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 oĆ­dos.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

"Growing Up"

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

Still here!

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 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.

Friday, April 08, 2011

Not Necessarily Deep

Sometimes I have stray thoughts that I feel compelled to record, with no idea where to do so. There's not necessarily much history behind them; they aren't particularly humorous (except to me, in some cases, but I crack myself up all the time with things that are just weird to other people); and they certainly aren't going to change the world for the better. But they're in my head and must come out. Today's installment:

- If Chris and I do, as we hope/plan, have a child and then end up splitting up, it will be the kid's fault. We've been married almost 10 years now, and have been together for over 14 years. Most of them have been happy. I'm still very much in love with him and could spend the rest of my life with only his company and be content. Part of me still wants him all to myself, and worries that a permanent change to our dynamic might be a harmful one.

- My eating disorder will be old enough to vote in the next election. And I have a feeling that, in terms of healthcare at least (I'm sure it wants to deny me any coverage that might help me kill it), it is a Republican.

- I wonder what percentage of our landfills is occupied by issues of The Watchtower. I read the copies our local Witnesses bring by because I find them genuinely fascinating. I have read large portions of the Bible and am familiar with even more, and never came to the conclusions/realizations that the Jehovah's Witnesses do. I don't agree with much of it, but it gives me food for thought. In the end, though, I don't keep them. And I'm sure most people don't, and I know not everyone recycles. So my weird brain is currently occupied with wondering if more space in landfills is taken up by diapers, "sanitary items", or Watchtowers. I'm sure any of it is enough to make SOME number of people feel guilty. Or is that just me?

Monday, March 28, 2011


has been said to breed contempt. I think the longer we stay in this house, the more true this becomes for me.

Right now, I'm in the grips of a paralyzing fear that no matter what we do to fix this place up, or how low our initial sale price is, NOBODY will want it. This is mostly due to the fact that we live in a neighborhood that once held a bit of promise, but got caught up in the housing bubble to a ridiculous extent. It has one of the highest rates of foreclosures in this state because prices swelled FAR beyond what these houses could ever be worth. We have a LOT of equity in the place, so we can sell lower than a lot of other folks in the development, but then it becomes a dangerous game.

We can afford to sell lower than what most folks are asking, but if we price too low initially, buyers will assume there's something wrong with our house (it's fine, probably better than most since we've owned it since it was built, but too low a price might make people think otherwise, even though a low number would just be a way to try to get out faster). And I'm so sick and tired of this house, and SO familiar with all the ways it is lacking that I have a hard time imagining anyone else could possibly want to buy it.

I have this sick, sad premonition that we will be in a financial position to move and get out of here, but no one will buy our house, and we'll be stuck here for years. And while I'm glad we didn't buy into the bubble, I'm sad we didn't position ourselves to at least get out of here while the getting was good. I don't mind not making as much as we could have, but I'm terrified of not being able to get away at ALL.

I don't worry that we won't get enough for the house, I worry we won't get ANY offer. This market scares me, and our location in this market scares me even more. I just want to be gone, and it frightens me how little I'm willing to accept to get away from this place.

Monday, February 28, 2011

Broken Promises

The closer we draw to the goals we decided that we have to meet in order to get out of this house and move (at this point preferentially to Roswell), the more I feel like I'm breaking a promise. To myself, yes, but also to family members I never really declared my intentions to.

I'm resigned to not making my grandparents' house our "family home" (for me and Chris and the theoretical future progeny), but I'm not giving up on keeping their house in the family. It still KILLS me that Gramma's house went to auction and sold for what it did. If Chris and I had had ANY inclination that such would be the case, things would have gone very differently. I am resolved that this will not happen again. I feel this way about MomMom and PopPop's house, and also about Aunt Gerry and Uncle Ed's house. These are two that have "historical" significance and really shouldn't leave the family.

But this doesn't mean a change to our current plans/aspirations. There is SO much in Georgia that I look forward to! Fantastic houses on nice properties (with MATURE trees!) at amazingly reasonable prices, my sister and her family nearby, an amazing city and outlying area that we love, and parenting resources that can't be found around here. I'm approaching the age where (assuming it's even possible) bearing children is increasingly dangerous for me and said children. I want to be out of this house and neighborhood as soon as possible, and I really want to be in the Roswell area if/when the fruit of my loins spring forth to unleash their mayhem upon the earth.

