Saturday, November 1, 2008

Suddenly Struck Me

This morning I was doing my 5.5.5 (which is more like 15.15.15 or 30.30.30 since I've been going to bed at the same time as the boys and getting up at 5:30AM). So in the post So What Connects Us? I was trying to sort out what connects Black people aside from the color of our skin (oh, and thanks to all who commented especially OG--good food for thought). I had concluded that nothing tangible does. That has been bothering me and occupying a lot of my mindspace for the past few days because even when I meet Black people whose views and/or experiences are the total opposite of mine, I still somehow feel connected in some way. I wanted to make sure that I wasn't imagining things, feeling something that really is not there! There's something there (even though I might really prefer to hang out with someone White who I can tangibly connect with).

So anyway, I was reading a book about Chakras (actually, The Book of Chakras by Ambika Wauters--review forthcoming)and there was an exercise there that asked me to rub my hands together and then hold them apart. I could feel the energy. It suddenly struck me . . . it's energy that holds us together. Like how my little Z2 automatically recognizes that another baby is a baby. How dogs know and (generally speaking) like to be around other dogs. Like knows like or like they say in the streets, "Game recognize game". I can go to a group for Black SAHMs and not really have all that much in common with everyone aside from being Black and and a SAHM. But I really enjoy being with the "sistas". It's a familiarity. A comfort. And something you can't quite pinpoint. And a good (valid) reason to stay a part of that group even if I also decide I'd like to join another, more racially mixed group of mothers who share my parenting styles, ideals, or life-situation.

So while I've completely gotten rid of the delusion that Blackness automatically confers some kind of tangible connection, i.e. that I should be able to find at least one thing I can connect with a Black person on aside from our Blackness, I'm happy to have realized that indeed, the energy of being Black, whether you like it or not, is indeed one heck of a strong connection.

:)

LoL . . . Your Dating Persona

So at least on at least two of the blogs I follow, the blogger has done this "dating persona test". I got curious so I did it too! I think it describes me to a tee. Tee-hee. Waste of time, yeah, but oh so fun!

The Maid of Honor

Deliberate Gentle Love Master (DGLM)

The Maid of Honor

Appreciated for your kindness and envied for all your experience, you are The Maid of Honor.

Charismatic, affectionate, and terrific in relationships, you are what many guys would call a "perfect catch"--and you probably have many admirers, each wishing to capture your long-term love. You're careful, extra careful, because the last thing you want is to hurt anyone. Especially some poor boy whose only crime was liking you.

We've deduced you're fully capable of a dirty fling, but you do feel that post-coital attachment after hooking up. So, conscientious person that you are, you do your best to reserve physical affection for those you respect...so you can respect yourself.

Your biggest negative is the byproduct of your careful nature: indecision. You're just as slow rejecting someone as you are accepting them.

Your exact female opposite:

Half-Cocked

Half-Cocked

Random Brutal Sex Dreamer

Always avoid: The False Messiah (DBLM), The 5-Night Stand (DBSM), The Vapor Trail (RBLM), The Bachelor (DGSM)

Consider: The Gentleman (DGLM), someone just like you.

Link: The Online Dating Persona Test | OkCupid - personals | Dating
My profile name: : pixiedust99

Friday, October 31, 2008

Staying at Home (Not Working)

So the hubby and I decided that the best course of action for our family is for me to stay at home right now. He is opposed to me doing any kind of paid of work and is more than happy to work doubles, pick up extra shifts on his days off, and stay longer at the job if they need him too. All he requires is that I "hold it down at home". What does holding it down entail? Basically, I run the house. I wash and fold all the laundry (although yesterday he did two loads while I took the boys to their playgroup), I keep the house tidy (although he is by no means a slob and is actually more meticulous about neatness than I am), I do all the cooking (he takes home cooked food for dinner at work and I generally pack his meals), all the grocery shopping and 99% of the childcare including lessons for Z1. I enjoy what I do and so does he. He doesn't feel an guilt or insecurity about working the way he does and enjoying it (and he shouldn't) but I sometimes do.

Yesterday, I was talking to one of my girlfriends and I got all mealy mouthed about why the hubby doesn't want me to do any paid work. Now, the answer is clear in my mind: it interferes with my first (and most important) job which is running the household. Any other work I do tends to not be really worth it. For example, I thought about babysitting but I realized I could only charge at most $800. The kind of disruption that caring for another child who's not my own would bring to our family life, well, it would just make more sense for me to go back to teaching and make some real money. That way, we would know that my job is outside the house, household responsibilities need to be split evenly and we'd have a significant paycheck to show for it.

But for some reason, I just couldn't spit it out. Now, that bothered me. So I sat down and thought about why I couldn't get it out. It's because somewhere deep inside, I feel a little embarrassed that I really do enjoy the traditional role of mother and wife. I mean, I can get with the role of professional woman and intend to do so after the boys are grown or at least school-age but right now, being a traditional wife works for me and my family. Yet, I still struggle with the feelings of it being some kind of cop-out at best and failure at worst.

