Friday, March 20, 2015

I became my dad yesterday

I became my dad yesterday.
I'm riddled with guilt and insufferable sadness
The abused became the abuser.
I didn't lash out with voilence or anything

I gave the look. I said the words
The violent devastating words that hurt more than the worst beating.

I made my son feel small and dejected.
He didn't meet my expectations.
I was ashamed... my stupid arrogance got the better of me.
My puffed up pride.

I thought I had transcended from this place.
I saw the moment of who he would be, who he could be, the lights, the glamour, the stories to write, the awards to win.

But he couldn't take the step, he didn't want to.
I couldn't force him.

And I was so disappointed.
I should have behaved differently.
I should have been better

I could have. But I walked away, washed my hands.
All these years of running and fighting to not be this.. this rotten bad seed.

Here I am standing in the same place.
Today is new, and I start over and realize how much further I have to go.

That I never took the step.
I didn't want to.

Friday, March 6, 2015

EIGHT

Could it really have been eight years ago? EIGHT?

Eight years ago, we got the devastating call. The one that made me howl out to the heavens.

Tears that just stream and won’t stop.

The news that made my heart stop, air is sucked out of the room by an unknown force.

Some way, somehow… the world kept turning as I decided to stay still.

Some way, somehow… the minutes became years and I laughed again.
My mourning was turned into joy.

 Joy unspeakable.

Breath came back to me.

Heart beats another melody.

Life came back.

Forgiveness bestowed.

Healing ensues.

Stories weave.

We step forward, sometimes we step back or turn. Sometimes we are still… and remember.

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

BOOK REVIEW: To Love What Is


Book Review: To Love What Is by Alix Kates Shulman

This is a gem of a book. A ruby amongst a sea of garnets.


This memoir gave me hope, gratitude, reassurance and most of all... validation.

It’s a short read, but once you start it, you’ll want to read it slowly, gently, tenderly with care. The truths seeped into my soul and changed me for the better.

I am remiss that after 10 years of marriage, I come across this gem. This should have been read the minute I got married. It should be required reading.





















"Unthreatened by my feminism, in fact turned on by it, he asked for a copy of my syllabus...and week by week he eagerly read my class assignments: Virginia Woolf, Zora Neale Hurston, Maxine Hong Kingston, Marilynne Robinson, Alice Walker, Alice Munro. He was my most ardent student. Night after night on the telephone our connection tightened as we pursued the meanings of love, sex, money, equality, and now literature too."

"Who is this disconnected person, with this weird mixture of sense and incoherence, as irrational as he is imaginative?"

"Can this injury have transformed his very self, stricken deep into his identity? Or revealed a buried self I never knew?"

"Had Scott not been the sort of man who makes things happen, we might have remained for each other simply romantic memories of idealized youth. Instead, two weeks before 1984 was set to launch, he made the call that changed our destinies."

"For a moment I envy our friends their engagement with the world. But then I recall myself: my world is elsewhere now."

"If this is my burden, there's also a secret reprieve: every impulsive, angry, cruel, or foolish thing I say or do, he'll immediately, mercifully forget."

" 'Amor fati,' he said, is 'not merely to endure necessity, still less to deny it...but to love it.' "

I want to remember this quote as long as I live:

"When I confess to him why I'm crying, he reaches out an arm to comfort me, exactly as he always has. That lifelong atheist,who has always scoffed at the very mention of an afterlife and couldn't care less about what happens to his remains, now pulls out all the stops to console me: 'Don't worry, dearest, I won't leave you. I'll pack your bags and take you with me to heaven. What color wings would you like? Blue wings, white wings, chartreuse wings? Any color you want, and I'll make sure they fit correctly. I've already put some feelers for trumpets, seven, eight, nine, ten trumpets to welcome you when you arrive. I'll offer you my arm and escort you around, show you all the sights. With you on my arm they won't be able to throw me out. They'll say, 'Look at that beautiful woman,' and let us stay.'"

Sunday, February 15, 2015

BOOK REVIEW: The Revised Fundamentals of Caregiving

Book Review: The Revised Fundamentals of Caregiving
by Jonathan Evision


So raw and engaging.

I was a bit heartbroken when it ended.

The most unique cast of characters.

Sooo.. SOOOOO FUNNY!!!

Compelling.

Great storytelling.  So many hilarious misadventures.

I'm better person after reading this outstanding piece of literature.

Such talent in writing.




My favorite parts of the book:

"Certainly, I don't belong here. A small part of me -- perhaps the hopeful part or maybe the courageous part -- wants to suggest that we all pile into the Subaru and go buy Slurpees. But then I remind myself that I'm a would-be divorcee, who used to be a father, and most of me wanted to run from this house as though it were burning."

