C: It's boring for you.
Friday, December 07, 2012
Sunday, February 26, 2012
I often theorize. I'm the Queen of "What If". In retrospect and imaginings of the future.
With the present, I'm almost superstitious about even considering hypothetical situations. As if, should my mind dwell on a bad one, quantum entanglement or existentialism or some other potential reality of "mind over matter" will assert itself, and I will inadvertently cause that idea to manifest itself.
Part of this was recently explained/validated for me in one of the later Dark Tower books by Stephen King; I don't remember which. In it, he was discussing love. Romantic love, between adults. And he described something to the effect of how if you find it, you can't believe the universe would have allowed you to be so fortunate and that it could be yanked away at any minute. Sorry for the sappiness, but that's how I feel about Chris. Every single day, I am struck - usually in small ways - by the fact that I somehow found the perfect person for me, someone I love and like and can't imagine not living with for the rest of my life. Even after all these years, it doesn't seem quite real.
And that part of me that doesn't believe I have found and could keep something so wonderful insists (constantly) that he could be gone in a moment. The news - now on 24/7 on tv and the internet and magazines and newspapers - only reinforces the voice screaming at me that it's all terribly fleeting and unsafe and unpredictable. So I tell him I love him. A LOT. Like if I go upstairs, or out to the kitchen, or out to check the mail, or to the grocery store or to fill up my gas. I say it multiple times a day. And I mean it.
But on the flip side, there are a lot of people in my life with whom I find myself vocally paralyzed when it comes to expressing my love for them. I love them. SO much. And the same worries about losing them apply equally. I always feel the love. Sometimes - rarely - I verbalize it. But (I think) because I didn't have such a hurdle to overcome with them like I did with Chris, saying it that first and hardest time, when it was so terribly fraught with meaning and fear and confusion, it's more like love is the status quo and should be understood. And so my general Failure To Communicate, combined with the lack of urgency/deadline/expectation to make the declaration by some finite point in time has rendered it nearly impossible for me to say to almost every other human I know.
And it drives me crazy and hurts and makes me feel awful that I can say, "I love you," 20 times a day or more to Chris and the kitties and Sam (and - because I made a concerted effort to make it a habit - to Liam and Rebecca). But I just can't seem to do it with anyone else, even the people I wish it was the same kind of habit with.
So if you're reading this, I love you. Even if you are a stranger and have no idea who I am. I love you and think you are special and important, and I am glad our lives have intersected however they may have done; I wish you all the best.
And if you are personally known to me and part of my "real" life, I'd like you to know that I'm working on actually saying these things to you out loud, hopefully on a regular basis. I wish I could better explain why it is that I can't do it now. And in the meantime, please accept this as my expression of the things I feel and cannot say.
Sunday, November 06, 2011
More specifically: appreciation vs. co-opting.
How do you know which side of the line you're on? Lately, I am completely enamored of Indian cuisine. I've stocked up on a myriad of spices, beans, and other ingredients. I'm cooking from highly-rated recipes and books (I'm all about reviews!). I love "restaurant" Indian food, and I'm also increasingly addicted to the "authentic" dishes I prepare.
But in all the books, every recipe is given it's English/American name, with the "real" name in italics and smaller print below. I feel like a giant asshole using the Anglicized terms for things, but I also feel incredibly uncomfortable with using the Indian names for everything. It smacks too much of trying too hard, and of pretending I'm part of a culture I have no claim on.
I've always thought it was weird that once a country/area is "discovered", we don't call that land what the people who live there call it. Why do we insist on "Spain" and "Germany" etc. when the natives have their own word for their homeland? It has always felt incredibly disrespectful.
The same holds true for foods. Granted, a lot of plants have traveled around the world over the past few millennia, and have many names in many cultures. But if I'm cooking the particular cuisine of a specific region, and I know what they call a certain dish, why on earth would I give that dish my own name, that basically just gives a description of the main ingredients? If I went overseas and visited an English-friendly restaurant or family, it would feel weird to have deviled eggs referred to as "hard-boiled eggs stuffed with yolks mashed with mayonnaise and mustard." And what would they call hot dogs or scrapple? But that's what we do with a lot of foods.