Yeah, people react negatively sometimes asking me if this is "all I do". My own mother speaks of it in a negative light even though she stayed home for a long period of my early childhood. I mean, nowadays, people's reactions and what people say or think about me bother me less and less. I do what I need to do to feel complete and whole spiritually and intellectually. I do what is best for my family, the most important people to me. But sometimes that insecurity creeps in and I get all mealy mouthed instead of straightforward and direct when describing our situation.

I can't blame DH. He likes to have freshly made blueberry muffins for breakfast on any random day. He likes to know that his children are exceptionally well cared for without a doubt. He likes to consistently have freshly laundered and folded clothing to wear. He likes these things, that I can only do because I stay home, so much that he's willing to work for it. And since I like to do these things, I'm happy to let him.

I don't know. The economy may get so bad that our priorities will have to shift and I may have to force my way back into the work force. Not a pretty thought but it might come to that. I'm grateful I have something to fall back on (even if I do have to take some classes and workshops to become hire-able). I have the degrees and always will. So I'm working on letting go of any insecurities that surround being a homemaker. I'm striving everyday to do a better job of it than I did yesterday.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Spontaneous Pumpkin Pie

I didn't plan on making pumpkin pie today.

Today, at Z1's organized playgroup, they were handing out free pumpkins. Since the one we got at the farm is still hard as rock, I decided to hack it up and roast it so that Z1 could stop harassing me about eating some pumpkin. Well, he's hardly interested in the pumpkin now that it's cut and roasted (actually he told me that it was "nasty) so I decided to make a pumpkin pie.

This is the first time I'd ever tried roasting pumpkin for a pie (although I've roasted other squashes) and I can't say that it's something I'll keep doing. I mean, it's not hard exactly but I don't like pumpkins enough to go through the trouble (it's a lot of clean up: the pan, the skins, the seeds--lots and lost of seeds, the food processor).

So from one pumpkin, it seems I have enough to fill two shallow pie dishes or one large one. I think I'll go for the large one. Right now, the pumpkin pie filling is in the food processor (I made it the same way I make sweet potato pie since I didn't feel like hunting for a recipe). After nursing Z2 (which I'm doing while I type this), I'll change his diaper, put in the mei tai and get to making the crust.

Pictures and recipe coming.

Edited at 9:50 PM. Okay, I lied. There will be no picture. I don't feel like fiddling with the camera. There may be a recipe but I don't feel like going to the kitchen to get my recipe binder right now.

(My scalp is on straight fire. I want to rip it off. )

But in any case, the pumpkin pie came out fabulously. Z1 loved it and asked for more. It wasn't as firm as I would have liked it but it tasted soooo good.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Yum, Yum!! Pumpkin Muffins!!

So I made the Pumpkin Muffins using the recipe from Vegan with a Vengeance (which can also be found here) and which I've posted below.They were, simply put, delicious. We gobbled them up. I still have half the can of pumpkin (which I found on sale for $1.20 a while back and again today for $1.50--not quite as good a deal but better than the $2.00 Trader Joe's was trying to sell it to me for). I'm going to make another batch probably Thursday or Friday just to use up the remainder.

Here's the recipe:
PUMPKIN MUFFINS (by Isa)
Ingredients
1 3/4 cups flour
1 1/4 cups sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon ginger
1/4 teaspoon allspice
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
1 cup pureed pumpkin (fresh or from a can)
1 tablespoon soy yogurt
1/2 cup soymilk
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 tablespoons molasses

Directions
Preheat oven to 400 F. Grease muffin tins with vegetable shortening or spray on oil.

Sift together dry ingredients (flour through cloves). In a seperate bowl, wisk together wet ingredients (pumpkin through molasses). Pour wet into dry and combine. Fill muffin tins 2/3 of the way. Bake for 27-30 minutes, till a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

------------------------------------
The recipe makes 6 jumbo muffins (or 12 regular sized muffins--reduce the time you keep them in the oven). I halved the amount of sugar and they were still *very* sweet. More like a pumpkin cupcake than a muffin. If I were to make these for breakfast, I'd probably cut the sugar more.

Yo, seriously well worth it. A wonderful harvest treat. Can't wait to make more!!

In other not-so-wonderful news, a brick of tofu at Trader Joe's (tofu serves as our "break" from beans) has gone up to $1.70. When I first started going to TJ's, I was getting a brick for $1.00 (or at most $1.25). I am not lying. Dang-nabbit! Am I going to start having to make my own tofu too????!!!

Uggh.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

5.5.5.

No, I'm not talking about some great delivery pizza deal.

On Friday, I attending a meet-up of stay-at-home moms and the hostess introduced the mantra "Five, five, five" which means that first thing in the morning, you take 5 minutes to Read, 5 minutes to Write and 5 minutes to meditate.

