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Friday, August 31, 2012

Tobo: The Anxiety Slayer.

These are the greatest sugar cookies you will ever eat. I'm not kidding. They are the greatest. They are soft. They are buttery. They are not too sweet. (Which is important because the frosting is also the greatest.) I made these for a bridal shower and this is what my friend had to say about it.
"They were a hit! You can totally make bank with your mad baking skills. They had a delicious hint of vanilla and were the perfect sweetness and the ideal softness. I'm picky when it comes to baked goods. Dang Gina."

Awesome. My sister raved about them too. She said they're way better than anything store bought, which I took as a huge compliment because people LOVE those store bought pink frosted sugar cookies.

But of course, there's a story to their greatness. I knew I had to make sugar cookies by Wednesday, so I decided to make them in steps (to reduce my anxiety). The plan was this: Monday: make dough. Tuesday: cut and bake. Wednesday: frost and deliver. And then it was Monday. . . and I felt like I couldn't follow through with my plan. Baking felt formidable. I almost called Sarah and told her I couldn't do the cookies. I even cried a little. The only reason any baking happened this week was because of one man. Stephen. Harold. Tobowlowsky. You know. . . "Ned. RYERSON!"


Listening to his podcasts is calming to me. I don't know why. Maybe it's his slightly congested sounding voice. Maybe it's the stories. Maybe it's the funky background music. I don't know. But I love him. (Sidebar: I'm watching the Pilot episode of The Mindy Project and he just came on. Weeeeird...) That night I was only planning to make sugar cookie dough, but so great was the power of Mr. Tobowlowsky that I made the dough AND rolled it out AND cut it AND baked it. Boom. (OH! And while the dough was chilling I made a completely unexpected batch of oatmeal cookies. Just because I COULD).

On Wednesday afternoon I frosted the cookies with help from my mom and no help from Stephen. It was really hard. I had a lot on anxiety about it. I cried. I obsessively washed my hands. . . and a theory started to form in my head. Ned the Head = less anxiety. . . hmm. . .

I didn't wake up yesterday planning to bake anything. But then I decided I wanted to test my theory . . . so last night I downloaded three podcasts, pressed play, and proceeded to bake TWO loaves of cinnamon bread, a batch of chocolate pudding cookies with peanut butter chips, AND a batch of sugar cookie dough (just to have some on hand). And I did it without anxiety or heart palpitations. Thank you, Stephey. I liked you before, I adore you now. And I wish I could say thank you. How do you feel about pink frosted sugar cookies? . . . Because I've heard mine are pretty good.




Wednesday, August 29, 2012

SPOILED

My friend Kirk had been asking for a few days if I'd made anymore Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies that he could buy. So Monday night I made a batch of Oatmeal cookies just for him! I got stuck in traffic, so I wasn't home when he came by to pick them up, but my mom was. And when I got home THIS was waiting for me!!

AMAZING! I've never had an electric stand mixer. Honestly I prefer to mix by hand because it feels more personal. But with the quantities of goodies I've been making and the eating disorder yelling in my head, mixing by hand can be really really anxiety provoking. I'm so excited about this mixer because it will let me do more while simultaneously decreasing my anxiety. What a wonderful gift. i feel so blessed, so undeserving, and so flattered that he believes in me enough to get me a gift that will be so helpful now, and after I recover. And it comes at the perfect time because I have to make frosting for tomorrow. I was freaking out about that. And now I'm freaking out a little less . . .

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Going to the Doctor.

I adore my doctor. She is fantastic, caring, sweet, attentive, awesome. I'm pretty sure she's about my age, which makes me feel a little pathetic. But still. I've never had a physician that I actually think cares. But I really think she cares, and that's wonderful.

However. I still hate going to the doctor. Going to the doctor puts my problems right in front of my face. It's difficult to believe nothing's wrong when you're being told you need to be hospitalized. And that you WOULD be involuntarily hospitalized if there was an inpatient facility in the area. And that the ONLY reason you're NOT being admitted is because your doctor is smart enough to know that taking a pill to increase your heart rate for a few hours is NOT a solution.

"Camilla, you need to be in residential treatment. You're beyond Opal. You are dying."

Well, thanks for ruining my day.

"You EKG shows that your body is starting to eat your heart muscle."

Ok.

"You really really need to be in a facility."

I can't afford it. And I just don't care. I. Do. Not. Care.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Taking Orders.

The last couple weeks I've been keeping busy. I've actually taken "orders" from people, which makes me feel like I'm moving forward. Originally I was only selling things I was already baking, that way I could ensure that I wouldn't panic. I'd take requests occasionally, but not very often. And usually it ended up with me sobbing on the kitchen floor. So being able to take orders is a big step forward.