"When Bob pulls out behind me, I see in the rearview mirror that he's neglected to remove the parking ticket from beneath the wiper, where it traces a smudgy trail across the windshield twice before disintegrating, and I begin to understand how Bob's life works: that unpaid ticket will turn into a bench warrant and, eventually, probably even result in Bob's arrest on a minor traffic infraction, inciting the cruel amusement of his estranged son and ex-wife. And poor Bob will never know what hit him." ( This is kind of how I feel about Ben, the main character. )

"Truth be told, I'm only reflecting her glare, shining it back on her in hopes of blinding her to my own weakness. I'm not sure how long I can hold it. We both know she's stronger. We both know that I'm ultimately unreliable, that even my best intentions are suspect, and that in my own way I'm every bit as crippled as her son."

"Sometimes you've got to give until it hurts. It's not easy, and it can be downright thankless..."

“I remember us saying that we liked small houses, that proximity engendered closeness in a family. That nobody should be raised by a nanny or in day care. I remember us saying that time, not money, was the greatest resource. That everything would be all right. That the universe would provide. That belief was a force more powerful than gravity itself.” 


Sunday, January 11, 2015

BOOK REVIEW: How to Be an American Housewife

I was looking for books to read in the new year. I was making a list. I found this on my bookshelf: How to Be an American Housewife; sounds intriguing. When did I buy this? How long has it been sitting on my bookshelf?

The first couple chapters were engaging, funny, even sad at times. I was stepping back in time.

I absorbed it rather quickly and it has stayed with me long after I've read the last page.

Shoko was a beautiful Japanese woman with the world at her feet. Life interrupted, war came to her country. She married an American GI and came to live in America to seek a new life... better opportunities.

Before each chapter is an excerpt from a handbook on how to assimilate into American culture, how to raise kids, how to immaculately clean your house.

This is my favorite excerpt:

"An important criterion in choosing your American mate is his blood type. Military men often wear identifying necklaces, 'dog tags,' which bear the blood type..."

"AB - The worst kind. They do whatever they want whenever they want. They make horrible husbands. "

"B - very practical, but dull."

THAT.CRACKED.ME.UP!!!

Growing up as an immigrant myself, I related well with Shoko and her daughter, Sue. My family always had absurdities about relationships such as these.


Other quotes from the story itself:

Sue was helping Shoko in the kitchen and came across the book: How to Be an American Housewife.

"For the first years of my marriage, it had been my handbook, my guide to doing everything. Rules for living. American style. Sometimes it was right, and sometimes it was not. Sometimes I liked it, and sometimes I didn't. But that was just like life. You don't always get to do what you want, do you?"

I wish I got a handbook like this when I moved to America. I wished my MOM got a handbook. She would dress me in a yellow t-shirt with red corduroy pants. When I wore skirts, I had these long most unfortunate socks all the way past my knee and she would put a rubber band right below the knee and fold over socks. Oh my word... kids are merciless.

"Helena was my do-over daughter. With her, I had the patience to do everything I should have done with Sue. Cook. Teach about Japan. Hugging. I would have even taught her the language, if I hadn't been certain I would mess it up. She needed to learn proper dialect, not what we used out in the country."

And that stabbed me in the heart. 

I don't talk much about this, but when my parents were in the process of getting a divorce, I knew there was no pain like that in the world. I was 11 or so. I went on the bus on my way to school one day crying as an older student from the high school consoled me. Then, I was in college and my dad got married. He didn't tell me. I guess I wasn't that important to share this news. I was so devastated. I thought that this must be the worst pain. Nothing else could be this bad. I would wake up each day and just want to end it all. And then... he had another daughter. The replacement. I was the practice child. The prototype. The cast off. He would do better with this one. He would do right by her. And that my friends is the worst most insufferable pain. 

Sue goes back to Japan to reconcile on behalf of her ailing mother. 

"Helena and I were not athletes or superstars, we were us. And that was enough." 

I hope I get to feel like that one day... enough. 

I think this was an outstanding tribute to the author's mother. What a great way to honor her memory! It brought healing to my heart and I can't tell you how wonderful it is to read this type of literature and feel... KNOWN. 



Tuesday, December 30, 2014

BOOK REVIEW: Deceived

Deceived by L.A. Starkey

I bought several copies of this book back in October for friends. I had Steve-O wrap one of them up for me and put it under the Christmas tree.

I was thrilled on Christmas morning to show off that was signed by the author.

One of my favorite rituals after Christmas morning is curling up with a book by the fireplace in my PJs and a soft blanket.

This is a debut novel of the Soul Keeper series, book one of three.

We are introduced to Samantha, no... SAM, & Julie, BFFs for life. Both grew up in the foster care system and are now with good loving families. Through it all, they are the best of friends sharing every piece of their lives with each other. Super sweet.



Then there's the normal characters from high school: Brent, Julie's brother, who's immediately lovable from a distance. Ken, the star basketball player, who asks Sam out and is the typical poor little rich kid who may or may not have the best intentions.

Sam is haunted by strange vivid dreams and time lapses which she cannot explain.

In walks the characters Marcus & Nick: brothers? cousins? twins? the same man?
Both have their uncles as guardians in this world. They belong to the immortal world and are awaiting a prophecy to unfold. At the center of the prophecy is Sam, the dream catcher. They are the ones who appear in her dreams and take her on adventures and try to win her heart. Winning her heart will be the end game.