Wednesday, February 09, 2011

Recap (more "Common Sense")

I've been thinking about revisiting the food/ED stuff for a while. It's not like I ran out of things to say, more like I was worried it would take over here when that hadn't been my original purpose. But a family member recently started a blog on food issues, which reminded me that I might want to think about this issue again in light of our impending planned move and family expansion. And re-reading those old posts, I'll admit that they make me sad because I fell off the proverbial wagon in times of pain and loss, and am now back at square one. But I do want to get better and plan to do so, especially if we have a child. I will NOT model my current eating on a child. ANY child.

And then today Jezebel posted an article that highlighted a lot of my points on correlation vs. causation: Things that supposedly cause eating disorders. I know what Jez was trying to do, and I salute the effort, but they missed a big opportunity to embark on a serious discussion.

So now I have several reasons to get everything I've written together in one place, and straight in my head. Without further ado, here are my former posts on this subject:

There may well be more to come on this topic. Part of me wants it, part of me dreads it. I know friendship issues are something I never explored and now I feel motivated to do so. Hopefully I won't drop that ball. It's a painful subject for me, but what isn't? And given that the subject played a major role in the eating issues of a family member, I would be remiss in ignoring it. Please let me be better than that.

Saturday, February 05, 2011


I don't profess to know everything (or anything even close) about the body or the spirit. I don't claim to have even the barest grasp on the nature of miracles. I believe in them as a concept, if only as the manifestation of extremely unlikely statistical outcomes; but I can't declare any personal experience of divinity or claim a belief that such events are the result of intervention from a higher power.

I do know this: two people who mean a LOT to me in different ways are alive today, despite many indicators proclaiming that they would/should have been gone more than 6 months ago. I can't label it and don't want to. I just want - and plan - to celebrate the fact that they are still here. And no matter the cause/reason, it feels like a miracle to me.

Monday, January 31, 2011


We've dealt with a lot of loss over the years with our animal friends. And this issue has come up for me before, but not so painfully or notably, for a number of reasons.

The first week or so, it didn't really register. But more and more, reality intrudes: I am subscribed to a LOT of emails - many shopping-oriented, for coupon codes - that are ferret-centered and from which I need to unsubscribe.

I think I've been able to be in denial about others: we could start another aquarium at any time, and the fact is that we WILL have birds again (like it or not?) because we're the appointed guardians of two for sure, and two more in all probabilty (and I really need to nail that down one way or another, if only for planning). So I could easily/happily just delete and ignore emails from companies/groups regarding avian and aquatic companions.

Ferrets are a whole different ballgame. They are SO easy to keep accumulating, and SO hard to say no to once you know and love them. And you never want to just have one last and lonely ferret. It feels just awful. But at the same time, we made the decision not to take in any more several years ago, because we DID have to make a decision. The pain of losing them is hard to describe or explain. It's similar to losing a cat or a dog, but worse because the life was shortened and condensed and so much more potent and vibrant. Some people can accept that and deal with it; Chris and I aren't such people. It hurts too much, and we just couldn't take it any more.

I'm not saying we've taken a stance of never ever again living with ferrets, because I could never say that (and I don't think he could either), but it will be a good 20 years until we try again, should we choose to. So as the emails come in, I've been unsubscribing. And it's like salt in a wound. It stings, and in a place I wasn't expecting.

Monday, January 24, 2011


So, we're drawing down to the wire we set up (from a financial perspective) that we have to cross before moving. And moving is the wire for procreating (I do NOT want to have a baby in this house/neighborhood). And, being me, I'm considering a billion things in terms of moving and procreation and parenting, none of which I can really focus on since they aren't immediate.

But a question occurred to me today: being half of a white, heterosexual couple who plan on doing things the old-fashoined way barring complications, what specific things should I say/do/consider in order to raise an un-bigoted child? I have general ideas about the principles I want to pass on and demonstrate, and a genuine dislike for closed-mindedness. But I'm already embodying (or planning to embody - unless there are surprises/setbacks *knock on wood*, our plan is for me to be a SAHM) a lot of normative traits.

And those aren't *wrong*, but I'm not sure the best way to teach our child(ren) that other lives/choices (regarding work allocation, not sexuality - that is not a choice and I don't mean to suggest otherwise) are also wonderful and healthy and happy and attainable, if not aspirational. I've tried online searches and book searches on amazon, to no avail. I think I'll be ok, but it would be so much easier to have some sort of guide so I'm not flailing around blindly. I'm already hampered and blinded by more privilege than I can ever understand; and while I know it's there, I also know that living in it prevents me from seeing or identifying all of it.

So if anyone out there has reading suggestions, I'm open. More than open, I'm bordering on desperate.