Last Tuesday I did an order for 3 dozen cookies.














Friday I did an order for Vanilla Lavender Shortbread, Oatmeal Cranberry bars, and mini Orange Poppyseed muffins.



This week I did an order for 7 dozen cookies, one for 3 dozen cookies, and one for 2 dozen cookies.





I also did an order for Lemon Thyme cookies, Lavender Scones, and Orange Glazed muffins. 

Next week I have an order for a dozen frosted sugar cookies. These "orders" are in addition to the other baking I do anyway.

I'm glad I've gotten to a place where I can know that I've committed to making something and not stress TOO much about it. It's still hard, but not as hard as it was. And I'm still not sure exactly why taking an order is harder than random baking. . . I think it has to do with my difficulty focusing on what I'm doing in the present moment. I always stress and worry about what I have to do NEXT. Which really stinks. Especially when you're stressing about something that doesn't make SENSE to do yet.

Anyway. . . yeah. Small victories.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Another Hobby...THRIFTING.

I love thrifting. Thrift stores, estate sales, flea markets. . . they're all good. At first I only bought things like books and funny trinkets. Thrifting places have the BEST books. Especially cook books. It's actually funny to look at old recipe books because the portion sizes are so much smaller. (For example, a chocolate chip cookie recipe circa 1969 calls for 6oz of chocolate chips, not today's standard 12. But that's a whole different can of worms.) Also thrift store recipe books sometimes come with notes in the margins, and family recipes stuffed inside. It's awesome.

The second thing I love at thrift stores is baking tins. A muffin tin at Target is anywhere from $10-20. At a thrift store/estate sale? You might pay $3. And that's the high end. And you can get all sorts of fun shapes and sizes.

Accessories are bomb too. Purses, funky jewelry; all one of a kind.
Board games (check to make sure they have all the pieces).
Cd's (another great place to go for music is the LIBRARY).

And of course, clothes. I just recently (in the last 2 years. . . ) started buying all my clothes at thrift stores. I used to feel uncomfortable doing that (who KNOWS where that dress has been?), but I believe in the powers of hot water and Tide, and I hate buying new clothes for myself. I have a hard time thinking I deserve to spend money dressing my body. Plus I know I won't be this size forever (well, I SHOULDN'T be...) so I don't want to spend money on clothes that won't fit me next year. ENTER VALUE VILLAGE. Every Thursday-Sunday a certain tag color goes half off. On Monday, whatever is left over is 99 cents.
Yes, please. I accept.
You have to go early. You have to dig. It's a time commitment, but it's fun. I've even bought things that don't fit and sold them for a profit. (Not a big profit, but still satisfying.)

All of these outfits were under $15


Talbots Dress: $7.50,
Leather heels: 99 cents
Leather Belt: $2

Wool J Crew skirt: $4
Paolo leather heels: 99 cents
Belt: 99 cents
Yumi Kim silk shirt: $2
Gap Skirt: $2
Banana Republic shirt: 99 cents
Blazer: $6.50

H&M skirt: 99 cents
B.P. shoes: 99 cents
H&M Shirt: $2.50
Jeans: $6.00
B.P. shoes: 99 cents
belt: 50 cents

Moda dress: $4.50
Leather Anne Klein heels: 99 cents

Moda dress: $4.50,
Jacket: $2.50
Anne Klein heels: 99 cents

 Black Knit Dress: .75 cents

Vintage Dress with Tie Front: $2.00

Banana Republic shirt: 99 cents
Jeans: $2.50
BCBG leather shoes: 99 cents
Sweater: $4

 Vintage Polka Dot Dress: FREE!!


 Estate Sale Vintage Floral Dress: FREE!

 Vintage Dress: $3.50
Estate Sale dresses. Vintage. FREE!!
And of course, I wouldn't be the baker if I didn't include this:


4 bread pans and two cake tins: $1.25 total. Woo hoo.



Monday, August 20, 2012

Don't Know What To Believe.

My mom tells me I'm too skinny. Others tell me I'm merely "thin." Some think I "look healthy." I see fat. And UGLY. So ugly. Being thin is something I can control but I can't control the ugly. My mom tells me I'm beautiful. The problem is I have this awesome, supportive mother who tells me everything I do is amazing. So I don't believe her anymore. I could poop on the floor and she'd tell me it's wonderful and that I did a great job.

I don't trust what anyone says because no one is honest. They just tell you what you want to hear. For all I know my baking is terrible and people are just being kind. I can see how this expressing this skepticism could come across as fishing for compliments, but really it's just desperation to know what's true. I wish I could read minds. I don't believe anything that's said to me. I expect to be lied to.

