Unsure where my creative feelings have gone. Mostly I spend my time knitting or sewing small things when I feel like making something.
Oh and cooking too. Always cooking with me.
But here is a handbag I made lately. It still needs a proper liner in.
I recently got to try a Chinese pastry called 老婆饼, also known as sweetheart cake or wife cake. It’s a flaky baked pastry filled with a mixture of candied wintermelon, sesame seeds, coconut shreds, and almond paste. The texture is flaky on the outside, as expected, and slightly chewy on the inside. The coconut flavour is pretty distinct, and it’s pretty much all I could taste for the filling, but I’ll go ahead and believe that there is probably wintermelon in there too.
The whole thing kinda reminds me of hopia, a filipino pastry with the same flaky outside, but usually filled with sweetened bean pastes. My favourite fillings are mungo (mung bean) and ube (purple yam).
I don’t know how 2012 has been treating you, but so far it’s been a wonderful year. Some of my friends have started new adventures, some are planning for some big changes, and it seems that all around 2012 is going to be a good one.
At least I’m really hoping so!
I don’t make new year resolutions because I think they’re tacky and, let’s face it, everyone else does them, so why should I do it too? I know, I am such a lame little rebel. So even though, I prefer not to call them my resolutions, of course I’ve sat and thought what kinds of goals I’d like to accomplish this year in my life. I don’t think I’ll be successful at all of them, but it’s nice to dream, right?
My short list 2012 goals:
- Continue to ride my bike as much as I can
- Remember to get in touch with friends that I don’t see very often
- Spend time with Fran
- Re-learn Bach’s Italian Concerto in its entirety. Memorization possible, but optional.
- Meet and become moderate friends with at least two new people
I don’t think I’m asking for too much here, so it should be achievable. The only one I’d worry about is that last goal of making two new friends. Even though I’m quite sociable, I find it difficult to make friends past the acquaintance level. I could say that it’s just harder at my age, but that’s honestly just an excuse. It’s true that a lot of people I met already have full social schedules, but that’s not why I have trouble getting past acquaintances. It’s more of a personal problem of not giving myself over more fully to friends to let us become closer. There’s always that slight wall to climb, eh?
But anyway, I’m going to try my best to allow myself to get in situations where I can meet new people. Maybe the hardest part is simply getting out there and opening up. After that, things usually quite fall into place once you find common interests.
Every morning, I take the long way to work. It takes me about 45 minutes going that way, compared to about 25 minutes going the most direct way. Along this longer path, I pass by a couple schools, which means that I pass by the same crossing guards every morning that school is in session.
This morning, I approached one such intersection, complete with traffic light, all-way walk signal, and crossing guard that always greets me with a very hearty, "Good morning miss!!" I usually wait for the light and then zip across with car traffic, but this morning I got to the light with 24 seconds still left on the countdown, so I dismounted and walked across the intersection.
I passed by the crossing guard and we greeted each other with the usual "good mornings," but then he said to me, as I was getting back on my bike, "I want to tell you something. You are really gorgeous!"
Oh my, it’s amazing how a random compliment really made my morning. I smiled the entire rest of the way to work.
Each and every morning I weigh myself on a scale that I bought about 4-5 years ago. It’s one of those semi-fancy scales that also measures your body fat based on your conductivity. "The experts" say that weighing yourself everyday doesn’t help you lose weight because it can be demoralizing and inaccurate. I know that when I see a number higher than yesterday’s number, I do get a little peeved at myself for letting the number go up. It’s completely irrational, but I can’t seem to help myself. It’s an automatic self-judgement.
Body weight fluctuates from day to day, based on a number of outside factors like hydration, the status of your bowels, when you last ate or worked out, etc. Over the years of daily weigh-ins, I know that my weight typically fluctuates within a range of 5 pounds. My weight probably ranges about 3-4 pounds in the course of a single day. After you add in the fluctuations due to the menstrual cycle, it’s pretty clear that the weight number isn’t very dependable.
On top of this, measuring body fat via conductivity is not exactly the most accurate method since it does not take hydration into account. The more hydrated you are, the more conductive you are, and this will decrease the body fat percent the scale tells you. If you could be similarly hydrated everyday, then this method might work well for you, but it’s hard to tell exactly how hydrated you are each day. This number obviously fluctuates.
So even knowing all of this, and understanding that what happens on the scale is (relatively) within my control, why does it still bother me to see my weight fluctuate to the top end of my acceptable limit? It doesn’t ruin my day, but I usually silently call myself fat and will sometimes withhold food from myself based solely on the day’s numbers.