My current solution is to use the "popular" names for things most people are familiar with, and "proper" names for things I haven't seen elsewhere. I'm not sure what else to do, or how else to think about proceeding. I know it isn't a life-or-death issue, but it's something I have control over and I want to get it right. If anyone has any thoughts, I'm all oídos.
Thursday, September 22, 2011
Although I'm sure it started much earlier, my grasp on the concept of growing up really started to take hold and crystallize in 2005, when that hurricane came and stole my name.
A lot of things had happened beforehand, and they had a dramatic impact on my life. But I still held onto the belief that I could hope for some time in the future - however brief - during which I could take a breather and get some relief from the overwhelming sadness and pain. And while there have been weeks (maybe even entire months!) of respite during the intervening years, there was always something that came up and brought the pain back, and something beforehand that left a lingering pain that obscured those periods of peace.
Following a number of smaller losses, I have recently experienced the slow death of a near and dear relative - my PopPop (that's "grandfather" for those of you living elsewhere who may have never heard this term). I've only ever dealt with quick/unexpected human losses in the past (as an adult, and one not so great at keeping in touch with people), so this situation was very different and very affecting. Now that he is finally at peace, I am infinitely grateful to have had the time to spend a few more days with him and several chances to tell him how much I loved him. But the past week was one of the most wrenching, confusing, and gutting of my life. It also came during a time where it seems like ALL of my friends are going through terrible experiences of their own, and it has really felt like the universe was giving us all the finger.
And it made me realize something about "growing up" that I probably should have understood years ago. As much as I have (and want to maintain) a carefree attitude about life, and as much as I want to keep hoping for that "someday" in which I'll have a decent stretch of time that isn't punctuated by pain and loss, it isn't realistic. Part of living a life connected to friends and family and animals I care deeply about means that there will always be a source of pain or loss not too far around the corner. If I'm not hurting, someone I love probably is and should know that they can come to me. If I haven't lost someone (or had a bad scare), someone I know has and needs comfort. I also can't just blithely expect everyone I care about to live forever just because I can't imagine life without them. And the fact is that the longer I live, the more this will be true.
Childhood and childishness are, if nothing else, marked by an assumption that the skies will always clear and everything will get better. And that's not wrong. Growing up just means recognizing the hurts that were going on this whole time, acknowledging them, and doing our best to alleviate them if and when we can. I think I have officially reached the "acceptance" stage in realizing what kinds of pain I should expect for the rest of my life. I'll take and cherish all the good times that come my way, but I can no longer treat the bad/sad times as tremendous aberrations that need to be avoided and waited out. I think this may officially make me the Grownup I never thought I'd be, and that's ok.
As an aside - one consolation this past week came in a rather roundabout way. While PopPop was sleeping one day, the minister who was visiting asked me what my favorite story about PopPop was, and I drew a total blank. At the time, I felt terrible that I couldn't think of anything. But sitting there, angst-ing over this deficiency, I realized: I don't have stories about PopPop - I have memories of him. I got to spend so much time with him and MomMom growing up that when I think of them, that's what comes to mind. I know I've heard stories, but I can't recall them. I would like to learn some stories, of course, so I can have them as well and share them with family in the future, but I feel so much better having a lifetime of lovely memories than I would be if I just had a few "good stories".
I remember walks in the woods, where he pointed out wild-growing things as well as plants he had cultivated. I remember those walks ending at the stream, and wading in the ice-cold water there, hoping to see fish but being just as happy to settle for glimpses of water-strider bugs. I remember climbing in his fruit trees, and catching birds that had invaded the blueberry patch and releasing them. I remember picking berries and veggies (especially the silver queen corn) from their gardens. I remember watching The Sound of Music for the first time with him and MomMom. I remember riding with him in his pickup truck. I remember eating my first bagels at their house, and thinking how cool it was that my grandparents drank milk with their meals, just like us kids. I remember annual Memorial Day picnics and Christmas dinners. I remember the beautiful pictures he took of plants and butterflies. I remember that he made wine when I was a little girl; and I remember what a special day it was when Chris and my brother bottled the last two carboys of wine he had put up in the 80's (it was pretty much hard liquor when they bottled it) in bottles with a label made from a picture of him back when he was a pilot in World War II, and how happy he was that they were bottling that wine and carrying on the brewing/wine-making tradition in our family.