With that, here is the newest cookie. My dear friend Emily requested 2 dozen peanut butter cookies for her niece's birthday. So I did an M&M version. Adapted from this recipe. I used butter instead of shortening, added less flour, more peanut butter and brown sugar (because subbing brown sugar for some of the white sugar makes a more chewy gooey cookie. Which is good I think).
ALSO: here's free advice.
Peanut butter cookies are often too cakey or too hard and crispy. To remedy this:
1) Add less flour. You don't need very much to hold the cookie together.
2) REFRIGERATE THE DOUGH. Warm cookie dough makes a flat cookie. Period. Cold cookie dough placed on a warm cookie sheet also makes a flat cookie.
3) The cookie is done about 2 minutes before it looks done. If it looks almost done, it's probably over cooked. And if you use parchment paper, the edges won't even look brown.

You're welcome.




Thursday, August 16, 2012

Wednesday-Thursday.

On Wednesday night I was working on an order for Friday morning. 12 Cranberry Oatmeal bars, 12 Vanilla Lavender Shortbread cookies, and 30 Orange Glazed mini Poppyseed muffins. I had prepped everything before I left for the day so that I could do it all quickly and painlessly.

Yeah, that didn't work out.

I took the shortbread out of the fridge and started cutting it. You have to work quickly with shortbread because it gets soft very easily. Especially considering the temperature lately, and the fact that my house doesn't have AC. My knife wasn't sharp enough. The dough just fell apart, and then I did too. I felt like I couldn't do anything right. The shortbread getting soft was somehow a reflection not only on my competency as a baker, but my worth as a human being. I sobbed. My mom came to help me. I'm like a small child. It's humiliating.

I don't think I'm capable of doing anything worthwhile. Even if I did this project flawlessly, it wouldn't matter. Because this isn't some worthy, noble thing. It's me trying to raise money to selfishly help myself. 100% selfish.





Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Researching Inpatient Treatment

I don't even know where to start. According to my nutritionist the brain is made up mostly of fat. People with anorexia struggle with mental clarity because their brains are starving. There's a whole debate in the eating disorder community about whether anorexics should be force fed as part of treatment, because it's really hard for treatment to get anywhere if your brain is starving.
Force feeding is sometimes necessary to keep them alive. Anorexia is a psychological disorder, but the physical symptoms have to be treated in order for counseling to be effective. When a person is malnourished, it can effect memory and thought processes and mental clarity. Counseling can't help someone who is not thinking clearly.


Anyway

As I sit on my computer researching different treatment programs I find myself getting increasingly frustrated. It's like trying to decipher hieroglyphs. I don't even understand what they're trying to say. How am I supposed to differentiate between programs or decide which one is right for me when I don't even understand what they're saying? It feels manipulative. Like whoever is writing these descriptions is thinking, "I'm going to make this as complicated as possible so that they'll just sign up and give us their money."
I'm so sad and so frustrated. I don't understand. And I don't know what to do.

Except bake cookies.
Bonjour petite cookie.

Friday, August 10, 2012

And I Really Hate Brownies.

This is the story of the girl who hates brownies.

I hate brownies.

OK that was a short story. . .

I don't really have a reason to hate them, except they taste terrible. That's a good reason I think.

I remember coming home as a child and smelling divine smells coming from the kitchen, running in there to see what was cookin' and being SO disappointed when it was . . . brownies. Ugh. I can't even write about them. They shouldn't even be a THING.
My eating disorder loves that I hate them.

Anyway, I hate brownies, I used love cheesecake. So I decided to make cheesecake brownies. Something about combining something I love with something I hate is very satisfying. Pairing cheesecake with brownies made the cheesecake feel "safe" (i.e. I'm not tempted to eat it) And putting cheesecake over brownies made the brownies seem like a tolerable food.

I made two batches. Here they are before going into the oven. . .

Pretty.

Later that night I delivered some truffles for a bridal shower.
I think I'm becoming the Truffle Lady.

And then I decided to bake a mini birthday cake for my favorite Two year old.

Seriously, how cute is she?
And then I decorated her front door, at 5:00am.

And then I came home and cleaned.

My anxiety kept me up until 7am, and I woke up at 10. Knowing I had to deliver the cheesecake brownies was freaking me out and I couldn't fall back to sleep. And then a friend texted me about ordering cookies. So I got up and started baking. Again..Chocolate Chip, those PB stuffed Chocolate Cookies from the other day Applesauce Cookies with Carmel Frosting (a new favorite, adapted from this recipe).
I reduced the sugar and didn't use butter. Just to make them a little healthier. Also, it should be noted that if you live in Seattle and use a recipe that originated in Utah, you'll almost always need to tweak it. The humidity, the altitude, it all changes things.

