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Tattered Blankets…

September 16, 2014
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We cannot let go of the dying.  It’s in our nature, I suppose.  We’re constantly craving stability, same-ness.  As such, we cling to the dying as if they were pieces of a tattered blanket, somehow trying to put it back together with needle and thread, knowing that the effort is futile and there will come a point where nothing can be done.  You can’t forever repair a broken body.

Instead, we should dissect those tatters, thread-by-thread, keeping the meaningful ones…the laughs, the joys, sometimes the tears, and weave them into a tapestry of our own.  Those threads are part of our story now; they have changed us, and we forever bear their marks.

All that remains should be burned…fights, sadness, betrayals, disappointments.  Yes, we are indelibly marked by those as well, but we should let them be mere flecks, tiny imperfections, remembered, acknowledged, and then let go to scatter on the wind like ashes from a dying fire.

We can try to hold the tatters, but such attempts would be in vain.  The soul slips away, the body withers, and like the husk of a cicada, remains as an empty shell, tattered remnants.

What we do with those tatters is up to us.

On Alt.Underground and The Golden Girls…

July 21, 2014

I tried to find an archived image of my old Geocities website today. I was unsuccessful, unfortunately, but I did discover that Google Groups has archived messages from all of the Usenet newsgroups that served as a predecessor to today’s various means of online conversation (wow…that was a boring sentence). Basically, newsgroups were topical discussion boards with multiple threads and usually a committed core group that drove conversations and served as administrators.

Back in college, I was very active in a Stephen King discussion newsgroup and eventually broke off with a small group of people to form the group alt.underground. We were a close group, and remained lively for years, and I loved those friends so much. We spent the entire night of 9/11 comforting one another and talking through our fears…We went through deaths, marriages, divorces, moves. And you know what? I was the youngest member by far, and no one ever dismissed me or my opinions because of that.

Some of my old posts were cringe-worthy for sure (boy, did I appreciate a good flamewar!), but part of the beauty of having things that you write saved forever on the internet is that you occasionally come across something that made you proud.

Evidently, at some point in summer/early fall 2001 (not too long before Joey and I got together), I had a fight with my ex that prompted me to write this. I’m pretty sure we fought about my getting tired and falling asleep on dates…that was a common topic of “discussion.” Anyway…I wrote this to him (but apparently edited it to post on alt.underground also). It’s funny to look back and see how quickly that time did go. I don’t even remember if I gave it to him.
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Why I watch the Golden Girls until 2am.

Because it makes me forget the bad things—the endings, the moments that were so incredibly perfect yet kill me with the knowledge that I’ll never be able to relive them. Because it makes me forget the fears of the future and because, for that little bit of time, I can sit with my mom as an adult, but also feel as safe as a child.
Because I know that moments like these won’t last. Because I can see them drawing to a close, even now and because I want to fight it with every fiber of my being. But you can’t fight time, can you? It goes too slow when you’re miserable and too fast when you’re happy and, in retrospect, it even went pretty quickly during the bad times, too. If there could only be one time of day in heaven, I would want it to be exactly 9:30am. Why? Because 9:30 is the best time in the world. Because at 9:30, [Dave has] emailed me once. I’ve seen an episode of the Golden Girls, and I know that Mom and I will sit on the couch for another thirty minutes with [our cat] and breakfast and one more episode of the Golden Girls to go, with the whole day ahead of us. It’s that time of day when I always feel okay, no matter what. It’s all downhill after 9:30. Because then there are a million things to do and no one stops to think until the end of the day, when we are all left wondering where all the time went. Time. Time is the worst enemy of all. It plods on at the same pace forever, never having enough consideration to make a wonderful moment last or to make a terrible moment end, mercifully, a little bit earlier than it should. It maliciously stands still in those awful moments, like five days ago when I thought that my father was dying. I hate time. I hate waking up and wondering how the past three weeks flew by so quickly, because I was too busy to even recognize their passing. I can’t stop time, but just for a little while, I can watch the Golden Girls; when the show starts, I am awash with a feeling of calm. I can be drawn into the lives of Dorothy, Rose, Blanche, and Sophia and live on *their* time. I can remember sitting in the living room with my mom in the evenings during college orientation when I was so scared; she put in a tape and we were okay; we watched the show and stayed up and talked late into the evening. Sometimes, I just want the feeling to last a little longer. And I stay up later than I should. I don’t think that’s such a crime, do you?