As the story unfolds we are taken to Olympus and see our old friends from Greek mythology: Zeus, Prometheus, Pandora, and meet some new friends. Greek mythology has been a huge obsession of mine since I was 13! I was enthralled to see these characters in a new way.

They all have a stake in how Sam chooses in the end.

This book ends with a cliffhanger! BOO!!!

Can't wait to read the 2nd book.

Here are some of my favorite quotes from the book:

"His life was unending, but his dream catcher's life would restart over and over as he waited for her each time, looking and searching. Never the same life, never the same situation, but always the same Samantha."

"He smelled delectable, like testosterone coated candy."

" 'Good, I like to be spanked..' "

" 'If something like puffy sugar balls and chocolate is going to dent my image as a man, then I need to start working on my tolerance now.' "

"With her destruction, the new Sam smiled an evil smile, 'For each his revenge would he forfeit his soul.' "




Monday, October 13, 2014

THEM

It's the morning dash. Trying to get myself and everything ready. 
Breakfast has been served, lunches made, bags by the door and now my hair has air dried and I'm ready to put my makeup on. 


I look in the mirror, grab my eye pencil and there they are again. 

THEM. 

The voices. 

The condemnation. 
The shame. 
They chatter amongst themselves and to me. 
Do their best to rip me to shreds and tear me down till there's nothing left. 

I used to think I was free. I struggle every day with these voices from the past. 
I breathe, put lipstick on, put a smile on and walk away. 

Tomorrow morning... they'll be there again.


Monday, July 21, 2014

Broccoli Salad

Broccoli Salad

This is always a hit at potlucks, family gatherings, and even as a meal for vegetarian night.



Ingredients:
1 bunch of broccoli, chopped (do not use stems)
12 pieces of cooked bacon, crumbled
1 bunch of red seedless grapes (halved)
1/2 cup of sunflower seeds
1 small red onion, chopped finely

Mix all these ingredients in a large salad bowl

Sauce to put on just before serving:
2 TB red wine vinegar
1/3 cup of sugar
1 cup of Hellman's mayo

Mix very well, spread and mix over the salad.

I've found this is great just marinating for an hour or so in the fridge.

Toss a bit and you're ready!!










Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Vegetable Curry


This is a recipe I adapted from Londyn at Blogfood.

We have this about once or twice a month.

It's hearty and delicious.

Ingredients:

  1.  2 T  curry powder ( I use about 2.5 TB)
  2.       1.5 t garam masala ( I make my own )
  3. 4 T vegetable oil
  4. 3 garlic cloves minced
  5. 1 T grated ginger
  6. 1 dried chile pepper, diced
  7. 1 T tomato paste
  8. 1 large onion, minced
  9. 2-4  small gold potatoes, cubed
  10. 1/2 cauliflower cut in florets or a small head of cauliflower
  11. 1 can diced tomato (we only use RO-TEL)
  12. 1.25 cups water
  13. 1 can chickpeas, drained
  14. 1/4 cup frozen peas or more
  15. 1/4 cup of heavy cream
  16. salt
Directions:
 
Toast curry and garam masala in stock pot until fragrant (1-2 min).  Add 1 T oil and ingredients 4-7.
If you have a drink mixer or a grinder, just put the garlic, ginger, Serrano and tomato paste in there and blend them together. I add a little water to the mix.
 
Heat remaining 3 T oil in stock pot (medium high heat). 
Add onions and potatoes until tender and caramelized. Making sure the potatoes are mushy is the longest part. Stir, stir, stir.
 
Add cauliflower and mix... and mix.
 
 
Add ingredients 11-13, plus 1 teaspoon salt, scraping brown bits from bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon. 
 
Bring to boil over medium high heat stirring occasionally until vegetables are tender. 
 
Stir in peas and heavy cream and continue to cook about 10 more minutes. Taste.
 
Season with salt to taste and enjoy!!!
 
 
 
 
 
 
 


Saturday, May 24, 2014

Dressing Room Reveal

About a year ago, I turned the guest bedroom into my very own dressing room.

Oh.my.word... it's been the best thing! I love it so much.

I wanted a space that was just mine.

It is one of the most enriching experiences to get ready for my day...

So.. without further ado... here is ... the dressing room reveal:



 
This is a towel rack.
Hung double ring shower hooks to hold my jewelry.
 

 
 
Shoe rack/ bookcase... grabbed from the neighbor's trash pile.


 
 
My dressing/accessories area.


 
 

 
 
The sofa has a pull out bed so we can still host guests.


 
 
These are not all of my clothes.. they are some of my favorite pieces and clothes I'll wear in the upcoming week. It's fun rotating my clothes every week. I wear almost all of my career clothes and utilize the dressier pieces for casual/career wear.


 
 
Having all my jewelry out and displayed is awesome!!


 
 
I cannot wear these shoes.. the heels are too high and they are unforgiving... but they're soo pretty!!!

 

 
 
My tribute to Phantom of the Opera. I love this music box sooo much. My man got this for me for Christmas...
 
  
 
Every girl should have their own dressing room. It makes life grand!!!