Archive | introspection RSS feed for this section

Hungry?

27 Nov

It is the Sunday after the Thanksgiving holiday here in the USA and so it seems fitting at this time that I write about food and hunger, though this is a thought process that has been in the works for a while now…

When I was around nineteen years old I had the wonderful opportunity to live with my grandmother Ella and grandfather Greg for nearly a year. During that time, I became engaged to marry my husband and thus had domesticity on the brain. Living under the influence of Ella was fortuitous and her mark was evidenced in my own nuclear family for many years. She taught me many basics of cooking which lent their foundations to my spring-boarding recipes. And so my children, friends, nieces and nephews, neighbors and more knew me to be a creative and consistent cook.

*I have to take a side step here, for I know my mom (Margie) reads this blog and will be chiding the computer screen with a “hey, what about me?” type question. My mom is an amazingly creative and gifted culinary master in her own right. Unfortunately for her, I liked only white rice and plain pasta noodles during my formative years. Her cooking left me stuck at the kitchen table as a young girl for hours past the dinner meal, staring at and stirring my grub. I have vivid memories of her pea soup, which now I would relish, but then I thought was some ancient torture ritual and I the prisoner of circumstance. I learned a few tricks of the trade during that time–swallowing peas like pills so as not to taste them and lopping up my food with napkins, burying them down in the bottom of the trash “unrecoverable.” And though it would seem I am the reluctant beneficiary of her talents, I see her in myself and my preferences more and more. I am thankful for her influence though she didn’t find in me the opportunistic learner that her mom did. Now back to the story at hand.

I am winding down in my 27th year of marriage (anniversary in February) and for 23 years of marital bliss I had the circumstance and opportunity to provide meals for my household always with a nutritional and creative lens. I viewed the kitchen as my “lab.” Understanding the chemistry of ingredients and how they react one with another lent for some masterpieces and some flops. I came up with creative ways to serve my husband and children vegetables that they found palatable as well as low-sugar desserts and some high sugar ones as well. Under my grandmother’s influence I started off the culinary arts with a high fat dependence upon butter, cheese and Campbell’s soups. But the more ground I gained as dietician to the Bent family, the “Margie factor” crowded out the Ella influence and hydrogenated fats in the soups were replaced by a love of olive oil and international ingredients. I studied nutritional journals and published papers, kept charts of the nutritional values in different vegetables, fruits, grains and meats, and used this information to better understand the influence food has on the body. I took inventory from my troops of the nutrients they consumed in a day and planned menus to provide variety and diversity of ingredients for the holistic picture. I believed (and still do) that our nutrients are best derived from food and not supplements, so diversity of food has been key in healthy living.

*I must side step again as I find it so ironic when I write or speak about my views on health or faith, because my son died of a brain tumor so I realize that my investment in food and prayer are not exactly the poster child one hopes for, as far as outcomes are concerned…sometimes I wonder if I should have embraced soda and fried chicken! Forgive me as I digress.

Getting back to the subject at hand, which the mention of my deceased will help me to do, is to say that I have spent a good and consistent part of my life creating and being inspired to cook. Which is why, since the loss of Cole, I find it strange that I don’t even feel hunger. My creativity is lost somewhere inside of my struggle to live in loss. My palate craves nothing and my body needs little. This is not to say I dislike food, on the contrary, I do like food-I guess. But my taste is simplistic at best. I am satisfied by an avocado for lunch. Or fish and rice. An artichoke for breakfast along with my coffee is more satisfying than an iconic spread. I now walk the produce section of a grocery store in wonder, with no inspired thought. Oh yes, I know I enjoy sauteed mushrooms but with what? I don’t know and don’t care. I don’t want pasta, but bought a package to have on hand this past week for my young cousin who was visiting. My husband is often eating cereal for dinner as I have no offerings to provide (unless in his ambition he heats up a hotdog and canned beans) and prepackaged meals gross me out. Even salad, usually a favorite of mine, is common place. I assemble one often for lunch because I know this is the type of fuel that works well for my constitution but I don’t crave a certain type. I even find that during the holidays, when hosting at my house, I struggle to think of what others would want and enjoy. I don’t snack and my beverage of choice is water. By my own assessment, I have become quite dull. In full disclosure, this past week I did eat 7 sticky buns (Ella’s recipe courtesy my sister who keeps this family recipe/tradition alive) but declared it my dinner and left everyone else to fend for themselves. On Thanksgiving I bought the ingredients to ensure the traditionalists were happy, but I myself, had not one bite of turkey and ate very little from the side dishes as I felt no pang of hunger. In fact as I sit here and write, Brian (my love) is asking if I’d like a stuffed potato for dinner–his treat courtesy the local barbecue restaurant–to which I give an emphatic “no!” …I’m not hungry and I don’t want to eat.

