news whether it's because I snapped and went ape shit in a public place or just gave up on life. I can say that 95% of the time, my laughs  are genuine so don't think otherwise after reading this post. 

This post is in correlation to what I'm currently going through in my life. Again, I've been approached by friends previously and felt this would be a good platform since recent events have stirred up issues. I obviously took a hiatus from my blog for almost three years because of, depression, Albuquerque "friends", health issues, depression, depression, depression...  and the ironic thing is that work was the main offender between dishonest dealings by one asshole then constant mental abuse from another. I went to work in order to curb feeling like this, haha, then managed landing back to back employers who were horrible assholes. SO. I'm hoping this upswing I'm trying to get going sticks around since I really, really need it due to losing my Father (that's for another time/post). I just hope people read this to get an understanding of what I'm not only experiencing, but how someone might be feeling when they say they're depressed or mentions their anxiety. It's not to be blown off like it's some bullshit "feeling" or "excuse" when someone actually has the balls to voice how their head & heart enable methods that are slowly killing them from the inside. 

But hey, Dr. Strange defeated Dormammu, so there's hope for me against my universal sized mental entity. Right?

Saturday, April 26, 2014

Green Influence

Since I've been living in Albuquerque, I've been introduced to the infamous green hatch chile. 

The majority of the time, I avoid eating anything with these boogers because sometimes..they can get VERY spicy. If you know me, you know that I can't handle extremely hot stuff because of my stomach issues. Once in a while, I'll attempt a small piece of it and usually end up paying the price. Well, when I picked up my Bountiful Baskets order last weekend, there was a boat load of green hatch chiles I had to address. Luckily, Kevin (our house mate) is a New Mexican and took the time to show me how to prep them considering I don't know what the hell to do with them, lol. Since we don't have a BBQ, I ended up roasting them in the oven by using the broiler. At first, he scoffed at the notion since using the oven "wouldn't work" since he swears you HAVE to use a grill...once he saw how well the broiler worked, he kinda shut his mouth. Here's how the chile's are supposed to look:

Once they were charred, you peel the skin off, take out the seeds and then freeze the chiles if you're wanting to stock up on them. I ended up freezing mine since I figured it'd be a bit till I used them. Well, I ended up packing them in my suit case 48 hours later and brought them to California due to an ER with my Dad. They joined me on the trip because when I asked him if he wanted anything from ABQ, he responded that he wanted some green chile's. Done and done. 

So, now that he's out of the hospital and back to his Dad-ly ways, I decided to make a green chile & chicken casserole for him. Although, I gave him the heads up since it was basically an experiment recipe due to the fact I've never cooked with hatch chiles. 

(Sorry for the poor quality picture. I didn't bring my Rebel with me since I rushed to California)

I'm a bit of a stickler when it comes to using chicken. I know I could buy a roasted chicken all ready cooked and everything, but I prefer to bake my own chicken. Well, you'll need to bake a whole chicken in the oven for the allotted time it takes to achieve a cooked product (I don't season it or anything). Then once it's cooled down enough, I strip all the meat and put it in a large mixing bowl, add a can of green chile sauce to it (I use Herdez), mix it in really well and then let it sit overnight so it soaks into the chicken. 

Preheat the oven to 375* 
Chile soaked chicken
Corn tortilla's
Cooked hatch chile's (rough chopped)
Shredded cheese (a large bag is a safe bet depending on how cheesy you want the casserole)

Take your casserole dish and put a small amount of green chile sauce from the chicken to coat the bottom; this will help the corn tortillas from sticking to the surface. Now, you're going to layer everything like you would with lasagna. Corn tortilla's first, followed by chicken, chopped green chiles, cheese...rinse & repeat till you run out of room in your casserole dish. Pop it into the oven for 45 minutes then once it's cooked that entire time, set the oven to broil and allow the top to get crispy for about five minutes. When you pull it out of the oven, let it sit for a good five to ten minutes so it "sets", otherwise you'll have a super hot sloppy mess on your hands. 

This is a SUPER super easy recipe. The only daunting parts are when you prep the chile's (longest part) and taking the time to roast your own chicken. 

Bon appetite! 

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Healthy Habits

Ok, so for those of you who don't know me and where I grew up, I'm from Salinas, California. It's been dubbed, "The salad bowl of the world" since we have a ridiculous amount of agriculture. You name it, odds are, we grow it. So as you can imagine, whenever I needed to shop for fruits and veggies, I always had an awesome selection of stuff considering, hey, it's all right there verses having to deal with shipments that've experienced long distance transports. 

See all the various farm fields? Yea. OODLES of them!