I was like a little tornado in the kitchen. The combination of no sleep, baking, and my eating disorder made me a little nutty.I was super focused and super distracted at the same time. . . focused on baking in general, but changing which cookie I was attending to. It was exhausting.

When I was done I sat down and cried.
And then I went to the gym. Because I HAD to.

So today I took a break from the bake. Because that nearly killed me. It didn't feel good. It hurt. This project isn't supposed to hurt like that.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

I Need Residential Treatment.

"Camilla, you need to be in a residential treatment center."
--paraphrased statement from people at Opal, current therapist, Utah therapists, primary physician, nutritionist, my family, some close friends.

Right now I know they're right.
Right now, if i could, I would get in my car and check myself into the nearest facility.

Great.

I am addicted to exercise. I use it as a way to purge. If you've never been addicted to anything, you can't understand. It hurts. Everything inside of me needs to go work out. I'm shaking. I feel like I can't breathe. IT. HURTS. My heart is going to explode. I feel totally insane. Like I'm not even present in the world, I'm somewhere else.

Tonight I ate a piece of pizza. I was proud of myself for eating a "fear food." And now I can't even think clearly because I just want to go work it off. This post might not make sense. I'm sobbing. My skin hurts.

Sometimes it's so bad that I feel like I need to be restrained. I've been at the gym before working out, sobbing because I'm so tired. Because I want to leave but I CAN'T. I've had a dear friend come to my gym and carry me out crying at 1am. It was humiliating. But at the same time, he was my hero in that moment.

Remember that snow storm we had in January? I couldn't get anywhere because my car was stuck. You'd think that would prevent me from running, right? Right?? WRONG. There goes Camilla running down the street in a foot of snow. In her snow boots. With her purse. Like a crazy person. Running in snow boots = bad blisters. Bloody feet. Did that stop me? NOPE.

Like I said, I need to be restrained.
This isn't joyful. It's not something I enjoy anymore. It's something I HATE. But I HAVE TO DO IT. I WILL GET FAT IF I DON'T. I WILL BE LIKE EVERY OTHER FAILURE IF I STOP.

I'm in pain right now. My heart and mind hurt. My body hurts because I already went to the gym for 4 hours today. But it still doesn't feel like enough. My heart is racing. What do you do when exercise is your drug of choice?? Most addiction groups I've been to suggest EXERCISE as an alternative to your addiction. . . so where does that leave me? Shaking and pacing around my house.

"Camilla, why don't you try reading a book? Take a bath? Paint your nails? Watch a movie??"
When an addict is going through withdrawals it's IMPOSSIBLE TO SIT STILL!! I clean. I pace. I shake and cry. I can't breathe. I'm frantic. And eventually I give in...

If I could I would check myself in to a treatment facility tonight. Because I can't do this anymore. My heart is getting weak. I have low bone density. . I'm sick. I'm exhausted.

But this is why I won't. . .

According to one study (Frisch et al., 2006), the average length of stay in a residential treatment center for an eating disorder is 83 days. That’s nearly 3 months of full-time, round-the-clock treatment and care. The cost for such care? On average, it’s $956 per day. You read that right — nearly $1,000/day is the average cost for such care. That means a single patient at such a treatment center is bringing in, on average, $79,348.

And that was 6 years ago.
Some days on my way to the gym I cry and  I pray I'll get in an accident. Then I won't be able to move and I wouldn't be tormented by this.

Sunday, August 5, 2012

This Cookie is for the People.

Because apparently everyone loves peanut butter and chocolate...
BEHOLD:

I'm trying to name this cookie and I can't. So who wants to name the cookie?

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Sad.

This post was way too depressing. . . It was honest, but depressing. so I took out the first paragraph. .

But here are some pictures from the last couple days.
Two New Cookie Recipes ala Camilla:
Blueberry, White Chocolate Oatmeal.
These got rave reviews. Seth called them "a revelation." Brother Olson said they'd make me famous. I'm not telling the secret ingredients. Except to my mom. Because I accidentally told her already.





Chocolate Cookie, Filled with Peanut Butter Cookie, Topped with Blackberry sauce and Turbinado Sugar.
Blackberry didn't work with this. Trial and error. . . but the good news is this cookie spawned another cookie idea. Stay tuned, dear reader.

And some tried and true, but tweaked.
Fudgy Pudding Cookie with White and Milk Chocolate Chips.
And
Blueberry Lemon Muffins.