Tuesday, December 30, 2014

xox, 2014.

One of my favorite pics from a year full of lovely little moments captured on camera.

Lavender Love

With the holidays winding down, I'm mostly basking in precious downtime with the family and reflecting on the year behind us. Dean is finishing up with school, and we're finally getting to work on the music we've been dreaming about making together for years.


It's raw and rusty, but it's happening, and that is huge. (Don't make that pervy, pervs. :P)

What have I learned this year? Too many observations and realizations to remember in one sitting, but these occur to me now:

- In relationships, it's important to distinguish between expectations and standards. It's generally useless, unproductive, and disappointing to have expectations, but having expectations is not to be confused with having standards. And we need to maintain some standards in those relationships we want to forward. We don't need to believe our standards superior when someone doesn't meet them, but we have to recognize when they are hopelessly incompatible with that other person's and be ok moving forward on our own with that recognition. It wouldn't hurt me to be swifter about it, but I'll probably always err on the side of patience, for good and for bad.

- Some things will never change, but a lot of things can.

- "Natural" peanut butter will probably always suck in my book no matter how I try to like it, and I should probably stop wasting my money trying. All my love for whole ingredients and slow food notwithstanding, give me unnatural peanut butter with chemicals and additives and stabilizers and enough salt and sugar to make it yummy to me. If I die from eating it, at least I'll have enjoyed it.

- A little bit of the things that truly matter to your heart of hearts, your soul of souls, is infinitely more filling and fulfilling than an infinitesimal quantity of the things that don't.

- There is a price for all good things that is usually some form of not-so-goodness in other things, and if we step back to see the balance of the bigger picture, life tends to seem fairer than if we don't.

- Some things I do will never make any fucking sense. Like drinking Diet Coke.

- Life is an odyssey away from and back to ourselves, and we will encounter the most wondrous and fearful things if we should decide to undertake it, but the journey and the homecoming both are the sweetest reward. I'm looking forward to more life as I was meant to live it. At theoretical half time, it's all coming back to me now.

This is a good place to begin the first day of the rest of my life.

shinae

Friday, December 19, 2014

"For lack of love one does a million other things."

~ Marty Rubin


Empanadas and pickled peppers for Dean's office holiday potluck.

I have become that woman.

Actually, I have always been a woman who takes great pleasure in cooking things to make my loved ones happy. But through some combination of circumstance, evolution, growth, and the incredibly good fortune of having married the best friend and life partner I couldn't even have imagined existed out there for me before I met him, I have become that woman who is totally OK with the possibility that making these empanadas for him because he asked me to might end up being the most important and satisfying thing I do with this day.

Not that tomorrow can't find me doing something equally fulfilling that has nothing to do with him... But for today I'm happy and grateful that I love, like, adore, and respect him enough, and that we have this mutually giving and supportive relationship enough, that doing this for him seems like a perfectly good and complete use of a day.

I'm also grateful for the many years spent in a very different kind of relationship and all the lessons therein that would eventually open my soul to the possibility of this one.

I don't wish to spare my kids their own difficult lessons in life and love because, in good measure, those are the fires by which a rich life and character are forged. But if seeing me and Dean love, laugh, and work through life together teaches them just a little bit quicker what a positive difference it makes in every aspect of your life to have a mutually kind, friendly, empathic, helpful, caring, and appreciative partnership - how that kind of love makes just one thing like making empanadas for a work potluck more than enough - that would be wonderful.

shinae

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

How is Honeydewing?

This pic of Honeydew, probably the last one I will ever take, was shot on November 3rd of this year after Dean and I decided together to rehome her with her mom.


Those who have been with me since the very beginning of ridiculous hungry (the blog before this one) might know that Honeydew is, as I jokingly call her, the lovechild from Dean's last longterm relationship before I came along.

I considered myself her stepmom at the beginning and after a few years of serving her highness's whims would eventually call myself her bitch, but I digress...

Years ago when Dean and Honeydew's mom parted ways, it was agreed that she would get full custody of Honeydew, but shortly thereafter the Universe had other plans and Honeydew's mom had to leave her in Dean's care for what was supposed to be a short period of time that became a much longer one. And then they lost contact as happens over time and the building of new lives, and it looked like Honeydew was going to live out the rest of her days with us.

But then in our family's growing frustration with the difficulties of managing the dynamics of our human family priorities and seeing Honeydew through her old age, and unbeknownst to me, Dean reached out to Honeydew's mom to see if she'd be interested in having her furchild back, fully informed as to the issues we'd been having.