While in Belgium, I had the luxury of attending my towns Monday markets to get produce and some awesome cheeses and meats. Then if I felt like driving a little more, I'd go to Zolder for the Turkish market and get killer deals on everything that was scribbled down on my grocery list. Plus, they had UH-mazing Turkish food you would gorge yourself silly. Sigh..I miss that place.. 

Now that we're back in the States, I had to re-adjust when it came to doing my healthy shopping since there's a grocery store within a stones throw of one another. Some of them have great selection, while others make you wonder if the store forgot that fruit / vegetables rot after a while. From time to time, I'll pop into Whole Foods when I'm hunting for mangoes or something a little exotic...but I don't make a habit of going there because some of their things are a little unreasonable in terms of price. My main "go to" place here is Sprouts, which is kinda like a hybrid of Whole Foods and Trader Joes. They sell organic produce, have an awesome meat department, imported coffee and a slew of other goodies. 

Due to my busy work schedule as of late, I've had an exceptionally hard time getting over to Sprouts to get my weekly healthy goodies. Sure, I could make time to go there, but sometimes, I'm so exhausted from work...there's no way I'm gonna hop in the truck and make my way over there. You know how it is when you've punched out for the night and don't want to go anywhere. I ended up doing some research on local produce companies since I've heard about "harvest boxes" that you can get. They have a pre-selected assortment of various fruits and vegetables for a set price. After looking around, I managed to stumble across Skarsgard Farms based out of Albuquerque. They offer three different sized boxes, update their produce selection weekly AND they deliver it every Wednesday FOR FREE. You can also order eggs, pizza dough, salad dressings and pre-made bakery items if you're interested in having those tossed into your order. I think the best part is that they drop your delivery off in a cooler so the produce doesn't go bad while sitting on the porch. I tested out their services for about a month to see how good their stuff is. Some stuff I was impressed with while I was underwhelmed with others. On average, I pay about $30 for the produce, then there's a $20 deposit for the cooler. Not too shabby, but sometimes I feel like the produce isn't worth $30, especially when some of the fruit is very undersize or far from being ripe.

Then I heard about this thing called "Bountiful Baskets". It's a pretty cool set up for a co-op. You join, scroll through the list of cities that's participating, pick a basket for $15, add whatever extra offers they have listed aside from your basket, pay, then pick up the order from the designated pick up location in town. My only real gripe is that there's a limited amount of baskets available per city. So, you gotta be quick on the draw when it comes to the order window on their website. One minute your list will show up on the drop down bar, then it'll be gone the next. Once your city no longer shows up, that means they're not taking anymore orders. So, you kinda have to stalk the site in order to secure yourself a basket. When I picked up my stuff, I was VERY impressed with what I got:

The carrots were massive, I actually got some decent artichokes, an awesome sized pineapple and a slew of kale, spinach and other veggies. Pretty significant difference between the other company and this one. I mean, can you see the difference in quantity when it comes to the two different companies? I know I can. So, I'll try to see how it goes with the Bountiful Baskets veggies for a bit since I feel like it's a bit of a race to buy a basket. It's like a "snooze, you lose" scenario in a sense.

Oh, and something I'm looking forward to is when the local farmers markets start up. I've heard about them, but half the time, I completely brain fart to actually take the time to look them up. Well, low and behold! I finally remembered! After going through the site and reading up on their functions, I managed to figure out which ones I'd love to check out, and some that I'd try to visit once and a while since some of the locations are pretty far from the side of town I'm on. Either way, it's cool to know I have lots of options to choose from whether I get stuff from the grocery store,  cool veggie co-ops or invading some farmers markets. 

Which ever works out best, I'll still have healthy food in the house rather than all the junk food we used to fill the pantry :) 

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Work Force, LLC

I can't believe we've already been living in Albuquerque for a year. Where the hell has time gone?! I mean, geeze...I can't believe it's going to be April next week. It seems like everything is flying by. Some people have been hitting me up and wondering how work is going for me since I'm ALWAYS busy's story time:

Over the course of a year, I changed jobs two was because the owners wife was a complete terror and my office associate was a manipulative shrew that ran our techs into the ground. I finally hit my limit when the owners wife treated me like not only was I beneath her, but cut me down constantly in front of my colleagues because...well..she's just a bitch & lacks people skills. The shrew had a knack of being two faced, threw people under the bus to make herself appear favorable to our boss & would ultimately LIE to get a head. Very wrong way to try to climb that business ladder. When I first met her & heard some of her bad luck, of course you feel sorry for someone. Now that I've gotten to know her over this length of time, it's just Karma kicking her in the face because it's justified. Oh yeah, she'd keep in touch with me on Facebook acting like she was my friend, but would turn around and talk shit about me to the company we worked for even though I'm no longer relevant there. Why? Who the hell knows... but when she found out I'm working with the company I'm with now, she lost her shit and started a lot of petty, childish drama. You weren't recruited for us for a reason. Sit and think about that for a little bit while you're posting unflattering "selfies" non stop on Facebook. *thumbs up*