Now, this is not a new concept to me in any way. Before Z2 was born, I was doing this diligently every morning usually outside on my back porch weather permitting. I felt centered and calm. Z2 is nine months and I have not been able to get back in the practice. It seems like I can never get up early enough to have some time to myself and at night I honestly don't feel like doing it. I don't necessarily feel like being that "into" myself so late especially since I already have trouble falling and staying asleep (and breastfeeding at night doesn't help one bit with that). It's the same reason I'm still carrying ALL of my pregnancy weight around because the time to exercise eludes me (Yes, I know, I'm supposed to work out with the kids but, honestly, I need to focus when exercising and I can't even take a nice long walk listening to my Ipod because Z1 is usually yapping away.) I have not yet been able to find that morning time that I need but I think it's because I have not been willing to get up early. I have not been willing to go to sleep early. It's 1:44AM as I type this. I should have been sleeping already for maybe two hours. I generally fall asleep with the boys at 8:30 and stay asleep (passed out) till 11 or 12. That's how I end up being awake at obscene hours of the morning reading blogs, posting to mine, and on message boards. And how the time to exercise and do things like 5.5.5. in the morning gets scuttled away. Truthfully, discipline, serious discipline is one aspect of true wealth.

Anyway, this morning I woke up just 15 minutes earlier (I set an alarm instead of allowing Z2, the human alarm, to wake me up). I was able to get the 5.5.5. in although I admittedly spent way longer than 5 minutes journaling which is most therapeutic and helps me to get into myself the deepest. I realized that the book that I had relied on for a while in terms of affirmations and self-healing (Meditations to Heal Your Life by Louise Hay) is, in many ways, irrelevant to how my views and ideas of God/the Universe are evolving. At one point, Iyanla Vanzant's book of daily meditation/devotionals just started to piss me off instead of helping me focus. It's so interesting to me that in the time that I have been neglecting reading, journaling and meditating, that my ideas about the Creator have come to such a turning point.

I'm in a place of questioning. I'm not completely convinced that the Creator is all-knowing, all-powerful, all-mighty. I'm not completely convinced that the Creator is love and always has my best interests at heart and has some kind of master plan in the works for me (which is why Ms. Hay's and Ms. Vanzant's books are troubling). I'm not completely convinced that the Creator is even actually interested in the day-to-day runnings of human affairs and is control of things. The evidence seems to say, at least to me, that it made this whole thing (the earth, humans, this universe, etc), set it in divine (and dare I say, perfect) order, gave human beings the intellect and skill to correctly navigate the world if they would just tune in to its rhythm, and then moved on to something else. I mean, I know I'm blessed in many ways but I'm having a difficult time understanding how blessings are distributed amongst us as humans (and even animals). Don't get me wrong. I'm immensely grateful for everything I have and tell the Creator so but I do it more so for the energetic aspect of giving thanks (because gratitude is very powerful)than because I think it is actually listening. I just really don't know. I hope so.

So the final 5 minutes were basically spent talking to the Creator (which involved having faith that it was listening), asking it to help me understand it better or get to a place of peace about not understanding it or a place of peace/comfort/confidence in my (limited) understanding of it. I basically asked for it to prove itself in a way that would be undeniable to me because honestly, I want to believe (I think having faith is supposed to make life a lot easier because it gives you something outside of yourself to rely upon). I think once I can really solidify what I believe about God (and I feel like I'm close), it will make doing things like 5.5.5. much easier and straightforward. I would know where to look. I could be focused.

Anyway, I've put a few Buddhist devotional books on hold at the library as I think and hope these might work better for me as my daily spiritual reading exercise.

I'm going to try to keep up with 5.5.5. and I hope to see a turnaround in my not-so-bright disposition of late. I'm also trying to corral my thoughts as they have been so out-of control negatively for a while now (what with my hair issues, weight issues, clothes issues and money issues which all lead to some serious insecurities about almost everything including my social interactions). This is the one thing that Meditations to Heal Your Life is excellent for--turning your thoughts around. Interestingly enough, I'm finding myself being very resistant to changing my thinking right now. So . . . I'm going to have to really, really put a lot of effort into pushing negative thoughts out to invite positivity and a bright outlook back into my life. I think I should go talk to Z1 about that one. That is one sunshine-y kid! :)

Itching to Try a New Recipe

But it needs to be fool proof and include ingredients that I already have on hand. I borrowed Vegan with a Vengeance from the library and I've peeped a few recipes that I think fit the bill.

1. Roasted Butternut squash soup--squash is in season so it's relatively inexpensive)
2. Spanakopita (spinach pie)--I have a box of phyllo dough that's been in the freezer for ages (was going to make baklava with it). I can get spinach and tofu relatively inexpensively. I can't imagine this wouldn't taste good. I think I may use half the box for spanakopita and half for baklava (which is a sure-fire hit). That way if the spanakopita is gross at least it's not a huge waste.
3. Pumpkin muffins. Lots of sugar but we all know pumpkins are bland as heck. Might be really good. I'm following a thread on one of my message boards about this one. That will help me decide.
4. Zucchini Bread. People have been sweating this recipe for ages. I'd like to give it a try. I can't imagine it could turn out to be that awful.

I'm getting a bit excited but trying to stay very practical and realistic.
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