As good fortune would have it, it turned out that she'd been hoping for a while to get Honeydew back so she could care for her and see her through her last years, and a couple of days after this picture was taken, Honeydew was reunited with her mom and went to live in Arizona with someone she knows, loves, and trusts in a climate that's supposed to be better for her aging joints than the one we've got here (not that her joints had anything to do with the decision).

There are quite a few readerfriends who have grown fond of Honeydew over the years, and it was my initial inclination to let you know sooner what was going on with her, but we sent her off fully willing to bring her back if her new home didn't suit her, and we decided to wait and see if this was truly goodbye for us and everyone else who'd come to love her through us.

As much as I like to think that I treated her (mostly) pretty well when she was in my care, it looks like she is now in the care of someone who is much more invested in, and frankly, capable of, caring for her as a true member of the family. She is doing just fine adapting to her new routine that includes, among other things, more exercise and active affection than she got from us. At her age, we wouldn't have sent her if we didn't think she'd have considerable familiarity as well as a loving environment to look forward to.

While there is some part of me that wishes we were more inclined to be that family for her, a bigger part of me is mostly just grateful for the serendipity that made it possible for us to enjoy a more peaceful life here, for Honeydew to be better loved and cared for there, and for Honeydew's mom to get a chance to express a bond and affection for her that I admittedly will never have given my limitations.

Thanks for sharing in my time with Honeydew, for your expressions of affection for her, and for your interest in her health and well being. I will not be posting about her any longer, but I am so happy and thankful to be able to tell you she's better cared for now than she ever was with me.

With all my heart I wish her lots of love and affection, good food to eat, and a warm and cozy burrowing place to take her frequent beauty naps for the rest of her days.

shinae

Sunday, December 14, 2014

What a do nothing day! Due not in small part to having stayed up 'til 3 am bingewatching Carnivale. Great show. Too bad it didn't go longer than two seasons.


I did manage some post-rainstorm backyard foraging - a bunch of young and super tender dandelion greens and a small handful of wild arugula (if you look closely, they're right on top) that are so young and tender at this point that just running water on them bruises them. Must remember to be gentler next time. Should be delicious with some sangchu ssam (Korean style lettuce wraps) for dinner - they're earthy, herbaceous, and not the slightest bit bitter yet at this stage.

Unrelated, I've started using my blog as a journal. It's been calling to me for a little extra love and attention for a while now and journaling seemed like the most effortless way to do that.

It felt at first like a logistical decision, but then I remembered that while I've been blogging for years, I stopped journaling seven years ago when my handwritten journal was found and used against me in the worst way. Being vague because it's not my intention now to dig up my own or anyone else's old wounds - just acknowledging that this is more a milestone for my psyche than it is mere logistics.

'Course now my journal is public - more public than I could have imagined any of my writings would be seven years ago. And not that I don't imagine some things will want to be kept private as time goes on, but if that betrayal of my private thoughts so many years ago and subsequent fallout taught me anything, it's that living out loud, honestly, and authentically - simply and fully owning your life - offers the best protection against those who might have less than decent intentions for their knowledge of you.

Now to return to this laziest of Sundays...

shinae

Friday, December 12, 2014

 "Life is what happens to you when you're busy making plans."

~ John Lennon


A really good life is happening to me now.

I get to watch my littlest one learn and grow by the hour, witness her discoveries, and share in each one of them with her.

I get to cook things that make my teenagers happy, watch movies with them, make jokes with them, and listen to them and talk with them with unstressed and mostly unfettered heart and mind. 

I get to make a life with my best friend, be home when he gets home, enjoy an evening cocktail with him, make music with him, and look forward with him.

I get to play in the dirt and watch beautiful things emerge from it. 

I get to create things and share them with people who appreciate what I'm trying to do and say and take the time to let me know it.

I can sing when I want, dance when I want, and write when I want. (Well, two year old willing... ;) )

I didn't plan one bit of this life, and it is so much better than anything I have ever planned.

So I've decided to stop making plans for a while and keep letting life happen.

shinae

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Bird's Nest Fungi

Today's little discovery...


Bird's Nest Fungi found in my mum planter in the back yard.

I love how quickly my friends from the interwebs helped me identify them. How crazy lucky we are to have this kind of help and information literally at our fingertips.

Charming, aren't they?

shinae