Then the other company I joined made me sick to my stomach after a month because they are SO money hungry, treat their customers like shit, and my immediate supervisor was verbally accosting me daily. Sexual harassment would be an excellent way to describe him. The owner is so over the top arrogant that I didn't think people like that actually existed. Rolls into work with a brand new Porsche, brags about his $1,200 alligator driving shoes while he puts on his $1k ostrich leather loafers, brags about going out to dinner with his wife and it cost $500, then turns around and cuts hours for several people throughout the company since they can't afford the payroll. Just...WTF. My favorite (and I'm saying that sarcastically, by the way) ...if a customer is unhappy with a service that was provided, he tells them to "fuck off"...Dude,without your customers, you wouldn't be where you are today! Keep in mind, the equipment we sold cost anywhere from $1k up to $8k, so I think it's fair that a customer is expecting some sort of service warranty if something goofs up, especially a few weeks after they drop that sort of cash! NOPE. Customers are nickle & dimed with ridiculous service fees and then they'll be scheduled to when it's convenient to the company, not their schedule. I was there from July till November..and it was an AGONIZING four months. Everyone there was/is rotten to the core and I wanted nothing more to do with it. Glad to see that in my rear view mirror!

Now to today; I work for an awesome company. I love it because I actually feel like I matter & that I'm an asset. I've been rocking this gig since November and OWN this position. Of all the people who stayed in contact with me from the first job I had when we got here, it was a guy I was basically a secretary for. He and one of the techs from the shop (who now happens to live with us) stayed in contact with me, checked in to see how I was doing and didn't want to lose touch. To me, that was awesome because it showed that he actually gave a rip rather than me just being another person passing through. The tech who lives with us, Kevin, started talking to me about a possible job opportunity that'd allow him to leave the douchey company he was working for at the time to hop over to our buddies business that he was trying to launch. Ya don't say? Hmmm... I started poking around, getting a feel for what they were trying to get going and was offered a chance to jump on board. You're damn right I jumped! I'm considered the office manager, but I do a hell of a lot more than office work. Unlike the first place I worked at, this one allows me to go to job sites to see what the guys are doing, I assist with installs so I actually have an idea of what I'm talking about when explaining things to customers. The other companies would never allow me to do that. When I mentioned having a chance to go in the field here, it wasn't even questioned. I love it! Now I get to meet tenants first hand for some of the property companies we're contracted with, learning loads of information in regards to HVAC, plumbing, installations and anything else you can think of in regards to this line of work. Not only that, but I got to design the company logo, actively worked on advertisements to get more business, set up accounts throughout Albuquerque for supply houses & making awesome professional connections with those shops, overhauled the way billing is done and a slew of other things. Here's some examples of what I've done

 My colleague who brought me on board has taken the time to show me how bids and estimates are done, educates me on some of the massive units we work with (I'm talking like 5 ton split systems) ...all the while, makes it VERY known how much he appreciates not only myself & Kevin, but Eric as well since Eric will help us from time to time with job sites and even hitting the pavement to put up door tags for advertisement. It's REFRESHING to actually hear someone be thankful & acknowledges that people are busting their asses for them. To me, that goes a lot further than anything. 

This company has been rolling for about seven months now, I've been with them for five of it, and it's definitely gaining momentum which is extremely exciting. We've received excellent reviews from various customers, clients who have terminated maintenance contracts they had with other companies to sign with us, obtaining new construction contracts around town in addition to a flurry of other things. LOTS of good stuff coming down the pipeline and I'm SO happy to see things progressing like they have. All the personal sacrifices we've made to get this off the ground is finally paying off. 

The Walking Wounded

So yeah, my valiant return to blogging was short lived, lol. I HAVE LEGIT REASONS, THOUGH! Let me explain...

About two-ish weeks ago, I had to rush Eric to the emergency room since he was in some serious pain. The last time I saw him feeling that wrecked was when he jacked his back up so bad that he had to have surgery done on one of his discs.Yeah, sucky. This time, it turned out that his kidneys are basically little bean bags full of kidney stones, so, he's been battling with those for the last two weeks. Luckily, he's already passed one of them (the same night we got back home) and I was pretty surprised how hard those little boogers are. No, I didn't touch it with my fingers...tweezers all the way, mang.

