Archive for April 2011
I might be getting overly sentimental at this point in my life, but I noticed that I have more and more emotional attachment to circumstances than I used to.
Note that I said "circumstances" and not "people." I don’t often find myself emotionally attached to many people for very long; I blame it on growing up as an independent only child who wasn’t very physically or verbally demonstrative. We just aren’t a very demonstrative family. One of the first times I actually told my mom that I loved her was sometime in college. Before then, it was simply understood that we were family and we had these feelings between us and they didn’t need to be voiced.
(Don’t get me wrong, my parents and I have a very loving relationship, but we just don’t do the typical touchy-feely kinda stuff.)
But yes, back to the subject of this… More often, I find myself getting a bit weepy (on the inside) over some very strange circumstances, e.g., the way the rising sun fills the train car and spills over people’s faces. I’ve taken to watching the sky change colours from blue to pink/purple to blue to grey in the evenings instead of rushing about, going from one place to the next. Sometimes, I’ll just sit quietly somewhere and watch people go by. I’m not doing anything, I’m just watching them walk by, the leaves swirling under their feet, being kicked about and finally left wedged against the edge of a wall with some cigarette butts and rubbish.
I like to think that I’m storing these scenes and memories away for future writing efforts.
Quietly to myself, I wonder how many more times will I see this scene? The answer is probably never, since the same exact scene wouldn’t happen again. Maybe something similar to it would, but not the same one. The wind wouldn’t blow in exactly the same direction with the same strength, and the leaves would have moved and the people would be one step off from the last time. See, that’s how time works; it marches on regardless of if we sit to observe it or not. Time’s job is to pass, to keep going, no matter what.
I guess I’m just feeling sentimental lately, thinking how I would miss this life, these small rituals I’ve built up. Of course, I’d miss the people, but there are people everywhere aren’t there? I’m not saying that people are disposable, but I think sometimes my own personal detachment from others makes it rather easy to go from one social circle to another, never really settling down (and really having no desire to).
The Mister may be one of the very few people in the world I could imagine wanting to go home to every single day of my life. This doesn’t mean he’s my soulmate, but just that I want our lives to march alongside each other for a very long time, no matter what other things happen along the way. Is that love? Maybe not passionate love, but it’s my own way to love someone.
All in all, maybe it’s a bit of a lonely life to live like this, but it feels natural to me, like it’s the right thing for me to do. No matter, because it works, even if others who choose to live their lives differently can’t quite see my point of view. That’s okay too. To each his own, or some other banal drivel.
(You should always follow what feels most resonant with your own nature and not try to be someone you’re not; isn’t that where all this unhappiness in the world comes from?)
For a long time (almost a year), I’d bring a sandwich to work for my lunch. Without fail, it would be one of the following on wheat or multigrain bread:
- Peanut butter and jelly
- Two slices of cheese
- Two slices of cheese with mustard
As you can see, I am all about variety!
This past week, I decided to start bringing a non-sandwich lunch to work again, so I’ve been making this lime-cilantro black bean salad that I eat at room temperature with a bit of rice (or whatever cooked grain I have on hand). After eating this for almost a week straight, I finally ran out of black beans and decided to try my hand at making some kind of garbanzo bean salad instead. I bought myself some dried garbanzo beans, cooked them overnight in the slow cooker, and mixed it up with lemon juice, parsley, salt and pepper. Toss that into the container with some bulgur and there’s my brand new lunch!
Since I am not easily given to change when it comes to lunchtime decisions, it’s been rather challenging to think of new room temperature lunches for me to eat at work.
(Yes, it has to be at room temperature. I don’t like using the microwave.)
So far my formula has been:
- Some kind of protein in the form of a legume or tofu
- Hopefully some vegetables, probably finely chopped fresh shallots, zucchini, or carrots, or some frozen vegetables (peas, corn, mixed vegetables, etc)
- Lime or lemon juice
- Hot sauce
- Whatever grain is on hand
Do you have any go-to lunch recipes? Any suggestions for what I might make next? I’d love any suggestions for recipes that aren’t too liquidy as I have to carry this around in my messenger bag and I would hate for my somewhat-reliable container to leak in there.
It doesn’t happen all the time, but from time to time, I get hit on (by men).
(I did have a conversation with a friend asking if I’ve been hit on by women, but I have to admit no to that. I just might not be a girl’s girl, or I don’t hang out at places filled with lesbians.)
It’s been a long time since I’ve been in the dating game. Hmm… the Mister and I got together in 2000, so it’s been over 10 years (good grief, we’re old). While I’m sure that things are essentially the same (girl meets boy, a first date is involved, and then ensuing dates happen), things do seem a bit more complicated than before.
For one, people (typically) have mobile phones, so it’s really easy to get wrapped up in texting someone back and forth all the time. You could possibly reach that special someone at all hours of the day as long as their don’t work in a building with double-thick concrete walls, or in the basement of such a building.
Then there’s the whole internet-stalking deal too. Come on, haven’t we all googled someone we’re interested in? Or maybe it’s just me? I totally do that. Yes, I do. It’s nice to find someone, read about their jobs and where they’ve lived before, maybe see their photos, find their blog where they talk about dating and such…
(I actually try not to do it too much since I usually prefer to find out about someone directly from him/her, instead of doing the whole internet stalking thing.)
But you know what? When it comes down to actually hitting on people, it’s still a highly misunderstood art form. Sure, the strong eye contact and open smile help (as do smelling good and getting your life together), but there are some things I feel I have to remind guys about.
1. Hold open doors for ladies that you like. At least offer to pay, even if she will argue and insist on paying for herself. A bit of chivalry is always nice.
2. Be courteous or at least appear like you care about someone else in the world other than yourself. Be nice to the waitstaff at dinner and don’t be a stingy tipper. Acting selfish in small ways makes me think you’re probably selfish in the bedroom too, and that’s never fun.
3. For f*ck’s sake, don’t be a lazy mofo. Maybe this is just me, but I would NEVER want to be with someone who brags to me about rockstar parking (that probably took you 20 minutes of circling anyway) or is always too tired to hang out. If you’re so tired all the time, then maybe you’re too tired for a girlfriend right now. Drink some effing coffee and perk the hell up.
4. You really can’t go wrong with complimenting your lady. Seriously, I never get tired of hearing, "Hello beautiful!" whether it comes from someone I like or the hobo down the street. (A hobo just said this to me earlier this week and I thought it was adorable.)
Yes, I know dating is hard. You may have to date a lot of incompatible people before you find someone you really like. And also, complaining about dating is hard on your friends, okay? Over-analysing every itty bitty move that he’s making is really too much to ask of your friends (well it’s too much to ask of me as your friend anyway).
Oh right. I’m married, so my advice is probably being met with, "That’s easy for you to say; you’re married!" That’s fine. Really, I feel really lucky to be in a relationship when I talk to my friends who are unsuccessfully dating. Really. Lucky.
Good luck out there, kids.
As I wrote last week, I’ve been in a major funk lately. It’s just been one bad mood after another and feeling generally unhappy with myself.
But I found a solution:
1) Force myself to go out
2) Do stuff
And you know what… it’s been helping immensely. How can I continue to allow myself to be unhappy with the world around me when I look around and find myself surrounded by people with big hearts and kind faces, especially that special Mister who tells me he loves me and holds me oh-so-gently.
I can sit around and choose to see everything as bleak and grey, or I can see the glimmers of hope and love everywhere. It’s so easy to find them if I give myself a moment to look.
It’s sappy but true.
Some favourite moments in the past few days:
A beautifully clear day.
A friend recommended this ice creamery he adores. I may not be ice cream’s biggest fan, but it always reminds me of lovely childhood memories of walking up and down the street with an ice cream cone in my hand.
A very cold and windy sunset from atop Sutro Baths.
Fun times with a new friend.
I post to this blog via a handy-dandy email function. There are about 8 half-finished posts in my Drafts folder that I started writing but just stopped for no reason. A couple of them started to meander from my original intention, and I decided to just stop writing when things got too incoherent. More than a few of them are rather whiny and complain about everyday stuff that really doesn’t matter to the rest of the world. Plus, I’d rather not dwell on a lot of the petty stuff, and I don’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings in case they read my post and think I’m writing about them. I’m not trying to hurt feelings or be negative and whiny here.
(Random goal: Be less passive-aggressive.)
To sum up the contents of the Drafts folder there are posts on:
- Starting up 10-minute writing exercises again
- Prevailing themes/aspects of literature that I find interesting
- More thoughts on the Didion book I recently finished
- What I’ve been baking lately
- Complaints about something/someone that annoyed me the day before
- Various hang-ups regarding food and body image
- Silly introspective crap about my feelings and insecurities
Some of these seemed interesting at first, but then I lost interest or I dove off into some other topic that ended up becoming a post all on its own. I’m not really a writer; I don’t write just for the sake of writing. I use it to get myself sorted. I suppose that if I was more of a "writer" then I’d probably have a much more focused blog, maybe write about a single topic or present some of the one-page stories that I write for myself sometimes.