Living in loss, with loss, can make one feel quite lost. The person I have known myself to be is missing and with her is the desire for food. I eat out of a knowledge base to fuel the body (except for the sticky bun extravaganza which is more of a nod to past practice than anything else) and prefer to have food in its natural state such as rice, fish and vegetables (and I suppose a potato would work). When I think I am craving a food, as soon as I see it, the desire dissipates. I am not fond of this disconnect. But then again I am not a fan of this life without my son in it. So there you have it, my soapbox on food, hunger and grief just as my husband asks me again with a boy-like enthusiasm “are you hungry and ready for dinner?” I of course restate my first answer, but in yielding to the knowledge that fuel is a necessary agent for living, relented and promised to wrap up this post so we can talk dinner (or he can talk rather). I think in this regard a fairy god-mother of food would be helpful for me. I need a Rivka in my life who will assess my nutrient intake of the day, prepare the food I should eat, and tell me it is the only option. Sounds like I need a mom! I suppose this is a maternal retribution, Margie’s revenge…for I scorned her culinary influence once upon a time. Oh irony how thee doth sting.

Stuffed potato anyone?

En Proceso – Stinky Feet

3 Apr

In the past several months I have had the opportunity to field unintentionally, unkind commentary. Most likely the result of being in my third year of mourning. And though I could spell out for you the details of each encounter, I will spare the invocation of sympathy by not doing so. For truly it isn’t necessary for me to utilize this blog platform to rally my troops, not today anyway (no guarantee for future intent). The problematic formula, or root of the unintentionally unkind quips, is that they each imply that the lapse of time should be lessening the pain of loss. A practical concept in theory, though rooted not in the reality of the griever.

I do understand the foundation of the misunderstanding, for I smile a lot. I invest in people’s lives, a lot. I am warm toward others, forgiving toward others, caring toward others and interacting with others, a lot. A newbie to my world would never suspect I carry, in my soul, the burden I carry. I celebrate babies, I empathize with others, I congratulate achievements. In essence, I am continuing on. People in mourning, people who grieve, continue on. If they don’t, they themselves are not living.

So how, how does one get on with it? How do I? Aside from the foundation of faith…

  1. Live in the now. I pay the price, daily, of disregarding the weight of my sorrow. The cost comes in form of loss of memory. In order to survive, I have to shut out certain reflections. Shutting the doors to pain also shuts out good memories as well. My friends help fill in my gaps when needed.
  2. Gratitude. I start with my ugly feet, though dreadful to look at they are the work horses of my life. I am grateful for my feet, their support of my body and the abuse they endure as result of my love of impractical shoes. I expand the exercise further from there. Gratitude is a most superior, healing salve.
  3. Being present. Remembering that my loss is not the only loss on earth forces me to connect with family and friends with a reciprocal intention.
  4. Embracing imperfection. This one could be it’s own blog post! Mourning, suffering loss, grieving, etc., has caused a desensitization of sorts for me. I am no longer “ruffled” by the small injustices in life. Example: waiting in long lines in the supermarket or coffee shop because of incompetence either with the employee or the customer doesn’t faze me. In life “my story” is always upon me, always goes with me and impacts my threshold. My own loss has given me greater understanding that each of us could be navigating the daily tasks of life with a complication, a fact and consideration I impart to others. *except when driving–I’m a beast!
  5. Letting go of offense. This one probably falls under the umbrella of #4. But to give it its proper due, I’ll list it out. My motto is, “I don’t have time for offense.” I move through affronts quickly for my soul has no extra room to carry them.

And of course my #5 brings us back to my opening paragraph. Suffice to say that I suffer loss in constant, and the questions hurled my way that cause offense do not (and cannot) penetrate the pain already there. In truth those that ask a question or make a comment in ignorance are fortunate; they haven’t been touched by sorrow’s sting or the injustice of a life gone too soon. I applaud their blessing as I put on my “big girl pants” and enact rule #1.

beautiful feet

Always at my service!