I shit you not, the next day... I was in the midst of making home made beet chips and sliced the top of my finger off. I mean, it was a pretty impressive cut. Didn't hurt at first, and then the shock wore off and I wanted to die. Eric made it home right when it happened, so he helped piece me back together and stop the bleeding since I was in the verge of passing out. If you know me, you know I'm not a wussy when it comes to pain. About a day or so later & banging my finger on multiple things, Eric convinced me to put liquid stitches on it. 
I've had my fair share of injuries over the years, but I rather have my arm broken all over again than to ever use liquid stitches again. The pain was excruciating to the point where I wanted to throw up. I was shaking uncontrollably, teeth chattering and sobbing as if the world was ending. It basically felt like someone put acid on me and it was slowly making its way through the nerves in my hand and up my arm. It took a good hour for the pain to subside. Well, it stopped because I went to sleep. Yay for percocet!

And then there's this week. Ugh. I basically woke up with an inflammation of a vein (think along the lines of the diameter of a pencil) in my groin area. Sounds lovely, right? Nahhhh. I've been doing everything within my power over the last few days to make it go away since, hello, it's a little embarrassing, but the pain finally made me "tap out" and Eric took me to the ER. By gawd, I will suffer as much as I have to so I don't have to go deal with doctors, but this made me throw up the white flag and get carted off for yet more poking and prodding. The staff at the hospital were awesome, figured out what it was and now I'm on pain meds again (wheee!!), a slew of antibiotics and basically told to lay low for a while. Me? Lay low? That's gonna be interesting considering I'm ALWAYS on the go now. Then again, when your groin area feels like broken glass is being drug from your hip bone to your crotch, you wouldn't be too amp'd to do anything either. 

Injuries,working a ton, and more's definitely been a little challenge in terms of being able to acquire Eric's laptop & find time for me to bust out some posts. I'm just incredibly grateful that my job allows me to work from home and while I'm on the go. When I got back home & gave my colleague the run down as to what happened to me, he's basically grounded me from doing any work related stuff this weekend since I need to not do diddly-squat. 


Friday, March 7, 2014

Erika Reloaded

Hello to all my readers! Well, the usual suspects and people who randomly stumble across my blog thanks to Pinterest. Either way, HUZZAH! 

Obviously, it's been a bit since I've done any sort of blogging. That's mainly because I stopped giving a rip several months ago since I wasn't in a happy place. Honestly, I blame the medication I was on. Notice I say "was". Yup, no longer on it since I believe it was making me 10x worse than when I was before I started taking it. Funny thing any anti-depressants..they make you wanna throw yourself off a bridge sometimes. Rather stupid and defeats the purpose of their name, right? Right. Anyway, so now I'm back to feeling like how I used to feel, minus the whole super weepy/cranky/slobbery mess part. 


Give me some time to get back into the mind set of writing bloggys and what not. I mean, I'm used to writing about my various travels to different countries, the cultural stuff I experienced and all that awesome shit. Now I'm like "Hey, I went to the NE Heights of Albuquerque today. It took me 45 minutes to get across town, YEAH!"...It's a little sickening since 45 minutes back in Belgium would get me through The Netherlands and into Germany to go have sushi with Eric. Le sigh. 

Anyway, I'm back. Brace yourself. 

Oh yeah, and start leaving comments. It motivates me to keep doing this :) 

Monday, September 2, 2013



I'm not getting with the program when it comes to writing as consistently as I'd like. I mean, there's part of me that cares, then there's a part that doesn't.

A lot has gone on this last year that I'd love to ...well, love isn't the term I should use...but I'd talk about, but I don't. Some days I'm ok, some I'm not. It's safer just to keep it all locked up. 

I've been fighting depression for a while now. I haven't hid that from anyone who knows me well enough. Some days I'll feel like I'm dancing on top of the world, while others, I feel like I can't pull out of the darkness. I have so much going for me in my life, but still, I feel hollow on the inside. There's only so much smiling I can do to cover up the numbness, ya know? 

Regardless of all the projects I distract myself with, the amazing people I have surrounding me, the gorgeous places I've visited throughout my life.. I feel numb. I can't explain it. I'm just...numb to everything. 

I feel numb. I feel alone. I feel nothingness. 

This post isn't some sort of lame way for asking for help, seeking attention or anything else along the lines of being dramatic. I just need to get these thoughts out of my head. Seems like my main outlet for expressing myself without people cutting me off in mid sentence is to actually write or create things. I mean, how can you interrupt someones scripture, right? 

Hugs don't make me feel better. Telling me, "It's ok, you have nothing to worry about" doesn't help. This is just how I'm functioning right now. Smile and move on. I always have another day to live, right? Right. I've been told that I'm pretty easy to read. That makes me chuckle. You learn how to adapt throughout your life... at my age, I'm getting the hang of it. 

Just smile & nod. It's all good.