It’s really tough to maintain something like that though, when you’re not focused enough. I really admire people who doggedly present a single-topic blog over many years, because my attention span is quite short and writing on a single topic can bore me within a few months.
(That’s probably a sign that I may never be able to make a living off my writing.)
So what the heck so I write about? All I really know how to write about is my own life, and I try to do that in plain english. I don’t know how to make things poetic, how to make people really understand me. Sometimes, I do wish I had that ability to just connect with other people through what I write, but I’ve long given up on trying for any kind of style, and any insightful commentary I could provide has already been hashed and re-hashed many times over. And so, I write in my own style, about topics I don’t think are of any importance to others, but are bouncing around in my head and need to get out.
Maybe a better way to put it would be: I write because I need to.
Last night I decided to make a big pot of vegetable soup because the characters in my latest read (Murakami’s Hard-Boiled Wonderland and The End of The World) ate that for dinner. They also ate walnut bread with it, so I decided to go to the store and find some walnut bread. Luckily, I snatched the very last loaf of raisin walnut bread from the shelf and triumphantly took it home. I started on the soup, chopping lots of potatoes, carrots, onions, and mushrooms into a pot of water, tossing in a bay leaf, a mushroom bouillon cube, and some celery salt because we were out of real celery.
About an hour and a half later, I had a nice hot bowl of vegetable soup with slices of walnut bread.
Lately, I’ve been feeling like I want nothing more than to go home, make myself a nice dinner, and then knit, read, or watch a film for the rest of the evening. I don’t want to go out to dinner with friends. I don’t want to meet anyone for drinks at the pub after work. I don’t even want to see people on the weekends unless they’re quite special to me. Well, I agree to see overly insistent people too.
I’m holing up like a bear going into hibernation, but it doesn’t make much sense because it’s springtime, the time of rebirth. The flowering trees are growing nice little buds, the birds are super loud each morning, and the suburban folks are turning their sprinklers on in the morning again.
This is supposed to be the time when I unfurl my social butterfly wings and get outside to enjoy the nice sunshine, but instead I just don’t feel like it. In fact, I’m feeling a bit annoyed with myself and my recent anti-social tendencies. I’ve always found this feeling so unnatural in myself, and yet I can’t do much to stop it.
Do you ever get like this, a particular time of year when you just don’t feel like dealing with other people? I don’t get this often, but I do often get it in the springtime right when the weather starts to warm a bit. I suppose my ice cold heart doesn’t want to thaw out just yet.
I’ve been steadily learning Mandarin by repeatedly writing characters everyday. So far, I’ve had the most success with making flashcards with the english meaning on one side and the chinese character on the other. I go through these cards during my work breaks, writing down all the chinese characters. If I get any wrong, I’ll assign myself to write two lines of the character in order to help cement it in my brain.
I was learning one word (which can be multiple characters) per day, but decided to step it up and add in a worksheet I found online from Practical Chinese Reader I. I don’t have the included lessons, so I just practice the characters by looking each one up in the dictionary and making up sentences using them.
(I should mention that my sentence making skills thus far are such that a 3 year old can pwn me.)
One of the recent workbook words was 忙 (pronounced máng), which means busy. If you dissect the two parts of the word, the left side means ‘heart’ and the right side means ‘lost,’ which when put together could say ‘lost heart’ if you put it together the same way I did. I thought this was a pretty interesting way to make a character that means ‘busy.’ If you think about it, when you’re busy (hustling, pressed for time), it might cause you to lose heart in what you’re doing. It made me think about the slow movement, where you try to be more conscious of what you’re doing, whether it’s eating, drinking, making art, walking somewhere. I think it’s supposed to help you appreciate life instead of simply rushing from one activity to another, rushing through the current activity and anticipating the next one. Live in the moment, not the future.
Of course, maybe this isn’t how to interpret this at all, and I’m probably just way off base here and putting way too much of my own ideas into it. Either way, it does help me remember how to write it.
This book, this intensely personal study of one person’s grief, is making me recall how I felt after people I knew had passed away. There were a few accidents, a couple suicides, and a few medical conditions/natural causes. I’ve not known a significant number of people who have died, which is probably a function of my age, and I’m sure that, much too soon after the current series of weddings and babies, the funerals will begin. It worries me a little to think about the passing on of people I hold dear, especially so if they’re taken quite suddenly and unexpectedly; it feels that much more difficult to accept these deaths because they leave a gaping hole in your life.