I could fill pages with these memories. And maybe I should, for the children who are small now and those presumably coming in the future. Because another part of being a grownup is sharing how things used to be, and who the people who are no longer with us were.
Friday, September 09, 2011
Ok, ALL the time... I want to whine. I have a lengthy list of things I want to gripe about. And then I read the news, check out some blogs on issues near and dear to my heart, and am once again reminded that my problems are First World Problems. Hell, more than half of the things I've written about here with sincerity and pain are nothing compared to the suffering going on daily (hourly! minute-ly!) around the globe. And I know it's all relative and we only know our own personal pain, but I still feel like a shit. So I don't post. Because why post about the idiosyncrasies of my self-perception when there are people literally living in slavery and pain and degradation?
This, of course, puts me on the path of questioning why I should publicize my self-examination at all. And I'm not certain I should. A big part of me feels like I ought to pick an external subject that speaks to me and dissect it when the mood strikes, and leave the navel-gazing to private ruminations. But that doesn't feel real. And while I'm not the best at being completely honest in my real-world dealing, I am also not about to start down the path of being anything that feels deliberately dishonest to me.
Thursday, September 08, 2011
I feel like I'm on the other end of the spectrum from where I was a few years ago: then, I was suffering loss after loss after disaster, with no end in sight. It was truly horrendous.
Now, things are (knock on wood) going pretty well here, but a LOT of dear friends are going through experiences similar to mine of not so long ago. And while at the time I thought I'd have given anything to make the pain stop, I'm now in the position of wishing I could lift at least some of the burden of that same pain from the hearts of my friends and carry it myself, even if it means more of that pain I was so desperate to get through.
I realize that while I might not have noticed my load lightening back then, it most certainly was relieved by the love and caring of these friends. And all I can really do now is hope that they know how much I appreciated the support they gave me when I needed it, and that I'm here to share their burden as they shared mine.
Sunday, July 10, 2011
Thanks to a very thought-provoking (in a good way!) comment, I was reminded that I do have a blog and am once again neglecting it.
We're making excellent progress on squaring away our finances in order to get out of this house, and we have a contractor coming on Monday to get started on a few small-ish projects that are necessary for selling. I'm re-acclimating to having a husband after losing Chris to a never-to-be-repeated (AKA Trina will get her passport) 3 week stint in Australia.
A good bit of our free weekend time is tied up with soccer - we have season tickets to the Philadelphia Union again this year, and it's a TON of fun!
Currently, we're both anxiously awaiting the release of A Dance With Dragons. It's due on the 12th, and we pre-ordered the hardback AND kindle editions. Our 10-year wedding anniversary is the 14th and I have a feeling we'll be at the restaurant waiting for our food, both madly reading away on our kindles. Not that I object to this,I just hope Morimoto doesn't take offense to an apparent disinterest in his cuisine. I'm psyched to be going back for the awesomeness served there, I just can't say that it's more exciting than a return to Westeros.
Speaking of Westeros, I don't often plug other blogs, but I'm making an exception. I don't know the wonderful people behind this blog, but we've cooked a bunch of their recipes (all awesome) and enjoyed the food and also its tie to Martin's universe. If you want to cook Ice & Fire-inspired foods, or amazing cuisine based on foods of eras long gone (or just fabulous food you haven't seen recipes for because it's esoteric), please check out innatthecrossroads.com. I could vouch for individual recipes, but at this point now there are so many and I'm so picky that it would be kinda weird. Unlike many "celebrity" chefs with cookbooks, these folks have tested their recipes and found them delicious, and I can only co-sign.
I've been testing new perfumes, but mostly settling into a few that I know and love, and I'm ok with that. I'd rather love and test than be constantly hunting for new loves. I've latched onto several HG's, and am roaming around them, versus wandering far afield to sniff every new thing. I have never been more content in the perfume department.
I haven't left, and I'm sorry I'm not better about posting. But I'm here, alive, happy, and enjoying my NOW. And it is good.