Isn’t this such a "girl" thing to do?
But wait, athletes get obsessed with their weight and how much they workout and consume, don’t they? Back in the day (when I was heavier) I used to think they were so crazy. The wrestlers in my high school seemed to be more obsessed than any other athlete because your weight dictated which weight class you were allowed to fight in. I remember one guy weight one pound too much before his weigh-in, and he put on sweatpants and a heavy pullover and ran around the building in the heat until he’d sweated the pound off. Now that’s crazy.
I’m thankful that I’m not so crazy that the bathroom scale would bring me to tears. I try not to obsess about it, but sometimes when I’m in a crappy mood already, it does make me feel even crappier and I wish it wasn’t like that. Just a number, just a data point, right? It doesn’t make me less valuable if I’m up a pound from last week, and it doesn’t make me cooler/prettier/etc if I’m down a pound. But sometimes, it’s tough to tell myself that.
After all, it’s just a number, and it only has power over me if I let it.
I recently received a camera from a friend who found it at a flea market. He didn’t know how well it worked, but he bought it anyway and gave it to me. I changed out the seals and ran a couple rolls through to see how well it worked. It takes an outdated battery, so I took it out and just used it without a lightmeter. Luckily, the camera is full mechanical, so it doesn’t need a battery in order to make photos.
Oddly enough the first roll I finished was of colour film, which takes me forever to develop. I don’t know what I was thinking, but I quickly loaded up a roll of black and white and developed the roll a day or two after I finished it. My developing is pretty shoddy, but I managed to get a few photos out of it that I was pleased with.
So yes, thank you, friend for the new camera.
Since I only had one roll of from this film and my canister takes two 35mm rolls, I magically found another roll of the same film, exposed at the same speed, so I developed them together. Turns out these photos were a bit older, from February 2011. Really reminded me of how much I missed shooting film, how much I liked seeing how the photos turned out a few weeks (or months) later. Again, I was pretty happy with these photos, which really pleases me.
Obviously, now I think I have to start shooting more.
The blog has been quiet, and it’s because the headspace has been a little bit too confusing to even start to lay anything out in writing. Writing is how I get myself sorted from time to time, but I haven’t been able to even get hold of anything to start trying to unwind, so my thoughts have become more and more tangled to the point where nothing I wrote made any sense.
I started a lot of entries; obviously, I didn’t finish any of them.
So this is where I decide to start figuring everything out, or at least to wipe it all clean and start all over again, because I’m not even sure where to start.
I guess I’ll just start. And I’ll use "we" because it really does encompass the two of us, not just me and my own life.
We spent a lot of our energy working towards something, but then it dropped out of our reach, and now we’re figuring out how to fill the void, how to finish the mourning period. It sounds a lot more dramatic than it is, but it really is a kind of mourning. No one died, but it was the death of possibility that is what we’ve been working through. Throughout it all, we’re trying to remember that we have each other, that no matter what happens or doesn’t happen in the future, we have each other to lean on. We don’t both have to be strong all the time. We can let ourselves be weak if we need to be.
We’ve learned a lot about our relationship and about ourselves. That being open and honest, even if what you’re saying is disagreeable, is still the best way to go. That letting another person see your weakness is not a bad thing. That feelings don’t have to have reasons, and that sometimes it’s most important just to feel them and let them work their way through your system instead of ignoring them.
All that anger, fear, hopelessness… it has to go somewhere right? You can’t just let it sit and sit, while you smile on the outside and push it all aside to get on with your day. That’s definitely not the best policy because it only seems to hurt more later on when you do finally face things.
And so I’m wiping the slate. It’s my birthday today, and I’m going to look at the upcoming months as a new time. I could have picked any upcoming day to make meaningful. It didn’t have to be on my birthday, but as it is, my birthday falls fortuitously and therefore I will give it some gravity. Well, some gravity, and some lightness as well.
I still feel empty inside. For months, I’d put so much of my energy into something that I no longer have, so it only makes sense to feel sad about it, to mourn what could have been. I’m not silly enough to think that emotions go away so quickly, that feelings just disappear like wisps of smoke. It’s going to take some time to fill that void back up again, to figure out that the future is endless and just because one door closed doesn’t mean I’ll be stuck standing out in the hallway forever. There’s a path out there somewhere. I probably can’t see it now, but it’s there.
We’ll figure it out.