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(I’m Not Doing) Emotional Eating…

June 6, 2014

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I’ve had some life circumstances over the last two days that have left me with an intense desire to eat away my unsettled feelings. It’s funny how that urge becomes second nature over time…I can only remember a handful of times when I was too stressed to be hungry, and they were huge life events…like, breaking up with the guy I was positive I was going to marry for the guy I barely knew (that one worked out!) or like, dad’s in the cardiac ICU and we don’t know if he’s coming back out (that one worked out okay too…both times). Like clockwork, when the emotion surfaced yesterday, my first instinct was to want Chinese takeout.

I did something different this time, though. I said to Joey, “I feel like emotional eating.” And, to his credit (and with much bravery), he reminded me that I’d come too far too do that. It took a lot of courage on his part to say that…he’s got eleven years of my ripping his face off over food-related discussions as a frame of reference. I’m glad he said it, though…I had an apple and some peanut butter and went on to have an excellent evening with friends.

I need to learn to compartmentalize some things, namely work. I’m definitely not bitching about my job….I like my company and my manager, but I’m really bad about identifying myself too much by what I do for a living and not being able to roll with the punches. Because of that, I tend to internalize anything that happens whether or not it’s something that’s within my control. At least this time I didn’t fling myself face-first into a plate of General Tso’s chicken ;-)

I found this on Pinterest; it has grammar issues, but the info is sound.

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Grillin’ Out and Walking This Way…

June 3, 2014

I was thinking of the Aerosmith song and not Monty Python. I was also thinking that we have a really long hike to the bathroom in our new office digs. I used my pedometer yesterday and it’s a 0.07 mile round trip, so I could get an entire mile in if I make fourteen bathroom trips in a day. Unfortunately, that would both impair my efficiency and make people think I have a serious problem, so I think I’ll have to take the loss on that one.

I’ve gotten a couple of requests from friends who are interested in my weight loss/general health success to know what I’m eating, so I’m going to document tomorrow and post everything Thursday. I would today, but we’re low on groceries, so today isn’t very pretty. I’m working on a larger post about the gluten free thing, but I will go ahead and tell you that I’ve lost TWENTY POUNDS. I’ve experienced a host of other improvements, but I want to devote an entire post to that topic, so suffice it to say that gluten free is definitely for me!

We’ve been cooking outside a good bit lately…our air conditioner is on its last legs, so we’re trying to avoid heating the house any more than necessary. Plus, we can keep Indy outside and wear her out some so she’s not quite such a terrorist in the house. Last week, we did some pretty righteous burgers and grilled corn…

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We used the Udi’s gluten free buns…they were extremely dense. It was nice to have something that resembled a traditional cheeseburger, but I’m not sure it was worth it, so I don’t know that we’ll bother with buns when it’s just us eating at home.

Yesterday, we made sausage with cabbage and onions (German food!)…no specific recipe. We bought some turkey sausage links at Aldi, so we sauteed those with onions in butter and then added a bag of shredded cabbage and cooked it all down until the cabbage was tender. We used a half cup or so of chicken stock to deglaze the pan and enjoyed it al fresco while watching the puppy get stuck in the bushes and pee in the yard.

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It ain’t pretty, but it was good. The after-effects? Not quite as good.

Also, yesterday was Shelli’s seventh adoptiversary. I can’t believe it’s been seven years. I still love her so much that it hurts. She’ll always be my first child. Joey got her a pressed catnip cigar, and she totally cracked out on it for half an hour or so until she decided that Indy’s toys were more interesting.

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I’ve started getting the itch to knit again…I’m lusting over yarn and project photos on my favorite knitting blogs. It’s time to pull something out to work on. I have a scarf that I started in March…I think I’ll finish that up and (finally) learn how to block. I’m also slowly working myself up to being brave enough to try socks.

I know. I’m a rebel.

Why We Need to Learn to Be More Spontaneous…

May 31, 2014

Indy let us sleep in until about 0730, at which point Joey went out to wrangle her and I tried to sleep a bit longer, but to no avail. I weighed myself this morning (first time in a month) and was pleasantly surprised with a MAJOR success (post to come).

Holy crap, was she terrible. I had to occupy her while Joey was making breakfast and I seriously thought I was going to lose my mind. She’s doing this thing now where she dives under the couch and comes back out with something that we didn’t know was under there and that she undoubtedly should not ingest. Deep in the dark part of my heart, I’m eagerly anticipating the day that she’s too big and ends up in a bad predicament when she tries to fling herself under there.

Joey took her for her morning walk and I took the opportunity to vacuum the living room and kitchen. Those of you who’ve read for a while know that I’m slovenly. To voluntarily choose to vacuum is not only completely foreign to me, but also a frightening-yet-heartening development. I felt immediately peaceful when it was done.

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This is definitely a trend that I hope continues. I could really use an inner drive to clean.

Anyway, a Facebook message from my friend Katie led a group of us into an impromptu gathering at a local park to BYOM (bring your own meat……to grill y’all…geez) and let the children (both two and four-legged) play for awhile.

Indy made a new puppy friend..

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while the rest of us enjoyed hanging out in the great weather together.

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Just the girls here…the boys were doing their own thing.

Indy is exhausted.

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Times like these remind me that I need to be able to be more spontaneous. Usually, an impromptu hang-out request would give me immense anxiety, but this time, I just rolled with it, and turned an otherwise boring Saturday into an excellent day (and a great way to wear Indy out). Spontaneity can be a good thing.

It was an afternoon well spent.

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Mother of Two….

May 29, 2014

I’m not pregnant…let me just go ahead and put that out there. Don’t worry…whenever I am, you’ll be the first to know.

We’ve added another four-legged member to the fam….yep, we rescued a puppy. A yappy, bitey, chewy puppy. A Kleenex-eating, cat-annoying, house-tinkling puppy. An adorable, homeless, scared puppy. And I am woefully unprepared.

Meet Indiana Wallenda:

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She was rescued off the side of a major highway by a Good Samaritan, and they could not keep her. This has all happened about a month earlier than we were planning and, as such, the house isn’t ready and I certainly wasn’t ready…although I doubt I would have ever been after what I’ve experienced in the last two weeks.

What a huge learning curve for someone who is used to cats. Thankfully, Joey is out of school and is handing the bulk of the responsibility. I’m thankful. I know this is worth it. I do. I’m just stressed. I long for days when I can sit and think about knitting, or reading, or writing…anything, really.

But watching this little crackhead will do for now…

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Vietnamese Spring Rolls with Thai Peanut Sauce

May 6, 2014

I’ve gotten a few requests for the recipe for those spring rolls we made a couple of days ago, and to be honest, I didn’t really use a proper recipe. I will, however, give you some basic guidelines…the rest is up to you.

Vietnamese Spring Rolls

* 2 cups, cooked protein of choice (we shredded some leftover pork roast that we made using this recipe)
* 2 cups thin rice noodles, prepared via package instructions
* 1 baby bok choy, julienned
* 3 scallions, thinly diced
* 2 carrots, peeled and grated
* 12 sheets rice paper spring roll wrappers
* one large, shallow-bottomed baking dish (9×13 will work)
* warm water (in said dish)
*plates and wet paper towels (to keep the prepared rolls moist)

1. In a large mixing bowl, thoroughly mix first five ingredients. Run a knife through the mixture a few times to break the noodles into small pieces.
2. Fill baking dish with 1-2 inches of warm water. You may want to go ahead and set up an assembly line this point. Start with the stack of rice papers and the pan of water. Have a clean work space next and the bowl of filling, followed by a plate covered with wet paper towels.
3. Take one rice paper and gently lay into the water, fully submerging for ten seconds. Carefully remove the paper and lay on a clean work surface. Place a heaping tablespoon of filling about one third of the way down the paper. Fold down the top, keeping the filling together. Fold in the sides and roll until filling is completely sealed.
4. Place on plate and cover with wet paper towel until ready to serve.

This made twelve rolls. Keep in mind that these are served cold, so there’s no need to heat anything.

Thai Peanut Dipping Sauce

* 1/2 cup peanut butter
* 2 tbsp rice wine vinegar
* 1/4 cup soy sauce (tamari to be gluten free)
* 2 tsp molasses

Heat peanut butter in microwave. When easy to stir, add other ingredients and mix thoroughly. Let cool and serve alongside spring rolls.

Most of these ingredients are pretty easy to find; I did have to go the local Asian market to procure the rice papers.

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Enjoy!

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