A Man, a Woman and a Dog

10 Oct

My personal Tedx

I love women.  I also love men.  I do not believe I have the right to govern over the organs of either gender.  I believe that the decisions a person makes regarding their organs are between the person and God.  And if a person does not believe in God, I believe that too is between that person and God.  I don’t believe hair should grow out from a mans ears, but hair keeps growing.  I’d like not to believe in the wind, but regardless of my intent to hold that belief in truth, the wind keeps blowing.  Disregarding the Creator no more casts the Spirit aside than my own aforementioned fancies sway the hair growth and weather patterns.  I believe my stated opinions are valueless and in no way hold supremacy or even honor that which is supreme.  They are my own statements and journey, and should be accounted as such.

I don’t know why, for so many years, women have been subjugated while men (in general) have not.  I don’t believe to liberate one is to incarcerate the other.  I don’t understand why we state we are a free society when truly all people are not free.  I don’t understand how I can claim a human right for myself and disregard it for another.  I have long wondered, given the history of human beings and their destructive ways, how-on-earth we apply (in the English language) the word “humane” as a positive term.

Where is this questioning coming from? One may ask.  Rivka, why are you going on and on in this way?  What’s your point?  Well, if you are thinking such things, I will explain.  First off, I am a filthy rotten sinner and in need of redemption.  Thankfully I have been redeemed through the blood of the lamb.  With that said, my introspections are result of understanding the darkness within.  If I deny my own inner turmoil then I am nothing short of a liar.  And as I navigate my way through the many messes upon our global society (ISIS, DV, Economic Crisis, political rule, etc.) I cannot fathom the contemplations without first honoring the human struggle at the core of my own being.

The other day, while driving on the I5 freeway (let me just say that the “I” in the I5 equation stands for “Interstate”) clipping along at my normal rapid rate which is typically 15 miles per hour Over the posted speed limit, I spied a woman, a man and a dog walking on the shoulder of this rapid thoroughfare.  The man and woman each pushed their own metal shopping cart (borrowed no doubt from an unsuspecting grocer) with what looked like all of their earthly possessions in tow.  The dog ambled on his own, alongside his human counterparts.  And as these three living beings steadfastly moved forward amongst the speedway just inches to their left, their untold story festered in my mind.  Their plight ignites my interrogations.  Their fortitude, in obvious adversity, nods to the innate character of man (humans).  Their journey became my puzzle.

Connected to the “I5 Three” are the rights each of us is given in this United States of America, rights which have not been wholly honored on the majority level.  As stated in the Declaration of Independence:

“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”

I found myself thinking (and rightfully easing up on the accelerator pedal) that the I5 Three were in the same pursuit as myself, though theirs was on foot while I was in vehicle.  I no more deserve the pursuit than they do, just as I no more have the right to take it away from them nor they from me–not here in the U.S.A.  After all, we are not under totalitarianism rule.  And, as human beings, we are in this lot together.  I then quickly move from the brave ambulating strangers to the idea of Rights.  Rights for us all and how women (in general) have been in a consistent struggle, through the ages, to have those unalienable Rights bestowed them.  And through the process and rapidity in which the thoughts disperse within my being, I move quickly to the place of considering how to impact our world so my potential granddaughters are ensured the same consideration as my potential grandsons.  And why, in the first place, is it so tough for people to extend the courtesy of their own freedoms to that of another?

I am grateful to know my Creator.  I am grateful for the teachings of Jesus.  I am grateful that while upon earth The Christ exampled equality to both genders and showed love with impartiality.  I cling to the words of Jesus as stated in scripture, also known as “The Golden Rule” (paraphrased) Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.  Jesus himself was a champion for women and all people.  He lovingly gave us the right to choose–even if the choice made is apart from him.  So why today, in our supposedly westernized civilization, are we still politicizing the female and lording over that particular sex?  Why are some disempowered still by the lack of a Y chromosome?  Why are we wanting to rule over others and by doing so strip them of the same opportunities we are allowed to aspire to?

While I cannot answer the immensity of the questions posed, I can consider them at a level within my reach.  I can start with me.  I avow to pioneer for equality for women as well as pioneer for equality for men.  I will not take on one, without also tending to the other.  However, I will not stand by and quietly allow the rights of a woman to be disregarded while the rights of a man are not.  I will not align myself to “men haters” as that agenda is counterintuitive to the cause.  And I will not stand by and be silent, nor align myself with hypocrisy, within this nation I call home.

October is “Domestic Violence Awareness Month,” my post is in honor of subjugated women around the globe.

http://humanoptions.org

%d bloggers like this: